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This page is dedicated to My Grandson Brandon.


***IN STOCK***


by Chuck Missler


PRICE R 159.00





This DVD includes notes in PDF format and M4A files.

This briefing pack contains 2 hours of teachings

Available in the following formats

Session 1

• Epistemology 101: How do we “know”?

– Scientific Myths of the Past

– Scientific Myths of the Present

• The Macrocosm: The Plasma Universe: Gravitational Presumption?

• The Microcosm: The Planck Wall

• The Metacosm: Fracture of Hyperspace?

Session 2

• The Holographic Model: David Bohm

• GEO 600 “Noise”

• The Black Hole Paradox

– String Theorists examine the elephant

• A Holographic Universe:

– Distances are synthetic (virtual) images

– A Geocentric Cosmology?

– Some Scriptural Perspective(s)



“One can’t believe impossible things,”

Alice laughed.

“I daresay you haven’t had much practice,”

said the Queen.

“When I was your age, I always did it for

half-an-hour a day.

Why, sometimes I’ve believed as many

as six impossible things before breakfast.”

Through the Looking Glass

Lewis Carroll (Charles Lutwidge Dodgson)


1 Disc
2 M4A Files
Color, Fullscreen 16:9, Dolby Digital 2.0 stereo, Region  This DVD will be viewable in other countries WITH the proper DVD player and television set.)

M4A File Video

Can be burned to disc and played on MP4 compatible DVD players.
Playable on iPod, iPhone, iPod Touch
Playable on any MP4 player
1 PDF Notes File
2 MP3 Files








Featured Briefing

A Holographic Universe?

by Dr. Chuck Missler

Are we actually living in a holographic universe? Are the distant galaxies only a virtual illusion? In a hologram, distances are synthetic! How does this impact our concepts of time and space?

There seems to be growing evidence to suggest that our world and everything in it may be only ghostly images, projections from a level of reality so beyond our own that the real reality is literally beyond both space and time.1

The Cosmos As a Super-Hologram?

An initiating architect of this astonishing idea was one of the world’s most eminent thinkers: University of London physicist David Bohm, a protégé of Einstein’s and one of the world’s most respected quantum physicists. Bohm’s work in plasma physics in the 1950s is considered a landmark. Earlier, at the Lawrence Radiation Laboratory, he noticed that in plasmas (ionized gases) the particles stopped behaving as individuals and started behaving as if they were part of a larger and interconnected whole. Moving to Princeton University in 1947, there, too, he continued his work in the behavior of oceans of ionized particles, noting their highly organized overall effects and their behavior, as if they knew what each of the untold trillions of individual particles was doing.

One of the implications of Bohm’s view has to do with the nature of location. Bohm’s interpretation of quantum physics indicated that at the subquantum level location ceased to exist. All points in space become equal to all other points in space, and it was meaningless to speak of anything as being separate from anything else. Physicists call this property “nonlocality”. The web of subatomic particles that compose our physical universe—the very fabric of “reality” itself—possesses what appears to be an undeniable “holographic” property. Paul Davis of the University of Newcastle upon Tyne, England, observed that since all particles are continually interacting and separating, “the nonlocal aspects of quantum systems is therefore a general property of nature.”2

The Nature of Reality

One of Bohm’s most startling suggestions was that the tangible reality of our everyday lives is really a kind of illusion, like a holographic image. Underlying it is a deeper order of existence, a vast and more primary level of reality that gives birth to all the objects and appearances of our physical world in much the same way that a piece of holographic film gives birth to a hologram. Bohm calls this deeper level of reality the implicate (“enfolded”) order and he refers to our level of existence the explicate (unfolded) order.3 This view is not inconsistent with the Biblical presentation of the physical (“explicate”) world as being subordinate to the spiritual (“implicate”) world as the superior reality.4

The Search for Gravity Waves

Gravitational waves are extremely small ripples in the structure of spacetime caused by astrophysical events like supernovae or coalescing massive binaries (neutron stars, black holes). They had been predicted by Albert Einstein in 1916, but not yet directly observed.

GEO 600 is a gravitational wave detector located near Sarstedt, Germany, which seeks to detect gravitational waves by means of a laser interferometer of 600 meter arms’ length. This instrument, and its sister interferometric detectors, are some of the most sensitive gravitational wave detectors ever designed. They are designed to detect relative changes in distance of the order of 10-21, about the size of a single atom compared to the distance from the Earth to the Sun! Construction on the project began in 1995.

Mystery Noise

On January 15, 2009, it was reported in New Scientist that some yet unidentified noise that was present in the GEO 600 detector measurements might be because the instrument is sensitive to extremely small quantum fluctuations of space-time affecting the positions of parts of the detector. This claim was made by Craig Hogan, a scientist from Fermilab, on the basis of his theory of how such fluctuations should occur motivated by the holographic principle.5 Apparently, the gravitational wave detector in Hannover may have detected evidence for a holographic Universe!

Gravitational Wave Observatories Join Forces

A number of major projects will now pool their data to analyze it, jointly boosting their chances of spotting a faint signal that might otherwise be hidden by detector noise. Using lasers, they measure the length between mirrored test masses hung inside tunnels at right angles to each other. Gravitational waves decrease the distance between the masses in one tunnel and increase it in the other by a tiny, but detectable amount. Combining the data will also make it possible to triangulate to find the source of any gravitational waves detected. These include: Laser Interferometer Gravitational Observatory based in Hanford, Washington and Livingston, Louisiana; Virgo Observatory, Pisa Italy; and, of course, the GEO 600 Observatory near Hanover, Germany.

The most ambitious of them is the Laser Interferometer Space Antenna (LISA), a joint mission between NASA and the European Space Agency to develop and operate a space-based gravitational wave detector sensitive at frequencies between 0.03 mHz and 0.1 Hz. LISA seeks to detect gravitational-wave induced strains in space-time by measuring changes of the separation between fiducial masses in three spacecraft 5 million kilometers apart.

Cosmic Implications

Are we actually living in a holographic universe? Are the distant galaxies only a virtual illusion? In a hologram, distances are synthetic! How does this impact our concepts of time and space?

It gets even worse: Could our universe be geocentric? The implications are too staggering to embrace. The holographic paradigm is still a developing concept and riddled with controversies. For decades, science has chosen to ignore evidences that do not fit their standard theories. However, the volume of evidence has now reached the point that denial is no longer a viable option.

Clearly, 20th-century science has discovered that our “macrocosm”—studies of largeness—is finite, not infinite. Our universe is finite and had a beginning, and that’s what has led to the “big bang” speculations. We also realize that gravity is dramatically eclipsed by electromagnetic considerations when dealing with galaxies, etc. The plasma physicists have been trying to tell astronomers that for decades but no one was listening.

What is even more shocking has been the discoveries in the “microcosm”—studies of smallness—that run up against the “Planck Wall” of the non-location of subatomic particles, and the many strange paradoxes of quantum physics. We now discover that we are in a virtual reality that is a digital, simulated environment. The bizarre realization that the “constants” of physics are changing indicates that our “reality” is “but a shadow of a larger reality,”6 and that’s what the Bible has maintained all along!7

The Bible is, of course, unique in that it has always presented a universe of more than three dimensions,8 and revealed a Creator that is transcendent over His creation. It is the only “holy book” that demonstrates these contemporary insights. It’s time for us to spend more time with the handbook that the Creator has handed to us. It is the ultimate adventure, indeed!

For background information on the Holographic Universe, see our briefing series, The Beyond Collection, available on DVD and other formats, in the Christmas catalog insert in this issue.


  1. We explore the limitations of the Macrocosm, the Microcosm, and the super-embracing “Metacosm” in our Beyond Series.
  2. Paul Davis, Superforce, Simon & Schuster, New York, 1948, p.48.
  3. This is reminiscent of the Red King’s dream in Through the Looking Glass, in which Alice finds herself in deep metaphysical waters when the Tweedle brothers defend the view that all material objects, including ourselves, are only “sorts of things” in the mind of God.
  4. 2 Corinthians 4:18.
  5. Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory (Fermilab), located just outside Batavia, Illinois, near Chicago, is a US Department of Energy national laboratory specializing in high-energy particle physics. (Craig Hogan was then put in charge…)
  6. Scientific American, June 2005, “The Inconstancy of Constants”.
  7. Hebrews 11:3; John 1:1-3; et al.
  8. Ephesians 3:18. Nachmonides, writing in the 13th century, concluded, from his studies of the Genesis texts, that our universe has ten dimensions, of which only four are directly “knowable”.

The Physics of Immortality


by Dr. Chuck Missler

Price R 249.00



The Physics of Immortality

 This is an intensive review of what the Apostle Paul calls the most important chapter in the Bible: 1 Corinthians 15. Without it, “we are of all men most miserable.”
Did Jesus really rise from the dead? How do we know? Do we really believe it?
What kind of body did He have? Why did they have trouble recognizing Him?
How do we now know that we live within a digital virtual environment which is but “a shadow of a larger reality”? What are the implications of that “larger reality”? What is the relationship between “the twinkling of an eye” and Planck’s Constant for time (1043 seconds)?
Do you have your passport for the transit that’s coming? Are you really ready?
Join Dr. Chuck Missler in the Executive Briefing Room of the River Lodge, New Zealand, as he examines the physics of immortality.
This briefing pack contains 2 hours of teachings
Available in the following formats:
•1 Disc
•2 MP3 Files
•1 PDF Notes File

Published on Jan 28, 2015

Chuck Missler had the opportunity to sit discuss Zero Point Energy (ZPE) with Barry Setterfield 

Space News from SpaceDaily.com



Space News From SpaceDaily.Com



Cassini captures stunning view of Saturn moon Daphnis

‎Yesterday, ‎January ‎22, ‎2017, ‏‎9:22:19 PMGo to full article
Pasadena CA (JPL) Jan 23, 2017
The wavemaker moon, Daphnis, is featured in this view, taken as NASA's Cassini spacecraft made one of its ring-grazing passes over the outer edges of Saturn's rings on Jan. 16, 2017. This is the closest view of the small moon obtained yet. Daphnis (5 miles or 8 kilometers across) orbits within the 42-kilometer (26-mile) wide Keeler Gap. Cassini's viewing angle causes the gap to appear narr

Microbes could survive thin air of Mars

‎Yesterday, ‎January ‎22, ‎2017, ‏‎9:22:19 PMGo to full article
Moffett Field CA (SPX) Jan 23, 2017
Microbes that rank among the simplest and most ancient organisms on Earth could survive the extremely thin air of Mars, a new study finds. The Martian surface is presently cold and dry, but there is plenty of evidence suggesting that rivers, lakes and seas covered the Red Planet billions of years ago. Since there is life virtually wherever there is liquid water on Earth, scientists have su

Mars rover Opportunity takes a drive up a steep slope

‎Yesterday, ‎January ‎22, ‎2017, ‏‎9:22:19 PMGo to full article
Pasadena CA (JPL) Jan 23, 2017
Opportunity is located on the rim of Endeavour Crater, heading south along the rim. The rover is trying to make progress towards the next major scientific objective, the gully about a kilometer south of the current location. However, the local terrain has been a challenge with steep slopes (over 20 degrees) and terrain that breaks down into loose material under the driving shear forces of

India Defers Much-Awaited Heaviest Rocket Launch

‎Yesterday, ‎January ‎22, ‎2017, ‏‎9:22:19 PMGo to full article
New Delhi (Sputnik) Jan 23, 2017
Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) has decided to postpone the launch of its heaviest rocket GSLV Mk-III by a few months as it did not complete the necessary tests on time. The Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle (GSLV) was scheduled for launch on January 20. "Subsequently, some more tests are planned for the vehicle and the stage level tests also got delayed. Now, these tests w

eROSITA travels to Russia for launch into deep space in 2018

‎Yesterday, ‎January ‎22, ‎2017, ‏‎9:22:19 PMGo to full article
Munich, Germany (SPX) Jan 23, 2017
On 20 January 2017, the completed eROSITA X-ray telescope boarded a cargo plane and was transported from Munich, where it had been built at the Max Planck Institute for Extraterrestrial Physics, to Moscow. Like any other passenger, it had to pass customs before journeying onwards towards the premises of Lavochkin Association, in the Moscow suburb of Khimki, where it is expected to arrive on 25 J

United Launch Alliance launches SBIRS GEO Flight 3 satellite

‎Yesterday, ‎January ‎22, ‎2017, ‏‎9:22:19 PMGo to full article
Cape Canaveral AFS FL (SPX) Jan 20, 2017
A United Launch Alliance (ULA) Atlas V rocket carrying the Space Based Infrared System (SBIRS) GEO Flight 3 satellite lifted off from Space Launch Complex-41 Jan. 20 at 7:42 p.m. ET. SBIRS GEO Flight 3 is considered one of the nation's highest priority space programs. "ULA is proud to deliver this critical satellite which will improve surveillance capabilities for our national decision mak

UK govt accused of covering up failed nuclear missile test

‎Yesterday, ‎January ‎22, ‎2017, ‏‎9:22:19 PMGo to full article
London (AFP) Jan 22, 2017
The British government was accused on Sunday of covering up a failed test of its nuclear weapons deterrent last year, just weeks before lawmakers voted to renew the system. Prime Minister Theresa May refused to say whether she knew about the reported malfunction of an unarmed missile when she urged MPs to support updating the Trident nuclear system. The Sunday Times newspaper, citing a s

New study will help find the best locations for thermal power stations in Iceland

‎Yesterday, ‎January ‎22, ‎2017, ‏‎9:22:19 PMGo to full article
Gothenburg, Sweden (SPX) Jan 20, 2017
A new research article, with lead authors from the University of Gothenburg, gives indications of the best places in Iceland to build thermal power stations. In Iceland, heat is extracted for use in power plants directly from the ground in volcanic areas. Constructing a geothermal power station near a volcano can be beneficial, since Earth's mantle is located relatively close to the crust

Chip-sized, high-speed terahertz modulator raises possibility of faster data transmission

‎Yesterday, ‎January ‎22, ‎2017, ‏‎9:22:19 PMGo to full article
Medford MA (SPX) Jan 20, 2017
Tufts University engineers have invented a chip-sized, high-speed modulator that operates at terahertz (THz) frequencies and at room temperature at low voltages without consuming DC power. The discovery could help fill the "THz gap" that is limiting development of new and more powerful wireless devices that could transmit data at significantly higher speeds than currently possible. Measure

Faster recharging batteries possible after new insights

‎Yesterday, ‎January ‎22, ‎2017, ‏‎9:22:19 PMGo to full article
Bath, UK (SPX) Jan 20, 2017
Faster recharging lithium batteries could be developed after scientists figured out why adding charged metal atoms to tunnel structures within batteries improves their performance. Rechargeable lithium batteries have helped power the 'portable revolution' in mobile phones, laptops and tablet computers, and new generations of lithium batteries are being developed for electric vehicles and t

Changing atmospheric conditions may contribute to stronger ocean waves in Antarctica

‎Yesterday, ‎January ‎22, ‎2017, ‏‎9:22:19 PMGo to full article
Fort Collins, CO (SPX) Jan 17, 2017
Over the past few years, a large fracture has grown across a large floating ice shelf on the Antarctic Peninsula. The world is watching the ice shelf, now poised to break off an iceberg the size of Delaware into the ocean. It's not a new phenomenon; this "thumb" of Antarctica, which juts out into the stormy Southern Ocean, has lost more than 28,000 square kilometers of floating ice - almos

Graphene's sleeping superconductivity awakens

‎Yesterday, ‎January ‎22, ‎2017, ‏‎9:22:19 PMGo to full article
Cambridge, UK (SPX) Jan 20, 2017
Researchers have found a way to trigger the innate, but previously hidden, ability of graphene to act as a superconductor - meaning that it can be made to carry an electrical current with zero resistance. The finding, reported in Nature Communications, further enhances the potential of graphene, which is already widely seen as a material that could revolutionise industries such as healthca

New research helps to meet the challenges of nanotechnology

‎Yesterday, ‎January ‎22, ‎2017, ‏‎9:22:19 PMGo to full article
Swansea, UK (SPX) Jan 20, 2017
Research by scientists at Swansea University is helping to meet the challenge of incorporating nanoscale structures into future semiconductor devices that will create new technologies and impact on all aspects of everyday life. Dr Alex Lord and Professor Steve Wilks from the Centre for Nanohealth led the collaborative research published in Nano Letters. The research team looked at ways to

A toolkit for transformable materials

‎Yesterday, ‎January ‎22, ‎2017, ‏‎9:22:19 PMGo to full article
Boston MA (SPX) Jan 20, 2017
Metamaterials - materials whose function is determined by structure, not composition - have been designed to bend light and sound, transform from soft to stiff, and even dampen seismic waves from earthquakes. But each of these functions requires a unique mechanical structure, making these materials great for specific tasks, but difficult to implement broadly. But what if a material could c

SBIRS Missile Warning Satellite Responding to Ground Control

‎Yesterday, ‎January ‎22, ‎2017, ‏‎9:22:19 PMGo to full article
Cape Canaveral AFS FL (SPX) Jan 20, 2017
After a successful evening launch, the third U.S. Air Force Space Based Infrared System (SBIRS) GEO satellite is now responding to commands as planned, approximately 37 minutes after lift-off. Built by Lockheed Martin, SBIRS GEO Flight 3 is equipped with powerful scanning and staring sensors that collect and transmit infrared surveillance information to ground stations. This information is

For white-collar staff, AI threatens new workplace revolution

‎Yesterday, ‎January ‎22, ‎2017, ‏‎10:07:35 AMGo to full article
Davos, Switzerland (AFP) Jan 19, 2017
If your job involves inputting reams of data for a company, you might want to think about retraining in a more specialised field. Or as a plumber. After industrial robots and international trade put paid to many manufacturing jobs in the West, millions of white-collar workers could now be under threat from new technology such as artificial intelligence (AI). The issue of how best to fa

Shaping the Future: Aerospace Works to Ensure an Informed Space Policy

‎Yesterday, ‎January ‎22, ‎2017, ‏‎10:07:35 AMGo to full article
El Segundo, CA (SPX) Jan 20, 2017
The Aerospace center for space policy analysis - one of five strategic initiatives recently announced by President and CEO Steve Isakowitz - issued an informative backgrounder on the National Space Council. The incoming Trump administration has signaled that it might move to revive the advisory organization, which has been absent from the White House since the George H.W. Bush administration.

Observations of Ceres indicate that asteroids might be camouflaged

‎Yesterday, ‎January ‎22, ‎2017, ‏‎10:07:35 AMGo to full article
Mountain View CA (SPX) Jan 20, 2017
The appearance of small bodies in the outer solar system could be deceiving. Asteroids and dwarf planets may be camouflaged with an outer layer of material that actually comes from somewhere else. Using data primarily gathered by SOFIA, NASA's Stratospheric Observatory for Infrared Astronomy, a team of astronomers has detected the presence of substantial amounts of material on the surface

Public to Choose Jupiter Picture Sites for NASA Juno

‎Yesterday, ‎January ‎22, ‎2017, ‏‎10:07:35 AMGo to full article
Pasadena CA (JPL) Jan 20, 2017
Where should NASA's Juno spacecraft aim its camera during its next close pass of Jupiter on Feb. 2? You can now play a part in the decision. For the first time, members of the public can vote to participate in selecting all pictures to be taken of Jupiter during a Juno flyby. Voting begins Thursday, Jan. 19 at 11 a.m. PST (2 p.m. EST) and concludes on Jan. 23 at 9 a.m. PST (noon EST). "We

World's First Weather-Cracking Wind Satellite Aeolus to Improve Future Forecasts

‎Yesterday, ‎January ‎22, ‎2017, ‏‎10:07:35 AMGo to full article
Moscow (Sputnik) Jan 20, 2017
A team of scientists at the Airbus Defense and Space Center in the UK, have bid farewell to a satellite this week, which will allow for more accurate weather predictions, as it was shipped to France for testing, before being launched into space. The satellite, called Aeolus and named after the ruler of the winds in Greek mythology, is a one of a kind instrument that will study Earth's wind

Work Begins in Palo Alto on NASA's Dark Energy Hunter

‎Yesterday, ‎January ‎22, ‎2017, ‏‎10:07:35 AMGo to full article
Bethesda MD (SPX) Jan 20, 2017
Lockheed Martin is helping NASA begin the hunt for dark energy, a mysterious force powering the universe's accelerating expansion. An instrument assembly the company is developing, if selected by NASA for production, will be the core of the primary scientific instrument aboard the Wide Field Infrared Survey Telescope (WFIRST), whose mission aims to uncover hundreds of millions more galaxies and

Complex life may have come and gone in Earth's distant past

‎Yesterday, ‎January ‎22, ‎2017, ‏‎10:07:35 AMGo to full article
Seattle WA (SPX) Jan 18, 2017
Conditions suitable to support complex life may have developed in Earth's oceans - and then faded - more than a billion years before life truly took hold, a new University of Washington-led study has found. The findings, based on using the element selenium as a tool to measure oxygen in the distant past, may also benefit the search for signs of life beyond Earth. In a paper published in th

2017 Rocket Campaign Begins in Alaska

‎Yesterday, ‎January ‎22, ‎2017, ‏‎10:07:35 AMGo to full article
Chincoteague Island, VA (SPX) Jan 20, 2017
A NASA sounding rocket campaign during January through March 2017, at the Poker Flat Research Range in Alaska will support the effort to better understand the space that surrounds Earth - key situational awareness needed as humans seek to explore beyond our home planet. Three missions, including five separate launches, explore the Earth's magnetic environment and its impact on Earth's uppe

Pluto Global Color Map

‎Yesterday, ‎January ‎22, ‎2017, ‏‎10:07:35 AMGo to full article
Washington DC (SPX) Jan 20, 2017
This new, detailed global mosaic color map of Pluto is based on a series of three color filter images obtained by the Ralph/Multispectral Visual Imaging Camera aboard New Horizons during the NASA spacecraft's close flyby of Pluto in July 2015. The mosaic shows how Pluto's large-scale color patterns extend beyond the hemisphere facing New Horizons at closest approach, which were imaged at t

NASA's Terra Satellite Sees Alaskan Volcanic Eruption Wrapped in White

‎Yesterday, ‎January ‎22, ‎2017, ‏‎10:07:35 AMGo to full article
Greenbelt MD (SPX) Jan 20, 2017
When NASA's Terra satellite passed over Alaska's erupting Bogoslof Volcano the MODIS instrument aboard captured an image of a large ash plume surrounded by clouds making it appear to be wrapped in white. The Bogoslof Volcano is located on Bogoslof Island at 53 55'38" north latitude and 168 2'4" west longitude, along the southern edge of the Bering Sea. It is about 35 miles northwest of Una

From School to Space: Satellite Built by Brazilian Students Launched in Orbit

‎Yesterday, ‎January ‎22, ‎2017, ‏‎10:07:35 AMGo to full article
Moscow (Sputnik) Jan 20, 2017
A satellite built by students of a Brazilian middle school was launched into space from aboard the International Space Station on Monday, January 16. The Tancredo-1 satellite, developed by the students of Tancredo de Almeida Neves Municipal School in the city of Ubatuba, measures only 13 centimeters in diameter and weighs about 700 grams. Launched into orbit about 400 kilometers abov

SF State astronomer searches for signs of life on Wolf 1061 exoplanet

‎Yesterday, ‎January ‎22, ‎2017, ‏‎10:07:35 AMGo to full article
San Francisco CA (SPX) Jan 20, 2017
Is there anybody out there? The question of whether Earthlings are alone in the universe has puzzled everyone from biologists and physicists to philosophers and filmmakers. It's also the driving force behind San Francisco State University astronomer Stephen Kane's research into exoplanets - planets that exist outside Earth's solar system. As one of the world's leading "planet hunters," Kan

Poland outlines big defence buys after NATO deployments

‎Yesterday, ‎January ‎22, ‎2017, ‏‎10:07:35 AMGo to full article
Warsaw (AFP) Jan 18, 2017
Poland outlined major defence spending including an anti-missile system, helicopters and jet fighters on Wednesday, coinciding with concern over NATO and US policy from a new White House. Eager to shore up the alliance's eastern flank, Polish media reports say military chiefs are in the market for around 100 used US Air Force planes. Defence Minister Antoni Macierewicz told reporters in

Northrop Grumman receives $140m BACN contract modification

‎Yesterday, ‎January ‎22, ‎2017, ‏‎10:07:35 AMGo to full article
Washington (UPI) Jan 18, 2017
Northrop Grumman has received a $140 million contract modification to provide Battlefield Airborne Communication Nodes for the U.S. Air Force. The modification is a follow-up to a contract initially awarded in June 2015. The agreement tasked the company with delivering Battlefield Airborne Communication Node Joint Urgent Operational Need, or BACN JUON. BACN is equipped on the Glo

Israel army gets new ballistic missile interceptors

‎Friday, ‎January ‎20, ‎2017, ‏‎8:24:50 AMGo to full article
Jerusalem (AFP) Jan 18, 2017
The Israeli army on Wednesday received new ballistic missile interceptors that significantly upgrade the Jewish state's aerial defence systems in the face of "emerging threats", the defence ministry said. The Arrow 3 interceptor, designed to shoot down missiles above the atmosphere, was handed to air force bases in Israel after successful testing by Israel and the United States at the end of

AUDS counter-UAV system achieves TRL-9 status

‎Friday, ‎January ‎20, ‎2017, ‏‎8:24:50 AMGo to full article
London (UPI) Jan 18, 2017
Blighter Surveillance Systems' AUDS counter-UAV defense system recently achieved TRL-9 status following deployment with the U.S. armed forces. The achievement places the unmanned aircraft detection device at the highest technology readiness level, or TRL. The scale, used by the U.S. Department of Defense and NASA, ranges from 1 to 9 with 9 referring the most technology mature devices. /

When One launch is not enough: SpaceX Return To Flight

‎Thursday, ‎January ‎19, ‎2017, ‏‎3:53:59 AMGo to full article
New York NY (SPX) Jan 19, 2017
SpaceX celebrated the first flight of its Falcon 9 rocket in over four and a half months on Saturday, with a remarkably smooth launch of the vehicle from California. The Falcon 9 had previously been grounded since September, after one of the rockets exploded on a launchpad in Florida during a routine fueling procedure. Though the stakes were high for Saturday's launch, the mission's success does

China's quantum communication satellite delivered for use

‎Thursday, ‎January ‎19, ‎2017, ‏‎3:53:59 AMGo to full article
Beijing (XNA) Jan 19, 2017
China's quantum communication satellite, launched last August, is officially operational after four months of in-orbit testing, the Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS) said Wednesday. Testing of the satellite, payloads and space-ground links have been completed, the CAS said, adding that everything was operating properly. The Quantum Experiments at Space Scale (QUESS) satellite is the

The science behind the Lunar Hydrogen Polar Mapper mission

‎Thursday, ‎January ‎19, ‎2017, ‏‎3:53:59 AMGo to full article
Tempe AZ (SPX) Jan 19, 2017
Arizona State University's NASA mission to visit a metal asteroid is just beginning, but the first mission that marked the school as a major player in space exploration has been under way for more than a year. LunaH-Map, the Lunar Hydrogen Polar Mapper, will launch in September 2018. Its task will be to find water and ice at the south pole of the moon, and map the deposits. ASU Now s

NASA to rely on Soyuz for ISS missions until 2019

‎Thursday, ‎January ‎19, ‎2017, ‏‎3:53:59 AMGo to full article
Moscow (Sputnik) Jan 19, 2017
If NASA intends to continue sending astronauts to the International Space Station (ISS) or the moon, the space agency has little choice but to rely on Roscosmos' Soyuz spacecraft, at least until 2019.On Tuesday, NASA filed a "presolicitation" requesting that private firms reach out to NASA if they can transport astronauts to and from the orbital research platform. NASA is "considering cont

Extreme space weather-induced blackouts could cost US more than $40 billion daily

‎Thursday, ‎January ‎19, ‎2017, ‏‎3:53:59 AMGo to full article
Washington DC (SPX) Jan 19, 2017
The daily U.S. economic cost from solar storm-induced electricity blackouts could be in the tens of billions of dollars, with more than half the loss from indirect costs outside the blackout zone, according to a new study. Previous studies have focused on direct economic costs within the blackout zone, failing to take into account indirect domestic and international supply chain loss from

Raytheon completes qualification testing of next-gen GPS Launch and Checkout System

‎Thursday, ‎January ‎19, ‎2017, ‏‎3:53:59 AMGo to full article
Aurora CO (SPX) Jan 18, 2017
Raytheon has reached another milestone in developing the U.S. Air Force Global Positioning System Next-Generation Operational Control System, known as GPS OCX, with the completion of the Factory Qualification Test of the Launch and Checkout System (LCS). GPS OCX will unleash dramatically increased performance and security of the GPS system that benefits millions of people worldwide. Raythe

Russia, China Work on Joint High-Precision Satellite Navigation System

‎Thursday, ‎January ‎19, ‎2017, ‏‎3:53:59 AMGo to full article
Moscow (Sputnik) Jan 18, 2017
Russia and China are in the process of setting up a joint Differential Corrections and Monitoring (SDCM) high-precision satellite navigation system, China National Space Administration (CNSA) chief representative in Russia Zhang Yuan said Tuesday. "We are not in the process of implementing [the system]," Zhang told RIA Novosti in response to a question on the time frame for building the sy

Discovery could lead to jet engines that run hotter - and cleaner

‎Thursday, ‎January ‎19, ‎2017, ‏‎3:53:59 AMGo to full article
Columbus OH (SPX) Jan 18, 2017
Researchers here have made a discovery in materials science that sounds like something from the old Saturday morning cartoon Super Friends: They've found a way to deactivate "nano twins" to improve the high-temperature properties of superalloys that are used in jet engines. The advance could speed the development of powerful and environmentally friendly turbine engines of all sorts, includ

Contracts Signed for ELT Mirrors and Sensors

‎Thursday, ‎January ‎19, ‎2017, ‏‎3:53:59 AMGo to full article
Munich, Germany (SPX) Jan 19, 2017
At a ceremony at ESO's Headquarters four contracts were signed for major components of the Extremely Large Telescope (ELT) that ESO is building. These were for: the casting of the telescope's giant secondary and tertiary mirrors, awarded to SCHOTT; the supply of mirror cells to support these two mirrors, awarded to the SENER Group; and the supply of the edge sensors that form a vital part of the





News About Time And Space


LIGO expected to detect more binary black hole mergers

‎Yesterday, ‎January ‎10, ‎2017, ‏‎3:26:32 AMGo to full article
Los Angeles CA (SPX) Jan 10, 2017 - The Laser Interferometer Gravitational-wave Observatory (LIGO) broke the news almost one year ago when the first-ever direct observation of gravitational waves was announced. Now LIGO scientists hope that this year could yield even more breakthrough findings in astronomy.

On November 30, LIGO resumed its search for gravitational waves when it was switched from engineering test runs to science observations after a series of upgrades. One of LIGO's observatories, located in Livingston, Louisiana, has now about a 25 percent greater sensitivity for detecting gravitational waves from binary black holes than earlier what allows it to spot black hole mergers at further distances than before.

"We began LIGO's second observing run (called "O2") on November 30, 2016. O2 is planned to continue for approximately six months until the late spring or early summer of 2017. After it ends, we will enter another period of detector commissioning where we will work to improve the Hanford and Livingston detectors' sensitivities through the end of 2017.

It's also possible that the Virgo interferometer (located near Pisa, Italy) will come online and join LIGO sometime in the next few months, which will bring an added capability to our ability to detect and locate gravitational wave sources," David Reitze of the California Institute of Technology (Caltech) told Astrowatch.net.

Reitze is the executive director of the LIGO Laboratory, which operates the LIGO Observatories. Caltech and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) conceived of, built, and operate the LIGO Observatories, with funding provided by the National Science Foundation (NSF).

LIGO scientists hope that with more detections of more black hole mergers, our understanding of black hole pairs in the universe will significantly improve. This, together with possible new observations of mergers of neutron stars could provide important insights on stellar evolution and death.

"It is likely, but not guaranteed, that we will detect more binary black hole mergers during the O2 run. Binary neutron star mergers or a neutron star merging with a black hole would be a new and thus more significant discovery, however the rates for these events are much less certain, so we can not say with any confidence when we will first see them," Reitze said.

He added that the astronomical community is greatly interested in LIGO events, because a gravitational wave source may also emit electromagnetic radiation - gamma rays, x-rays, optical, infrared, and even radio frequencies. This would be true for binary neutron star collisions, neutron star - black hole mergers, and supernovae.

"Astronomers have already searched for electromagnetic emissions from the first LIGO detections, and will continue in O2. We hope that LIGO will become increasingly important as time goes on and we make more discoveries of electromagnetically bright events," Reitze concluded.



Deepest X-ray image ever reveals black hole treasure trove

‎Yesterday, ‎January ‎10, ‎2017, ‏‎3:26:32 AMGo to full article
University Park PA (SPX) Jan 06, 2017 - An unparalleled image from NASA's Chandra X-ray Observatory is giving an international team of astronomers the best look yet at the growth of black holes over billions of years beginning soon after the Big Bang. This is the deepest X-ray image ever obtained, collected with about 7 million seconds, or 11 and a half weeks, of Chandra observing time.

The image comes from what is known as the Chandra Deep Field-South. The central region of the image contains the highest concentration of supermassive black holes ever seen, equivalent to about 5,000 objects that would fit into the area of the full Moon and about a billion over the entire sky.

"With this one amazing picture, we can explore the earliest days of black holes in the Universe and see how they change over billions of years," said Niel Brandt, the Verne M. Willaman Professor of Astronomy and Astrophysics, and professor of physics, Penn State, who led a team of astronomers studying the deep image.

About 70 percent of the objects in the new image are supermassive black holes, which may range in mass from about 100,000 to 10 billion times the mass of the Sun. Gas falling towards these black holes becomes much hotter as it approaches the event horizon, or point of no return, producing bright X-ray emission.

"It can be very difficult to detect black holes in the early Universe because they are so far away and they only produce radiation if they're actively pulling in matter," said team member Bin Luo, professor of astronomy and space science, Nanjing University. "But by staring long enough with Chandra, we can find and study large numbers of growing black holes, some of which appear not long after the Big Bang."

The new ultra-deep X-ray image allows scientists to explore ideas about how supermassive black holes grew about one to two billion years after the Big Bang. Using these data, the researchers showed that these black holes in the early Universe grow mostly in bursts, rather than via the slow accumulation of matter.

The researchers also have found hints that the seeds for supermassive black holes may be "heavy" with masses about 10,000 to 100,000 times that of the Sun, rather than light seeds with about 100 times the Sun's mass. This addresses an important mystery in astrophysics about how these objects can grow so quickly to reach masses of about a billion times the Sun in the early Universe.

They also have detected X-rays from massive galaxies at distances up to about 12.5 billion light years from Earth. Most of the X-ray emission from the most distant galaxies likely comes from large collections of stellar-mass black holes within the galaxies. These black holes are formed from the collapse of massive stars and typically weigh a few to a few dozen times the mass of the Sun.

"By detecting X-rays from such distant galaxies, we're learning more about the formation and evolution of stellar-mass and supermassive black holes in the early Universe," said team member Fabio Vito, postdoctoral scholar in astronomy and astrophysics, Penn State. "We're looking back to times when black holes were in crucial phases of growth, similar to hungry infants and adolescents."

To perform this study, the team combined the Chandra X-ray data with very deep Hubble Space Telescope data over the same patch of sky. They studied X-ray emission from over 2,000 galaxies identified by Hubble that are located between about 12 and 13 billion light years from Earth.

Further work using Chandra and future X-ray observatories will be needed to provide a definite solution to the mystery of how supermassive black holes can quickly reach large masses. A larger sample of distant galaxies will come from observations with the James Webb Space Telescope, extending the study of X-ray emission from black holes out to even greater distances from Earth.

The researchers presented their results this week (Jan. 5) at the 229th meeting of the American Astronomical Society meeting in Grapevine, Texas. A paper on black hole growth in the early Universe, led by Fabio Vito, was published in the Aug. 10, 2016, issue of the Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society. A survey paper led by Bin Luo was recently accepted for publication in The Astrophysical Journal Supplement Series.

NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama, manages the Chandra program for NASA's Science Mission Directorate in Washington. The Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory in Cambridge, Massachusetts, controls Chandra's science and flight operations.

Penn State and MIT, under the leadership of Gordon Garmire, Evan Pugh Professor Emeritus of Astronomy, Penn State, developed the ACIS instrument for NASA.



Arecibo Observatory Casts New Light on Cosmic Microwave Background

‎Yesterday, ‎January ‎10, ‎2017, ‏‎3:26:32 AMGo to full article
Columbia MA (SPX) Jan 05, 2017 - Arecibo Observatory observations of galactic neutral hydrogen structure confirm the discovery of an unexpected contribution to the measurements of the cosmic microwave background observed by the WMAP and Planck spacecraft.

An accurate understanding of the foreground (galactic) sources of radiation observed by these two spacecraft is essential for extracting information about the small-scale structure in the cosmic microwave background believed to be indicative of events in the early universe.

The new source of radiation in the 22 to 100 GHz range observed by WMAP and Planck appears to be emission from cold electrons (known as free-free emission). While cosmologists have corrected for this type of radiation from hot electrons associated with galactic nebulae where the source temperatures are thousands of degrees, the new model requires electron temperatures more like a few 100 K.

The spectrum of the small-scale features observed by WMAP and Planck in this frequency range is very nearly flat - a finding consistent with the sources being associated with the Big Bang. At first glance it appears that the spectrum expected from the emission by cold galactic electrons, which exist throughout interstellar space, would be far too steep to fit the data.

However, if the sources of emission have a small angular size compared with the beam width used in the WMAP and Planck spacecraft, the signals they record would be diluted. The beam widths increase with lower frequency, and the net result of this "beam dilution" is to produce an apparently flat spectrum in the 22 to 100 GHz range.

"It was the beam dilution that was the key insight," noted Dr. Gerrit Verschuur, astronomer emeritus at the Arecibo Observatory and lead author on the paper. "Emission from an unresolved source could mimic the flat spectrum observed by WMAP and Planck."

The model invoking the emission from cold electrons not only gives the observed flat spectrum usually attributed to cosmic sources but also predicts values for the angular scale and temperature for the emitting volumes. Those predictions can then be compared with observations of galactic structure revealed in the Galactic Arecibo L-Band Feed Array (GALFA) HI survey.

"The interstellar medium is much more surprising and important than we have given it credit for," noted Dr. Joshua Peek, an astronomer at the Space Telescope Science Institute and a co-investigator on the GALFA-HI survey. "Arecibo, with its combination of large area and high resolution, remains a spectacular and cutting edge tool for comparing ISM maps to cosmological data sets."

The angular scales of the smallest features observed in neutral hydrogen maps made at Arecibo and the temperature of the apparently associated gas both match the model calculations extremely well. So far only three well-studied areas have been analyzed in such detail, but more work is being planned.

"It was the agreement between the model predictions and the GALFA-HI observations that convinced me that we might be onto something," noted Dr. Joan Schmelz, Director, Universities Space Research Association (USRA) at Arecibo Observatory and a coauthor on the paper. "We hope that these results help us understand the true cosmological nature of Planck and WMAP data."

The data suggest that the structure and physics of diffuse interstellar matter, in particular of cold hydrogen gas and associated electrons, may be more complex than heretofore considered.

Such complexities need to be taken into account in order to produce better foreground masks for application to the high-frequency continuum observations of Planck and WMAP in the quest for a cosmologically significant signal.

USRA's Dr. Joan Schmelz will present these findings on January 4, 2017, at a press conference at the American Astronomical Society's (AAS) meeting at Grapevine, Texas.

Research paper: "On the Nature of Small-Scale Structure in the Cosmic Microwave Background Observed by Planck and WMAP," G. L. Verschuur and J. T. Schmelz, 2016 Dec. 1, Astrophysical Journal



Venerable Radio Telescope Sets Standard for Universal Constant

‎Yesterday, ‎January ‎10, ‎2017, ‏‎3:26:32 AMGo to full article
Columbia MA (SPX) Jan 05, 2017 - About 150 hours of observing time on the 1,000-ft radio telescope at the Arecibo Observatory in Puerto Rico over the course of the last several years have been devoted to determining whether the most fundamental constant in physics really is constant.

The target is the so-called fine structure constant, usually known as alpha, which describes the electromagnetic interaction between elementary charged particles. Its value is crucial to understanding the nature of atomic spectra, which in turn allows astronomers to measure the radial velocity of galaxies from which these spectral lines are observed.

Such observations led to the discovery that galaxies appear to be receding from one another with velocities that increase with the distance between them. This is a manifestation of the expansion of the universe following the Big Bang.

Our current model for the expansion and acceleration of the universe depends on the assumption that neither alpha nor mu, the proton-to-electron mass ratio, have changed with time. This assumption is key to our current understanding of the age of the universe. But what if alpha does change with time? Then our knowledge of the distance between galaxies or the age of the universe would have to be revised.

The Arecibo telescope has recently been used to set a new limit on how constant things are. While the latest data suggest that there may be a small change in alpha, it is still too early to be sure. With an uncertainty on the measurement of about one part in a million, it is not yet time to celebrate, nor to heave a sigh of relief.

The Arecibo observations have been carried out by Nissim Kanekar and Jayaram Chengalur of the National Center for Radio Astrophysics in India, and Tapasi Ghosh, a Universities Space Research Association (USRA) astronomer at the Arecibo Observatory. Their experiment makes use of a marvelous concordance of cosmic circumstances involving quasar PKS 1413+135, which is located about 3 billion light-years away. In front of that quasar, and probably surrounding its radio-bright nucleus, is a cloud of OH molecules (OH is also known as hydroxyl).

The atomic properties of hydroxyl are extremely well known from laboratory and theoretical studies. The OH cloud in the Arecibo experiment is observed in two spectral lines, one at 1612 MHz and the other at 1720 MHz. What is unusual is that one of the lines (1612) is seen in absorption and the other (1720) in emission. These lines are said to be conjugate, that is, they are mirror images of one another, which assures that they originate from the same gas cloud.

This is a crucial factor in reducing systematic uncertainties in the measurement of alpha. From the Arecibo spectra, we can measure the observed frequency difference between the two lines and compare that with the laboratory results. Because this quasar is seen as it was 3 billion years in the past and our laboratory is in the present, we can determine just how truly constant alpha is over time.

The 150-hour integration at Arecibo allows the two spectral lines to be compared with very high accuracy. The result implies that alpha has not changed by more than 1.3 parts in a million, in these 3 billion years.

To make the measurements even more accurate would require either more telescope time or the good fortune to find a more distant quasar with a similar OH cloud in its neighborhood. For example, to improve the accuracy by a factor of 10 would require 100 times more observing time than has already been devoted to the project. That is not a realistic possibility.

"We are hopeful that current searches for more quasar candidates showing the necessary OH lines will be successful," noted Dr. Tapasi Ghosh. "These could provide even tighter constraints on any possible variations of this atomic constant."

Until then, the Arecibo measurement is the new gold standard in defining how certain we are that a key physical constant - a constant that sets the very size and scale of the universe - is truly constant.

USRA's Dr. Tapasi Ghosh is presenting these findings at a press briefing at the American Astronomical Society's meeting in Grapevine, Texas, on January 4, 2017.



Arecibo Data Crucial to Understanding Quasars' Brightness

‎Yesterday, ‎January ‎10, ‎2017, ‏‎3:26:32 AMGo to full article
Columbia MA (SPX) Jan 05, 2017 - Remarkable new observations derived by linking Arecibo Observatory's 305-meter dish with the Russian RadioAstron space radio telescope have provided results that are causing much head scratching in radio astronomical circles. What used to be a well-understood explanation of the mechanism that generates intense radio signals from tiny and very distant quasar nuclei has now been tested in previously impossible ways.

The RadioAstron satellite, launched in 2011 by the Russian Federal Space Agency, carries a 10-m radio dish and is traveling around the Earth in a highly elliptical orbit that takes it out to 350,000 km from Earth - almost the distance to the Moon.

When the signals it receives from a distant quasar are combined with simultaneous data acquired by its Earth-based partners at Arecibo in Puerto Rico, Green Bank in West Virginia, Socorro in New Mexico, and Bonn in Germany, the observations simulate a dish up to 350,000 km in diameter. This network of telescopes operates at frequencies (wavelengths) of 330 MHz (92 cm), 1.7 GHz (18 cm), 4.7 GHz (6.2 cm) and 22 GHz (1.3 cm).

"Arecibo's huge diameter helps compensate for the small size of the RadioAstron dish," commented Dr. Chris Salter, Universities Space Research Association's (USRA) senior staff astronomer at Arecibo Observatory. "Arecibo's participation is critical to the success of many RadioAstron experiments."

Combining the signals produces what are called fringes, and it was recently reported that quasar 3C 273 was detected at a baseline of 170,000 km (106,000 miles). This remarkable achievement showed that 3C 273 has structure in its core at least as small as 26 microarcseconds across.

At the distance of 3C 273, this corresponds to a physical diameter of 2.7 light-months. The ability to see such detail is not matched by any other telescope in the world. Optical telescopes, even the Hubble Space Telescope, do not come anywhere near this ability to see detailed structure.

To relate this angular scale to human experience, it is as if you were able to see a golf ball (which is not quite 5 cm across) on the Moon. Or if a spy satellite were in geosynchronous orbit, it would be able to see details as small as a fingernail.

So far RadioAstron and its terrestrial partners have not detected details smaller than the 26 microarcseconds in 3C 273's core, but already the observations are pushing the theory of radio source emission mechanisms beyond their limit.

Radio astronomers measure the apparent brightness of objects such as quasars in terms of the temperature a solid body subtending the same angular size would have to possess in order to shine with the same intensity. The smaller the angular diameter of the object producing the radio signals, the higher its source temperature must be to produce the observed signal.

The 3C 273 data reveal that its brightness temperature must be about 4 x 10^13 K, that is, a 4 followed by 13 zeroes, or 40 trillion degrees. The problem is that the maximum allowed by present theories for radio emission from a quasar is about 10^12 K, which is to say around one trillion degrees Celsius.

"Temperatures this high test our understanding of the physics in the vicinity of supermassive black hole at the heart of 3C 273," noted Dr. Tapasi Ghosh, the VLBI staff astronomer at Arecibo Observatory. "We hope that Arecibo-RadioAstron observations of other sources will help shed light on this mystery."

As the 20 authors of the most recent paper, led by Dr. Yuri Kovalev of the Lebedev Physical Institute in Moscow, state, "We conclude that it is difficult to interpret the data in terms of conventional incoherent synchrotron radiation." Yet the theory of quasar radio emission that has held sway for nearly 60 years is based on synchrotron radiation.

"Arecibo Observatory may have celebrated its 50th anniversary in 2013, but it continues to make vital observations that challenge our understanding," said USRA's Dr. Joan Schmelz, Director, Arecibo Operations at Arecibo Observatory. "These impressive contributions to the RadioAstron measurements are just one example."

The RadioAstron project is led by the Astro Space Center of the Lebedev Physical Institute of the Russian Academy of Science and the Lavochkin Association of the Russian Space Agency. Scientists at partner institutions in Russia and elsewhere in the world, including Puerto Rico, West Virginia, Massachusetts, New Mexico, Virginia, Germany, the Netherlands and Australia, collaborate to make RadioAstron the international success that it has turned out to be.

Crucial to that success has been the availability of the huge collecting area that is provided by the 305-m diameter dish at Arecibo, Puerto Rico, without which the effectiveness of the small RadioAstron antenna would be vastly reduced.

Two of USRA's permanent staff at Arecibo, Drs. C. J. Salter and T. Ghosh, who carry out the on-site observations, are deeply involved in furthering the aims of the project to determine what makes distant source of radio shine as brightly as they do.

Dr. Chris Salter of Universities Space Research Association is presenting these results at a press conference at the American Astronomical Society's meeting in Grapevine, Texas, on January 4, 2017.

Research paper: "RadioAstron Observations of the Quasar 3C 273: A Challenge to the Brightness Temperature Limit," Y. Y. Kovalev et al., 2016 Mar. 20, Astrophysical Journal Letters



Investigations of the skyrmion Hall effect reveal surprising results

‎Yesterday, ‎January ‎10, ‎2017, ‏‎3:26:32 AMGo to full article
Mainz, Germany (SPX) Jan 03, 2017 - Researchers at Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz (JGU) and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) have made another important breakthrough in the field of future magnetic storage devices. Already in March 2016, the international team investigated structures, which could serve as magnetic shift register or racetrack memory devices.

This type of storage promises low access times, high information density, and low energy consumption. Now, the research team achieved the billion-fold reproducible motion of special magnetic textures, so-called skyrmions, between different positions, which is exactly the process needed in magnetic shift registers thereby taking a critical step towards the application of skyrmions in devices. The work was published in the research journal Nature Physics.

The experiments were carried out in specially designed thin film structures, i.e., vertically asymmetric multilayer devices exhibiting broken inversion symmetry and thus stabilizing special spin structures called skyrmions.

Those structures are similar to a hair whorl and like these are relatively difficult to destroy. This grants them unique stability, which is another argument for the application of skyrmions in such spintronic devices.

Since skyrmions can be shifted by electrical currents and feel a repulsive force from the edges of the magnetic track as well as from single defects in the wire, they can move relatively undisturbed through the track. This is a highly desired property for racetrack devices, which are supposed to consist of static read- and write-heads, while the magnetic bits are shifted in the track.

However, it is another important aspect of skyrmion dynamics that the skyrmions do not only move parallel to the applied current, but also perpendicular to it. This leads to an angle between the skyrmion direction of motion and the current flow called the skyrmion Hall angle, which can be predicted theoretically.

As a result, the skyrmions should move under this constant angle until they start getting repelled by the edge of the material and then keep a constant distance to it.

Within their latest research project, scientists of JGU and MIT now proved that the billion-fold reproducible displacement of skyrmions is indeed possible and can be achieved with high velocities.

Furthermore, the skyrmion Hall angle was investigated in detail. Surprisingly, it turned out to be dependent on the velocity of the skyrmions, which means that the components of the motion parallel and perpendicular to the current flow do not scale equally with the velocity of the skyrmions.

This is not predicted in the conventional theoretical description of skyrmions. Part of the solution of this unexpected behavior could be the deformation of the skyrmion spin structure, calling for more theoretical effort to fully understand the properties of skyrmions.

"I am glad that the collaboration between Mainz University and MIT has already yielded the second high-ranked publication. Considering especially the short time since the collaboration started, this is exceptional and I am happy to be able to participate in it," said Kai Litzius, first-author of the Nature Physics article. Litzius is a scholar of the Graduate School of Excellence "Materials Science in Mainz" (MAINZ) and a member of the team headed by Professor Mathias Klaui.

"In highly competitive fields of research such as that on skyrmions, international cooperation with leading groups is a strategical advantage. Within only two years after the start of the collaboration with our colleagues from MIT, we have already published the second time together in a high-ranked Nature group journal.

The MAINZ Graduate School of Excellence facilitates research stays of PhD students from the United States in Mainz and vice versa and therefore contributes significantly to international education and successful research in this field," emphasized Professor Mathias Klaui of the JGU Institute of Physics, who is also Director of MAINZ.

Research paper



First experimental proof of a 70 year old physics theory

‎Yesterday, ‎January ‎10, ‎2017, ‏‎3:26:32 AMGo to full article
Seoul, South Korea (SPX) Jan 04, 2017 - PARK Je-Geun, Associate Director at the Center for Correlated Electron Systems, within the Institute for Basic Science (IBS), working in collaboration with CHEONG Hyeonsik at Sogang University and PARK Cheol-Hwan at Seoul National University demonstrated the magnetic behavior of a special class of 2D materials. This is the first experimental proof to a theory proposed more than 70 years ago. The paper, describing the experiment, is published in the journal Nano Letters.

Recently, scientists all over the world are investigating the properties and applications of extremely thin 2D materials, just one-atom-thick, like graphene. Studying the properties of 2D materials in comparison with their 3D counterparts raises many thought-provoking questions; one of them concerns magnetic phase transitions.

Some materials are magnetic because of the behavior of the spins of their electrons. In simple terms, spins (spin quantum numbers, or more precisely their associated magnetic moments), are just like tiny magnets, conventionally shown as arrows. At extremely low temperatures, these spins tend to align, lowering the electrons' total energy.

However, above a specific temperature that varies from material to material, spins lose their alignment and become randomly oriented. Similar to how ice loses its internal order and becomes liquid above a certain temperature; 3D magnets also lose their magnetization above a critical temperature. This is called phase transition and is an ever-present process in 3D objects.

However, what happens to 1D and 2D systems at low temperatures? Do they experience a phase transition? In other words, are we going to see a transition from solid to liquid in a chain of water molecules (1D) or in a one-atom thick sheet of water (2D)?

About one century ago, the physicist Wilhelm Lenz asked his student Ernst Ising to solve this problem for 1D systems. Ising explained it in 1925 and concluded that 1D materials do not have phase transitions. Then, Ising tried to grapple with the same question for a particular type of 2D materials. The problem turned out to be much harder.

The solution came in 1943 courtesy of Lars Onsager, who received the Nobel Prize for Chemistry in 1968. Indeed, Onsager found that the materials, which follow the Ising spin model, have a phase transition.

However, despite the huge importance this theory has in the following development of the whole physics of phase transitions, it has never been tested experimentally using a real magnetic material. "The physics of 2D systems is unique and exciting. The Onsager solution is taught on every advanced statistical mechanics course. That's where I learned this problem.

However, when I discovered much later that it has not been tested experimentally with a magnetic material, I thought it was a shame for experimentalists like me, so it was natural for me to look for a real material to test it," explains PARK Je-Geun.

In order to prove the Onsager model, the research team produced crystals of iron trithiohypophosphate (FePS3) with a technique called chemical vapour transport. The crystals are made of layers bound by weak interactions, known as Van der Waals interactions. Layers can be peeled off from the crystal by using scotch tape, in the same way tape can strip paint from a wall.

The scientists peeled the layers until they were left with just one layer of FePS3 (2D). "We can call these materials magnetic Van der Waals materials or magnetic graphene: they are magnetic and they have easy-to-cleave Van der Waals bonds between layers. They are very rare, and their physics is still unexplored," says the professor.

While there are several methods to measure the magnetic properties of bulk 3D materials, these techniques have no practical use to measure magnetic signals coming from monolayer materials. Therefore, the team used Raman spectroscopy, a technique normally used to measure vibrations inside the material. They used vibrations as an indirect measure of magnetism, the more vibrations, the less magnetization.

Park's team and colleagues first used Raman spectroscopy on bulk 3D FePS3 material at different temperatures and then tested FePS3 2D monolayer. "The test with the bulk sample showed us that the Raman signals can be used as a kind of the fingerprint of phase transition at temperatures around 118 Kelvin, or minus 155 degrees Celsius.

With this confirmation we then measured the monolayer sample and found the same patterns," points out Park. "We conclude that 3D and 2D FePS3 have the same signature of the phase transition visible in the Raman spectrum."

Both in the bulk sample and the monolayer, FePS3' spins are ordered (antiferromagnetic) at very low temperatures, and become disordered (paramagnetic) above 118 degrees Kelvin. "Showing magnetic phase transition with this tour-de-force experiment is a beautiful test for the Onsager solution," concludes the physicist.

In the future, the team would like to study other 2D transition metal materials, going beyond the 2D Ising spin model.

Research paper



NASA selects mission to study black holes, cosmic x-ray mysteries

‎Yesterday, ‎January ‎10, ‎2017, ‏‎3:26:32 AMGo to full article
Washington DC (SPX) Jan 04, 2017 - NASA has selected a science mission that will allow astronomers to explore, for the first time, the hidden details of some of the most extreme and exotic astronomical objects, such as stellar and supermassive black holes, neutron stars and pulsars.

Objects such as black holes can heat surrounding gases to more than a million degrees. The high-energy X-ray radiation from this gas can be polarized - vibrating in a particular direction.

The Imaging X-ray Polarimetry Explorer (IXPE) mission will fly three space telescopes with cameras capable of measuring the polarization of these cosmic X-rays, allowing scientists to answer fundamental questions about these turbulent and extreme environments where gravitational, electric and magnetic fields are at their limits.

"We cannot directly image what's going on near objects like black holes and neutron stars, but studying the polarization of X-rays emitted from their surrounding environments reveals the physics of these enigmatic objects," said Paul Hertz, astrophysics division director for the Science Mission Directorate at NASA Headquarters in Washington.

"NASA has a great history of launching observatories in the Astrophysics Explorers Program with new and unique observational capabilities. IXPE will open a new window on the universe for astronomers to peer through. Today, we can only guess what we will find."

NASA's Astrophysics Explorers Program requested proposals for new missions in September 2014. Fourteen proposals were submitted, and three mission concepts were selected for additional review by a panel of agency and external scientists. NASA determined the IXPE proposal provided the best science potential and most feasible development plan.

The mission, slated for launch in 2020, will cost $188 million. This figure includes the cost of the launch vehicle and post-launch operations and data analysis. Principal Investigator Martin Weisskopf of NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama, will lead the mission.

Ball Aerospace in Broomfield, Colorado, will provide the spacecraft and mission integration. The Italian Space Agency will contribute the polarization sensitive X-ray detectors, which were developed in Italy.



The sound of quantum vacuum

‎Yesterday, ‎January ‎10, ‎2017, ‏‎3:26:32 AMGo to full article
Copenhagen, Denmark (SPX) Jan 03, 2017 - Quantum mechanics dictates sensitivity limits in the measurements of displacement, velocity and acceleration. A recent experiment at the Niels Bohr Institute probes these limits, analyzing how quantum fluctuations set a sensor membrane into motion in the process of a measurement. The membrane is an accurate model for future ultraprecise quantum sensors, whose complex nature may even hold the key to overcome fundamental quantum limits. The results are published in the prestigious scientific journal, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the USA.

Vibrating strings and membranes are at the heart of many musical instruments. Plucking a string excites it to vibrations, at a frequency determined by its length and tension. Apart from the fundamental frequency - corresponding to the musical note - the string also vibrates at higher frequencies. These overtones influence how we perceive the 'sound' of the instrument, and allow us to tell a guitar from a violin. Similarly, beating a drumhead excites vibrations at a number of frequencies simultaneously.

These matters are not different when scaling down, from the half-meter bass drum in a classic orchestra to the half-millimeter-sized membrane studied recently at the Niels Bohr Institute. And yet, some things are not the same at all: using sophisticated optical measurement techniques, a team lead by Professor Albert Schliesser could show that the membrane's vibrations, including all its overtones, follow the strange laws of quantum mechanics. In their experiment, these quantum laws implied that the mere attempt to precisely measure the membrane vibrations sets it into motion. As if looking at a drum already made it hum!

A 'drum' with many tones
Although the membrane investigated by the Niels Bohr Institute team can be seen with bare eyes, the researchers used a laser to accurately track the membrane motion. And this indeed reveals a number of vibration resonances, all of which are simultaneously measured.

Their frequencies are in the Megahertz range, about a thousand times higher than the sound waves we hear, essentially because the membrane is much smaller than a musical instrument. But the analogies carry on: just like a violin sounds different depending on where the string is struck (sul tasto vs sul ponticello), the researchers could tell from the spectrum of overtones at which location their membrane was excited by the laser beam.

Yet, observing the subtle quantum effects that the researchers were most interested in, required a few more tricks. Albert Schliesser explains: "For once, there is the problem of vibrational energy loss, leading to what we call quantum decoherence. Think of it this way: in a violin, you provide a resonance body, which picks up the string vibrations and transforms them to sound waves carried away by the air.

"That's what you hear. We had to achieve exactly the opposite: confine the vibrations to the membrane only, so that we can follow its undisturbed quantum motion for as long as possible. For that we had to develop a special 'body' that cannot vibrate at the membrane's frequencies".

This was achieved by a so-called phononic crystal, a regular pattern of holes that exhibits a phononic bandgap, that is, a band of frequencies at which the structure cannot vibrate. Yeghishe Tsaturyan, a PhD student on the team, realized a membrane with such a special body at the Danchip nanofabrication facilities in Lyngby.

A second challenge consists in making sufficiently precise measurements. Using techniques from the field of Optomechanics, which is Schliesser's expertise, the team created a dedicated experiment at the Niels Bohr Institute, based on a laser custom-built to their needs, and a pair of highly reflecting mirrors between which the membrane is arranged. This allowed them to resolve vibrations with amplitudes much smaller than a proton's radius (1 femtometer).

"Making measurements so sensitive is not easy, in particular since pumps and other lab equipment vibrates with much larger amplitudes. So we have to make sure this doesn't show in our measurement record," adds PhD student William Nielsen.

Vacuum beats the drum
Yet it is exactly the range of ultra-precision measurements where it gets interesting. Then, it starts to matter that, according to quantum mechanics, the process of measuring the motion also influences it. In the experiment, this 'quantum measurement backaction' is caused by the inevitable quantum fluctuations of the laser light.

In the framework of quantum optics, these are caused by quantum fluctuations of the electromagnetic field in empty space (vacuum). Odd as it sounds, this effect left clear signatures in the Niels Bohr Institute experiments' data, namely strong correlations between the quantum fluctuations of the light, and the mechanical motion as measured by light.

"Observing and quantifying these quantum fluctuations is important to better understand how they can affect ultraprecision mechanical measurements - that is, measurements of displacement, velocity or acceleration. And here, the multi-mode nature of the membrane comes into play: not only is it a more accurate representation of real-world sensors. It may also contain the key to overcome some of the traditional quantum limits to measurement precision with more sophisticated schemes, exploiting quantum correlations", Albert

Schliesser says and adds, that in the long run, quantum experiments with ever more complex mechanical objects may also provide an answer to the question why we don't ever observe a bass drum in a quantum superposition (or will we?).

Research Report



JILA atomic clock mimics long-sought synthetic magnetic state

‎Yesterday, ‎January ‎10, ‎2017, ‏‎3:26:32 AMGo to full article
Boulder CO (SPX) Dec 29, 2016 - Using their advanced atomic clock to mimic other desirable quantum systems, JILA physicists have caused atoms in a gas to behave as if they possess unusual magnetic properties long sought in harder-to-study solid materials. Representing a novel "off-label" use for atomic clocks, the research could lead to the creation of new materials for applications such as "spintronic" devices and quantum computers.

JILA's record-setting atomic clock, in which strontium atoms are trapped in a laser grid known as an optical lattice, turns out to be an excellent model for the magnetic behavior of crystalline solids at the atomic scale. Such models are valuable for studying the counterintuitive rules of quantum mechanics.

To create "synthetic" magnetic fields, the JILA team locked together two properties of the clock atoms to create a quantum phenomenon known as spin-orbit coupling. The long lifetime and precision control of the clock atoms enabled researchers to overcome a common problem in other gas-based spin-orbit coupling experiments, namely heating and loss of atoms due to spontaneous changes in atomic states, which interferes with the effects researchers are trying to achieve.

The best-known type of spin-orbit coupling refers to an electron inside a single atom, where an electron's spin (the direction of its momentum, like a tiny arrow pointing up or down) is locked to its orbit around the nucleus to give rise to a rich internal atomic structure.

In the JILA work, spin-orbit coupling locks an atom's spin, which is like a tiny internal bar magnet, with the atom's external motion through the optical lattice. The JILA team precisely manipulated the spin and motion of thousands of strontium atoms in the clock, measured the resulting synthetic magnetic field, and observed key signatures of spin-orbit coupling such as changes in atom motion rippling through the lattice based on their spin.

The experiments are described in a Nature paper published online Dec. 21, 2016. JILA is jointly operated by the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) and the University of Colorado Boulder.

"Spin-orbit coupling is useful for studying novel quantum materials," NIST/JILA Fellow Jun Ye said. "By using our atomic clock for quantum simulation, we hope to stimulate new insights and shed new light on emerging behaviors of topological systems that are useful for robust quantum information processing and spintronics."

Spin-orbit coupling is a key feature of topological materials--the subject of theoretical work honored in this year's Nobel Prize in physics--which conduct electricity on the surface but act as insulators on the inside. This characteristic could be used to make novel devices based on electron spin instead of the usual electric charge, and topological quantum computers, which in theory could make powerful calculations in new ways. But real materials like this are hard to make and study--atomic gases are purer and easier to control.

This area of research is fairly new. The first demonstration of spin-orbit coupling in a gas of atoms was achieved in 2011 by a NIST physicist at the Joint Quantum Institute.

The JILA clock has several features that make it a good mimic for crystalline solids. Researchers used lasers to probe the clock "ticks," the atoms' transition between two energy levels. The atoms' behavior then resembled that of electrons in a solid material in the presence of an external magnetic field, where the electrons have two spin states ("spin up" and "spin down"). When an atom was excited to a higher-energy state, the laws of physics required that energy and momentum be conserved, so the atom's momentum slowed.

The end result was a regular pattern of switching back and forth between the atoms' spin and momentum. The pattern occurred across thousands of atoms regularly spaced in the laser grid, or optical lattice, an analogy to the lattice structure of solid crystals. Because the excited atomic state lasted for 160 seconds, the researchers had ample time to make measurements without atom losses or heating.

The use of an atomic clock as a quantum simulator offers the prospect for real-time, nondestructive, measurements of atom dynamics in an optical lattice. The current clock and simulations have the atoms arranged in one dimension.

However, in the future, the researchers hope to couple multiple types of synthetic atomic spin states to create exotic behavior at more complex levels. Ye's team is developing a 3-D version of the atomic clock by adding more laser beams to form more lattices, which are expected to enable spin-orbit coupling in multiple dimensions.

S. Kolkowitz, S.L. Bromley, T. Bothwell, M.L.Wall, G.E. Marti, A.P. Koller, X. Zhang, A.M. Reyand J. Ye. Spin-orbit coupled fermions in an optical lattice clock. December 21, 2016. Nature. DOI



Stretching time to improve extreme event prediction

‎Tuesday, ‎December ‎27, ‎2016, ‏‎12:22:02 AMGo to full article
Paris, France (SPX) Dec 21, 2016 - Stretching time scales to explore extreme events in nature seemed impossible, yet this feat is now conceivable thanks to a team from the Institut FEMTO-ST (CNRS/UFC/UTBM/ENSMM), which used an innovative measurement technique enabling the capture of such events in real time.

This technique, which is currently applied in the field of photonics, could help predict rogue wave events1 on the ocean surface, along with other extreme natural phenomena. This research, which was conducted in collaboration with teams from Finland, Ireland, and Canada, will be published in the journal Nature Communications on December 19, 2016.

Instability and chaos in physical systems are random natural phenomena that are generally highly sensitive to fluctuations in initial conditions, however small they may be. To understand these complex and omnipresent phenomena in nature, researchers recently conducted experiments involving the propagation of light waves, and leading to the formation of ultrafast pulses on a picosecond timescale (a millionth of a millionth of a second).

The study of such phenomena in optics offers the advantage of taking place on very short timescales, thus making it possible to measure a representative sample of events and to reliably characterize its statistical properties.

Although they have helped improve the understanding of the dynamics connected to extreme events, until now these studies have nevertheless been conducted indirectly, due to the response time of current detectors, which are too slow to capture these rare events.

Recent experiments carried out at the Institut Femto-ST in Besancon have made it possible to overcome this limitation. Based on the principle of a time lens2, which stretches the timescale by a factor of 100 while increasing resolution, this new method has enabled researchers to observe giant light pulses in real time, with an intensity 1,000 times greater than that of the initial fluctuations from the light source, a laser.

To do so, they used a butterfly effect known in optics as modulation instability, which magnifies the microscopic noise intrinsically present in a laser beam traveling along telecommunication fiber optics.

The scope of these results goes well beyond the field of photonics, since this type of background noise is generally considered to be one of the possible mechanisms behind the destructive rogue waves that suddenly appear on the surface of oceans, and is also believed to be present in other systems such as plasma dynamics in the early Universe.

The ability to stretch timescales in optics opens a new path for the exploration and understanding of numerous natural systems for which it remains quite difficult to directly study instabilities, and thereby obtain reliable statistical samples.

This research was conducted by researchers from the Femto-ST laboratory: Franche-Comte electronique mecanique thermique et optique - sciences et technologies (CNRS/Universite Franche-Comte/Universite de technologie de Belfort-Montbeliard/Ecole Nationale Superieure de Mecanique et des Microtechniques de Besancon). L'UTMB, ENSMM and Universite de Franche-Comte are part of the community of universities and establishments within the "Universite Bourgogne Franche-Comte."

Real-time measurements of spontaneous breathers and rogue wave events in optical fibre modulation instability. M. Narhi, B. Wetzel, C. Billet, S.Toenger, T. Sylvestre, J.-M. Merolla, R. Morandotti, F. Dias, G. Genty, J. M. Dudley. Nature Communications, 19 december 2016. DOI :10.1038/NCOMMS13675.



Laser pulses help scientists tease apart complex electron interactions

‎Tuesday, ‎December ‎27, ‎2016, ‏‎12:22:02 AMGo to full article
Upton NY (SPX) Dec 22, 2016 - Scientists studying high temperature superconductors-materials that carry electric current with no energy loss when cooled below a certain temperature-have been searching for ways to study in detail the electron interactions thought to drive this promising property. One big challenge is disentangling the many different types of interactions-for example, separating the effects of electrons interacting with one another from those caused by their interactions with the atoms of the material.

Now a group of scientists including physicists at the U.S. Department of Energy's Brookhaven National Laboratory has demonstrated a new laser-driven "stop-action" technique for studying complex electron interactions under dynamic conditions.

As described in a paper just published in Nature Communications, they use one very fast, intense "pump" laser to give electrons a blast of energy, and a second "probe" laser to measure the electrons' energy level and direction of movement as they relax back to their normal state.

"By varying the time between the 'pump' and 'probe' laser pulses we can build up a stroboscopic record of what happens-a movie of what this material looks like from rest through the violent interaction to how it settles back down," said Brookhaven physicist Jonathan Rameau, one of the lead authors on the paper.

"It's like dropping a bowling ball in a bucket of water to cause a big disruption, and then taking pictures at various times afterward," he explained.

The technique, known as time-resolved, angle-resolved photoelectron spectroscopy (tr-ARPES), combined with complex theoretical simulations and analysis, allowed the team to tease out the sequence and energy "signatures" of different types of electron interactions.

They were able to pick out distinct signals of interactions among excited electrons (which happen quickly but don't dissipate much energy), as well as later-stage random interactions between electrons and the atoms that make up the crystal lattice (which generate friction and lead to gradual energy loss in the form of heat).

But they also discovered another, unexpected signal-which they say represents a distinct form of extremely efficient energy loss at a particular energy level and timescale between the other two.

"We see a very strong and peculiar interaction between the excited electrons and the lattice where the electrons are losing most of their energy very rapidly in a coherent, non-random way," Rameau said.

At this special energy level, he explained, the electrons appear to be interacting with lattice atoms all vibrating at a particular frequency-like a tuning fork emitting a single note. When all of the electrons that have the energy required for this unique interaction have given up most of their energy, they start to cool down more slowly by hitting atoms more randomly without striking the "resonant" frequency, he said.

The frequency of the special lattice interaction "note" is particularly noteworthy, the scientists say, because its energy level corresponds with a "kink" in the energy signature of the same material in its superconducting state, which was first identified by Brookhaven scientists using a static form of ARPES. Following that discovery, many scientists suggested that the kink might have something to do with the material's ability to become a superconductor, because it is not readily observed above the superconducting temperature.

But the new time-resolved experiments, which were done on the material well above its superconducting temperature, were able to tease out the subtle signal. These new findings indicate that this special condition exists even when the material is not a superconductor.

"We know now that this interaction doesn't just switch on when the material becomes a superconductor; it's actually always there," Rameau said.

The scientists still believe there is something special about the energy level of the unique tuning-fork-like interaction. Other intriguing phenomena have been observed at this same energy level, which Rameau says has been studied in excruciating detail.

It's possible, he says, that the one-note lattice interaction plays a role in superconductivity, but requires some still-to-be-determined additional factor to turn the superconductivity on.

"There is clearly something special about this one note," Rameau said.

Research report



New antimatter breakthrough to help illuminate mysteries of the Big Bang

‎Tuesday, ‎December ‎27, ‎2016, ‏‎12:22:02 AMGo to full article
Swansea UK (SPX) Dec 22, 2016 - Swansea University scientists working at CERN have made a landmark finding, taking them one step closer to answering the question of why matter exists and illuminating the mysteries of the Big Bang and the birth of the Universe.

In their paper published in Nature the physicists from the University's College of Science, working with an international collaborative team at CERN, describe the first precision study of antihydrogen, the antimatter equivalent of hydrogen.

Professor Mike Charlton said: "The existence of antimatter is well established in physics, and it is buried deep in the heart of some of the most successful theories ever developed. But we have yet to answer a central question of why didn't matter and antimatter, which it is believed were created in equal amounts when the Big Bang started the Universe, mutually self-annihilate?

"We also have yet to address why there is any matter left in the Universe at all. This conundrum is one of the central open questions in fundamental science, and one way to search for the answer is to bring the power of precision atomic physics to bear upon antimatter."

It has long been established that any excited atom will reach its lowest state by emitting photons, and the spectrum of light emitted from them represents a kind of atomic fingerprint and it is a unique identifier. The most familiar everyday example is the orange of the sodium streetlights.

Hydrogen has its own spectrum and, as the simplest and most abundant atom in the Universe, it holds a special place in physics. The properties of the hydrogen atom are known with high accuracy, and one in particular, the so-called 1S-2S transition has been determined with a precision close to one part in a hundred trillion - equivalent to knowing the distance between Swansea and London to about a billionth of a metre!

Now in these latest experiments, the team have replaced the proton nucleus of the ordinary atom by an antiproton, and the electron substitute is the positron. By shining laser light at a well-defined frequency onto antihydrogen atoms held in a trap, they have seen that some of them get excited to an upper level, and in so doing leave the trap.

This very first experiment has already determined the frequency of the antihydrogen transition to a few parts in a tenth of a billion.

Professor Mike Charlton added: "To get some sense of the importance of this discovery, we need to understand that it has been 30 years in the making and represents the collaborative work of hundreds of researchers over the years. Enquiries into this area of physics started in the 1980s and this landmark achievement has now opened the door to precision studies of atomic antimatter, which will hopefully bring us closer to answering the question of why matter exists to help solve the mystery as to how the Universe came about."

Research Report



ALPHA observes light spectrum of antimatter for first time

‎Tuesday, ‎December ‎27, ‎2016, ‏‎12:22:02 AMGo to full article
Geneva, Switzerland (SPX) Dec 21, 2016 - In a paper published in the journal Nature, the ALPHA collaboration reports the first ever measurement on the optical spectrum of an antimatter atom. This achievement features technological developments that open up a completely new era in high-precision antimatter research. It is the result of over 20 years of work by the CERN antimatter community.

"Using a laser to observe a transition in antihydrogen and comparing it to hydrogen to see if they obey the same laws of physics has always been a key goal of antimatter research," said Jeffrey Hangst, Spokesperson of the ALPHA collaboration.

Atoms consist of electrons orbiting a nucleus. When the electrons move from one orbit to another they absorb or emit light at specific wavelengths, forming the atom's spectrum. Each element has a unique spectrum. As a result, spectroscopy is a commonly used tool in many areas of physics, astronomy and chemistry. It helps to characterise atoms and molecules and their internal states. For example, in astrophysics, analysing the light spectrum of remote stars allows scientists to determine their composition.

With its single proton and single electron, hydrogen is the most abundant, simple and well-understood atom in the Universe. Its spectrum has been measured to very high precision. Antihydrogen atoms, on the other hand are poorly understood. Because the universe appears to consist entirely of matter, the constituents of antihydrogen atoms - antiprotons and positrons - have to be produced and assembled into atoms before the antihydrogen spectrum can be measured.

It's a painstaking process, but well worth the effort since any measurable difference between the spectra of hydrogen and antihydrogen would break basic principles of physics and possibly help understand the puzzle of the matter-antimatter imbalance in the universe.

Today's ALPHA result is the first observation of a spectral line in an antihydrogen atom, allowing the light spectrum of matter and antimatter to be compared for the first time. Within experimental limits, the result shows no difference compared to the equivalent spectral line in hydrogen. This is consistent with the Standard Model of particle physics, the theory that best describes particles and the forces at work between them, which predicts that hydrogen and antihydrogen should have identical spectroscopic characteristics.

The ALPHA collaboration expects to improve the precision of its measurements in the future. Measuring the antihydrogen spectrum with high-precision offers an extraordinary new tool to test whether matter behaves differently from antimatter and thus to further test the robustness of the Standard Model.

ALPHA is a unique experiment at CERN's Antiproton Decelerator facility, able to produce antihydrogen atoms and hold them in a specially-designed magnetic trap, manipulating antiatoms a few at a time. Trapping antihydrogen atoms allows them to be studied using lasers or other radiation sources.

"Moving and trapping antiprotons or positrons is easy because they are charged particles," said Hangst. "But when you combine the two you get neutral antihydrogen, which is far more difficult to trap, so we have designed a very special magnetic trap that relies on the fact that antihydrogen is a little bit magnetic."

Antihydrogen is made by mixing plasmas of about 90,000 antiprotons from the Antiproton Decelerator with positrons, resulting in the production of about 25,000 antihydrogen atoms per attempt. Antihydrogen atoms can be trapped if they are moving slowly enough when they are created. Using a new technique in which the collaboration stacks anti-atoms resulting from two successive mixing cycles, it is possible to trap on average 14 anti-atoms per trial, compared to just 1.2 with earlier methods.

By illuminating the trapped atoms with a laser beam at a precisely tuned frequency, scientists can observe the interaction of the beam with the internal states of antihydrogen. The measurement was done by observing the so-called 1S-2S transition. The 2S state in atomic hydrogen is long-lived, leading to a narrow natural line width, so it is particularly suitable for precision measurement.

The current result, along with recent limits on the ratio of the antiproton-electron mass established by the ASACUSA collaboration, and antiproton charge-to-mass ratio determined by the BASE collaboration, demonstrate that tests of fundamental symmetries with antimatter at CERN are maturing rapidly.



Number of known black holes expected to double in two years with new detection method

‎Tuesday, ‎December ‎27, ‎2016, ‏‎12:22:02 AMGo to full article
Waterloo, Canada (SPX) Dec 20, 2016 - Researchers from the University of Waterloo have developed a method that will detect roughly 10 black holes per year, doubling the number currently known within two years, and it will likely unlock the history of black holes in a little more than a decade.

Avery Broderick, a professor in the Department of Physics and Astronomy at the University of Waterloo, and Mansour Karami, a PhD student also from the Faculty of Science, worked with colleagues in the United States and Iran to come up with the method that has implications for the emerging field of gravitational wave astronomy and the way in which we search for black holes and other dark objects in space. It was published this week in The Astrophysical Journal.

"Within the next 10 years, there will be sufficient accumulated data on enough black holes that researchers can statistically analyze their properties as a population," said Broderick, also an associate faculty member at the Perimeter Institute for Theoretical Physics. "This information will allow us to study stellar mass black holes at various stages that often extend billions of years."

Black holes absorb all light and matter and emit zero radiation, making them impossible to image, let alone detect against the black background of space. Although very little is known about the inner workings of black holes, we do know they play an integral part in the lifecycle of stars and regulate the growth of galaxies.

The first direct proof of their existence was announced earlier this year by the Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory (LIGO) when it detected gravitational waves from the collision of two black holes merging into one.

"We don't yet know how rare these events are and how many black holes are generally distributed across the galaxy," said Broderick. "For the first time we'll be placing all the amazing dynamical physics that LIGO sees into a larger astronomical context."

Broderick and his colleagues propose a bolder approach to detecting and studying black holes, not as single entities, but in large numbers as a system by combining two standard astrophysical tools in use today: microlensing and radio wave interferometry.

Gravitational microlensing occurs when a dark object such as a black hole passes between us and another light source, such as a star. The star's light bends around the object's gravitational field to reach Earth, making the background star appear much brighter, not darker as in an eclipse.

Even the largest telescopes that observe microlensing events in visible light have a limited resolution, telling astronomers very little about the object that passed by. Instead of using visible light, Broderick and his team propose using radio waves to take multiple snapshots of the microlensing event in real time.

"When you look at the same event using a radio telescope - interferometry - you can actually resolve more than one image. That's what gives us the power to extract all kinds of parameters, like the object's mass, distance and velocity," said Karami, a doctoral student in astrophysics at Waterloo.

Taking a series of radio images over time and turning them into a movie of the event will allow them to extract another level of information about the black hole itself.



Magnifying time reveals fundamental rogue wave instabilities of nature

‎Tuesday, ‎December ‎27, ‎2016, ‏‎12:22:02 AMGo to full article
Montreal, Canada (SPX) Dec 22, 2016 - Researchers from INRS and the FEMTO-ST Institute in France have used a novel measurement technique that magnifies time to reveal how ultrafast intense pulses of light can be generated from noise on a laser as it propagates in optical fibre. These experiments confirm theoretical predictions made decades ago, and may have implications in understanding the science of giant rogue waves on the ocean and the formation of other extreme events in nature. In optics, these waves occur as short and intense light pulses. The work is published in the journal Nature Communications on December 19, 2016.

Instability and chaos are common in natural systems that are highly sensitive to initial conditions - where a small change in the input can lead to dramatic consequences. To understand chaos under controlled conditions, scientists have often used experiments with light and optics, which allow the study of even the most complex dynamics on a benchtop.

A serious limitation of these existing experiments in optics, however, is that the chaotic behaviour is often seen on ultrafast picosecond timescales - a millionth of a millionth of a second that is simply too fast to measure in real time even using the fastest available experimental equipment.

An international collaboration with teams in Canada, France, Finland and Ireland have now overcome this limitation, using a novel experimental technique known as a time lens.

"In a similar way as a stroboscope can resolve the evolution of a bouncing ball in the dark or the movements of dancers in a night club, this time lens technique can take one million snapshots of the optical field every second, while additionally increasing the temporal resolution by a factor of 100. This approach allowed us to efficiently measure the chaotic dynamics of the light pulses and their temporal characteristics via available electronic detectors." explains Benjamin Wetzel, researcher in the group of Pr. Morandotti at INRS, Canada.

The experimental results have confirmed theoretical studies dating back to the 1980s. The particular phenomenon that was studied is known as modulation instability, an optical "Butterfly Effect" that amplifies microscopic noise on a laser beam to create giant pulses of light with intensity over 1000 times that of the initial noise on the injected laser beam.

These results are important because there is currently intense interest in studying noise amplifying instabilities in many different areas of physics, from trying to unravel the physics describing giant rogue waves on the ocean, to understanding plasma dynamics in the early universe.

John Dudley, the lead Investigator of the work at FEMTO-ST highlights that "there are many systems in nature where it is very difficult to study rapid fluctuations associated with instabilities, but the ability to magnify ultrafast dynamics in optics now opens a new window into performing more experiments in this field."

An unstable modulation instability optical field consisting of picosecond pulses that are normally too fast to be detected. The use of the technique of time magnification allows these chaotic pulses to be measured for the first time. Benjamin Wetzel

Real-time measurements of spontaneous breathers and rogue wave events in optical fibre modulation instability. M. Narhi, B. Wetzel, C. Billet, S.Toenger, T. Sylvestre, J.-M. Merolla, R. Morandotti, F. Dias, G. Genty, J. M. Dudley. Nature Communications 7, DOI: 10.1038/ncomms13675 (2016).

Single-shot observation of optical rogue waves in integrable turbulence using time microscopy. P. Suret, R. El Koussaifi, A. Tikan, C. Evain, S. Randoux, C. Szwaj and S. Bielawski. Nature Communications 7, Article number: 13136 (2016).



Cerium hexaboride challenges physicists to come up with new theory

‎Tuesday, ‎December ‎27, ‎2016, ‏‎12:22:02 AMGo to full article
Moscow, Russia (SPX) Dec 23, 2016 - Scientists from MIPT and other research institutes and universities have discovered unusual phenomena occurring in a single cerium hexaboride (CeB?) crystal. By performing an electron spin resonance (ESR) experiment, the researchers confirmed the status of the material that had been dubbed an "exception to exceptions" for the way its behavior defies any explanation in terms of the existing models and conventional theories. The research findings were published in Scientific Reports.

Experimental findings of this kind offer a way to test the validity of the accepted scientific theories. By implication, recognizing the fundamental results of such research is much more important than seeking new practical applications for this particular material.

Despite being studied for over 40 years, cerium hexaboride never stops challenging our understanding of the physics behind its unusual properties. It is a compound that belongs to the class of strongly correlated materials, i.e., materials whose properties cannot be described adequately without taking into account the interactions between electrons (aka electronic correlation).

Up to now, many theories have been proposed to explain the anomalous physical properties of cerium hexaboride, but they all proved unable to predict the results of ESR experiments. It might be the case that the theory of ESR in strongly correlated systems needs to be substantially improved in order to account for the exceptional behavior of cerium hexaboride.

ESR spectroscopy is used to study samples that contain particles with unpaired spins, viz., electrons and radicals. The sample is placed in a steady magnetic field and exposed to microwave radiation.

As a result, an ESR spectrum of the sample is obtained, from which data on its chemical structure and properties can be extracted. Absolute calibration of ESR spectra in units of magnetic permeability and ESR spectral line shape analysis enable scientists to find the spectroscopic parameters: g-factor (gyromagnetic ratio), line width (spin relaxation time), and oscillating magnetization or dynamic magnetic susceptibility.

ESR in cerium hexaboride was reported in an earlier study by the same authors. They developed a unique experimental technique capable of picking up the ESR signal from cerium hexaboride and similar materials. Conventional ESR spectrometers often face considerable difficulties detecting signals from strongly correlated materials.

The experimental findings turned out to be rather unexpected for the researchers. For one thing, their measurements showed that the oscillating magnetization along the [100] crystallographic direction may exceed the total static magnetization of the sample. This runs contrary to the commonsense expectation (and theoretical predictions), since oscillating magnetization is theoretically supposed to be one of the constituent parts forming the magnetic moment of the sample, i.e., it must be less than the total magnetization.

According to the scientists, a simple way to explain this experimental fact would be to say that there are some additional, unaccounted for interactions between free electrons and the electrons in the 4f subshell of cerium ions. This qualitative explanation, however, needs to be confirmed by further theoretical calculations.

Another unexpected result of the experiment is the correlation between the angular dependences of the magnetoresistance and the ESR spectral line width with respect to the external magnetic field (under crystal sample rotation). The correlation is remarkable, as the above parameters have a completely different physical nature, therefore such correspondence was not anticipated.

The authors of the study offer the following explanation: since ESR line width is largely determined by spin fluctuations, the value of the material's magnetoresistance may likewise be dominated by band electron scattering on spin fluctuations.

The measurements reported in the study were made possible thanks to improvements to the equipment design introduced by Marat Gilmanov and Alexander Samarin, doctoral students at MIPT working under the supervision of Alexey Semeno, a senior research fellow at Prokhorov General Physics Institute of the Russian Academy of Sciences (GPI RAS) who also graduated from MIPT.

"We have achieved a greater degree of sensitivity and stability for this class of materials than any other experimenters in the world. This means that no one else can perform ESR measurements of strongly correlated metals as accurately as we can. And it is our improved equipment that enables us to see what others cannot," says MIPT's Prof. Sergey Demishev, who also heads the Department of Low Temperatures and Cryogenic Engineering at Prokhorov General Physics Institute.

Research Report



New theoretical framework for improved particle accelerators

‎Tuesday, ‎December ‎27, ‎2016, ‏‎12:22:02 AMGo to full article
Plainsboro NJ (SPX) Dec 21, 2016 - Physicists at the U.S. Department of Energy's (DOE) Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory (PPPL), in collaboration with researchers in South Korea and Germany, have developed a theoretical framework for improving the stability and intensity of particle accelerator beams. Scientists use the high-energy beams, which must be stable and intense to work effectively, to unlock the ultimate structure of matter. Physicians use medical accelerators to produce beams that can zap cancer cells.

"When physicists design the next-generation of accelerators, they could use this theory to create the most optimized focused beams," said PPPL physicist Hong Qin. Dr. Qin, Executive Dean of the School of Nuclear Science and Technology at the University of Science and Technology of China, is a co-author of the research described in the November issue of Physical Review Letters.

Accelerator beams consist of billions of charged particles that zip through tunnels or tubes before colliding with their targets. In scientific experiments, these beams strike their targets with an enormous energy density and generate subatomic particles that have not been seen since the early universe. The long-sought Higgs Boson, the particle that carries the field that gives mass to some fundamental particles, was discovered in this way in the Large Hadron Collider in Europe, the world's largest and most powerful accelerator.

In order for a beam to maintain its intensity, the particles in the beam must remain close together as they zip through the beamline. However, the beam loses intensity as the mutual repulsion of particles and imperfections of the accelerator degrade the beam.

To minimize such degradation and losses, the walls of large accelerators are lined with high precision magnets to control their motion.

The new research advances PPPL's theoretical work over the past seven years to improve the stability of beam particles. The theory strongly couples the vertical and horizontal motions of the particles - in contrast to standard theory that treats the different motions as independent of each other. Results of the theory "provide important new theoretical tools for the detailed design and analysis of high-intensity beam manipulations," according to the paper.

Lead author of the work is Moses Chung, a doctoral graduate of the Princeton Program in Plasma Physics who is now with the Ulsan National Institute of Science and Technology in South Korea.

Co-authors include the late Ronald Davidson, a former director of PPPL and professor of astrophysical sciences at Princeton University, and Lars Groening and Chen Xiao of the Helmholtz Centre for Heavy Ion Research in Germany. Support for this work comes from the National Research Foundation of Korea and the DOE Office of Science.

The paper addresses a 1959 work by two Russian physicists that formed the basis for analysis of the properties of high-intensity beams for the past several decades. This work considers the particle motions to be uncoupled.

Chung and his co-authors modify the Russian model - called the Kapchinskij-Vladimirskij distribution - to include all coupling forces and other elements that can make the beams more stable.

The resulting theoretical tool, which generalized the Russian model, agreed well with simulation results for the Emittance Transfer Experiment at the Helmholtz Centre in Germany, which illustrated a new beam manipulation technology for future accelerators. More intense beams could enable the discovery of new subatomic particles, said Qin.



Spinning black hole swallowing star explains superluminous event

‎Tuesday, ‎December ‎27, ‎2016, ‏‎12:22:02 AMGo to full article
Munich, Germany (SPX) Dec 13, 2016 - In 2015, the All Sky Automated Survey for SuperNovae (ASAS-SN) detected an event, named ASASSN-15lh, that was recorded as the brightest supernova ever - and categorised as a superluminous supernova, the explosion of an extremely massive star at the end of its life. It was twice as bright as the previous record holder, and at its peak was 20 times brighter than the total light output of the entire Milky Way.

An international team, led by Giorgos Leloudas at the Weizmann Institute of Science, Israel, and the Dark Cosmology Centre, Denmark, has now made additional observations of the distant galaxy, about 4 billion light-years from Earth, where the explosion took place and they have proposed a new explanation for this extraordinary event.

"We observed the source for 10 months following the event and have concluded that the explanation is unlikely to lie with an extraordinarily bright supernova. Our results indicate that the event was probably caused by a rapidly spinning supermassive black hole as it destroyed a low-mass star," explains Leloudas.

In this scenario, the extreme gravitational forces of a supermassive black hole, located in the centre of the host galaxy, ripped apart a Sun-like star that wandered too close - a so-called tidal disruption event, something so far only observed about 10 times.

In the process, the star was "spaghettified" and shocks in the colliding debris as well as heat generated in accretion led to a burst of light. This gave the event the appearance of a very bright supernova explosion, even though the star would not have become a supernova on its own as it did not have enough mass.

The team based their new conclusions on observations from a selection of telescopes, both on the ground and in space. Among them was the Very Large Telescope at ESO's Paranal Observatory, the New Technology Telescope at ESO's La Silla Observatory and the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope [1]. The observations with the NTT were made as part of the Public ESO Spectroscopic Survey of Transient Objects (PESSTO).

"There are several independent aspects to the observations that suggest that this event was indeed a tidal disruption and not a superluminous supernova," explains coauthor Morgan Fraser from the University of Cambridge, UK (now at University College Dublin, Ireland).

In particular, the data revealed that the event went through three distinct phases over the 10 months of follow-up observations. These data overall more closely resemble what is expected for a tidal disruption than a superluminous supernova.

An observed re-brightening in ultraviolet light as well as a temperature increase further reduce the likelihood of a supernova event. Furthermore, the location of the event - a red, massive and passive galaxy - is not the usual home for a superluminous supernova explosion, which normally occur in blue, star-forming dwarf galaxies.

Although the team say a supernova source is therefore very unlikely, they accept that a classical tidal disruption event would not be an adequate explanation for the event either.

Team member Nicholas Stone from Columbia University, USA, elaborates: "The tidal disruption event we propose cannot be explained with a non-spinning supermassive black hole. We argue that ASASSN-15lh was a tidal disruption event arising from a very particular kind of black hole."

The mass of the host galaxy implies that the supermassive black hole at its centre has a mass of at least 100 million times that of the Sun. A black hole of this mass would normally be unable to disrupt stars outside of its event horizon - the boundary within which nothing is able to escape its gravitational pull. However, if the black hole is a particular kind that happens to be rapidly spinning - a so-called Kerr black hole - the situation changes and this limit no longer applies.

"Even with all the collected data we cannot say with 100% certainty that the ASASSN-15lh event was a tidal disruption event," concludes Leloudas. "But it is by far the most likely explanation."

This research was presented in a paper entitled "The Superluminous Transient ASASSN-15lh as a Tidal Disruption Event from a Kerr Black Hole", by G. Leloudas et al. to appear in the new Nature Astronomy magazine.



Neutrons identify key ingredients of the quantum spin liquid recipe

‎Wednesday, ‎December ‎14, ‎2016, ‏‎5:25:52 AMGo to full article
Oak Ridge TN (SPX) Dec 12, 2016 - Neutron scattering studies of a rare earth metal oxide have identified fundamental pieces to the quantum spin liquid puzzle, revealing a better understanding of how and why the magnetic moments within these materials exhibit exotic behaviors such as failing to freeze into an ordered arrangement even near absolute zero temperatures.

In a paper published in Nature Physics, a team of researchers from the Georgia Institute of Technology, the University of Tennessee and the Department of Energy's Oak Ridge National Laboratory used neutrons to examine the origins of unusual magnetic behavior in a rare earth-based metal oxide, ytterbium-magnesium-gallium-tetraoxide (YbMgGaO4). The material, discovered in 2015, is known to have strange magnetic properties, putting it in a unique category of materials classified as quantum spin liquids.

"A quantum spin liquid is an exotic state of matter characterized by the entanglement of particles over long distances across the atomic scale," said lead investigator Martin Mourigal, an assistant physics professor at the Georgia Institute of Technology.

Think of Schrodinger's cat, the thought experiment, he said: Many particles participate in a quantum superposition, where multiple quantum states combine to form a new quantum state, and cannot be characterized by the behavior of individual particles.

By definition, he said, "it's something we can't explain with classical physics."

In a series of experiments at ORNL's Spallation Neutron Source, the researchers revealed three key features underpinning the material's exotic properties:

antiferromagnetic interactions, where groups of electron spins have an antiparallel alignment with their respective neighbors; spin space anisotropy, meaning that individual magnetic moments strongly prefer aligning themselves alongside specific directions in the material; and chemical disorder between the material's magnetic layers that randomizes the interactions between electron spins.

Neutrons are well suited for studying magnetism because their lack of electric charge allows them to penetrate through materials, even when the neutrons' energy is low. The neutrons also have magnetic moments, allowing researchers to directly probe the behavior of spins within materials.

"Neutron scattering is the only technique that allows us to study the dynamics of quantum spin liquids at the lowest temperatures," Mourigal said.

However, quantum spin liquids present a challenge because their magnetic moments are constantly changing. In typical materials, researchers can lock the spins into certain symmetric patterns by lowering the temperature of the sample, but this approach doesn't work on spin liquids.

In the team's first neutron scattering measurements of an YbMgGaO4 single-crystal sample at the SNS's Cold Neutron Chopper Spectrometer, CNCS, the researchers observed that, even at a temperature of 0.06 kelvins (approximately negative 460 degrees Fahrenheit), magnetic excitations remained disordered or "fuzzy." This fluctuating magnetic behavior, known to occur to quantum spin liquids, runs counter to the laws of classical physics.

"The material screamed spin liquid when we put it in the beam," Mourigal said.

To overcome this fuzziness, the team used an 8 Tesla magnet to create a magnetic field that locked the spins into an ordered and partly frozen arrangement, allowing for better measurements.

"Once we applied the magnetic field, we were able to measure coherent magnetic excitations in the material that propagate sort of like sound waves," said CNCS instrument scientist Georg Ehlers. "When a neutron comes into the material, it flies by a magnetic moment and shakes it. The nearby magnetic moments see this happening, and they all begin to vibrate in unison. The frequency of these vibrations is determined by the energy between neighboring spins."

Those magnetic field measurements enabled the team to directly validate theoretical expectations and provided a physical understanding of the spin behavior and the system as a whole.

"A quantum spin liquid is an intrinsically collective state of matter," said Mourigal. "But if you want to understand the society, you need to understand the individuals as well."

The team then turned to another SNS instrument, the Fine-Resolution Fermi Chopper Spectrometer instrument, SEQUOIA, to understand the individual properties of the magnetic moments.

"In rare earth magnets, rich physics, like what was observed at the CNCS instrument, can emerge from the fact that the individual spins can prefer to point along certain directions in a crystal," said SEQUOIA instrument scientist Matthew Stone. "SEQUOIA examined the localized higher energy states to confirm the individual pieces of the model used to describe the CNCS data were correct."

Mourigal says the information gleaned from the experiments will enable researchers to develop better theoretical models to further study these quantum phenomena.

"While the exact nature of the quantum state hosted by this material has not been fully established yet, we've discovered that chemical disorder and other effects are important here," said Mourigal. "With these experiments, we've really been able to nail down what ingredients need to be taken into the recipe for a quantum spin liquid in this material."

The paper's authors are Joseph A. M. Paddison, Marcus Daum, Zhiling Dun, Georg Ehlers, Yaohua Liu, Matthew B. Stone, Haidong Zhou and Martin Mourigal. The YbMgGaO4 sample was synthesized at the University of Tennessee. Supplementary measurements of the YbMgGaO4 crystal structure were made at the SNS CORELLI instrument.



High-tech glass plates to be used to discover the birth of new black holes

‎Wednesday, ‎December ‎14, ‎2016, ‏‎5:25:52 AMGo to full article
Leicester, UK (SPX) Dec 13, 2016 - The University of Leicester is providing a new type of X-ray mirror to the French space agency, CNES, for the Chinese-French satellite 'SVOM' which is designed to discover and study Gamma-Ray Bursts from newly formed black holes. SVOM will be launched into orbit in 2021.

The mirror will become part of the X-ray telescope, which is essential in precisely locating these new discoveries. On Wednesday 7 December there was a formal handover of the delicate and very expensive glass components that form part of this mirror by the French team to the University of Leicester, so that the University team can test them and make the first complete version of this mirror.

Professor Julian Osborne, who is leading this work at Leicester, said: "X-rays cannot be reflected like normal light, only at very small angles, so X-ray mirrors have to be made to very high accuracy.

Previously this has required very heavy mirrors, but the SVOM satellite cannot carry such a weight. We are making a new type of X-ray mirror, based on the eye of a lobster, which has microscopic square pores with reflecting interior surfaces. This new type of mirror has only a fraction of the weight of previous X-ray mirrors."

He added: "Gamma-ray bursts are the most luminous explosions in the Universe, they are caused by the death of massive stars and by the collision of two dead neutron stars. Both types of explosion are thought to form a new black hole. The explosions are so bright that they can be seen even from the first few per cent of the age of the Universe.

Such distant bursts allow us to study the evolution of the Universe, which is otherwise very difficult. Also, the recent discovery of bursts of gravitational waves gives hope that we will discover X-rays form the same colliding dead stars, this would tell us many new details of the make-up of these stars and the nature of the explosion."

Dr Jim Pearson from the Department of Physics and Astronomy said: "We are very excited to be starting to build this new mirror. It will be the first lobster X-ray optic to be used in orbit. We have previously used Micro-Pore glass plates from Photonis in France for a different type of X-ray telescope to study the surface of the planet Mercury, so the SVOM X-ray telescope will be built using our earlier experience."



High-precision magnetic field sensing

‎Wednesday, ‎December ‎14, ‎2016, ‏‎5:25:52 AMGo to full article
Zurich, Switzerland (SPX) Dec 07, 2016 - Researchers from the Institute for Biomedical Engineering, which is operated jointly by ETH Zurich and the University of Zurich, have succeeded in measuring tiny changes in strong magnetic fields with unprecedented precision. In their experiments, the scientists magnetised a water droplet inside a magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scanner, a device that is used for medical imaging.

The researchers were able to detect even the tiniest variations of the magnetic field strength within the droplet. These changes were up to a trillion times smaller than the seven tesla field strength of the MRI scanner used in the experiment. "Until now, it was possible only to measure such small variations in weak magnetic fields," says Klaas Prussmann, Professor of Bioimaging at ETH Zurich and the University of Zurich.

An example of a weak magnetic field is that of the Earth, where the field strength is just a few dozen microtesla. For fields of this kind, highly sensitive measurement methods are already able to detect variations of about a trillionth of the field strength, says Prussmann. "Now, we have a similarly sensitive method for strong fields of more than one tesla, such as those used, inter alia, in medical imaging."

Newly developed sensor
The scientists based the sensing technique on the principle of nuclear magnetic resonance, which also serves as the basis for magnetic resonance imaging and the spectroscopic methods that biologists use to elucidate the 3D structure of molecules.

However, to measure the variations, the scientists had to build a new high-precision sensor, part of which is a highly sensitive digital radio receiver. "This allowed us to reduce background noise to an extremely low level during the measurements," says Simon Gross. Gross wrote his doctoral thesis on this topic in Prussmann's group and is lead author of the paper published in the journal Nature Communications.

Eliminating antenna interference
In the case of nuclear magnetic resonance, radio waves are used to excite atomic nuclei in a magnetic field. This causes the nuclei to emit weak radio waves of their own, which are measured using a radio antenna; their exact frequency indicates the strength of the magnetic field.

As the scientists emphasise, it was a challenge to construct the sensor in such a way that the radio antenna did not distort the measurements. The scientists have to position it in the immediate vicinity of the water droplet, but as it is made of copper it becomes magnetised in the strong magnetic field, causing a change in the magnetic field inside the droplet.

The researchers therefore came up with a trick: they cast the droplet and antenna in a specially prepared polymer; its magnetisability (magnetic susceptibility) exactly matched that of the copper antenna. In this way, the scientists were able to eliminate the detrimental influence of the antenna on the water sample.

Broad applications expected
This measurement technique for very small changes in magnetic fields allows the scientists to now look into the causes of such changes. They expect their technique to find use in various areas of science, some of them in the field of medicine, although the majority of these applications are still in their infancy.

"In an MRI scanner, the molecules in body tissue receive minimal magnetisation - in particular, the water molecules that are also present in blood," explains doctoral student Gross.

"The new sensor is so sensitive that we can use it to measure mechanical processes in the body; for example, the contraction of the heart with the heartbeat."

The scientists carried out an experiment in which they positioned their sensor in front of the chest of a volunteer test subject inside an MRI scanner. They were able to detect periodic changes in the magnetic field, which pulsated in time with the heartbeat.

The measurement curve is reminiscent of an electrocardiogram (ECG), but unlike the latter measures a mechanical process (the contraction of the heart) rather than electrical conduction.

"We are in the process of analysing and refining our magnetometer measurement technique in collaboration with cardiologists and signal processing experts," says Prussmann. "Ultimately, we hope that our sensor will be able to provide information on heart disease - and do so non-invasively and in real time."

Development of better contrast agents
The new measurement technique could also be used in the development of new contrast agents for magnetic resonance imaging: in MRI, the image contrast is based largely on how quickly a magnetised nuclear spin reverts to its equilibrium state.

Experts call this process relaxation. Contrast agents influence the relaxation characteristics of nuclear spins even at low concentrations and are used to highlight certain structures in the body.

In strong magnetic fields, sensitivity issues had previously restricted scientists to measurement of just two of the three spatial nuclear spin components and their relaxation. They had to rely on an indirect measurement of relaxation in the important third dimension. For the first time, the new high-precision measurement technique allows the direct measurement of all three dimensions of nuclear spin in strong magnetic fields.

Direct measurement of all three nuclear spin components also paves the way for future developments in nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) spectroscopy for applications in biological and chemical research.

Gross S, Barmet C, Dietrich BE, Brunner DO, Schmid T, Prussmann KP: Dynamic nuclear magnetic resonance field sensing with part-per-trillion resolution. Nature Communications, published online 2 December 2016, doi: 10.1038/NCOMMS13702



Controlled electron pulses

‎Wednesday, ‎December ‎14, ‎2016, ‏‎5:25:52 AMGo to full article
Nuremberg, Germany (SPX) Dec 02, 2016 - The discovery of photoemission, the emission of electrons from a material caused by light striking it, was an important element in the history of physics for the development of quantum mechanics. Scientists from the Chair of Laser Physics at Friedrich-Alexander-Universitat Erlangen-Nurnberg (FAU) have successfully measured photoemission from sharp metal needles on a scale never before achieved. The researchers' results have been published in the journal Physical Review Letters.

The discovery of photoemission, the emission of electrons from a material caused by light striking it, was an important element in the history of physics for the development of quantum mechanics. Scientists from the Chair of Laser Physics at FAU have successfully measured photoemission from sharp metal needles on a scale never before achieved. The researchers' results have been published in the current issue of the journal Physical Review Letters.

For this two-colour experiment, as they refer to it, the researchers - Dr. Michael Forster, Timo Paschen, Dr. Michael Kruger and Prof. Dr. Peter Hommelhoff - pumped laser pulses with a duration of approximately a nanosecond through a crystal. The crystal combined two photons from the laser pulse.

In addition to the strong laser pulse being shone on the crystal, another weak pulse of light with a higher frequency was created. Particularly remarkable was the discovery that the new photons exhibited twice the energy of the original photons. In an interferometer, the FAU scientists separated both colours and determined the direction of vibration, intensity and delay of both pulses.

When the laser pulses meet on the tungsten needle, their energy is concentrated at the vertex of its tip. This limits electron emission to the end of the tip. The researchers observed that, under optimal parameters, they could almost perfectly turn on and off electron emission by controlling the delays between laser pulses.

This initially came as a surprise, as light energy (photons) can always be found on the tip; therefore this meant that the relative arrival times of the differently-coloured laser pulses determined whether electrons were or were not emitted.

The researchers came to the idea for this control mechanism by comparing experimental results with calculations by physicists working under Prof. Dr. Joachim Burgdorfer at Technische Universitat Wien. They surmised that the electrons could interact with photons from both pulses for emission. This led to two dominant emission paths, but the delay between pulses determined whether these paths would complement or work against each other; emission was either intensified or suppressed in what is known as quantum path interference.

Sharp metal tips have long been used as nearly-punctual electron sources for highest-resolution electron microscopes. Based on the results of this experiment, the researchers hope to create complex electron pulses in the future which could be significant for time-resolved electron microscopy.

The experimental results are also of interest for basic research into surface coherence, as the surface of nanostructures can be particularly well controlled and the nanotips produce exceptionally clear measurement signals thanks to their small dimensions.

The renowned journal Physical Review Letters has published the results in its current issue as the Editors' Suggestion. This section highlights particularly interesting scientific results for the readers of the weekly journal, providing insight into fields outside the scope of their own research.

Research paper



First Signs of Weird Quantum Property of Empty Space? EMBARGOED until 30 November 2016 11:00 UTC / 6:00 am EST / 3:00 am PST

‎Wednesday, ‎December ‎14, ‎2016, ‏‎5:25:52 AMGo to full article
Garching, Germany (SPX) Nov 30, 2016 - By studying the light emitted from an extraordinarily dense and strongly magnetised neutron star using ESO's Very Large Telescope, astronomers may have found the first observational indications of a strange quantum effect, first predicted in the 1930s. The polarisation of the observed light suggests that the empty space around the neutron star is subject to a quantum effect known as vacuum birefringence.

A team led by Roberto Mignani from INAF Milan (Italy) and from the University of Zielona Gora (Poland), used ESO's Very Large Telescope (VLT) at the Paranal Observatory in Chile to observe the neutron star RX J1856.5-3754, about 400 light-years from Earth [1].

Despite being amongst the closest neutron stars, its extreme dimness meant the astronomers could only observe the star with visible light using the FORS2 instrument on the VLT, at the limits of current telescope technology.

Neutron stars are the very dense remnant cores of massive stars - at least 10 times more massive than our Sun - that have exploded as supernovae at the ends of their lives. They also have extreme magnetic fields, billions of times stronger than that of the Sun, that permeate their outer surface and surroundings.

These fields are so strong that they even affect the properties of the empty space around the star. Normally a vacuum is thought of as completely empty, and light can travel through it without being changed. But in quantum electrodynamics (QED), the quantum theory describing the interaction between photons and charged particles such as electrons, space is full of virtual particles that appear and vanish all the time. Very strong magnetic fields can modify this space so that it affects the polarisation of light passing through it.

Mignani explains: "According to QED, a highly magnetised vacuum behaves as a prism for the propagation of light, an effect known as vacuum birefringence."

Among the many predictions of QED, however, vacuum birefringence so far lacked a direct experimental demonstration. Attempts to detect it in the laboratory have not yet succeeded in the 80 years since it was predicted in a paper by Werner Heisenberg (of uncertainty principle fame) and Hans Heinrich Euler.

"This effect can be detected only in the presence of enormously strong magnetic fields, such as those around neutron stars. This shows, once more, that neutron stars are invaluable laboratories in which to study the fundamental laws of nature." says Roberto Turolla (University of Padua, Italy).

After careful analysis of the VLT data, Mignani and his team detected linear polarisation - at a significant degree of around 16% - that they say is likely due to the boosting effect of vacuum birefringence occurring in the area of empty space surrounding RX J1856.5-3754 [2].

Vincenzo Testa (INAF, Rome, Italy) comments: "This is the faintest object for which polarisation has ever been measured. It required one of the largest and most efficient telescopes in the world, the VLT, and accurate data analysis techniques to enhance the signal from such a faint star."

"The high linear polarisation that we measured with the VLT can't be easily explained by our models unless the vacuum birefringence effects predicted by QED are included," adds Mignani.

"This VLT study is the very first observational support for predictions of these kinds of QED effects arising in extremely strong magnetic fields," remarks Silvia Zane (UCL/MSSL, UK).

Mignani is excited about further improvements to this area of study that could come about with more advanced telescopes: "Polarisation measurements with the next generation of telescopes, such as ESO's European Extremely Large Telescope, could play a crucial role in testing QED predictions of vacuum birefringence effects around many more neutron stars."

"This measurement, made for the first time now in visible light, also paves the way to similar measurements to be carried out at X-ray wavelengths," adds Kinwah Wu (UCL/MSSL, UK).

This research was presented in the paper entitled "Evidence for vacuum birefringence from the first optical polarimetry measurement of the isolated neutron star RX J1856.5-3754", by R. Mignani et al., to appear in Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society.



'Spooky' sightings in crystal point to extremely rare quantum spin liquid

‎Wednesday, ‎December ‎14, ‎2016, ‏‎5:25:52 AMGo to full article
Atlanta GA (SPX) Dec 06, 2016 - Inside a new exotic crystal, physicist Martin Mourigal has observed strong indications of "spooky" action, and lots of it. The results of his experiments, if corroborated over time, would mean that the type of crystal is a rare new material that can house a quantum spin liquid.

Currently, only a small handful of materials are believed to possibly have these properties. This new crystal was synthesized for the first time only a year ago. Corroboration by other physicists of Mourigal's newly produced experimental data could take a decade or longer. A "liquid" found inside a solid object may sound confusing to many people.

Welcome to quantum materials, part of the twilight zone called quantum physics, which scientists have been struggling for a century to grasp a nanometer at a time. Though much about it is yet undiscovered, quantum physics describes the underlying reality of matter.

The workings of computers, cell phones, superconductors and MRI machines are based on it. But its laws about the atomic realm defy human perception of what is real, and some sound so preposterous that they have become popular science brain teasers.

Take quantum entanglement, the core of Mourigal's research on the crystal: If two particles, electrons for example, become entangled, they can be physically separated by many miles, and still be intimately linked to one another. Actions applied to one particle then instantaneously effect the other.

At first, this theory was too weird even for the father of relativity, Albert Einstein, who lampooned it as "spooky action at a distance."

Entanglement has since been proven in experiments, but now scientists like Mourigal, an experimental physicist at the Georgia Institute of Technology, and his team, have taken it much farther. The synthetic crystal he has examined, an ytterbium compound with the formula YbMgGaO4, is likely brimming with observable 'spooky' connections.

Mourigal, former postdoctoral fellow Joseph Paddison and graduate student Marcus Daum published their observations in the journal Nature Physics on Monday, December 5, 2016. They collaborated with colleagues at the University of Tennessee and Oak Ridge National Laboratory. Work was funded by the National Science Foundation and the U.S. Department of Energy.

This massive 'spooky' entanglement makes a system of electrons a quantum spin "liquid." The term is not meant in the everyday sense, as in water. Here, it describes the collective nature of electrons' spins in the crystal.

"In a spin 'liquid,' the directions of the spins are not tidily aligned, but frenzied, although the spins are interconnected, whereas in a spin 'solid' the spin directions have a neat organization," Mourigal said.

If the discovery stands, it could open a door to hundreds of yet unknown quantum spin liquid materials that physicists say must exist according to theory and mathematical equations. In the distant future, new quantum materials could become, by today's standards, virtual sorcerer's stones in quantum computing engineers' hands.

The ytterbium crystal was first synthesized a year ago by scientists in China, where the government in Beijing has invested heavily in hopes of creating synthetic quantum materials with novel properties. It appears they may have now succeeded, said Mourigal, an assistant professor at Georgia Tech's School of Physics.

"Imagine a state of matter where this entanglement doesn't involve two electrons but involves, three, five, 10 or 10 billion particles all in the same system," Mourigal said. "You can create a very, very exotic state of matter based on the fact that all these particles are entangled with each other. There are no individual particles anymore, but one huge electron ensemble acting collectively."

One of the only previously observed apparent quantum spin liquids occurs in a natural crystal called herbertsmithite, an emerald green stone found in 1972 in a mine in Chile. It was named after mineralogist Herbert Smith, who died nearly 20 years prior to the discovery.

Researchers observed its apparent spin liquid nature in 2012 after Massachusetts Institute of Technology scientists succeeded at reproducing a purified piece of the crystal in their lab.

That initial discovery was just the beginning of an Odyssey. Because of its chemical makeup, herbertsmithite produces just one single entanglement scheme. Physics math says there must be myriads more.

"Finding herbertsmithite was like saying, 'animals exist.' But there are so many different species of animals, or mammals, or fish, reptiles and birds," Mourigal said. "Now that we have found one, we are looking for different kinds of spin liquids."

The more spin liquids experimental physicists confirm, the more theoretical physicists will be able to use them to bend their minds around quantum physics. "It's important to create the encyclopedia of them," Mourigal said. "This new crystal may be only our second or third entry."

University of Tennessee succeeded in replicating the original ytterbium crystal, and Mourigal examined it at Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL), where it was cooled down to a temperature of -273.09 degrees Celsius (0.06 degrees Kelvin).

The cooling slowed the natural motion of the atoms to a near stop, which allowed the researchers to observe the electron spins' dance around the Ytterbium (Yb) atoms in the YbMgGaO4 crystal. They used a powerful superconducting magnet to line the spins up in an orderly fashion to create a starting point for their observations.

"Then we removed the magnetic field, and let them go back to their special kind of wiggling," Mourigal said. His team carried out the observations at the ORNL Spallation Neutron Source, a U.S. Department of Energy Office of Science User Facility. SNS has about the power and size of a particle supercollider, and allowed the scientists to watch the concert of electrons' spins by bombarding them with neutrons.

Normally, when one electron flips its spin, researchers would expect it to create a neat chain reaction, resulting in a wave going through the crystal. The wave of electron spins flipping in sequence might look something like fans at a football game standing and sitting back down to make a wave go around the stadium.

But something odd happened. "This jumbly kind of spin wave broke down into many other waves, because everything is collective, everything is entangled," Mourigal said. "It was a continuum of excitations, but breaking down across many electrons at once."

It was qualitatively similar to what was observed using the same technique on herbertsmithite.

To authenticate the observations made by Mourigal's team, theoretical physicists will have to crunch the data with methods that, in part, rely on topology, a focus of the 2016 Nobel Prize in Physics. Mourigal thinks chances are they will pass muster. "At first glance, this material is screaming, 'I'm a quantum spin liquid,'" he said.

But it must undergo a years-long battery of stringent mathematical tests. The theoretical physicists will wrap the data around a mathematical "donut" to confirm whether or not it is a quantum spin liquid.

"That's meant seriously," Mourigal said. "As a mathematical mental exercise, they virtually spread the spin liquid around a donut shape, and the way it responds to being on a donut tells you something about the nature of that spin liquid."

Though entangled particles appear to defy space and time, the shape of space they occupy affects the nature of the entanglement pattern.

The possibility of a quantum spin liquid was first demonstrated in the 1930s, but only using atoms placed in a straight line. Physicists have been searching in the decades since for materials containing them.



Confirmation of Wendelstein 7-X magnetic field

‎Wednesday, ‎December ‎14, ‎2016, ‏‎5:25:52 AMGo to full article
Princeton NJ (SPX) Dec 06, 2016 - Physicist Sam Lazerson of the U.S. Department of Energy's (DOE) Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory (PPPL) has teamed with German scientists to confirm that the Wendelstein 7-X (W7-X) fusion energy device called a stellarator in Greifswald, Germany, produces high-quality magnetic fields that are consistent with their complex design.

The findings, published in the November 30 issue of Nature Communications, revealed an error field - or deviation from the designed configuration - of less than one part in 100,000. Such results could become a key step toward verifying the feasibility of stellarators as models for future fusion reactors.

W7-X, for which PPPL is the leading U.S. collaborator, is the largest and most sophisticated stellarator in the world. Built by the Max Planck Institute for Plasma Physics in Greifswald, it was completed in 2015 as the vanguard of the stellarator design. Other collaborators on the U.S. team include DOE's Oak Ridge and Los Alamos National Laboratories, along with Auburn University, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, the University of Wisconsin-Madison and Xanthos Technologies.

Stellarators confine the hot, charged gas, otherwise known as plasma, that fuels fusion reactions in twisty - or 3D - magnetic fields, compared with the symmetrical - or 2D --fields that the more widely used tokamaks create. The twisty configuration enables stellarators to control the plasma with no need for the current that tokamaks must induce in the gas to complete the magnetic field. Stellarator plasmas thus run little risk of disrupting, as can happen in tokamaks, causing the internal current to abruptly halt and fusion reactions to shut down.

PPPL has played key roles in the W7-X project. The Laboratory designed and delivered five barn door-sized trim coils that fine-tune the stellarator's magnetic fields and made their measurement possible. "We've confirmed that the magnetic cage that we've built works as designed," said Lazerson, who led roughly half the experiments that validated the configuration of the field. "This reflects U.S. contributions to W7-X," he added, "and highlights PPPL's ability to conduct international collaborations." Support for this work comes from Euratom and the DOE Office of Science.

To measure the magnetic field, the scientists launched an electron beam along the field lines. They next obtained a cross-section of the entire magnetic surface by using a fluorescent rod to intersect and sweep through the lines, thereby inducing fluorescent light in the shape of the surface.

Results showed a remarkable fidelity to the design of the highly complex magnetic field. "To our knowledge," the authors write of the discrepancy of less than one part in 100,000, "this is an unprecedented accuracy, both in terms of the as-built engineering of a fusion device, as well as in the measurement of magnetic topology."

The W7-X is the most recent version of the stellarator concept, which Lyman Spitzer, a Princeton University astrophysicist and founder of PPPL, originated during the 1950s. Stellarators mostly gave way to tokamaks a decade later, since the doughnut-shaped facilities are simpler to design and build and generally confine plasma better. But recent advances in plasma theory and computational power have led to renewed interest in stellarators.

Such advances caused the authors to wonder if devices like the W7-X can provide an answer to the question of whether stellarators are the right concept for fusion energy. Years of plasma physics research will be needed to find out, they conclude, and "that task has just started."



For the first time, scientists catch water molecules passing the proton baton

‎Wednesday, ‎December ‎14, ‎2016, ‏‎5:25:52 AMGo to full article
Seattle WA (SPX) Dec 02, 2016 - Water conducts electricity, but the process by which this familiar fluid passes along positive charges has puzzled scientists for decades. But in a paper published in the journal Science, an international team of researchers has finally caught water in the act - showing how water molecules pass along excess charges and, in the process, conduct electricity.

"This fundamental process in chemistry and biology has eluded a firm explanation," said co-author Anne McCoy, a professor of chemistry at the University of Washington. "And now we have the missing piece that gives us the bigger picture: how protons essentially 'move' through water."

The team was led by Mark Johnson, senior author and a professor at Yale University. For over a decade, Johnson, McCoy and two co-authors - professor Kenneth Jordan at the University of Pittsburgh and Knut Asmis, a professor at Leipzig University - have collaborated to understand how molecules in complex arrangements pass along charged particles.

For water, this is an old question. Chemists call the process by which water conducts electricity the Grotthuss mechanism. When excess protons - the positively charged subatomic particles within atoms - are introduced into water, they pass quickly through the fluid, riding a transient, ever-shifting network of loose bonds between water molecules. By the Grotthuss mechanism, a water molecule can pick up an excess charge and pass it along to a neighbor almost instantaneously.

The exchange is fundamental to understanding the behavior of water in biological and industrial settings. But it is also so fast and the vibrations between water molecules so great that the hand-off cannot be captured using traditional spectroscopy - a technique that scatters light against a molecule to learn about its structure.

"With spectroscopy, you hit objects with a beam of photons, see how those photons are scattered and use that scattering information to determine information about the object's structure and arrangement of atoms," said McCoy. "And this is where Mark Johnson's lab at Yale has really been a leader - in adapting spectroscopy to better capture this transfer of protons among water molecules."

Johnson's lab, along with collaborators in Asmis's lab in Germany, figured out how to freeze the proton relay to slow the process, giving the researchers time to visualize the Grotthuss mechanism using spectroscopy. When these "spectroscopic snapshots" proved still too blurry due to vibrations in chemical bonds, they switched to studying this mechanism in "heavy water."

In heavy water, regular hydrogen atoms are replaced by a heavier isotope called deuterium. By the quirky rules of quantum mechanics that underlie the behavior of subatomic particles, bonds in heavy water shake less than traditional H2O.

But this snapshot required massive amounts of theoretical and computational decoding to reveal just how water molecules momentarily altered their structure to both receive and pass along an extra proton. McCoy's and Jordan's groups helped develop computational approaches to analyze the spectroscopy data.

"In spectroscopy, your goal is to determine the structure of molecules based on how they scatter light," said McCoy. "In our approach, we also asked how the behavior of bonds will affect spectroscopy. That really completed our circle of inquiry and allowed us to visualize this transfer of protons."

In their paper, they describe the Grotthuss mechanism attaching various tag molecules to complexes made up of four molecules of heavy water. According to McCoy, they would like to see how the proton relay changes among larger groups of water molecules and to expand these spectroscopy techniques to include other small molecules with complex structures.

Research paper



10 million ions cooled for the first time to 7K

‎Wednesday, ‎December ‎14, ‎2016, ‏‎5:25:52 AMGo to full article
Berlin, Germany (SPX) Nov 30, 2016 - Previously it was only possible to cool down about one thousand ions to 7.5 K using buffer gas. However, a thousand ions are not nearly enough for spectroscopic analyses. The ion trap with this new method provides a new opportunity to use cryogenic X-ray spectroscopy to study the magnetism and ground states of molecular ions. This is the foundation needed to develop new materials for energy-efficient information technologies. The work has been published in the Journal of Chemical Physics.

"Until now, everyone assumed it would not be possible to reach lower temperatures at such a high density of ions with a quadrupole ion trap. But it can be done", says HZB researcher Tobias Lau. This is because the RF electromagnetic field doesn't just trap the stored ions, but "jiggles" them as well so they are constantly gaining energy and rising in temperature.

In order to draw off this additional energy, the team introduced helium as a buffer gas, and at relatively high pressure. "You have to imagine this as kind of a cold syrup that damps the macro motion of the particles, slowing their rotation and translation", explains Vicente Zamudio-Bayer from the University of Freiburg.

The experiments were carried out using the UE52-PGM station at BESSY II where polarisation of the soft X-ray radiation can be varied. The experimental set-up at this beamline is unique in facilitating X-ray spectroscopy of cryogenic ions under externally applied magnetic fields.

The sample can be analysed in an externally applied magnetic field using circularly polarised X-rays (X-ray magnetic circular dichroism/XMCD). This yields information about the magnetic moments of the electrons subdivided into both spin and orbital contributions.

"We were able for the first time to experimentally determine the magnetic moments of nickel dimercations thanks to the especially low temperatures", Lau continued. The work on the ion trap is part of a larger project of HZB and the Univ. of Freiburg being funded by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (Grant No. BMBF-05K13Vf2).

"We are now working on reaching even lower temperatures. We hope we will soon get to 5 K", offers Zamudio-Bayer. The lower the temperature, the more clearly the magnetic effects show up.

Benefit for users
But all users of the ion trap at the BESSY II UE52-PGM station can benefit already from the record achieved. "Not only magnetism, but also many other properties of a wide range of different molecules can be studied spectroscopically here, such as transition-metal ion complexes. That will therefore be attractive to many users, especially those in physical chemistry", Lau thinks.

Electronic ground state of Ni2+, V. Zamudio-Bayer, R. Lindblad, C. Bulow, G. Leistner, A. Terasaki, B. v. Issendorff, and J. T. Lau, J. Chem. Phys. 145, 194302 (2016). DOI: 10.1063/1.4967821



Ultrafast imaging reveals existence of 'polarons'

‎Wednesday, ‎December ‎14, ‎2016, ‏‎5:25:52 AMGo to full article
Upton NY (SPX) Nov 30, 2016 - Many people picture electrical conductivity as the flow of charged particles (mainly electrons) without really thinking about the atomic structure of the material through which those charges are moving. But scientists who study "strongly correlated electron" materials such as high-temperature superconductors and those with strong responses to magnetism know that picture is far too simplistic. They know that the atoms play a crucial role in determining a material's properties.

For example, electrical resistance is a manifestation of electrons scattering off the atoms. Less evident is the concept that electrons and atoms can move cooperatively to stop the flow of charge-or, in the other extreme, make electrons flow freely without resistance.

Now, a team led by physicist Yimei Zhu at the U.S. Department of Energy's Brookhaven National Laboratory has produced definitive evidence that the movement of electrons has a direct effect on atomic arrangements, driving deformations in a material's 3D crystalline lattice in ways that can drastically alter the flow of current.

Finding evidence for these strong electron-lattice interactions, known as polarons, emphasizes the need to quantify their impact on complex phenomena such as superconductivity (the ability of some materials to carry current with no energy loss) and other promising properties.

As described in a paper just published in the Nature partner journal npj Quantum Materials, the team developed an "ultrafast electron diffraction" system-a new laser-driven imaging technique and the first of its kind in the world-to capture the subtle atomic-scale lattice distortions. The method has widespread potential application for studying other dynamic processes.

"The technique is similar to using stroboscopic photography to reveal the trajectory of a ball," said Zhu. "Using different time delays between throwing the ball and snapping the photo, you can capture the dynamic action," he said.

But to image dynamics at the atomic scale, you need a much faster flash and a way to set subatomic scale objects in motion.

The machine developed by the Brookhaven team uses a laser pulse to give electrons in a sample material a "kick" of energy. At the same time, a second laser split from the first generates very quick bursts of high-energy (2.8 mega-electron-volt) electrons to probe the sample.

The electrons that make up these 130-femtosecond "flashes"-each lasting just 0. 00000000000013 seconds-scatter off the sample and create diffraction patterns that reveal the positions of the atoms. By varying the time delay between the pulse and the probe, the scientists can capture the subtle shifts in atomic arrangements as the lattice responds to the "kicked-up" electrons.

"This is similar to x-ray diffraction, but by using electrons we get a much larger signal, and the high energy of the probe electrons gives us better access to measuring the precise motion of atoms," Zhu said. Plus, his microscope can be built for a fraction of what it would cost to build an ultrafast x-ray light source. "This is a 'home-built' machine."

Key findings
The scientists used this technique to study the electron-lattice interactions in a manganese oxide, a material of long-standing interest because of how dramatically its conductivity can be affected by the presence of a magnetic field.

They detected a telltale signature of electrons interacting with and altering the shape of the atomic lattice-namely, a two-step "relaxation" exhibited by the kicked-up electrons and their surrounding atoms.

In a normal one-step relaxation, electrons kicked up by a burst of energy from one atomic location to another quickly adapt their "shape" to the new environment.

"But in strongly correlated materials, the electrons are slowed down by interactions with other electrons and interactions with the lattice," said Weiguo Yin, another Brookhaven physicist working on the study. "It's like a traffic jam with lots of cars moving more slowly."

In effect the negatively charged electrons and positively charged atomic nuclei respond to one another in a way that causes each to try to accommodate the "shape" of the other. So an elongated electron cloud, when entering a symmetrical atomic space, begins to assume a more spherical shape, while at the same time, the atoms that make up the lattice, shift positions to try to accommodate the elongated electron cloud.

In the second step, this in-between, push-me, pull-you arrangement gradually relaxes to what would be expected in a one-step relaxation.

"This two-step behavior, which we can see with our ultrafast electron diffraction, is the proof that the lattice vibrations are interacting with the electrons in a timely fashion. They are the proof that polarons exist," Yin said.

The finding yields insight into how the lattice response helps generate the huge decrease in electrical resistance the manganites experience in a magnetic field-an effect known as colossal magnetoresistance.

"The electron cloud shapes are linked to the magnetic attributes of the electrons," Yin explained. "When the magnetic moments of the electrons are aligned in a magnetic field, the electron cloud shape and the atomic arrangement become more symmetric and homogenous. Without the need to play the push-me, pull-you game, electric charges can flow more easily."

This work shows that an ultrafast laser can quickly modify electronic, magnetic, and lattice dynamics in strongly correlated electron materials-an approach that could result in promising new technical applications, such as ultrafast memory or other high-speed electronic devices.

"Our method can be used to better understand these dynamic interactions, and suggests that it will also be useful for studying other dynamic processes to discover hidden states and other exotic material behavior," said Zhu.

Research paper: "Dichotomy in ultrafast atomic dynamics as direct evidence of polaron formation in manganites"



NIST debuts dual atomic clock - and a new stability record

‎Tuesday, ‎December ‎6, ‎2016, ‏‎4:48:01 AMGo to full article
Boulder CO (SPX) Nov 29, 2016 - What could be better than a world-leading atomic clock? Two clocks in one. Physicists at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) have combined two experimental atomic clocks based on ytterbium atoms to set yet another world record for clock stability. Stability can be thought of as how precisely the duration of each clock tick matches every other tick that comes before and after.

This extraordinary stability makes the ytterbium lattice clock a more powerful tool for precision tests such as whether the "fundamental constants" of nature are really constant, and searches for the elusive dark matter purported to make up much of the universe. The experiment demonstrating the double-clock design is reported in Nature Photonics.

"We eliminated a critical type of noise in the clock's operation, effectively making the clock signal stronger," NIST physicist Andrew Ludlow said. "This means we can reach a clock instability of 1.5 parts in a quintillion (1 followed by 18 zeros) in just a few thousand seconds. While this only slightly beats the record level of clock stability we demonstrated a few years ago, we get there 10 times faster."

NIST atomic clocks routinely perform at very high levels, but scientists continually tweak them to reduce slight imperfections. The new double-clock design eliminates a small but significant distortion in the laser frequency that probes and synchronizes with the atoms. The more stable the clock, the better its measurement power.

The new ytterbium lattice 'double clock' is the most stable clock in the world, although another NIST atomic clock, based on strontium and located at JILA, holds the world record for precision. Precision refers to how closely the clock tunes itself to the natural frequency at which the atoms oscillate between two electronic energy levels.

Both the ytterbium and strontium clocks tick at optical frequencies, much higher than the microwave frequencies of cesium atomic clocks used as time standards. An optical atomic clock operates by tuning the frequency of a laser to resonate with the frequency of the atoms' transition between two energy states. This atomic ticking is transferred to the laser for use as a timekeeping tool. Any noise or uncertainty affecting this process disturbs the laser frequency and, thus, the timekeeping precision.

Optical atomic clocks typically alternate laser probing of the atoms with periods of "dead time" during which the atoms are prepared and measured. During dead times, certain laser frequency fluctuations are not properly observed or compensated for in the laser tuning process. The resulting noise effects (first observed in the 1990s by G.J. Dick, then of the California Institute of Technology) has, until now, limited clock stability and precision.

NIST's new double-clock design has zero dead time - and is, therefore, nicknamed the ZDT clock - and virtually no dead-time noise, because it probes atoms continuously by switching back and forth from one atomic ensemble to the other. The two ensembles of 5,000 and 10,000 ytterbium atoms, respectively, are each trapped in a grid of laser light called an optical lattice and probed by a shared laser.

Measurements of the responses of the two atom ensembles are combined to produce a single, combined correction to the laser frequency. These measurements and corrections are made twice as fast as in a single clock. Because there is no dead-time noise, the new clock attains record stability levels 10 times faster than before. Crucially, the performance is now limited by the atomic system of the clock rather than the laser, a long-sought goal in physics that Ludlow calls a "dream" for future applications.

This approach can ultimately reduce atomic clock size and complexity, so the apparatus could be made portable enough to use outside the laboratory. The physical package is currently larger than a single clock, but eventually both atomic systems could share a single vacuum apparatus and simpler laser systems, thus reducing the overall size, Ludlow said.

Portable optical atomic clocks could be distributed around the world for relativistic geodesy (gravity-based measurements of the shape of the Earth) or carried on spacecraft for tests of general relativity.



An Archimedes' screw for groups of quantum particles

‎Tuesday, ‎December ‎6, ‎2016, ‏‎4:48:01 AMGo to full article
Singapore (SPX) Nov 21, 2016 - Anyone who has tried to lead a group of tourists through a busy city knows the problem. How do you keep the group together when they are constantly jostled, held up and distracted by the hubbub around them?

It's a problem the designers of quantum computers have to tackle. In some future quantum computers, information will be encoded in the delicate quantum states of groups of particles. These face jostling by noise and disorder within the materials of the processor. Now, an international team has proposed a scheme that could help protect groups of particles and enable them to move together without any getting lost or held up.

The proposal, published 17 November in Physical Review Letters, comes from researchers at the National University of Singapore (NUS), Technical University of Crete, University of Oxford and Google.

Their paper puts forward a scheme that can reliably transport quantum states of a few photons along a line of miniature quantum circuits. Simulations show that it should efficiently move a three-photon state from one circuit site to the next over dozens of sites: the particles jump together throughout and finally appear at the other end undisturbed, with no spreading out.

The scheme is based on the ideas of physicist David J. Thouless, who won half the 2016 Nobel Prize in physics for his work on topological effects in materials. Topological effects are to do with geometry, and their use in quantum computing can help protect fragile quantum states during processing.

One of Thouless' major contributions was the invention of 'topological pumping'. This works something like Archimedes' screw pump for water. The Ancient Greek's screw spins around, but the water within it travels in a straight line up a hill.

"Even though the motion of the machine is cyclical, the motion of the particles is not, they move in a line," explains Jirawat Tangpanitanon, first author on the paper and a PhD student in the group of Dimitris Angelakis at the Centre for Quantum Technologies (CQT) at NUS.

In the quantum scheme, the screw thread is not a physical structure but an oscillating external field imposed on the particles by electronic control over the device that contains them.

Angelakis started his group looking into topological pumping after others in 2015 demonstrated the effect for individual, non-interacting, particles. Angelakis, Tangpanitanon and Research Fellow Victor Bastidas wanted to find out if it would be possible to move groups of particles coherently too.

The answer is yes. What's more, unlike Archimedes' pump, which can only move water one way, the quantum particles can even be sent into reverse by changing the initial conditions. "It's like a moonwalk," jokes Tangpanitanon. It looks like everything should be moving forward, but instead the particles go backwards due to quantum effects.

Co-author Pedram Roushan - part of the Google group in Santa Barbara, California building superconducting circuits for quantum computing - and the team hopes to see the idea implemented in similar hardware. "This paper is almost a blueprint. We developed the proposal to match existing devices," says Angelakis, who is a Principal Investigator at CQT and a faculty member at the Technical University of Crete.

Research paper: 'Topological Pumping of Photons in Nonlinear Resonator Arrays'



Optical clock technology tested in space for first time

‎Tuesday, ‎December ‎6, ‎2016, ‏‎4:48:01 AMGo to full article
Washington DC (SPX) Nov 21, 2016 - For the first time, an optical clock has traveled to space, surviving harsh rocket launch conditions and successfully operating under the microgravity that would be experienced on a satellite. This demonstration brings optical clock technology much closer to implementation in space, where it could eventually allow GPS-based navigation with centimeter-level location precision.

In The Optical Society's journal for high impact research, Optica, researchers report on a new compact, robust and automated frequency comb laser system that was key to the operation of the space-borne optical clock. Frequency combs are the "gears" necessary to run clocks ticking at optical frequencies.

"Our device represents a cornerstone in the development of future space-based precision clocks and metrology," said Matthias Lezius of Menlo Systems GmbH, first author of the paper. "The optical clock performed the same in space as it had on the ground, showing that our system engineering worked very well."

Phones and other GPS-enabled devices pinpoint your location on Earth by contacting at least four satellites bearing atomic clocks. Each of these satellites provides a time stamp, and the system calculates your location based on the relative differences among those times. The atomic clocks used on today's satellites are based on natural oscillation of the cesium atom - a frequency in the microwave region of the electromagnetic spectrum.

Optical clocks use atoms or ions that oscillate about 100,000 times higher than microwave frequencies, in the optical, or visible, part of the electromagnetic spectrum. The higher frequencies mean that optical clocks "tick" faster than microwave atomic clocks and could thus provide time-stamps that are 100 to 1,000 times more accurate, greatly improving the precision of GPS.

Frequency combs are an important component of optical clocks because they act like gears, dividing the faster oscillations of optical clocks into lower frequencies to be counted and linked to a microwave-based reference atomic clock. In other words, frequency combs allow the optical oscillations to be precisely measured and used to tell time.

Until recently, frequency combs have been very large, complex set-ups only found in laboratories. Lezius and his team at Menlo Systems, a spin-off company of Nobel Laureate T.W. Hansch's group at the Max Plank Institute for Quantum Optics, developed a fully automated optical frequency comb that measures only 22 by 14.2 centimeters and weighs 22 kilograms.

The new frequency comb is based on optical fibers, making it rugged enough to travel through the extreme acceleration forces and temperature changes experienced when leaving Earth. Its power consumption is below 70 watts, well within the requirements for satellite-based devices.

Traveling to space
The researchers combined their new frequency comb with an atomic cesium clock for reference and a rubidium optical clock developed by research groups at Ferdinand Braun Institute Berlin and Humbold University Berlin as well as a group from Hamburg University that recently moved to Mainz University. Airbus Defense and Space GmbH was involved in the construction, interfacing, and integration of the payload module that went into space and also provided support and equipment during the flight.

In April 2015, the entire system was flown on a research rocket for a 6-minute parabolic flight into space as part of the TEXUS program that launches from the Esrange Space Center in Sweden. Once microgravity was achieved, the system started measurements automatically and was controlled from the ground station via a low-bandwidth radio link.

"The experiment demonstrated the comb's functionality as a comparative frequency divider between the optical rubidium transition at 384 THz and the cesium clock providing a 10 MHz reference," said Lezius.

Although the optical clock used in the demonstration had about one tenth the accuracy of atomic clocks used on GPS satellites today, the researchers are already working on a new version that will improve accuracy by several orders of magnitude.

Global sensing from space
The highly accurate measurements made possible with frequency combs could be useful for many applications. For example, space-based frequency combs could improve the accuracy of global remote sensing of greenhouse gases from satellites and could be used for space-based gravitational wave detectors.

"Applications based on frequency combs are quite important for future space-based optical clocks, precision metrology and earth observation techniques," said Lezius. "The space technology readiness of frequency combs is developing at a fast pace."

The researchers plan to fly an improved version of the optical clock into space at the end of 2017. In that experiment, the frequency comb module will not fly under a pressurized dome in order to test how well it works in the vacuum conditions that would be experienced on a satellite. The researchers also seek to further improve the system's resistance to harsh cosmic radiation to ensure that it can operate for several years in orbit.

Within a few years, Lezius and his team aim to have a space-qualified frequency comb module that the space community can use in future missions and applications. They are aiming for a device with a volume of about 3 liters that weighs a few kilograms and has a power consumption of approximately 10 watts.

M. Lezius, T. Wilken, C. Deutsch, M. Giunta, O. Mandel, A. Thaller, V. Schkolnik, M. Schiemangk, A. Dinkelaker, A. Kohfeldt, A. Wicht, M. Krutzik, A. Peters, O. Hellmig, H. Duncker, "Space-borne Frequency Comb Metrology," Optica, 3, 12, 1380 (2016). DOI: 10.1364/optica.3.001380.



Controlling electrons in time and space

‎Monday, ‎November ‎28, ‎2016, ‏‎4:38:03 AMGo to full article
Vienna, Austria (SPX) Nov 17, 2016 - In an electron microscope, electrons are emitted by pointy metal tips, that way the can be steered and controlled with high precision. Recently, such metal tips have also been used as high precision electron sources for generating x-rays.

A team of researchers at TU Wien (Vienna), together with colleagues from the FAU Erlangen-Nurnberg (Germany), have developed a method of controlling electron emission with higher precision than ever before. With the help of two different laser pulses it is now possible to switch the flow of electrons on and off on extremely short time scales.

It's Just the Tip of the Needle
"The basic idea resembles a lightning rod", says Christoph Lemell (TU Wien). "The electrical field around a needle is always strongest right at the tip. That's why the lightning always strikes the tip of a rod, and for the same reason, electrons leave a needle right at the tip."

Extremely pointy needles can be fabricated with the methods of modern nanotechnology. Their tip is just a few nanometres wide, so the point at which the electrons are emitted is known with very high accuracy. In addition to that, it is also important to control at which point in time the electrons are emitted.

This kind of temporal control has now become possible, using a new approach: "Two different laser pulses are fired at the metal tip", explains Florian Libisch (TU Wien). The colours of these two lasers are chosen such that the photons of one laser have exactly twice the energy of the other laser's photons. Also, it is important to ensure that both light waves oscillate in perfect synchronicity.

With the help of computer simulations, the team from TU Wien was able to predict that a small time delay between the two laser pulses can serve as a "switch" for electron emission. This prediction has now been confirmed by experiments performed by Professor Peter Hommelhoff's research group at FAU Erlangen-Nurnberg. Based on these experiments, it is now possible to understand the process in detail.

Absorbing Photons
When a laser pulse is fired at the metal tip, its electrical field can rip electrons out of the metal - that is a well-known phenomenon. The new idea is that a combination of two different lasers can be used to control the emission of the electrons on a femtosecond time scale.

There are different ways an electron can gain enough energy to leave the metal tip: It can absorb one photon from the high-energy laser and two photons from the low-energy laser or four electrons from the low-energy laser.

Both mechanisms lead to the same result. "Much like a particle in a double slit experiment, which travels on two different paths at the same time, the electron can take part in two different processes at the same time", says Professor Joachim Burgdorfer (TU Wien). "Nature does not have to pick one the two possibilities - both are equally real and interfere which each other."

By carefully tuning the two lasers, it is possible to control whether the two quantum physical processes amplify each other, which leads to an increased emission of electrons, or whether they cancel each other, which means that hardly any electrons are emitted at all. This is a simple and effective way of controlling electron emission.

It is not just a new method of performing experiments with high energy electrons, the new technology should open the door to controlled x-ray generation. "Innovative x-ray sources are already being built, using arrays of narrow metal tips as electron sources", says Lemell. "With our new method, these nano tips could be triggered in exactly the right way so that coherent x-ray radiation is produced."

Research paper



Researchers found mathematical structure that was thought not to exist

‎Monday, ‎November ‎28, ‎2016, ‏‎4:38:03 AMGo to full article
Espoo, Finland (SPX) Nov 16, 2016 - In the 1970s, a group of mathematicians started developing a theory according to which codes could be presented at a level one step higher than the sequences formed by zeros and ones: mathematical subspaces named q-analogs.

For a long time, no applications were found - or were not even searched for - for the theory until ten years ago, when it was understood that they would be useful in the efficient data transmission required by modern data networks.

The challenge was that, despite numerous attempts, the best possible codes described in the theory had not been found and it was therefore believed they did not even exist. However, an international research group disagreed. 'We thought it could very well be possible,' says Professor Patric Ostergard from Aalto University and smiles.

'The search was challenging because of the enormous size of the structures. Searching for them is a gigantic operation even if there is very high-level computational capacity available. Therefore, in addition to algebraic techniques and computers, we also had to use our experience and guess where to start looking, and that way limit the scope of the search.'

The perseverance was rewarded when the group consisting of five researchers found the largest possible structure described by the theory. The results were recently presented in the scientific publication Forum of Mathematics, Pi, which publishes only a dozen carefully selected articles per year.

Aalto University (Finland), Technion (Israel), University of Bayreuth (Germany), Darmstadt University of Applied Sciences (Germany), University of California San Diego (USA) and Nanyang Technological University (Singapore) participated in the study.

Although mathematical breakthroughs rarely become financial success stories immediately, many modern things we take for granted would not exist without them. For example, Boolean algebra, which has played a key role in the creation of computers, has been developed since the 19th century.

'As a matter of fact, information theory was green before anyone had even mentioned green alternatives,' says Ostergard and laughs.

'Its basic idea is, actually, to try to take advantage of the power of the transmitter as effectively as possible, which in practice means attempting to transmit data using as little energy as possible. Our discovery will not become a product straight away, but it may gradually become part of the internet.''

Research paper: "Existence of q-analogs of Steiner Systems".



Starvation Diet for Black Hole Dims Brilliant Galaxy

‎Monday, ‎November ‎28, ‎2016, ‏‎4:38:03 AMGo to full article
Boston MA (SPX) Nov 11, 2016 - Astronomers may have solved the mystery of the peculiar volatile behavior of a supermassive black hole at the center of a galaxy. Combined data from NASA's Chandra X-ray Observatory and other observatories suggest that the black hole is no longer being fed enough fuel to make its surroundings shine brightly.

Many galaxies have an extremely bright core, or nucleus, powered by material falling toward a supermassive black hole. These so-called "active galactic nuclei" or AGN, are some of the brightest objects in the Universe.

Astronomers classify AGN into two main types based on the properties of the light they emit. One type of AGN tends to be brighter than the other. The brightness is generally thought to depend on either or both of two factors: the AGN could be obscured by surrounding gas and dust, or it could be intrinsically dim because the rate of feeding of the supermassive black hole is low.

Some AGN have been observed to change once between these two types over the course of only 10 years, a blink of an eye in astronomical terms. However, the AGN associated with the galaxy Markarian 1018 stands out by changing type twice, from a faint to a bright AGN in the 1980s and then changing back to a faint AGN within the last five years.

A handful of AGN have been observed to make this full-cycle change, but never before has one been studied in such detail. During the second change in type the Markarian 1018 AGN became eight times fainter in X-rays between 2010 and 2016.

After discovering the AGN's fickle nature during a survey project using ESO's Very Large Telescope (VLT), astronomers requested and received time to observe it with both NASA's Chandra X-ray Observatory and Hubble Space Telescope. The accompanying graphic shows the AGN in optical light from the VLT (left) with a Chandra image of the galaxy's central region in X-rays showing the point source for the AGN (right).

Data from ground-based telescopes including the VLT allowed the researchers to rule out a scenario in which the increase in the brightness of the AGN was caused by the black hole disrupting and consuming a single star. The VLT data also cast doubt on the possibility that changes in obscuration by intervening gas cause changes in the brightness of the AGN.

However, the true mechanism responsible for the AGN's surprising variation remained a mystery until Chandra and Hubble data was analyzed. Chandra observations in 2010 and 2016 conclusively showed that obscuration by intervening gas was not responsible for the decline in brightness.

Instead, models of the optical and ultraviolet light detected by Hubble, NASA's Galaxy Evolution Explorer (GALEX) and the Sloan Digital Sky Survey in the bright and faint states showed that the AGN had faded because the black hole was being starved of infalling material. This starvation also explains the fading of the AGN in X-rays.

One possible explanation for this starvation is that the inflow of fuel is being disrupted. This disruption could be caused by interactions with a second supermassive black hole in the system. A black hole binary is possible as the galaxy is the product of a collision and merger between two large galaxies, each of which likely contained a supermassive black hole in its center.

The list observatories used in this finding also include NASA's Nuclear Spectroscopic Telescope Array (NuSTAR) mission and Swift spacecraft.

Two papers, one with the first author of Bernd Husemann (previously at ESO and currently at the Max Planck Institute for Astronomy) and the other with Rebecca McElroy (University of Sydney), describing these results appeared in the September 2016 issue of Astronomy and Astrophysics journal



Simulations show swirling rings, whirlpool-like structure in subatomic 'soup'

‎Monday, ‎November ‎28, ‎2016, ‏‎4:38:03 AMGo to full article
Berkeley CA (SPX) Nov 14, 2016 - At its start, the universe was a superhot melting pot that very briefly served up a particle soup resembling a "perfect," frictionless fluid. Scientists have recreated this "soup," known as quark-gluon plasma, in high-energy nuclear collisions to better understand our universe's origins and the nature of matter itself. The physics can also be relevant to neutron stars, which are the extraordinarily dense cores of collapsed stars.

Now, powerful supercomputer simulations of colliding atomic nuclei, conducted by an international team of researchers including a Berkeley Lab physicist, provide new insights about the twisting, whirlpool-like structure of this soup and what's at work inside of it, and also lights a path to how experiments could confirm these characteristics. The work is published in the Nov. 1 edition of Physical Review Letters.

This soup contains the deconstructed ingredients of matter, namely fundamental particles known as quarks and other particles called gluons that typically bind quarks to form other particles, such as the protons and neutrons found at the cores of atoms. In this exotic plasma state - which can reach trillions of degrees Fahrenheit, hundreds of thousands of times hotter than the sun's core - protons and neutrons melt, freeing quarks and gluons from their usual confines at the center of atoms.

These record-high temperatures have been achieved by colliding gold nuclei at Brookhaven National Laboratory's RHIC (Relativistic Heavy Ion Collider), for example, and lead nuclei at CERN's LHC (Large Hadron Collider). Experiments at RHIC discovered in 2005 that quark-gluon plasma behaves like a fluid. In addition to gold nuclei, RHIC has also been used to collide protons, copper and uranium. The LHC began conducting heavy-ion experiments in 2014, and has confirmed that the quark-gluon plasma behaves like a fluid.

There remain many mysteries about the inner workings of this short-lived plasma state, which may only have existed for millionths of a second in the newborn universe, and nuclear physicists are using a blend of theory, simulations and experiments to glean new details about this subatomic soup.

Surprising complexity in plasma structure
"In our sophisticated simulations, we found that there is much more structure to this plasma than we realized," said Xin-Nian Wang, a theorist in the Nuclear Science Division at Berkeley Lab who has worked for years on the physics of high-energy nuclear collisions.

When plotted out in two dimensions, the simulations found that slightly off-center collisions of heavy nuclei produce a wobbling and expanding fluid, Wang said, with local rotation that is twisted in a corkscrew-like fashion.

This corkscrew character relates to the properties of the colliding nuclei that created the plasma, which the simulation showed expanding along - and perpendicular to - the beam direction. Like spinning a coin by flicking it with your finger, the simulations showed that the angular momentum properties of the colliding nuclei can transfer spin properties to the quark gluon plasma in the form of swirling, ring-like structures known as vortices.

The simulations showed two of these doughnut-shaped vortices - each with a right-handed orientation around each direction of the separate beams of the colliding nuclei - and also many pairs of oppositely oriented vortices along the longest dimension of the plasma. These doughnut-shaped features are analogous to swirling smoke rings and are a common feature in classical studies of fluids, a field known as hydrodynamics.

The simulations also revealed a patterned outward flow from hot spots in the plasma that resemble the spokes of a wheel. The time scale covered in the simulation was infinitesimally small, Wang said, roughly the amount of time it takes light to travel the distance of 10-20 protons. During this time the wobbling fluid explodes like a fireball, spurting the particle soup outward from its middle more rapidly than from its top.

Any new understanding of quark-gluon plasma properties should be helpful in interpreting data from nuclei-colliding experiments, Wang said, noting that the emergence of several localized doughnut-like structures in the simulations was "completely unexpected."

Unraveling a mystery
"We can think about this as opening a completely new window of looking at quark-gluon plasmas, and how to study them," he said. "Hopefully this will provide another gateway into understanding why this quark-gluon fluid is such a perfect fluid - the nature of why this is so is still a puzzle. This work will benefit not only theory, but also experiments."

The simulations provide more evidence that the quark-gluon plasma behaves like a fluid, and not a gas as had once been theorized. "The only way you can describe this is to have a very small viscosity," or barely any friction, a characteristic of a so-called 'perfect fluid' or 'fundamental fluid,'" Wang said. But unlike a familiar fluid like water, the simulation focuses on a fluid state hundreds of times smaller than a water molecule.

Michael Lisa, a physics professor at Ohio State University who is part of the collaboration supporting the Solenoidal Tracker at RHIC (STAR), said the so-called vorticity or "swirl structure" of this plasma has never been measured experimentally, though this latest theoretical work may help to home in on it. STAR is designed to study the formation and characteristics of the quark-gluon plasma.

"Wang and his collaborators have developed a sophisticated, state-of-the-art hydrodynamic model of the quark-gluon plasma and have identified swirling structures that vary within the fluid itself," he said. "Even more useful is the fact that they propose a method to measure these structures in the laboratory."

Lisa also said there is ongoing analysis work to confirm the simulation's findings in data from experiments at RHIC and the LHC. "It is precisely innovations like this, where theory and experiment collaborate to explore new phenomena, that hold the greatest hope for greater insight into the quark-gluon plasma," he said.

"Many tools have been used to probe the inner working mechanics and symmetry properties of this unique matter," said Zhangbu Xu, a spokesperson for the STAR collaboration and a staff scientist at Brookhaven National Laboratory. He also said that preliminary results from STAR also suggest some spinning motion in the fluid, and the simulation work "adds a new dimension" to this possibility.

Research paper



Watching the buildup of quantum superpositions

‎Monday, ‎November ‎28, ‎2016, ‏‎4:38:03 AMGo to full article
Vienna, Austria (SPX) Nov 14, 2016 - It is definitely the most famous experiment in quantum physics: in the double slit experiment, a particle is fired onto a plate with two parallel slits, so there are two different paths on which the particle can reach the detector on the other side. Due to its quantum properties, the particle does not have to choose between these two possibilities, it can pass through both slits at the same time. Something quite similar can be observed when a helium atom is ionized with a laser beam.

Just like the two paths through the plate, the ionization of helium can happen via two different processes at the same time, and this leads to characteristic interference effects. In the case of the helium atom, they are called "Fano resonances". A team of scientists from TU Wien (Vienna, Austria), the Max-Planck Institute for Nuclear Physics in Heidelberg (Germany) and Kansas State University (USA) has now managed to observe the buildup up of these Fano resonances - even though this effect takes place on a time scale of femtoseconds.

The experiment was performed in Heidelberg, the original proposal for such an experiment and computer simulations were developed by the team from Vienna, additional theoretical calculations came from Kansas State University.

Direct and Indirect Path
When a laser pulse transfers enough energy to one of the electrons in the helium atom, the electron is ripped out of the atom right away.

There is, however, another way to ionize the helium atom, which is a little bit more complex, as Professor Joachim Burgdorfer (TU Wien) explains: "If at first the laser lifts both electrons to a state of higher energy, one of the electrons may return into the state of lower energy. Part of this electron's energy is transferred to the second electron, which can then leave the helium atom."

The outcome of these two processes is exactly the same - both turn the neutral helium atom into an ion with one remaining electron. From this perspective, they are fundamentally indistinguishable.

Fano Resonances
"According to the laws of quantum physics, each atom can undergo both processes at the same time", says Renate Pazourek (TU Wien). "And this combination of paths leaves us characteristic traces that can be detected." Analyzing the light absorbed by the helium atoms, so-called Fano resonances are found - an unmistakable sign that the final state was reached via two different paths.

This can also be prevented. During the ionization process, the indirect path can be effectively switched off with a second laser beam so that only the other path remains open and the Fano-resonance disappears.

This opens up a new possibility of studying the time evolution of this process. At first, the atom is allowed to follow both paths simultaneously. After some time, the indirect path is blocked. Depending on how long the system was allowed to access both paths, the Fano-resonance becomes more or less distinct.

"Fano resonances have been observed in a wide variety of physical systems, they play an important role in atomic physics", says Stefan Donsa (TU Wien). "For the first time, it is now possible to control these resonances and to show precisely, how they build up within femtoseconds."

"These quantum effects are so fast that on our usual time scales they appear to happen instantaneously, from one moment to the next", says Stefan Nagele. "Only by employing new sophisticated methods of attosecond physics it has become possible to study the time evolution of these processes."

This does not only help quantum scientists to understand the fundamental theory of important quantum effects, it also opens up new possibilities of controlling such processes - for example facilitating or inhibiting chemical reactions.

Research paper: "Observing the ultrafast build-up of a Fano resonance in the time domain"



Entering the field of zeptosecond measurement

‎Monday, ‎November ‎28, ‎2016, ‏‎4:38:03 AMGo to full article
Munich, Germany (SPX) Nov 09, 2016 - Laser physicists in Munich have measured a photoionization - in which an electron exits a helium atom after excitation by light - for the first time with zeptosecond precision. A zeptosecond is a trillionth of a billionth of a second (10^-21 seconds). This is the greatest accuracy of time determination ever achieved, as well as the first absolute determination of the timescale of photoionization.

If light hits the two electrons of a helium atom, one must be incredibly fast to observe what occurs. Besides the ultra-short periods in which changes take place, quantum mechanics also comes into play. Laser physicists at the Max Planck Institute of Quantum Optics (MPQ), the Technical University of Munich (TUM) and the Ludwig Maximilians University (LMU) Munich have now measured such an event for the first time with zeptosecond precision.

Either the entire energy of a light particle (photon) can be absorbed by one of the electrons or a division can take place, if a photon hits the two electrons of a helium atom. Regardless of the energy transfer, one electron leaves the atom. This process is called photoemission, or photoelectric effect, and was explained by Albert Einstein at the beginning of last century.

It takes between five and fifteen attoseconds (1 as is 10^-18 second) from the time a photon interacts with the electrons to the time one of the electrons leaves the atom, as physicists already discovered in recent years.

First glance into the world of Zeptoseconds
With their improved measurement method, laser physicists can accurately measure events at a rate of up to 850 zeptoseconds. The researchers shone an attosecond-long, extremely ultraviolet (XUV) light pulse onto a helium atom to excite the electrons.

At the same time, they fired a second infrared laser pulse, lasting about four femtoseconds (1 fs is 10^-15 seconds). The electron was detected by the infrared laser pulse as soon as it left the atom following excitation by XUV light.

Depending on the exact electromagnetic field of this pulse at the time of detection, the electron was accelerated or decelerated. Through this change in speed, the physicists were able to measure photoemission with zeptosecond precision.

In line with theoretical predictions
The researchers were also able to determine for the first time how the energy of the incident photon is quantum-mechanically divided between the two electrons of the helium atom in a few attoseconds before the emission of one of the particles.

"With the measurement of the electronic correlation, our experiments solved a promise of attosecond physics, namely the temporal resolution of a process which is inaccessible with other methods," says Reinhard Kienberger, professor of the Chair of Laser- and X-Ray Physics at TU Munich.

The physicists were also able to correlate the zeptosecond precision of their experiments with the theoretical predictions of their peers from the Institute of Theoretical Physics at the Technical University of Vienna.

With its two electrons, helium is the only multi electron system that can be calculated completely quantum mechanically. This makes it possible to reconcile theory and experiment. "We can now derive the complete wave mechanic description of the interconnected systems of electron and ionized helium mother atoms from our measurements," says Martin Schultze, project leader at the Max Planck Institute of Quantum Optics in Garching (Germany).

With their metrology experiments in zeptosecond time dimensions, the laser physicists have maneuvered another important puzzle piece in the quantum mechanics of the helium atom into position, and thus advanced measuring accuracy in the microcosm to a whole new dimension.

Research paper M. Ossiander, F. Siegrist, V. Shirvanyan, R. Pazourek, A. Sommer, T. Latka, A. Guggenmos, S. Nagele, J. Feist, J. Burgdorfer, R. Kienberger and M. SchultzeAttosecond correlation dynamics Nature physics, 7. November 2016, doi: 10.1038/nphys3941



France doubles its experimental capability in nuclear physics

‎Monday, ‎November ‎28, ‎2016, ‏‎4:38:03 AMGo to full article
Paris, France (SPX) Nov 08, 2016 - The new SPIRAL2 particle accelerator at the French large heavy-ion accelerator GANIL (CNRS/CEA), inaugurated on November 3 in the presence of the French President Francois Hollande, will be able to produce immensely powerful particle beams, enabling scientists to push back the frontiers of knowledge.

This will double France's experimental capability in nuclear physics, especially with regard to research into atomic nuclei and the mechanisms of nuclear reactions, such as those that take place within stars. Initial experiments are expected to get underway in mid 2017.

Studying atomic nuclei is of fundamental importance since they contain nearly the entire mass of the atoms of which all matter is made. The SPIRAL2 facility will be used to probe the very heart of matter.

It is designed to produce huge quantities of 'exotic' particles (so called because they do not exist in the natural state on Earth), making it possible to carry out novel experiments in nuclear physics and astrophysics. Multidisciplinary applied research will also be carried out at SPIRAL2 in the fields of health care (radiotherapy, diagnosis and biomedical research), materials for microfiltration (membranes for the agri-food and health sectors), electronics, the aerospace industry, and nuclear fission and fusion.

SPIRAL2 is one of the world's six most important research projects in nuclear physics. When it begins operation in 2017 it will enable France to continue to take center stage in international research in this field.

GANIL1, a very large-scale research infrastructure jointly run by the CNRS and the French Atomic and Alternative Energies Commission CEA, attracts over 700 researchers from 30 different countries each year to its facility in Caen.

With a cost in excess of euro 138 million2, the project, run by the CNRS and CEA, is supported by the French government, the city of Caen, the Caen-la-mer urban community, the departement of Calvados, the Normandy region and the European Union. Construction of SPIRAL2 began in 2011, and the accelerator will be inaugurated on Thursday 3 November 2016 in the presence of the French President, Francois Hollande.

Its design and construction involved a large number of public research laboratories (in particular from the CEA and CNRS) as well as high-tech companies both in France and Europe.

Photo report



Watching quantum jumps

‎Monday, ‎November ‎28, ‎2016, ‏‎4:38:03 AMGo to full article
Vienna, Austria (SPX) Nov 09, 2016 - Quantum particles can change their state very quickly - this is called a "quantum jump". An atom, for example, can absorb a photon, thereby changing into a state of higher energy. Usually, these processes are thought to happen instantaneously, from one moment to the next.

However, with new methods, developed at TU Wien (Vienna), it is now possible to study the time structure of such extremely fast state changes. Much like an electron microscope allows us to take a look at tiny structures which are too small to be seen with the naked eye, ultrashort laser pulses allow us to analyse temporal structures which used to be inaccessible.

The theoretical part of the project was done by Prof. Joachim Burgdorfer's team at TU Wien (Vienna), which also developed the initial idea for the experiment. The experiment was performed at the Max-Planck-Institute for Quantum Optics in Garching (Germany). The results have now been published in the journal Nature Physics.

The Most Accurate Time Measurement of Quantum Jumps

A neutral helium atom has two electrons. When it is hit by a high energy laser pulse, it can be ionized: one of the electrons is ripped out of the atom and departs from it. This process occurs on a time scale of attoseconds - one attosecond is a billionth of a billionth of a second.

"One could imagine that the other electron, which stays in the atom, does not really play an important part in this process - but that's not true", says Renate Pazourek (TU Wien). The two electrons are correlated, they are closely connected by the laws of quantum physics, they cannot be seen as independent particles.

"When one electron is removed from the atom, some of the laser energy can be transferred to the second electron. It remains in the atom, but it is lifted up to a state of higher energy", says Stefan Nagele (TU Wien).

Therefore, it is possible to distinguish between two different ionization processes: one, in which the remaining electron gains additional energy and one, in which it remains in a state of minimal energy. Using a sophisticated experimental setup, it was possible to show that the duration of these two processes is not exactly the same.

"When the remaining electron jumps to an excited state, the photo ionization process is slightly faster - by about five attoseconds", says Stefan Nagele.

It is remarkable how well the experimental results agree with theoretical calculations and large-scale computer simulations carried out at the Vienna Scientific Cluster, Austria's largest supercomputer: "The precision of the experiment is better than one attosecond. This is the most accurate time measurement of a quantum jump to date", says Renate Pazourek.

Controlling Attoseconds
The experiment provides new insights into the physics of ultrashort time scales. Effects, which a few decades ago were still considered "instantaneous" can now be seen as temporal developments which can be calculated, measured and even controlled.

This does not only help to understand the basic laws of nature, it also brings new possibilities of manipulating matter on a quantum scale.

Research paper







Beyond Perception - DVD

by Chuck Missler  




PRICE R 159.00


Media Type: DVD
Published 20-Sep-2010
Published by Koinonia House
Why do scientists now believe we live in a 10-dimensional universe?

Has physics finally reached the very boundaries of reality?

There seems to be evidence to suggest that our world and everything in it are only ghostly images; projections from a level of reality so beyond our own that the real reality is literally beyond both space and time. The main architect of this astonishing idea is one of the world's most eminent thinkers- physicist David Bohm, a protege of Einstein's. Earlier, he noticed that, in plasmas, particles stopped behaving like individuals and started behaving as if they were part of a larger and inter connected whole. He continued his work in the behavior of oceans of these particles, noting their behaving as if they know what each on the untold trillions of individual particles were doing.

This briefing pack DVD comes with:
-two mp3 audio files
-one notes file in pdf format

This DVD includes notes in PDF format and MP3 files.

Encoding: This DVD will be viewable in other countries WITH the proper DVD player and television set.
Format: Color, Fullscreen
Aspect Ratio: 4:3
Audio Encoding: Dolby Digital 2.0 stereo
Run Time: 2 hour(s)
Number of discs: 1

The Beyond Collection 







Price R399.00

 The Collection Includes the 4 DVD'S below




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Genetics Research Confirms Biblical Timeline

Exciting research from the summer of 2012 described DNA variation in the protein coding regions of the human genome linked to population growth. One of the investigation's conclusions was that the human genome began to rapidly diversify not more than 5,000 years ago.1,2 This observation closely agrees with a biblical timeline of post-flood human diversification. Yet another study, this one published in the journal Nature, accessed even more extensive data and unintentionally confirmed the recent human history described in Genesis.3

Differences in human DNA can be characterized across populations and ethnic groups using a variety of techniques. One of the most informative genetic technologies in this regard is the analysis of rare DNA variation in the protein coding regions of the genome. Variability in these regions is less frequent than the more numerous genetic differences that occur in the non-coding regulatory regions. Researchers can statistically combine this information with demographic data derived from population growth across the world to generate time scales related to human genetic diversification.4

What makes this type of research unique is that evolutionary scientists typically incorporate hypothetical deep time scales taken from the authority of paleontologists or other similar deep-time scenarios to calibrate models of genetic change over time. Demographics-based studies using observed world population dynamics do not rely on this bias and are therefore more accurate and realistic.

In a 2012 Science report, geneticists analyzed DNA sequences of 15,585 protein-coding gene regions in the human genome for 1,351 European Americans and 1,088 African Americans for rare DNA variation.1,2 This new study accessed rare coding variation in 15,336 genes from over 6,500 humans—almost three times the amount of data compared to the first study.3 A separate group of researchers performed the new study.

The Nature results convey a second spectacular confirmation of the amazingly biblical conclusions from the first study. These scientists confirmed that the human genome began to rapidly diversify not more than 5,000 years ago. In addition, they found significant levels of  variation to be associated with degradation of the human genome, not forward evolutionary progress. This fits closely with research performed by Cornell University geneticist John Sanford who demonstrated through biologically realistic population genetic modeling that genomes actually devolve over time in a process called genetic entropy.5

According to the Bible, the pre-flood world population was reduced to Noah's three sons and their wives, creating a genetic bottleneck from which all humans descended. Immediately following the global flood event, we would expect to see a rapid diversification continuing up to the present. According to Scripture, this began not more than 5,000 years ago. We would also expect the human genome to devolve or degrade as it accumulates irreversible genetic errors over time. Now, two secular research papers confirm these biblical predictions.


  1. Tomkins, J. 2012. Human DNA Variation Linked to Biblical Event Timeline. Creation Science Update. Posted on icr.org July 23, 2012, accessed December 31, 2012.
  2. Tennessen, J. et al. 2012. Evolution and Functional Impact of Rare Coding Variation from Deep Sequencing of Human Exomes. Science. 337 (6090): 64-69.
  3. Fu, W, et al. Analysis of 6,515 exomes reveals the recent origin of most human protein-coding variants. Nature. Published online before print, July 13, 2012.
  4. Keinan, A and A. Clark. 2012. Recent Explosive Human Population Growth Has Resulted in an Excess of Rare Genetic Variants. Science. 336 (6082): 740-743.
  5. Sanford, J. C. 2008. Genetic Entropy and the Mystery of the Genome, 3rd ed. Waterloo, NY: FMS Publications.

* Dr. Tomkins is a Research Associate and received his Ph.D. in Genetics from Clemson University.



Well-Known Scientist Resigns, Cites Climate Craziness

‎Thursday, ‎January ‎19, ‎2017, ‏‎10:00:00 AMGo to full article

Professor Judith Curry, a well-known Georgia Institute of Technology climatologist, recently resigned her tenured faculty position. She said the "craziness" of climate science was a "deciding factor."




Fast Evolution Confirms Creationist Theory

‎Monday, ‎January ‎16, ‎2017, ‏‎10:00:00 AMGo to full article

A tenet of creationist theory maintains that creatures are designed for robust speciation. Although they cannot change into fundamentally different kinds, creatures can rapidly express a wide diversity of traits to fit changing environments. "Fast evolution affects everyone, everywhere" is one headline from the theme of the Royal Society's life science journal in January, 2017. But its content further bolsters creationist theory.




That's a Fact: Big Bang?

‎Thursday, ‎January ‎12, ‎2017, ‏‎10:00:00 AMGo to full article

How did the universe begin? Some people say that it came into existence billions of years ago in a massive explosion. But this Big Bang has some big problems.



Amazon Go, Creatures Depend on Sophisticated Sensors

‎Monday, ‎January ‎9, ‎2017, ‏‎10:00:00 AMGo to full article

What does the recently unveiled Amazon Go store have to do with several new studies detailing how flies find water or how tiny roundworms can "taste light?" The "world's most advanced shopping technology" that links the cutting-edge Amazon Go store to its customers depends on the same vital element linking roundworms and spiders to their environments: a sensor.



Brain-Computer Interface Unmasks Mind-Brain Relationship

‎Thursday, ‎January ‎5, ‎2017, ‏‎10:00:00 AMGo to full article

A new bioengineered medical device was designed to treat people with a severe loss of neurologic muscle control. It affords a rare opportunity to clearly see some of the hidden relationships between mind, body, and designed interfaces. A unique case study indicates that the brain actually responds to the mind as a separate entity.



The Bible and Science [Podcast]

‎Tuesday, ‎January ‎3, ‎2017, ‏‎10:00:00 AMGo to full article

Is the Bible trustworthy? Are scientific theories 100% factual? How can Christians resolve the origins debate? ICR’s CEO Dr. Henry Morris III offers clarity and insight for questions about the origin of the universe, the accuracy of Scripture, and the role of faith in every human heart.



Top 2016 News: Marvels of Human Design

‎Yesterday, ‎December ‎29, ‎2016, ‏‎10:00:00 AMGo to full article

Just when we thought we knew all the basics about the human body, anatomists made three surprising discoveries in 2016. The newfound human body complexity borders on science fiction.



'Big Science' Celebrates Invalid Milankovitch Paper

‎Monday, ‎December ‎26, ‎2016, ‏‎10:00:00 AMGo to full article

This month, Science and Nature commemorated the anniversary of an important paper that was published in Science forty years ago, titled "Variations in the Earth's Orbit: Pacemaker of the Ice Ages." This paper convinced many secular scientists of the validity of the astronomical, or Milankovitch, ice age theory. But it appears that celebrated paper has been invalid for a quarter century.



Why Jesus Came Down From Heaven

‎Saturday, ‎December ‎24, ‎2016, ‏‎10:00:00 AMGo to full article

At Christmas, even the secular world makes much of the Christ child, born in a manger. But few seem to recognize that He had been eternally one with the Father in heaven before He chose to come down. And even fewer stop to learn just why He chose to come down.



Top 2016 News: Evidence for Recent Creation

‎Thursday, ‎December ‎22, ‎2016, ‏‎10:00:00 AMGo to full article

In a culture virtually convinced that the world is billions of years old, few people listen to evidence that clearly supports a young Earth. But that's what the Bible teaches. And plenty of science, including four finds from 2016, backs up the Bible's version of Earth history.




Top 2016 News: Fossil Discoveries

‎Monday, ‎December ‎19, ‎2016, ‏‎10:00:00 AMGo to full article

2016 revealed Cretaceous bird-feather proteins, original dinosaur-skin tissue, Triassic mosasaur blood vessels, and organic remnants from ancient fossil microbes. These four finds challenge scientists to question the popular model.



Top 2016 News: Fossil Discoveries

‎Monday, ‎December ‎19, ‎2016, ‏‎10:00:00 AMGo to full article

2016 revealed Cretaceous bird-feather proteins, original dinosaur-skin tissue, Triassic mosasaur blood vessels, and organic remnants from ancient fossil microbes. These four finds challenge scientists to question the popular model.




ICR and AIG Refute BioLogos Old-Earth Argument

‎Thursday, ‎December ‎15, ‎2016, ‏‎10:00:00 AMGo to full article

In 2010, the BioLogos Foundation published an article that attempted to refute biblical creation. It was authored by old-Earth geologists Drs. Gregg Davidson and Ken Wolgemuth. Do their arguments hold up to scientific scrutiny?



Fossil Feather Proteins Confirm Recent Flood

‎Monday, ‎December ‎12, ‎2016, ‏‎10:00:00 AMGo to full article

Ever since Dr. Mary Schweitzer's 2005 discovery of preserved original dinosaur proteins and blood cells, many secular scientists have remained skeptical. How could dinosaur fossils retain original organic material after millions of years? A new ancient bird fossil reveals more unexpected original chemicals, adding fuel to the fierce debate within the scientific community.




Another Feathered Dinosaur Tale

‎Saturday, ‎December ‎10, ‎2016, ‏‎10:00:00 AMGo to full article

On December 8, 2016, a science news story broke that researchers had found entombed in mid-Cretaceous amber a dinosaur tail complete with "primitive plumage"—i.e., feathers. Is this claim credible?



Gene Pleiotropy Roadblocks Evolution

‎Thursday, ‎December ‎8, ‎2016, ‏‎10:00:00 AMGo to full article

In the early days of genetics, genes were thought to be solitary entities. Now it's well understood that genes operate in complex networks and that gene mutations can have multiple detrimental effects. A new study reconfirms mutations are a major roadblock for evolution.




Can Drug Abuse Models Help Cure Society?

‎Monday, ‎December ‎5, ‎2016, ‏‎10:00:00 AMGo to full article

Donald Burke, a Dean at the University of Pittsburgh, recently wrote, "Since 2000, almost half a million Americans have died from drug overdoses." He suggested that scientists craft a digital model of our current drug society to project possible outcomes. Is a computer model really the answer?




'Mud Dragon' Is Really 'Flood Dragon'

‎Monday, ‎November ‎28, ‎2016, ‏‎10:00:00 AMGo to full article

Evolutionary scientists recently announced another spectacular dinosaur discovery. They nicknamed this one the Mud Dragon because it seems it died buried in mud. Junchang Lü and co-authors describe the new oviraptorid dinosaur in Scientific Reports. How did it really die?




‎Yesterday, ‎November ‎24, ‎2016, ‏‎10:00:00 AMGo to full article

All of God’s children must overcome the temptation to allow God’s sovereign provision of our needs to be overshadowed by the pleasure of our bounty and blessings—especially during this very American celebration of the Thanksgiving holiday. Here are some of the original thoughts.



Genesis Quiz

‎Monday, ‎November ‎21, ‎2016, ‏‎10:00:00 AMGo to full article

Think you know Genesis and ancient history?


Answer five quick questions and find out!




The Pangolin: A Mammal with Lizard Scales

‎Thursday, ‎November ‎17, ‎2016, ‏‎10:00:00 AMGo to full article

Due to the complete lack of transitional fossils leading to the remarkable pangolin, secular scientists must resort to "just-so stories" to fill in evolution's significant blanks, including how this amazing creature got its scales. Ricki Lewis, a Ph.D. geneticist, did exactly that with her recent article, "How the Pangolin Got Its Scales—A Genetic Just-So Story."




Pseudo-Pseudogenes Shake Up Evolutionary Paradigm

‎Monday, ‎November ‎14, ‎2016, ‏‎10:00:00 AMGo to full article

Pseudogenes were once thought to be genomic fossils—the broken remnants of genes that mutated long ago. However, research is progressively showing that many pseudogenes are highly functional and critical to life. Now, a newly characterized pseudogene has been shown to produce a functional protein, but only in cells where it is required—leading researchers to coin a new term pseudo-pseudogene.




Creation Physics [Podcast]

‎Yesterday, ‎November ‎10, ‎2016, ‏‎10:00:00 AMGo to full article

Did God use the Big Bang to create the universe? Can we know the age of the earth? ICR physicist Dr. Jake Hebert explores the origin of the universe, recent Ice Age studies, and the relevance of earth age research. Also, learn more about Dr. Hebert as he shares his personal creation journey.



Cattle-Bison Hybrid Stomps On Evolutionary Expectations

‎Monday, ‎November ‎7, ‎2016, ‏‎10:00:00 AMGo to full article

Buried bones, ancient carvings, and cave paintings reveal early European cow-types. Some had the large shoulder humps of bison, some showed the big horns of the extinct aurochs—extinct ancestors of modern cattle—and others seemed like hybrids between these forms. Classic Darwinian evolution asserts one ancestor for various descendants. These supposedly separate into isolated species which can't breed, like tree branches extending far from their trunk. A recent study exposed how this concept clashes with the actual trends in cow-kind variation.



Prions Pass Traits by Their Shape, Not DNA

‎Thursday, ‎November ‎3, ‎2016, ‏‎10:00:00 AMGo to full article

Medical students learn classic pathology cases to help them identify diseases. One such case involved human cannibals who ended up with tremors, seizures, balance disorders, and hallucinations after eating nervous tissue. The fatal diseases, Kuru disease and Creutzfeld-Jakob disease (CJD), which are akin to mad cow disease, are caused by mysterious transmissible proteins known as prions. These proteins can be found in neurons. When a prion becomes pathologically misshapen, an infectious change reaction occurs where prions in the host become shaped the same way as the infecting prion. Could prions play a role in evolution?



Dinosaurs and the Bible [Podcast]

‎Thursday, ‎October ‎27, ‎2016, ‏‎10:00:00 AMGo to full article

How did dinosaurs go extinct? Did they live alongside humans? ICR science writer Brian Thomas reveals the biblical and scientific evidence in this podcast series. Listen to fascinating insights from the fossil record, biblical history, and recent soft-tissue discoveries.



If Earth Is Old, It Should Have Frozen

‎Monday, ‎October ‎24, ‎2016, ‏‎10:00:00 AMGo to full article

Secular speculations insist Earth coalesced into its current state over four billion years ago, leaving one huge problem: the young sun would have been so dim that Earth would have frozen. Secular astronomers have long invoked methane gas to defray this dilemma, called the "faint young sun paradox." A recent study revealed two new reasons to totally reject methane as a rescuing device, leaving this paradox stronger than ever.



Musical Bird Maestros Befuddle Evolution

‎Thursday, ‎October ‎20, ‎2016, ‏‎10:00:00 AMGo to full article

A recent paper shows that the skill of some songbirds to extemporaneously innovate musical repertoire equals that of human musicians. Since none of the apes have this complex human-like capability, the discovery poses a big problem for the evolutionary model of human origins.



Magic Words Can't Explain Strange Fossil

‎Monday, ‎October ‎17, ‎2016, ‏‎10:00:00 AMGo to full article

Once upon a time, only a single Italian fossil—a crushed specimen that paleontologists had to reconstruct—represented the extinct reptile Drepanosaurus. Now, a team of American scientists described a new Drepanosaurus specimen from New Mexico. Instead of fingers, it had a massive claw on each hand, and its curling tail was claw-tipped. These features have evolutionists scratching their heads over where it came from and why it looks more like a particular living mammal than a reptile.



Codon Degeneracy Discredited Again

‎Thursday, ‎October ‎13, ‎2016, ‏‎10:00:00 AMGo to full article

One of the main themes of evolution is the belief that certain types of DNA sequences freely mutate and develop new functions that evolve creatures. This mostly mythical concept was applied to the protein-coding regions of genes, but in recent years this idea was discredited by the discovery of multiple codes imbedded in the same sequence—because the disruption of these codes is typically harmful, mutations are not tolerated. And now another critical imbedded code was discovered, further discrediting the idea of pervasive mutable DNA in genes.




Creation Geology [Podcast]

‎Monday, ‎October ‎10, ‎2016, ‏‎10:00:00 AMGo to full article

Can we believe both the Bible and geology? ICR geologist and Research Associate Dr. Tim Clarey uncovers how both fit together in this 5-part podcast series on creation geology. Dr. Clarey shares a unique geological perspective on the worldwide Flood, the origin and demise of dinosaurs, and the ice age.




Out-of-Place Dome-Headed Reptile

‎Thursday, ‎October ‎6, ‎2016, ‏‎10:00:00 AMGo to full article

An American research team recently reanalyzed a strange fossil the Works Progress Administration excavated in 1940 from the Triassic Otis Chalk in west Texas. This partial skull showed that the animal had a huge, thick dome on its head, much like pachycephalosaurs found in Cretaceous deposits. According to conventional consensus, 100 million years and a vicious extinction event separate the two fossil types. What role did an evolutionary perspective play in this team's conclusions about this supposedly out-of-place dome-headed fossil?



Scales, Colors, Proteins in Dinosaur Skin

‎Monday, ‎October ‎3, ‎2016, ‏‎10:00:00 AMGo to full article

Scientists mapped the color shading of a particularly well-preserved Chinese fossil—a Psittacosaurus [sit uh kuh SAWR us]—onto several three-dimensional, lifelike models of the dinosaur. They discovered that the extent of lighter areas on its belly matched that of today's animals that live in shaded areas, like beneath trees, as opposed to open plains. In the process, the researchers confirmed pigment and protein remnants in the fossil skin that should have decayed long ago if they were really millions of years old.



Cellular Evolution Debunked by Evolutionists

‎Thursday, ‎September ‎29, ‎2016, ‏‎10:00:00 AMGo to full article

Perhaps the greatest problem for evolution is where and how the first biomolecules and cells originated by means of random processes. And if that problem wasn't substantial enough—essentially statistically and biologically impossible—a new discovery makes the odds even worse. Colonies of complex fossil microbes have recently been found that allegedly push the origin of life to at least 3.7 billion years into the past—a period of time thought to be unfavorable for life to begin.




Gorillas, Endangerment, and Evolutionary Morality

‎Monday, ‎September ‎26, ‎2016, ‏‎10:00:00 AMGo to full article

The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) revealed their latest Red List of Threatened Species at their World Conservation Congress in Hawaii on September 4, 2016. There, thousands of scientists and celebrities discussed recently extinct plants and others nearing extinction, but the primate declines grabbed the headlines. Two of the three great-ape kinds are rapidly shrinking. Why should these losses sadden those concerned?



Creationist Worldview [Podcast]

‎Thursday, ‎September ‎22, ‎2016, ‏‎10:00:00 AMGo to full article

The Bible and science go together beautifully. ICR zoologist and researcher Frank Sherwin explains how in this 5-part podcast series on the creationist worldview. Mr. Sherwin shares the scientific and biblical evidence for a young earth, global Flood, and the origin of his favorite creatures—both living and extinct.



Archaeology Confirms Genesis, Job Climate

‎Tuesday, ‎September ‎20, ‎2016, ‏‎10:00:00 AMGo to full article

An international team of archaeologists examined animal and human remains from an ancient site in present-day Jordan that enjoyed wetter times in the distant past. Today's Azraq Oasis receives a mere trickle of water compared to its past flows. Several long-preserved clues from recent Azraq digs fit better into biblical history than with evolutionary ideas.



ICR Discovery Center for Science and Earth History

‎Friday, ‎September ‎16, ‎2016, ‏‎10:00:00 AMGo to full article

ICR hopes to soon begin building the Discovery Center for Science and Earth History. It will combine cutting-edge science and technology for an immersive experience that showcases God’s handiwork throughout the universe. Can you imagine how many lives will be changed?



New Calculations Melt Old Ice Age Theory

‎Wednesday, ‎September ‎14, ‎2016, ‏‎10:00:00 AMGo to full article

Recent ICR research has yielded convincing evidence that the results of an iconic climate/paleoclimate paper have been largely invalid—even by secular scientists' own reckoning—for the last 25 years. Moreover, most climate and paleoclimate scientists seem to be completely unaware of this fact.




Wild Carp Rapidly Regrow Scales

‎Monday, ‎September ‎12, ‎2016, ‏‎10:00:00 AMGo to full article

Back in the 1800s, Europeans bred carp until the breeders crafted a small population that lost all its scales. In 1912 some of these scale-free carp were transported to Madagascar, which had no native carp populations. Within a few decades some of the carp escaped and colonized natural Madagascar waters. Then, remarkably, some fish re-grew the scales their captive ancestors had completely lost. How did this happen?



Denton Bible Church Unlocks the Mysteries of Genesis

‎Friday, ‎September ‎9, ‎2016, ‏‎10:00:00 AMGo to full article

Eager churchgoers entering Denton Bible Church on a late summer Sunday were greeted by the toothy grins of extinct dragons. Why would a church display giant dinosaur fossils and offer an education series on these “mythical” monsters?




Life from an 'RNA World'?

‎Tuesday, ‎September ‎6, ‎2016, ‏‎10:00:00 AMGo to full article

A new study reports evidence that life may have begun with the help of an RNA enzyme called a ribozyme. However, instead of supporting the naturalistic origin of life, this recent research only serves to reemphasize how even the modification of pre-existing information toward a specific purpose requires immense levels of ingenuity, engineering, and expertise.



Population Growth

‎Monday, ‎August ‎29, ‎2016, ‏‎10:00:00 AMGo to full article

In 2011, the world’s human population reached seven billion. How long did it take for this many humans to be born?



The Case of the Missing Fulgurites

‎Thursday, ‎August ‎25, ‎2016, ‏‎10:00:00 AMGo to full article

Fulgurites are fossilized lightning strikes. Physicist Don DeYoung wrote that after 4.6 billion years, at the current lightning-strike rate, every square meter of land should contain far more fossilized lightning strikes than it can even hold. New fulgurite research updates the numbers to bring this fulgurite problem into sharper focus.



Creation Apologetics [Podcast]

‎Monday, ‎August ‎22, ‎2016, ‏‎10:00:00 AMGo to full article

Does Genesis really matter? How can we know the true timescale of creation or the age of the universe? And what should Christians do when they spot logical fallacies in conversations with skeptics? ICR astrophysicist Dr. Jason Lisle delves into these questions and more, offering several biblical and scientific arguments to logically defend the Christian faith.


Fossil DNA in Deep Seafloor Mud

‎Thursday, ‎August ‎18, ‎2016, ‏‎10:00:00 AMGo to full article

Scientists found DNA in sediment drill cores from the Bering Sea, hundreds of meters beneath the seafloor surface. Secular scientists insist that sediments at that depth required at least hundreds of thousands of years to deposit. Given that DNA degrades relatively quickly, the team faced the challenge of explaining how DNA could persist long enough to get buried beneath that much sediment.



New Dual-Function Brain Cell Found

‎Monday, ‎August ‎15, ‎2016, ‏‎10:00:00 AMGo to full article

Until 2015, anatomy textbooks taught that the human immune system doesn't penetrate brain tissue. But that same year, University of Virginia neuroscientist Jonathan Kipnis and his team discovered immune system cells working in the brain. The team's 2016 research revealed an unexpected additional role for molecules previously known only to target invading cells. They then speculated on ways this strange situation may have evolved.



Six Days of Creation, Part 1 [Podcast]

‎Thursday, ‎July ‎14, ‎2016, ‏‎10:00:00 AMGo to full article

The book of Genesis lays the groundwork for the Christian belief system. It is the foundation of everything that God has undertaken on behalf of humanity. Therefore, we need a correct understanding of Genesis in order to correctly understand our identity, our responsibility, and our future. Should we treat the Genesis account as historical fact? Should we believe in a literal creation? What does Genesis say about what and how God created?



Stunning Amber Bird Wings

‎Monday, ‎July ‎11, ‎2016, ‏‎10:00:00 AMGo to full article

Newly described bird wings—not just a single feather or a strange-looking fiber or two—rose to the top of a long list of spectacular amber-trapped fossils. Two tiny hatchlings may have seen dinosaurs just before their wings got trapped in fast-flowing tree resin. At least four waves of the magic evolutionary wand would be needed to shove these unique fossils into deep time.



Convergent Evolution or Design-Based Adaptation?

‎Thursday, ‎July ‎7, ‎2016, ‏‎10:00:00 AMGo to full article

Convergent evolution is the idea that the same trait, or set of traits, in completely different organisms were somehow produced through independent evolutionary processes. Now a new study shows how two different types of snakes have adapted to a diversity of environments by expressing the same traits (skin color and skull shape), but the study describes no mechanism for it. The authors simply attribute the highly repeatable process to the black box of convergent evolution.



The Seeing Eye

‎Tuesday, ‎July ‎5, ‎2016, ‏‎10:00:00 AMGo to full article

Great photographers pair a select lens to a sophisticated camera and then adjust shutter speed and aperture size to capture the perfect photo. Our eyes perform similar tasks but are precisely engineered better than any camera—and their components are vastly more sophisticated. Could the seeing eye have been made by time and chance?



Videoconference with ISS Commander

‎Wednesday, ‎June ‎29, ‎2016, ‏‎10:00:00 AMGo to full article

The Institute for Creation Research had the special privilege of videoconferencing with ISS Commander Col. Jeff Williams. He has occasional video-time with family and friends, and he graciously offered a question and answer session to the Dallas ICR staff while his wife, Anna-Marie, listened in from Houston. His responses give us a unique look into his heart.



Urban Trees Point to Creation

‎Monday, ‎June ‎27, ‎2016, ‏‎10:00:00 AMGo to full article

A recent U.S. Forest Service study estimated that the trees planted along California streets provide a billion dollars’ worth of human benefit each year. And that benefit comes cheap. This analysis reveals five tree-related benefits that identify where trees fit in the origins controversy.



Scientific Evidence for Creation [Podcast]

‎Thursday, ‎June ‎23, ‎2016, ‏‎10:00:00 AMGo to full article

Science and the Bible agree. ICR zoologist and Research Associate Frank Sherwin tells us how in this 5-part podcast series on the scientific evidence for creation. From submicroscopic machines to the mighty oceans, Frank explores the marvels of design, buried clues from the past, and the myth of human evolution.



Neuron-Packed Bird Brains Point to Creation

‎Monday, ‎June ‎20, ‎2016, ‏‎10:00:00 AMGo to full article

The amazing ability of birds to achieve ape-level cognitive traits—and in some cases exceed them like when they emulate human speech—has long confounded the evolutionary paradigm that claims humans evolved from apes. Now the bird intelligence evolutionary quandary has worsened as described in a new research report that shows bird brains contain over twice as many neurons per unit area as ape brains.



Special Cells Help Brain and Gut Communicate

‎Thursday, ‎June ‎16, ‎2016, ‏‎10:00:00 AMGo to full article

After investing so much time and effort to understand how all parts of the human body interact, scientists keep turning up new and unforeseen connections—often when they ask the right questions. New and strange developments inspired a team to ask wacky questions about a unique white blood cell called Ly6Chi. And they found some profound answers.



Five Reasons to Believe in Recent Creation [Podcast]

‎Monday, ‎June ‎13, ‎2016, ‏‎10:00:00 AMGo to full article

Should we read the Genesis creation account as literal and inspired history, or is it simply a symbolic framework that should be adapted to the most popular scientific theories? Sadly, a growing number of Christian leaders accept evolution as fact and try to harmonize the Bible with the concept of naturalistic development over countless eons. Dr. Henry Morris III offers five fundamental reasons why belief in a recent creation is not only feasible, but vital to a true understanding of God’s Word.



Is Chimp Grief Evidence of Evolution?

‎Thursday, ‎June ‎9, ‎2016, ‏‎10:00:00 AMGo to full article

As genetic research moves forward, the similarity between humans and chimpanzees becomes more and more distant—well beyond the bounds of evolutionary probability. But the secular world appears determined to show how chimps can behave similar to humans to bolster the failing evolutionary story. The most recent media buzz centers on several articles in which chimps are shown grieving over their dearly departed comrades.



Seagrass Re-evolution

‎Monday, ‎June ‎6, ‎2016, ‏‎10:00:00 AMGo to full article

Biologists recently sequenced the seagrass genome. They claim, "Uniquely, Z. marina has re-evolved new combinations of structural traits related to the cell wall." Re-evolved? There is no scientific reason—no empirical evidence—to say the structural traits somehow "re-evolved." How can these scientists make such a statement?



ICR Discovery Center: Expanding Creation Ministry

‎Thursday, ‎June ‎2, ‎2016, ‏‎10:00:00 AMGo to full article

Physicist Dr. Jake Hebert explains how the discovery center will enhance and expand ICR’s impact beyond its current media outlets and publications.



Junk DNA…Trashed Again

‎Thursday, ‎May ‎26, ‎2016, ‏‎10:00:00 AMGo to full article

Repetitious "words" in DNA represent more than half of the human genome's three billion nucleotides. Because human reasoning essentially views the repetition of words in spoken languages as errors, these DNA sequences were first written off as meaningless junk. Now it appears nothing could be further from the truth since these repetitive words are linked with pervasive biochemical function.



ICR Discovery Center: Impacting Hearts and Minds

‎Monday, ‎May ‎23, ‎2016, ‏‎10:00:00 AMGo to full article

Science Writer Brian Thomas tells how creation evidence changed his beliefs about God and Scripture—and ultimately the course of his life! ICR’s discovery center has the potential to reach so many more with this same life-changing message.



Titanic Remake More like Noah's Ark

‎Thursday, ‎May ‎19, ‎2016, ‏‎10:00:00 AMGo to full article

The Titanic's sinking on April 14, 1912 was the most famous seafaring disaster in modern times. But the survival of Noah's Ark in the Flood was the most famous seafaring success in ancient times. Did design specifications help make the difference? If so, that might help explain why the dimensions for Titanic II—a planned full-size replica luxury liner—will differ from the first Titanic.



New DNA Study Confirms Noah

‎Monday, ‎May ‎16, ‎2016, ‏‎10:00:00 AMGo to full article

Evolutionary teachings hold that all mankind arose from a population of ape-like ancestors. But Genesis, the rest of the Bible, and Jesus teach that mankind arose from Noah's three sons and their wives. A new analysis of human mitochondrial DNA exposes two new evidences that validate the biblical beginnings of mankind.



ICR Discovery Center: Encouraging Believers

‎Thursday, ‎May ‎12, ‎2016, ‏‎10:00:00 AMGo to full article

With engaging exhibits and a 3-D planetarium, ICR’s discovery center will show how scientific evidence confirms the Bible.  We want this project to encourage Christian believers that God’s Word can be trusted and  to equip them to defend their Christian faith.



Organic Residue Is 247 Million Years Old?

‎Monday, ‎May ‎9, ‎2016, ‏‎10:00:00 AMGo to full article

Those who have difficulty accepting reports of collagen (a type of protein) preserved in supposedly 80-million-year-old dinosaur bones will scratch their heads with new vigor over a recent report. Supposedly 247-million-year-old fossils from Poland show signs of excellent preservation and even hold blood vessels.



Wall-Climbing Cave Fish: Evolutionary Intermediate?

‎Thursday, ‎May ‎5, ‎2016, ‏‎10:00:00 AMGo to full article

Scientists recently discovered another bizarre fish. This one has a pelvic girdle. Is it the missing link evolutionists have been searching for?



ICR Discovery Center: Confirming Genesis

‎Monday, ‎May ‎2, ‎2016, ‏‎10:00:00 AMGo to full article

Genesis lays the foundation for every other book of the Bible, and it’s continually under attack. ICR’s discovery center will feature evidence demonstrating that all of the Bible—from beginning to end—can be trusted as God’s inspired Word.



Big Bang Continues to Self-Destruct

‎Monday, ‎April ‎25, ‎2016, ‏‎10:00:00 AMGo to full article

In modern cosmology, one of the most important numbers is the current value of the so-called "Hubble parameter." This number indicates the apparent expansion rate of the universe. A new study indicates that two different methods of estimating this number yield contradictory results.



Iron-mining Fungus Displays Surprising Design

‎Thursday, ‎April ‎21, ‎2016, ‏‎10:00:00 AMGo to full article

What happens when a soil fungus runs into a hard mineral containing precious trace amounts of nutritious iron? A poorly designed fungus might go hungry and languish like a forlorn noodle, but researchers recently found ways that a soil fungus conducts a miniature mining operation.



Monkey Business in the New Gorilla Genome

‎Monday, ‎April ‎18, ‎2016, ‏‎10:00:00 AMGo to full article

Old evolutionary assumptions seem hard to break. The recent assembling of ape DNA sequences based on the human genome provides a good example. This new gorilla genome study, despite capitalizing on advanced DNA sequencing technology, suffers from the same old malady.



ICR Discovery Center: Trusting God's Word

‎Thursday, ‎April ‎14, ‎2016, ‏‎10:00:00 AMGo to full article

Why is ICR building the new discovery center? Because the next generation needs to know that God’s Word can be trusted on all matters—including science.



Amber-Encased Lizards Showcase Recent Creation

‎Monday, ‎April ‎11, ‎2016, ‏‎10:00:00 AMGo to full article

Publishing online in Science Advances, a team of zoologists recognized familiar lizard forms in a dozen amber-encased lizard specimens. What did these lizards look like when they crawled around dinosaur feet? These Burmese ambers clearly show the answer.



ICR Discovery Center: Explaining the Scientific Method

‎Thursday, ‎April ‎7, ‎2016, ‏‎10:00:00 AMGo to full article

Drs. Jason Lisle and Jake Hebert talk about the scientific method in light of Scripture, evolutionary claims, and ICR’s biggest project yet.



Viral Genome Junk Hits the Trash

‎Monday, ‎April ‎4, ‎2016, ‏‎10:00:00 AMGo to full article

Evolutionists have long claimed that human chromosomes were infected with many different viruses over millions of years, which then multiplied in the genome. Then, as some of these sections of virus-like DNA were shown to be functional, evolutionists claimed they had become "tamed" like the domestication of wild animals. When virus-like DNA were first discovered, it was thought the majority of them would prove to be junk—until now.



Tyrannosaur Ancestral Tree Remains Limbless

‎Monday, ‎March ‎28, ‎2016, ‏‎10:00:00 AMGo to full article

Since Darwin's time, the lack of fossil evidence for vertical evolution has always been a problem for secular scientists. Now a recent paper published online in Scientific Reports attempts to map the ancestry of tyrannosaurs. Does it point us in the right direction?



ICR Discovery Center: Telling the Truth

‎Thursday, ‎March ‎24, ‎2016, ‏‎10:00:00 AMGo to full article

Why does ICR need to build this discovery center? Astrophysicist Dr. Jason Lisle describes what this ground-breaking project will accomplish and why it matters.



Evolutionary Tyranny Still Casts Cloud Over Science

‎Monday, ‎March ‎21, ‎2016, ‏‎10:00:00 AMGo to full article

A recent scientific paper published in the high-profile journal PLOS ONE made three separate references to the amazing design of the human hand…and rightly attributed them to the Creator. Evolutionists cried foul and raised such an uproar that the journal retracted the paper. Why?



ICR Discovery Center: Revealing Creation Evidence

‎Thursday, ‎March ‎17, ‎2016, ‏‎10:00:00 AMGo to full article

What kind of creation evidence can ICR reveal in the new museum? Science Writer Brian Thomas shares a few fascinating facts that refute evolution and confirm the authenticity of the Genesis account.



Tooth Study Takes Bite Out of Evolution

‎Monday, ‎March ‎14, ‎2016, ‏‎10:00:00 AMGo to full article

Secular scientists have told incredible stories for over a century about how fossil teeth supposedly support the idea that humans evolved from primates. A lack of knowledge about tooth development has provided fertile ground for wild speculations about evolving tooth sizes, skull shapes, foot shapes, and even life habits. A new report changes all that conjecture.



ICR Discovery Center: Equipping Believers

‎Thursday, ‎March ‎10, ‎2016, ‏‎10:00:00 AMGo to full article

“Always be ready to give a defense to everyone who asks you a reason for the hope that is in you” (1 Peter 3:15). Physicist Dr. Jake Hebert tells how ICR’s museum can equip you to defend your Christian faith.



China Spends Millions Searching for Aliens

‎Monday, ‎March ‎7, ‎2016, ‏‎10:00:00 AMGo to full article

China is spending almost 200 million dollars on an enormous radio antenna to listen for signs of alien intelligence. In the western hemisphere, millions of dollars were invested in the Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence Institute (SETI) project but have turned up no evidence. The ever-growing number of barren and gaseous exoplanets discovered continues to elevate Earth's uniqueness. Apparently, China would love to be the first nation to make "first contact."



ICR Discovery Center: Impacting Lives for the Gospel

‎Thursday, ‎March ‎3, ‎2016, ‏‎10:00:00 AMGo to full article

Two-thirds of the children raised in conservative Christian families leave the church in disbelief by the time they get to college. Find out how ICR’s museum project can influence our culture, point people to God’s Word, and encourage them to respond with faith in Him.



ICR Discovery Center: It's Okay to Ask Dinosaur Questions

‎Friday, ‎February ‎26, ‎2016, ‏‎10:00:00 AMGo to full article

Brian Thomas shares how the ICR Discovery Center for Science and Earth History can impact the faith of countless people by giving solid answers to their creation questions.



Were Sauropods Wading in China?

‎Thursday, ‎February ‎25, ‎2016, ‏‎10:00:00 AMGo to full article

It's tough to beat a genuine dinosaur trackway for a fascinating glimpse of ancient life. Among the frozen tracks of giant, four-footed sauropod dinosaurs like Apatosaurus now frozen in stone, most preserve both hind feet and "hands"—or in tech speak, the "pes" and "manus." But newly exposed tracks from Gansu Province in northern China have experts scrabbling to explain why they only preserve sauropod hind feet.



Octopus Genome as Large as Human Genome

‎Monday, ‎February ‎22, ‎2016, ‏‎10:00:00 AMGo to full article

The amazing octopus continues to astonish scientists. "Octopuses are highly intelligent creatures," says Claire Little, a marine biologist at the Weymouth Sealife Center in southwest England. "They are classed as intelligent as the general home pet dog." Scientists recently sequenced the octopus' genome and found it's nearly the size of the human genome.



Delicate Silk Fossils Point to Creation

‎Friday, ‎February ‎19, ‎2016, ‏‎10:00:00 AMGo to full article

Numerous amazing fossils supposedly millions of years old contain original, non-mineralized biomolecules like collagen, elastin, ovalbumin, DNA, laminin, melanin, hemoglobin, and chitin. A new study presents evidence suggesting this list should now include silk.




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Transhumanism is an international intellectual and cultural movement supporting the use of science and technology to improve human mental and physical characteristics and capacities.

by Dr. Martin Erdmann

The human species can, if it wishes, transcend itself. We need a name for this new belief. Perhaps transhumanism will serve: man remaining man, but transcending himself, by realizing new possibilities of and for his human nature.
Julian Huxley
1st director of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) (wrote nearly fifty years ago)
Transhumanism is a word that is beginning to bubble to the top of our prophetic studies and horizon. Simply described, transhumanism is an international intellectual and cultural movement supporting the use of science and technology to improve human mental and physical characteristics and capacities - in essence, to create a "posthuman" society.
This is not a passing fad. Transhumanist programs are sponsored in institutions such as Oxford, Standford, and Caltech. Sponsorships come from organizations such as Ford, Apple, Intel, Xerox, Sun Microsystems, and others. DARPA, Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, a technical department within the U.S. Department of Defense is also involved in transhumanist projects.
This briefing pack contains 2 hours of teachings
Available in the following formats
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2 M4A Files

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The Origins of Information: Exploring and Explaining Biological Information


In the 21st century, the information age has finally come to biology. We now know that biology at its root is comprised of information rich systems, such as the complex digital code encoded in DNA. Groundbreaking discoveries of the past decade are revealing the information bearing properties of biological systems.

Dr. Stephen C. Meyer, a Cambridge trained philosopher of science is examining and explaining the amazing depth of digital technology found in each and every living cell such as nested coding, digital processing, distributive retrieval and storage systems, and genomic operating systems.

Meyer is developing a more fundamental argument for intelligent design that is based not on a single feature like the bacterial flagellum, but rather on a pervasive feature of all living systems. Alongside matter and energy, Dr. Meyer shows that there is a third fundamental entity in the universe needed for life: information.



Got Science? Genesis 1 and Evidence



DVD - R159.00


Many scientists say complex life just randomly happened.
Primordial soup + lightning strike = Bingo! Is there any shred of scientific evidence that life was CREATED as Genesis 1 claims? Dr. Stephen Meyer, author of SIGNATURE IN THE CELL, says not a shred. Rather, a ton. Learn good reasoning techniques here.
08 June 2012, 08:09:11 PM

Intelligent Design is not Creationism

08 June 2012, 08:09:11 PM | Robert CrowtherGo to full article

This article was originally published in the Daily Telegraph (UK) on January 29. Original Article In 2004, the distinguished philosopher Antony Flew of the University of Reading made worldwide news when he repudiated a lifelong commitment to atheism and affirmed the reality of some kind of a creator. Flew cited evidence of intelligent design in DNA and the arguments of "American [intelligent] design theorists" as important reasons for this shift. Since then, British readers have learnt about the theory of intelligent design (ID) mainly from media reports about United States court battles over the legality of teaching students about it. According to most reports, ID is a "faith-based" alternative to evolution based solely on religion. But is this accurate? As one of the architects of the theory, I know it isn't. Contrary to media reports, ID is not a religious-based idea, but an evidence-based scientific theory about life's origins. According to Darwinian biologists such as Oxford University's Richard Dawkins, living systems "give the appearance of having been designed for a purpose". But, for modern Darwinists, that appearance of design is illusory, because the purely undirected process of natural selection acting on random mutations is entirely sufficient to produce the intricate designed-like structures found in living organisms. By contrast, ID holds that there are tell-tale features of living systems and the universe that are best explained by a designing intelligence. The theory does not challenge the idea of evolution defined as change over time, or even common ancestry, but it disputes Darwin's idea that the cause of biological change is wholly blind and undirected. What signs of intelligence do design advocates see? In recent years, biologists have discovered an exquisite world of nanotechnology within living cells - complex circuits, sliding clamps, energy-generating turbines and miniature machines. For example, bacterial cells are propelled by rotary engines called flagellar motors that rotate at 100,000rpm. These engines look like they were designed by engineers, with many distinct mechanical parts (made of proteins), including rotors, stators, O-rings, bushings, U-joints and drive shafts. The biochemist Michael Behe points out that the flagellar motor depends on the co-ordinated function of 30 protein parts. Remove one of these proteins and the rotary motor doesn't work. The motor is, in Behe's words, "irreducibly complex". This creates a problem for the Darwinian mechanism. Natural selection preserves or "selects" functional advantages as they arise by random mutation. Yet the flagellar motor does not function unless all its 30 parts are present. Thus, natural selection can "select" the motor once it has arisen as a functioning whole, but it cannot produce the motor in a step-by-step Darwinian fashion. Natural selection purportedly builds complex systems from simpler structures by preserving a series of intermediates, each of which must perform some function. With the flagellar motor, most of the critical intermediate structures perform no function for selection to preserve. This leaves the origin of the flagellar motor unexplained by the mechanism - natural selection - that Darwin specifically proposed to replace the design hypothesis. Is there a better explanation? Based on our uniform experience, we know of only one type of cause that produces irreducibly complex systems: intelligence. Whenever we encounter complex systems - whether integrated circuits or internal combustion engines - and we know how they arose, invariably a designing intelligence played a role. Consider an even more fundamental argument for design. In 1953, when Watson and Crick elucidated the structure of the DNA molecule, they made a startling discovery. Strings of precisely sequenced chemicals called nucleotides in DNA store and transmit the assembly instructions - the information - in a four-character digital code for building the protein molecules the cell needs to survive. Crick then developed his "sequence hypothesis", in which the chemical bases in DNA function like letters in a written language or symbols in a computer code. As Dawkins has noted, "the machine code of the genes is uncannily computer-like". The informational features of the cell at least appear designed. Yet, to date, no theory of undirected chemical evolution has explained the origin of the digital information needed to build the first living cell. Why? There is simply too much information in the cell to be explained by chance alone. The information in DNA (and RNA) has also been shown to defy explanation by forces of chemical necessity. Saying otherwise would be like saying a headline arose as the result of chemical attraction between ink and paper. Clearly, something else is at work. DNA functions like a software program. We know from experience that software comes from programmers. We know that information - whether, say, in hieroglyphics or radio signals - always arises from an intelligent source. As the pioneering information theorist Henry Quastler observed: "Information habitually arises from conscious activity." So the discovery of digital information in DNA provides strong grounds for inferring that intelligence played a causal role in its origin. Thus, ID is not based on religion, but on scientific discoveries and our experience of cause and effect, the basis of all scientific reasoning about the past. Unlike creationism, ID is an inference from biological data. Even so, ID may provide support for theistic belief. But that is not grounds for dismissing it. Those who do confuse the evidence for the theory with its possible implications. Many astrophysicists initially rejected the Big Bang theory because it seemed to point to the need for a transcendent cause of matter, space and time. But science eventually accepted it because the evidence strongly supported it. Today, a similar prejudice confronts ID. Nevertheless, this new theory must also be evaluated on the basis of the evidence, not philosophical preferences. As Professor Flew advises: "We must follow the evidence, wherever it leads." Stephen C Meyer edited 'Darwinism, Design and Public Education' (Michigan State University Press). He has a PhD in philosophy of science from Cambridge University and is a senior fellow at the Discovery Institute in Seattle.


09 December 2011, 11:13:24 PM

New Research Supports Meyer's Discussion of Pre-Biotic Chemistry in Signature in the Cell

09 December 2011, 11:13:24 PM | Andrew McDiarmidGo to full article
A recent Nature publication reports a new technique for measuring the oxygen levels in Earth's atmosphere some 4.4 billion years ago. The authors found that by studying cerium oxidation states in zircon, a compound formed from volcanic magma, they could ascertain the oxidation levels in the early earth. Their findings suggest that the early Earth's oxygen levels were very close to current levels. This research supports Dr. Meyer's discussion in Signature in the Cell. On pgs. 224-226 of Ch. 10: Beyond the Reach of Chance, Meyer states that when Stanley Miller conducted his famous 1953 experiment simulating early Earth's atmosphere, he "assumed that the earth's atmosphere contained virtually no free oxygen." Meyer reveals that new geochemical evidence showed that the assumptions Miller had made about the early atmosphere were incorrect. This new research is additional confirmation that oxygen was present in significant quantities. Because oxygen quenches organic reactions necessary to produce essential building blocks of life, the ability of inorganic materials to produce organic life, as chemical evolutionary theory assumes, is not possible. Read the complete article at ENV.


Dr. Meyer Debates Signature in the Cell Arguments with Keith Fox on Premier Radio UK

24 November 2011, 12:37:19 AM | Andrew McDiarmidGo to full article
During a recent visit to London, Dr. Stephen Meyer debated Keith Fox on Premier Radio UK's "Unbelievable" program. Fox is a professor of biochemistry at Southampton University and Chair of the UK's Christians in Science network. Two years after its publication, Meyer's Signature in the Cell continues to make an impact with its powerful argument for design in DNA. In this lively conversation, Meyer and Fox discuss origins of life and the design inference in science.


« Overflowtoday.com asks Stephen Meyer if he's got science | Main

Dr. Meyer Debates Signature in the Cell Arguments with Keith Fox on Premier Radio UK

During a recent visit to London, Dr. Stephen Meyer debated Keith Fox on Premier Radio UK's "Unbelievable" program. Fox is a professor of biochemistry at Southampton University and Chair of the UK's Christians in Science network. Two years after its publication, Meyer's Signature in the Cell continues to make an impact with its powerful argument for design in DNA. In this lively conversation, Meyer and Fox discuss origins of life and the design inference in science.



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