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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



NASA collision avoidance system saves unconscious F-16 Pilot

‎Today, ‎September ‎21, ‎2016, ‏‎9 hours agoGo to full article
Edwards AFB CA (SPX) Sep 21, 2016
Two pilots who credit a NASA-supported technology with saving one of their lives during a May training exercise mishap paid a visit to NASA Armstrong Flight Research Center in Edwards, California, to meet with some of the very engineers responsible for its development. A United States Air Force Major and F-16 flight instructor, and a foreign Air Force pilot student, spent an afternoon at the NAS

Manned launch of Soyuz MS-02 maybe postponed to Nov 1

‎Today, ‎September ‎21, ‎2016, ‏‎9 hours agoGo to full article
Moscow (Sputnik) Sep 21, 2016
Russia has moved the preliminary date of the Soyuz MS-02 spacecraft's manned launch from September 23 to November 1, Alexander Koptev, a NASA representative with the Russian Mission Control Centre, said Tuesday. On Saturday, a space industry source told RIA Novosti that the launch of Russia's Soyuz MS-02 spacecraft scheduled for September 23 was delayed due to a technical fault involving a

NASA scientists find 'impossible' cloud on Titan

‎Today, ‎September ‎21, ‎2016, ‏‎9 hours agoGo to full article
Pasadena CA (JPL) Sep 21, 2016
The puzzling appearance of an ice cloud seemingly out of thin air has prompted NASA scientists to suggest that a different process than previously thought - possibly similar to one seen over Earth's poles - could be forming clouds on Saturn's moon Titan. Located in Titan's stratosphere, the cloud is made of a compound of carbon and nitrogen known as dicyanoacetylene (C4N2), an ingredient i

China's space lab Tiangong-2 enters in-orbit test track

‎Today, ‎September ‎21, ‎2016, ‏‎9 hours agoGo to full article
Beijing (XNA) Sep 16, 2016
China's space lab Tiangong-2 has entered an in-orbit test track, the Beijing Aerospace Control Center said Friday. "Tiangong-2 is in good condition currently, and its sub-systems are operating smoothly," said Chen Xianfeng, an expert with the center. After entering the in-orbit test track, ground operators will test the stability of its sub-systems and carry out a series of space sci

TsENKI, Roscosmos seal contracts to modernize Baikonur

‎Today, ‎September ‎21, ‎2016, ‏‎9 hours agoGo to full article
Moscow (Sputnik) Sep 21, 2016
Russia's Center for Operation of Space Ground-Based Infrastructure (TsENKI) and Roscosmos state corporation have concluded three contracts worth some 1.8 billion rubles ($28 million at the current exchange rates) to modernize the Baikonur space center in Kazakhstan, TsENKI's press service said in a statement Tuesday. In August, Roscosmos published materials on Russia's official public proc

New book links flow of time with Big Bang

‎Today, ‎September ‎21, ‎2016, ‏‎9 hours agoGo to full article
Berkeley CA (SPX) Sep 21, 2016
A simple question from his wife - Does physics really allow people to travel back in time? - propelled physicist Richard Muller on a quest to resolve a fundamental problem that had puzzled him throughout his 45-year career: Why does the arrow of time flow inexorably toward the future, constantly creating new "nows"? That quest resulted in a book just published "NOW: The Physics of Time" (W

STRATCOM nominee vows to end US reliance on Russian RD-180 engines

‎Today, ‎September ‎21, ‎2016, ‏‎9 hours agoGo to full article
Washington DC (Sputnik) Sep 21, 2016
John Hyten, the nominee to head US Strategic Command (STRATCOM), wowed in a congressional testimony on Tuesday to work with lawmakers to end the United States' dependence on Russian-built RD-180 rocket engines. The RD-180 engines under consideration in the 2017 budget help provide a bridge to the next generation launch vehicles being developed, Hyten said. "I pledge to continue to wo

RAVE complements Gaia with Fifth Data Release

‎Today, ‎September ‎21, ‎2016, ‏‎9 hours agoGo to full article
Potsdam, Germany (SPX) Sep 21, 2016
The new data release of the RAdial Velocity Experiment (RAVE) is the fifth spectroscopic release of a survey of stars in the southern celestial hemisphere. It contains radial velocities for 520,781 spectra of 457,588 unique stars that were observed over ten years. With these measurements RAVE complements the first data release of the Gaia survey published by the European Space Agency ESA l

Agreement signed to host Northern Cherenkov Telescope Array

‎Today, ‎September ‎21, ‎2016, ‏‎9 hours agoGo to full article
Heidelberg, Germany (SPX) Sep 21, 2016
On 19 September 2016, the Council of the Cherenkov Telescope Array Observatory (CTAO) concluded negotiations with the Instituto de Astrofisica de Canarias (IAC) to host CTA's northern hemisphere array at the Roque de los Muchachos Observatory in La Palma, Spain. To provide access to the whole sky, the CTA Observatory will have two sites, with 19 telescopes in the northern hemisphere and 99 in th

Shedding light on Pluto's glaciers

‎Today, ‎September ‎21, ‎2016, ‏‎9 hours agoGo to full article
Paris, France (SPX) Sep 21, 2016
What is the origin of the large heart-shaped nitrogen glacier revealed in 2015 on Pluto by the New Horizons spacecraft? Two researchers from the Laboratoire de meteorologie dynamique show that Pluto's peculiar insolation and atmosphere favor nitrogen condensation near the equator, in the lower altitude regions, leading to an accumulation of ice at the bottom of Sputnik Planum, a vast topographic

Stellar activity can mimic misaligned exoplanets

‎Today, ‎September ‎21, ‎2016, ‏‎9 hours agoGo to full article
Porto, Portugal (SPX) Sep 21, 2016
The occultation of stellar active regions during the planetary transit can lead to inaccurate estimates of the characteristics of these exoplanets, especially the spin-orbit tilt angle. This was the conclusion of simulations made by a team of astronomers from the Instituto de Astrofisica e Ciencias do Espaco (IA) in Portugal, and Institute of Astrophysics of Georg-August University of Gottingen

Orion heat shield for next space flight arrives at Kennedy

‎Today, ‎September ‎21, ‎2016, ‏‎9 hours agoGo to full article
Kennedy Space Center FL (SPX) Sep 21, 2016
The Orion heat shield, which will protect the Orion crew module during re-entry after the spacecraft's first uncrewed flight test with NASA's Space Launch System rocket, arrived at the agency's Kennedy Space Center in Florida in August. It was transported to the Shuttle Landing Facility, which is managed and operated by Space Florida, aboard NASA's Super Guppy aircraft. The shipping contai

Mars 2020 rover to produce oxygen: NASA

‎Today, ‎September ‎21, ‎2016, ‏‎9 hours agoGo to full article
Los Angeles CA (SPX) Sep 21, 2016
NASA's Mars 2020 rover will not only investigate the Red Planet, searching for evidence of past life on Mars, but it also expected to lay foundations for future human exploration of the planet. One of the mission's instrument called MOXIE will have a special task, testing technology essential for Mars colonization. "MOXIE is one of nine instruments but it is the only one that is relevant t

Introducing the Daily Minor Planet: delivering the latest asteroid news

‎Today, ‎September ‎21, ‎2016, ‏‎9 hours agoGo to full article
Boston MA (SPX) Sep 21, 2016
Have you ever wondered what piece of cosmic debris is whizzing past the Earth right now? Do you crave up-to-the-minute information about asteroids large and small? Well you're in luck because today you can subscribe to a new service: the Daily Minor Planet. Developed through a partnership between scientists at the Minor Planet Center and volunteers from the Oracle Corporation, the Daily Mi

N. Korea hails 'successful' test of new rocket engine

‎Today, ‎September ‎21, ‎2016, ‏‎9 hours agoGo to full article
Seoul (AFP) Sept 20, 2016
North Korea has successfully tested a new, high-powered rocket engine, state media said Tuesday, a move Seoul said was designed to showcase its progress towards being able to target the US east coast. The ground test comes less than two weeks after Pyongyang detonated what it said was a miniaturised atomic bomb. Taken together, the two tests raise the prospect that the isolated state cou

Air Force tests first full-scale component of Hydrocarbon Boost Program

‎Thursday, ‎September ‎15, ‎2016, ‏‎3:31:17 AMGo to full article
Edwards AFB CA (SPX) Sep 15, 2016
The United States is one step closer to eliminating its reliance on Russian technology to launch its military satellites. The Hydrocarbon Boost Technology Demonstrator, a U.S. Air Force technology effort focused on development of Oxygen Rich Staged Combustion rocket engine technology, has recently completed its first full-scale component test at 100-percent power. The development of Oxygen

Pentagon push to tap tech talent in 'weird' Texas city

‎Thursday, ‎September ‎15, ‎2016, ‏‎3:31:17 AMGo to full article
Washington (AFP) Sept 14, 2016
Pentagon chief Ashton Carter on Wednesday announced the creation of a new defense innovation center in Austin, Texas - the latest expansion in an ongoing effort to connect with some of America's hippest tech communities. Carter's project, called Defense Innovation Unit Experimental, or DIUx, already has offices in Silicon Valley and in the Boston area, home to Harvard University and the Mas

China's space progress in recent years

‎Thursday, ‎September ‎15, ‎2016, ‏‎3:31:17 AMGo to full article
Beijing (XNA) Sep 14, 2016
China has been developing aerospace technologies for decades. Yet in recent years, China has made significant progress in aerospace activities, including satellite deployment, manned space flights, and deep space exploration. China now has a complete satellite system, ranging from scientific experiment to practical applications satellites. For high-resolution earth observation, six s

First commercial space base to be built in Wuhan

‎Thursday, ‎September ‎15, ‎2016, ‏‎3:31:17 AMGo to full article
Beijing (XNA) Sep 14, 2016
The country's first commercial space industry base will be built in Wuhan, capital of Hubei province, according to an agreement signed on Monday. The Wuhan National Space Industry Base will focus on the development of carrier rockets and satellites, commercial launch services and applications of satellite data. The base plans to establish an annual production capacity of 50 carrier r

China plans global satellite network to boost internet

‎Thursday, ‎September ‎15, ‎2016, ‏‎3:31:17 AMGo to full article
Beijing (XNA) Sep 14, 2016
China Aerospace Science and Industry Corp, the nation's largest missile developer, plans to build a space-based information network that will provide global coverage. Liu Shiquan, deputy general manager of the State-owned space and defense giant, said on Monday the company will put 156 communications satellites into low Earth orbit, at an altitude of 160 to 2,000 km. Each satellite of the

Chandra detects low-energy X-rays from Pluto

‎Thursday, ‎September ‎15, ‎2016, ‏‎3:31:17 AMGo to full article
Cambridge, Mass. (UPI) Sep 14, 2016
Pluto is cold and rocky. It hosts no known X-ray-emitting mechanisms. Yet, NASA's Chandra X-ray Observatory has detected low-energy X-rays coming from Pluto. "We've just detected, for the first time, X-rays coming from an object in our Kuiper Belt, and learned that Pluto is interacting with the solar wind in an unexpected and energetic fashion," Carey Lisse, an astrophysicist with the A

Mapping the Milky Way as never before

‎Thursday, ‎September ‎15, ‎2016, ‏‎3:31:17 AMGo to full article
Paris (AFP) Sept 14, 2016
The Gaia space probe, launched in 2013, has mapped more than a billion stars in the Milky Way, vastly expanding the inventory of known stars in our galaxy, the European Space Agency said Wednesday. Released to eagerly waiting astronomers around the world, the initial catalogue of 1.15 billion stars is "both the largest and the most accurate full-sky map ever produced," said Francois Mignard,

ALMA locates possible birth site of icy giant planet

‎Thursday, ‎September ‎15, ‎2016, ‏‎3:31:17 AMGo to full article
Mito, Japan (UPI) Sep 14, 2016
Astronomers have found evidence of a newborn planet in the protoplanetary disk surrounding TW Hydrae, a young star located 176 light-years away. The newly collected data, retrieved by the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array, ALMA, suggests the growing planet is an icy giant, similar in size and composition to Uranus and Neptune. As astronomers continue to discover exopla

Brexit will change UK role in Europe's space programmes: ESA

‎Thursday, ‎September ‎15, ‎2016, ‏‎3:31:17 AMGo to full article
Paris (AFP) Sept 14, 2016
Britain will stay in the European Space Agency when it leaves the EU, but will have to renegotiate terms to continue participating in certain projects, the ESA said Wednesday. The ESA is autonomous from the European Union and should not be directly affected by the "Brexit", Jean Bruston, head of the agency's EU policy office, told journalists in Paris. Twenty EU countries - including Br

RED FLAG 16-3: Space Control Squadron embodies the spirit of attack

‎Thursday, ‎September ‎15, ‎2016, ‏‎3:31:17 AMGo to full article
Peterson AFB CO (SPX) Sep 15, 2016
Over the long 4th of July Weekend, many people barbequed, enjoyed time with friends and family and celebrated our great nation's independence. However, members of the 4th Space Control Squadron had different plans. The Warhawks relocated 35 tons of equipment over a four-state, 1,000-mile convoy from Peterson Air Force Base, Colorado, to Nellis Air Force Base, Nevada, in support of the Air

Proba-3: set the controls for the verge of the Sun

‎Thursday, ‎September ‎15, ‎2016, ‏‎3:31:17 AMGo to full article
Paris (ESA) Sep 15, 2016
By converging in orbit, a pair of small satellites will open a new view on the source of the largest structure in the Solar System: the Sun's ghostly atmosphere, extending millions of kilometres out into space. The two satellites together are called Proba-3, set for launch in late 2019. Through precise formation flying, one will cast a shadow across the second to open up an unimpeded view

China issues development plan for geoinformation industry

‎Thursday, ‎September ‎15, ‎2016, ‏‎3:31:17 AMGo to full article
Beijing (XNA) Sep 15, 2016
China has issued a geographic information development plan, vowing to improve its surveying and mapping capability and services. By 2020, the country will establish a non-profit system providing integrated services including basic surveying and mapping, condition monitoring, surveying and mapping for emergency response, aerial and space remote sensing surveying and mapping as well as globa

2 SOPS bids farewell to miracle satellite

‎Thursday, ‎September ‎15, ‎2016, ‏‎3:31:17 AMGo to full article
Schriever AFB CO (SPX) Sep 15, 2016
The 2nd Space Operations Squadron bid goodbye to Global Positioning System Satellite Vehicle Number 23 via final command and disposal at Schriever Air Force Base, Colorado, Aug. 26, 2016. Older, less capable satellites, such as SVN-23, are moved into a disposal orbit at end of life to reduce risk to the GPS constellation, and create space for more satellites. Since GPS satellites do not ca

THEMIS sees Auroras move to the rhythm of Earth's magnetic field

‎Thursday, ‎September ‎15, ‎2016, ‏‎3:31:17 AMGo to full article
Greenbelt MD (SPX) Sep 15, 2016
The majestic auroras have captivated humans for thousands of years, but their nature - the fact that the lights are electromagnetic and respond to solar activity - was only realized in the last 150 years. Thanks to coordinated multi-satellite observations and a worldwide network of magnetic sensors and cameras, close study of auroras has become possible over recent decades. Yet, auroras continue

Full circle: space algae fighting malnutrition in Congo

‎Thursday, ‎September ‎15, ‎2016, ‏‎3:31:17 AMGo to full article
Paris (ESA) Sep 15, 2016
Looking for food that could be harvested by astronauts far from Earth, researchers focused on spirulina, which has been harvested for food in South America and Africa for centuries. ESA astronaut Samantha Cristoforetti ate the first food containing spirulina in space and now the knowledge is being applied to a pilot project in Congo as a food supplement. Preparing for long missions far fro

NASA set to launch near-Earth asteroid mission

‎Thursday, ‎September ‎8, ‎2016, ‏‎1:47:16 AMGo to full article
Washington (AFP) Sept 7, 2016
US space agency NASA is poised Thursday to launch its groundbreaking first mission to a near-Earth asteroid to collect samples that could shed light on the dawn of the solar system. Scientists hope the seven-year, $800 million mission will reveal something about the origins of the Bennu asteroid and of life itself. The OSIRIS-REx spacecraft is scheduled to blast off Thursday at 7:05 pm (

Asteroid Mission Will Carry Student X-Ray Experiment

‎Thursday, ‎September ‎8, ‎2016, ‏‎1:47:16 AMGo to full article
Boston MA (SPX) Sep 08, 2016
At 7:05pm (EDT), Thursday, Sept. 8, NASA plans to launch a spacecraft to a near-Earth asteroid named Bennu. Among that spacecraft's five instruments is a student experiment that will use X-rays to help determine Bennu's surface composition. The Regolith X-Ray Imaging Spectrometer, or REXIS, was developed by researchers and students at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics (CfA) a

Astronaut returns home after logging record-breaking 534 days in space

‎Thursday, ‎September ‎8, ‎2016, ‏‎1:47:16 AMGo to full article
Zhezkazgan, Kazakhstan (UPI) Sep 7, 2016
NASA astronaut Jeff Williams returned to Earth on Wednesday with a new record. Williams' latest mission puts his days-in-space total at 534, the most by an American astronaut. "No other U.S. astronaut has Jeff's time and experience aboard the International Space Station," Kirk Shireman, ISS program manager at NASA's Johnson Space Center, said in an update. "From his first flight in 2000

NASA Searches for Big Idea from Students for In-Space Assembly of Spacecraft

‎Thursday, ‎September ‎8, ‎2016, ‏‎1:47:16 AMGo to full article
Hampton VA (SPX) Sep 07, 2016
In the 2017 Breakthrough, Innovative, and Game-changing (BIG) Idea Challenge, NASA is engaging university-level students in its quest to reduce the cost of deep space exploration. NASA's Game Changing Development Program (GCD), managed by the agency's Space Technology Mission Directorate, and the National Institute of Aerospace (NIA) are seeking novel and robust concepts for in-space assembly of

NASA to Shine Lasers on Future Aircraft Concept

‎Thursday, ‎September ‎8, ‎2016, ‏‎1:47:16 AMGo to full article
Hampton VA (SPX) Sep 08, 2016
As NASA aeronautics engineers prepare to develop a series of greener, quieter, faster X-planes, they are already testing concepts that could be candidates. One of those is a blended wing body (BWB). A six-percent scale model of a Boeing BWB is being tested for six weeks in the 14-by 22-Foot Subsonic Tunnel at NASA's Langley Research Center in Hampton, Virginia. "We're happy to have t

Terzan 5 Is Like No Other Globular Cluster

‎Thursday, ‎September ‎8, ‎2016, ‏‎1:47:16 AMGo to full article
Garching, Germany (SPX) Sep 07, 2016
A fossilised remnant of the early Milky Way harboring stars of hugely different ages has been revealed by an international team of astronomers. This stellar system resembles a globular cluster, but is like no other cluster known. It contains stars remarkably similar to the most ancient stars in the Milky Way and bridges the gap in understanding between our galaxy's past and its present. Te

First Gravitational Waves form After 10 Million Years

‎Thursday, ‎September ‎8, ‎2016, ‏‎1:47:16 AMGo to full article
Zurich, Switzerland (SPX) Sep 07, 2016
In his general theory of relativity, Albert Einstein predicted gravitational waves over a century ago; this year, they were detected directly for the first time: The American Gravitational Wave Observatory LIGO recorded such curvatures in space from Earth, which were caused by the merging of two massive black holes. And the research on gravitational waves - and thus the origin of the unive

A first for direct-drive fusion

‎Thursday, ‎September ‎8, ‎2016, ‏‎1:47:16 AMGo to full article
Rochester NY (SPX) Sep 07, 2016
Scientists at the University of Rochester have taken a significant step forward in laser fusion research. Experiments using the OMEGA laser at the University's Laboratory of Laser Energetics (LLE) have created the conditions capable of producing a fusion yield that's five times higher than the current record laser-fusion energy yield, as long as the relative conditions produced at LLE are reprod

Recreating Our Galaxy in a Supercomputer

‎Thursday, ‎September ‎8, ‎2016, ‏‎1:47:16 AMGo to full article
Pasadena CA (SPX) Sep 08, 2016
Astronomers have created the most detailed computer simulation to date of our Milky Way galaxy's formation, from its inception billions of years ago as a loose assemblage of matter to its present-day state as a massive, spiral disk of stars. The simulation solves a decades-old mystery surrounding the tiny galaxies that swarm around the outside of our much larger Milky Way. Previous simulat

Massive Holes 'Punched' Through a Trail of Stars Likely Caused by Dark Matter

‎Thursday, ‎September ‎8, ‎2016, ‏‎1:47:16 AMGo to full article
Cambridge UK (SPX) Sep 08, 2016
Researchers have detected two massive holes which have been 'punched' through a stream of stars just outside the Milky Way, and found that they were likely caused by clumps of dark matter, the invisible substance which holds galaxies together and makes up a quarter of all matter and energy in the universe. The scientists, from the University of Cambridge, found the holes by studying the di





News About Time And Space



Simple equation predicts force needed to push objects through sand

‎Thursday, ‎September ‎1, ‎2016, ‏‎9:38:41 AMGo to full article
Boston MA (SPX) Sep 01, 2016 - For those of you who take sandcastle building very seriously, listen up: MIT engineers now say you can trust a very simple equation to calculate the force required to push a shovel - and any other "intruder"-- through sand. The team also found that the same concept, known as the resistive force theory, can generate useful equations for cohesive materials like muds.

Aside from calculating the elbow grease needed to carve out a beachside moat, the researchers say the equation can be used to optimize the way vehicles drive over gravel and soil, such as rovers navigating the Martian landscape. It can also help illuminate the ways in which animals such as lizards and worms burrow through earth.

Resistive force theory (RFT) is not new and in fact was proposed in the 1950s to describe the way in which objects move through viscous fluids such as water (on small scales) and honey.

It was only much later that scientists thought to apply the same idea to granular material such as sand; they found the theory predicted the force required to move objects through grains even better than its analog for fluids. The reason for this has been a mystery, particularly since predicting granular versus fluid behavior is notoriously difficult.

Ken Kamrin, associate professor of mechanical engineering at MIT, says scientists have regarded granular RFT as "somewhat like magic," unsure of what makes the concept work so spot-on for sand.

In a paper published in Nature Materials, Kamrin, along with former MIT postdoc Hesam Askari, have essentially solved this mystery. They report that they have identified a mechanical explanation for why the equation works so well for granular materials. Now, they say that scientists have reason to trust the resistive force theory to give accurate force estimates through sand, and even pastier materials like mud and gels.

"People observed this concept worked but didn't know why, and that's really shaky ground for scientists - is it just a coincidence?" Kamrin says. "Now we can explain the backbone of the granular resistive force theory, so you can close your eyes and have confidence that it's going to work. It gives us some fleeting hope that we might be able to design something that more efficiently moves, swims, or drives over sand."

An intrusion problem
Granular RFT works like this: Imagine you are working with a shovel, buried at a certain depth in the sand. You want to know how much to push on the shovel, to move it in a particular direction.

To answer this question, you first need to do some experiments with a small, square plate, made from the same material as your shovel. Push the plate through sand, starting from all possible orientations and moving in all possible directions. During each test, measure the amount of force it takes to move the plate.

According to the theory, you can think of the shovel as an assemblage of similar small plates. To estimate the force required to move the shovel, simply imagine each plate is on its own and add up all the tiny, individual forces of each plate, at each specific location and orientation along the shovel. As it turns out, this theory works remarkably well for granular materials, and somewhat well in fluids.

"If something is working well, it would be nice to know why," Kamrin says. "There may be a large set of problems you might solve if you knew why the intrusion problem is so easy to figure out in sand."

A push and a shove
Kamrin set out to write the simplest equation he could think of that would represent granular flows, to see whether the equation, and the mechanical relationships it defines, could also reproduce the simplified picture assumed in resistive force theory. If so, he reasoned, the equation - also called a continuum model - could give a mechanical explanation for why RFT works, and furthermore, validate the theory.

The equation he came up with is a variant of a standard model, based on Coulomb's yield criterion, a simple criterion that determines whether granular material will flow or not. Imagine a collection of sand compressed between your hands. Coulomb's equation states that in order to slide one hand against the other the shear stress - akin to the force applied to slide your hands - divided by the surrounding pressure - squeezing the sand together - must equal something called the friction coefficient. If this ratio reaches the friction coefficient (determined by the sand's properties), your hand will move.

Kamrin added one more ingredient to the equation: a separation rule, to account for the fact that sand, in general, does not stick together. For example, if you move a shovel through sand, it will create a temporary hole behind the shovel that is immediately refilled with in-falling sand - a realistic phenomenon that Kamrin says is important to include, to accurately represent sand flow, particularly in "intrusion" scenarios such as pushing a shovel through sand.

Kamrin and Askari applied their continuum model in finite element simulations in which they simulated a simple plate moving through granular media in many ways. The simulation was designed to mimic actual experiments performed by others. They found that both the flow of the grains and the force against the plate matched what others had observed in their experiments.

The team then simulated more complex objects, such as a circle and a diamond, moving through sand, using first their continuum model and then RFT with their previous plate simulations serving as the RFT inputs. Both simulations produced nearly identical results and predicted the same force value needed to move both objects. When the researchers pushed the simulation to model three-dimensional objects, both the continuum model and RFT again generated the same answers.

"The agreement is unbelievably good," Kamrin says. "It turns out RFT happens to work really well, thanks to an interesting property in the Coulomb continuum model."

"Out of a sticky situation"
Interestingly, this simplification does less well in predicting the force applied to an object through fluid. When Kamrin and Askari modeled an object - in this case, a simple garden hoe - through fluid, the force from the viscous flow equations was inherently incompatible with the sum of forces from separate small plates. When the material model was switched to the granular model, the total force exactly matched what a sum of small independent plate forces would give.

"In some sense, this is a litmus test," Kamrin says. "In the end, it proves the granular continuum model perfectly agrees with the resistive force theory in a class of representative problems."

To see if RFT could make accurate predictions in any other material besides grains, the researchers "went through the Rolodex of materials that have modeling equations," and found using a similar test that indeed, RFT could also apply to certain cohesive materials like pastes, gels, and mud.

Kamrin says now scientists can rely on RFT to help solve many traction-related problems. But could the equation also help one get out of, say, quicksand?

"Let's put it this way: Either way, you need to do a bit of work to figure out how to push yourself out of quicksand," Kamrin says.

"But in the right circumstances RFT divides the amount of work by a whole lot. You don't have to solve differential equations anymore. Just give me a couple charts and a piece of paper and a pen, and I can calculate my way out of a sticky situation."



Argonne theorists solve a long-standing fundamental problem

‎Thursday, ‎September ‎1, ‎2016, ‏‎9:38:41 AMGo to full article
Lemont IL (SPX) Sep 01, 2016 - Trying to understand a system of atoms is like herding gnats - the individual atoms are never at rest and are constantly moving and interacting. When it comes to trying to model the properties and behavior of these kinds of systems, scientists use two fundamentally different pictures of reality, one of which is called "statistical" and the other "dynamical."

The two approaches have at times been at odds, but scientists from the U.S. Department of Energy's Argonne National Laboratory announced a way to reconcile the two pictures.

In the statistical approach, which scientists call statistical mechanics, a given system realizes all of its possible states, which means that the atoms explore every possible location and velocity for a given value of either energy or temperature. In statistical mechanics, scientists are not concerned with the order in which the states happen and are not concerned with how long they take to occur. Time is not a player.

In contrast, the dynamical approach provides a detailed account of how and to what degree these states are explored over time. In dynamics, a system may not experience all of the states that are in principle available to it, because the energy may not be high enough to surmount the energy barriers or because of the time window being too short. "When a system cannot 'see' states beyond an energy barrier in dynamics, it's like a hiker being unable to see the next valley behind a mountain range," said Argonne theorist Julius Jellinek.

When choosing one approach over the other, scientists are forced to take a conceptual fork in the road, because the two approaches do not always agree. Under certain conditions - for example, at sufficiently high energies and long time scales - the statistical and the dynamical portraits of the physical world do in fact sync up. However, in many other cases statistical mechanics and dynamics yield pictures that differ markedly.

"When the two approaches disagree, the correct choice is dynamics because the states actually experienced by a system may depend on the energy, the initial state and on the window of time for observation or measurement," Jellinek said. However, not having the statistical picture is "kind of a loss," he added, because of the power of its tools and concepts to analyze and characterize the properties and behavior of systems.

The fundamental characteristic that lies at the foundation of all statistical mechanics is the "density of states," which is the total number of states a system can assume at a given energy. Knowledge of the density of states allows researchers to establish additional physical properties such as entropy, free energy and others, which form the powerful arsenal of statistical mechanical analysis and characterization tools. The accuracy of all these, however, hinges on the accuracy of the density of states.

The problem is that when it comes to the vibrational motion of systems, scientists had an exact solution for the density of states for only two idealized cases, which are sets of so-called harmonic or Morse oscillators. Though real systems are neither of the two, the ubiquitous practice was to use the harmonic approximation, which hinges on the assumption that real systems behave not too differently from harmonic ones.

This assumption is not bad at low energies, but it becomes inadequate as the energy is increased. Considerable effort has been invested over the last eight decades into attempts to provide a solution for systems that do not behave harmonically, Jellinek said, and until now, the result has been a multitude of approximate solutions, which are all limited to only weak departures from harmonicity or suffer from other limitations. A general and exact solution for vibrational density of states for systems with any degree of anharmonicity remained an unsolved problem.

In a major recent development, Jellinek, in collaboration with Darya Aleinikava, then an Argonne postdoc and now an assistant professor at Benedictine University, provided the missing solution. The methodology they formulated furnishes a general and exact solution for any system at any energy.

"This long-standing fundamental problem is finally solved," said Jellinek. "The solution will benefit many areas of physics, chemistry, materials science, nanoscience and biology."

The solution provided solves yet another problem - it reconciles the statistical and dynamical pictures of the world for even those conditions in which they previously may have disagreed.

Since the solution is based on following the actual dynamics of a system at relevant energies and time scales, the resulting densities of states are fully dynamically informed and may be sensitive to time. As such, these densities of states lay the foundation for formulation of new statistical mechanical frameworks that incorporate time and reflect the actual dynamical behavior of systems.

"This leads to a profound change in our view of the relationship between statistical mechanics and dynamics," said Jellinek. "It brings statistical mechanics into harmony with the dynamics irrespective of how specific or peculiar the dynamical behavior of a system may be."

A paper based on the research, "Anharmonic densities of states: A general dynamics-based solution," was published in the June 2 edition of The Journal of Chemical Physics.



Scientists test upper limits of electron speed

‎Thursday, ‎September ‎1, ‎2016, ‏‎9:38:41 AMGo to full article
Zurich, Switzerland (UPI) Aug 26, 2016 - The fastest electronic devices currently send information at speeds of several gigahertz, a billion oscillations per second. Some fiber-optic cables feature frequencies approaching a terahertz, a thousand billion oscillations.

But the need for speed is neverending, and researchers are beginning to experiment with how technology might move information-carrying electrons even faster. The next benchmark is the petahertz, a thousand times faster than the fastest fiber-optic cables.

Recently, researchers at ETH Zurich tested how electrons react to near-petahertz fields.

The scientists initiated the brief near-petahertz field by blasting a tiny diamond with a laser. They measured the reactions of the electrons by simultaneously flashing a pulse of ultraviolet light through the diamond.

The altered absorption of the light waves served as proof the electrons were uniquely excited by the laser-induced electric field. But to really understand what was happening inside the diamond, the scientists needed to build a computer model.

"The advantage of the simulations compared to the experiment, however, is that several of the effects that occur in real diamond can be switched on or off," Matteo Lucchini, a postdoctoral researcher at ETH, said in a news release. "So that eventually we were able to ascribe the characteristic absorption behavior of diamond to just two such energy bands."

The change in optical absorption of a semiconductor when an electric field is applied is known as the Franz-Keldysh effect.

The experiment -- detailed in the journal Science -- marks the first time the Franz-Keldysh effect has been observed as such extreme electronic frequencies.

"The fact that we could still see that effect even at petahertz excitation frequencies confirmed that the electrons could, indeed, be influenced at the speed limit of the laser field," concluded Lukas Gallmann.



Study reveals new physics of how fluids flow in porous media

‎Thursday, ‎September ‎1, ‎2016, ‏‎9:38:41 AMGo to full article
Boston MA (SPX) Aug 26, 2016 - One of the most promising approaches to curbing the flow of human-made greenhouse gases into the atmosphere is to capture these gases at major sources, such as fossil-fuel-burning power plants, and then inject them into deep, water-saturated rocks where they can remain stably trapped for centuries or millennia.

This is just one example of fluid-fluid displacement in a porous material, which also applies to a wide variety of natural and industrial processes - for example, when rainwater penetrates into soil by displacing air, or when oil recovery is enhanced by displacing the oil with injected water.

Now, a new set of detailed lab experiments has provided fresh insight into the physics of this phenomenon, under an unprecedented range of conditions. These results should help researchers understand what happens when carbon dioxide flows through deep saltwater reservoirs, and could shed light on similar interactions such as those inside fuel cells being used to produce electricity without burning hydrocarbons.

The new findings are being published this week in the journal PNAS, in a paper by Ruben Juanes, MIT's ARCO Associate Professor in Energy Studies; Benzhong Zhao, an MIT graduate student; and Chris MacMinn, an associate professor at Oxford University.

A crucial aspect of fluid-fluid displacement is the displacement efficiency, which measures how much of the pre-existing fluid can be pushed out of the pore space. High displacement efficiency means that most of the pre-existing fluid is pushed out, which is usually a good thing - with oil recovery, for example, it means that more oil would be captured and less would be left behind. Unfortunately, displacement efficiency has been very difficult to predict.

A key factor in determining displacement efficiency, Juanes says, is a characteristic called wettability. Wettability is a material property that measures a preference by the solid to be in contact with one of the fluids more than the other.

The team found that the stronger the preference for the injected fluid, the more effective the displacement of the pre-existing fluid from the pores of the material - up to a point.

But if the preference for the injected fluid increases beyond that optimal point, the trend reverses, and the displacement becomes much less efficient. The discovery of the existence of this ideal degree of wettability is one of the significant findings of the new research.

The work was partly motivated by recent advances in scanning techniques that make it possible to "directly characterize the wettability of real reservoir rocks under in-situ conditions," says Zhao. But just being able to characterize the wettability was not sufficient, he explains.

The key question was "Do we understand the physics of fluid-fluid displacement in a porous medium under different wettability conditions?" And now, after their detailed analysis, "We do have a fundamental understanding" of the process, Zhao says.

MacMinn adds that "it comes from the design of a novel system that really allowed us to look in detail at what is happening at the pore scale, and in three dimensions."

In order to clearly define the physics behind these flows, the researchers did a series of lab experiments in which they used different porous materials with a wide range of wetting characteristics, and studied how the flows varied.

In natural environments such as aquifers or oil reservoirs, the wettability of the material is predetermined. But even so, Juanes says, "there are ways you can modify the wettability in the field," such as by adding specific chemical compounds like surfactants (similar to soap) to the injected fluid.

By making it possible to understand just what degree of wettability is desirable for a particular situation, the new findings "in principle, could be very advantageous" for designing carbon sequestration or enhanced oil recovery schemes for a specific geological setting.

The same principles apply to some polymer electrolyte fuel cells, where water vapor condenses at the fuel cell's cathode and has to migrate through a porous membrane. Depending on the exact mix of gas and liquid, these flows can be detrimental to the performance of the fuel cell, so controlling and predicting the way these flows work can be important in designing such cells.

In addition, the same process of liquid and gas interacting in pore spaces also applies to the way freshwater aquifers get recharged by rainfall, as the water percolates into the ground and displaces air in the soil. A better understanding of this process could be important for management of ever-scarcer water resources, the team says.



Understanding nature's patterns with plasmas

‎Thursday, ‎September ‎1, ‎2016, ‏‎9:38:41 AMGo to full article
Washington DC (SPX) Aug 26, 2016 - Patterns abound in nature, from zebra stripes and leopard spots to honeycombs and bands of clouds. Somehow, these patterns form and organize all by themselves. To better understand how, researchers have now created a new device that may allow scientists to study patterns in 3-D like never before.

The specially designed system, called an H-shaped dielectric barrier discharge system, produces filaments of discharge plasma that can assume a vast range of patterns - in 3-D. By studying and mathematically modeling such patterns, researchers can explore what complex mechanisms may be producing nature's diverse designs.

"Setting up a dielectric barrier discharge system for 3-D patterns should greatly advance the science of pattern formation," said Lifang Dong, a professor at Hebei University in China.

More than 60 years ago, Alan Turing proposed a simple mathematical model called the reaction-diffusion model that corresponds to the change in space and time of the concentration of one or more chemical substances to explain nature's patterns.

The model suggests that as two interacting chemicals spread out, they could arrange themselves as stripes, spots or other designs. Scientists have since used this reaction-diffusion model to explain a number of patterns like leopard spots, the location of feather buds in chicks, hair follicles in mice, and even the ridges on the roof of mouse embryo mouths.

One major limitation, though, is that most of these studies were confined to one- or two-dimensional experiments. At the molecular level, nature's patterns are three-dimensional.

But it's not easy to make 3-D patterns, Dong said. The first 3-D experiment didn't come until 2011, when researchers at Brandeis University used chemical reactions to generate patterns with Turing's reaction-diffusion model. A dielectric barrier discharge system, however, which Dong and her colleagues describe this week in Physics of Plasmas, from AIP publishing, has several advantages, she said.

Not only can this system produce a wide variety of patterns, the patterns are also clear and easy to visualize. You can probe in great detail how the patterns vary over both space and time. While fluid or chemical-based experiments can take hours or days to make patterns, the dielectric barrier discharge system does it in seconds.

The experimental system produces plasma - electrically charged air and argon gas - that's discharged through several gaps. Viewed from the side, the gaps form an H-shape. When the researchers change certain properties of the device, such as the voltage, the filaments of discharge plasma form different 3-D structures across the gaps. A high-speed camera can then record the changes of transient shapes with time.

The researchers have already produced several patterns seen in nature by a previous single gas gap dielectric barrier discharge system. For example, they've recreated the distinct spot and stripe design of the 13-lined ground squirrel. The physics experiments suggest complex mechanisms may be behind the pattern - and not Turing's simple reaction-diffusion equations.

These patterned plasmas aren't just for biology. They can be used potentially in designing tunable photonic crystal devices, which could be used as components for telecommunication systems such as microwave filters, optical switches and waveguides, Dong said.

Photonic crystal devices control and channel light, usually relying on an array of materials with different refractive indexes that help steer the light beam. But by producing patterns of plasma filaments instead - which can be adjusted and modified - researchers can tune the devices to work exactly as needed.

The article, "Three-dimensional patterns in dielectric barrier discharge with 'H' shaped gas gap," is authored by Xing Gao, Lifang Dong, Hao Wang, Hao Zhang, Ying Liu, Weibo Liu, Weili Fan and Yuyang Pan. The article will appear in the journal Physics of Plasmas on August 23, 2016 (DOI:10.1063/1.4960831).



New approach to determining how atoms are arranged in materials

‎Thursday, ‎September ‎1, ‎2016, ‏‎9:38:41 AMGo to full article
Raleigh NC (SPX) Aug 26, 2016 - Researchers from North Carolina State University, the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) and Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) have developed a novel approach to materials characterization, using Bayesian statistical methods to glean new insights into the structure of materials. The work should inform the development of new materials for use in a variety of applications.

"We want to understand the crystallographic structure of materials - such as where atoms are located in the matrix of a material - so that we have a basis for understanding how that structure affects a material's performance," says Jacob Jones, a professor of materials science and engineering at NC State and co-author of a paper on the work. "This is a fundamentally new advance that will help us develop new materials that can be used in everything from electronics and manufacturing to vehicles and nanotechnologies."

The first step in understanding a material's crystallographic structure is bombarding a sample of the material with electrons, photons or other subatomic particles, using technology such as the Spallation Neutron Source at ORNL or the Advanced Photon Source at Argonne National Laboratory. Researchers can then measure the angle and energy of these particles as they are scattered by the material.

Then things get really tricky.
Traditionally, the data from these scattering experiments has been analyzed using "least squares fitting" statistical techniques to infer a material's crystallographic structure. But these techniques are limited; they can tell researchers what a material's structure is likely to be - but they don't fully describe the variability or uncertainty within the material's structure, because they don't describe the answers using probabilities.

"Least squares is a straightforward technique, but it doesn't allow us to describe the inferred crystallographic structure in a way that answers the questions that the materials scientists want to ask," says Alyson Wilson, a professor of statistics at NC State and co-author of the paper. "But we do have other techniques that can help address this challenge, and that's what we've done with this research."

In reality, the space between atoms isn't constant - it's not fixed throughout a sample. And the same is true for every aspect of a material's structure.

"Understanding that variability, now possible with this new approach, allows us to characterize materials in a new, richer way," Jones says.

This is where Bayesian statistics comes into play.
"For example, atoms vibrate," Wilson says. "And the extent of the vibration is controlled by their temperature. Researchers want to know how those vibrations are influenced by temperature for any given material. And Bayesian tools can give us probabilities of these thermal displacements in a material."

"This approach will allow us to analyze data from a wide variety of materials characterization techniques - all forms of spectroscopy, mass spectrometry, you name it - and more fully characterize all kinds of matter," Jones says.

"Honestly, it's very exciting," adds Jones, who is also the director of NC State's Analytical Instrumentation Facility, which houses many of these types of instruments.

"We also plan to use these techniques to combine data from different types of experiments, in order to offer even more insights into material structure," Wilson says.

"Use of Bayesian Inference in Crystallographic Structure Refinement via Full Diffraction Profile Analysis"



Light and matter merge in quantum coupling

‎Thursday, ‎September ‎1, ‎2016, ‏‎9:38:41 AMGo to full article
Houston TX (SPX) Aug 23, 2016 - Where light and matter intersect, the world illuminates. Where light and matter interact so strongly that they become one, they illuminate a world of new physics, according to Rice University scientists.

Rice physicists are closing in on a way to create a new condensed matter state in which all the electrons in a material act as one by manipulating them with light and a magnetic field. The effect made possible by a custom-built, finely tuned cavity for terahertz radiation shows one of the strongest light-matter coupling phenomena ever observed.

The work by Rice physicist Junichiro Kono and his colleagues is described in Nature Physics. It could help advance technologies like quantum computers and communications by revealing new phenomena to those who study cavity quantum electrodynamics and condensed matter physics, Kono said.

Condensed matter in the general sense is anything solid or liquid, but condensed matter physicists study forms that are much more esoteric, like Bose-Einstein condensates. A Rice team was one of the first to make a Bose-Einstein condensate in 1995 when it prompted atoms to form a gas at ultracold temperatures in which all the atoms lose their individual identities and behave as a single unit.

The Kono team is working toward something similar, but with electrons that are strongly coupled, or "dressed," with light. Qi Zhang, a former graduate student in Kono's group and lead author of the paper, designed and constructed an extremely high-quality cavity to contain an ultrathin layer of gallium arsenide, a material they've used to study superfluorescence. By tuning the material with a magnetic field to resonate with a certain state of light in the cavity, they prompted the formation of polaritons that act in a collective manner.

"This is a nonlinear optical study of a two-dimensional electronic material," said Zhang, who based his Ph.D. thesis on the work. "When you use light to probe a material's electronic structure, you're usually looking for light absorption or reflection or scattering to see what's happening in the material. That light is just a weak probe and the process is called linear optics.

"Nonlinear optics means light does something to the material," he said. "Light is not a small perturbation anymore; it couples strongly with the material. As you change the coupling strength, things change in the material. What we're doing is the extreme case of nonlinear optics, where the light and matter are coupled so strongly that we don't have light and matter anymore. We have something in between, called a polariton."

The researchers employed a parameter known as vacuum Rabi splitting to measure the strength of the light-matter coupling. "In more than 99 percent of previous studies of light-matter coupling in cavities, this value is a negligibly small fraction of the photon energy of the light used," said Xinwei Li, a co-author and graduate student in Kono's group. "In our study, vacuum Rabi splitting is as large as 10 percent of the photon energy. That puts us in the so-called ultrastrong coupling regime.

"This is an important regime because, eventually, if the vacuum Rabi splitting becomes larger than the photon energy, the matter goes into a new ground state. That means we can induce a phase transition, which is an important element in condensed matter physics," he said.

Phase transitions are transitions between states of matter, like ice to water to vapor. The specific transition Kono's team is looking for is the superradiant phase transition in which the polaritons go into an ordered state with macroscopic coherence.

Kono said the amount of terahertz light put into the cavity is very weak. "What we depend on is the vacuum fluctuation. Vacuum, in a classical sense, is an empty space. There's nothing. But in a quantum sense, a vacuum is full of fluctuating photons, having so-called zero-point energy. These vacuum photons are actually what we are using to resonantly excite electrons in our cavity.

"This general subject is what's known as cavity quantum electrodynamics (QED)," Kono said. "In cavity QED, the cavity enhances the light so that matter in the cavity resonantly interacts with the vacuum field. What is unique about solid-state cavity QED is that the light typically interacts with this huge number of electrons, which behave like a single gigantic atom."

He said solid-state cavity QED is also key for applications that involve quantum information processing, like quantum computers. "The light-matter interface is important because that's where so-called light-matter entanglement occurs. That way, the quantum information of matter can be transferred to light and light can be sent somewhere.

"For improving the utility of cavity QED in quantum information, the stronger the light-matter coupling, the better, and it has to use a scalable, solid-state system instead of atomic or molecular systems," he said. "That's what we've achieved here."

The high-quality gallium arsenide materials used in the study were synthesized via molecular beam epitaxy by John Reno of Sandia National Laboratories and John Watson and Michael Manfra of Purdue University, all co-authors of the paper. Weil Pan of Sandia National Laboratories and Rice graduate student Minhan Lou, who participated in sample preparation and transport and terahertz measurements, are also co-authors.

Zhang is now the Alexei Abrikosov Postdoctoral Fellow at Argonne National Laboratory. Kono is a Rice professor of electrical and computer engineering, of physics and astronomy and of materials science and nanoengineering. Li received a "Best First-Year Research Award" from Rice's Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering for his work on the project.



How we escaped from the Big Bang

‎Thursday, ‎September ‎1, ‎2016, ‏‎9:38:41 AMGo to full article
Brisbane, Australia (SPX) Aug 19, 2016 - Associate Professor Dr Joan Vaccaro, of Griffith's Centre for Quantum Dynamics, has solved an anomaly of conventional physics and shown that a mysterious effect called 'T violation' could be the origin of time evolution and conservation laws.

"I begin by breaking the rules of physics, which is rather bold I have to admit, but I wanted to understand time better and conventional physics can't do that," Dr Vaccaro says.

"I do get conventional physics in the end though. This means that the rules I break are not fundamental. It also means that I can see why the universe has those rules. And I can also see why the universe advances in time."

In her research published in The Royal Society Dr Vaccaro says T violation, or a violation of time reversal (T) symmetry, is forcing the universe and us in it, into the future

"If T violation wasn't involved we wouldn't advance in time and we'd be stuck at the Big Bang, so this shows how we escaped the Big Bang.

"I found the mechanism that forces us to go to the future, the reason why you get old and the reason why we advance in time." "The universe must be symmetric in time and space overall. But we know that there appears to be a preferred direction in time because we are incessantly getting older not younger."

The anomaly Dr Vaccaro solves involves two things not accounted for in in conventional physical theories - the direction of time, and the behaviour of the mesons (which decay differently if time went in the opposite direction).

Experiments show that the behaviour of mesons depends on the direction of time; in particular, if the direction of time was changed then their behaviour would also," she says.

"Conventional physical theories can accommodate only one direction of time and one kind of meson behaviour, and so they are asymmetric in this regard. But the problem is that the universe cannot be asymmetric overall.

"This means that physical theories must be symmetric in time. To be symmetric in time they would need to accommodate both directions of time and both meson behaviours. This is the anomaly in physics that I am attempting to solve."

Dr Vaccaro is presenting her work at the Soapbox Science event held in Brisbane as part of National Science Week, titled "The meaning of time: why the universe didn't stay put at the big bang and how it is 'now' and no other time".

Without any T violation the theory gives a very strange universe. An object like a cup can be placed in time just like it is in space.

"It just exists at one place in space and one point in time. There is nothing unusual about being at one place in space, but existing at one point in time means the object would come into existence only at that point in time and then disappear immediately.

"This means that conservation of matter would be violated. It also means that there would be no evolution in time. People would only exist for a single point in time - they would not experience a "flow of time".

When Dr Vaccaro adds T violation to the theory, things change dramatically.

"The cup is now found at any and every time," she says,

"This means that the theory now has conservation of matter - the conservation has emerged from the theory rather than being assumed. Moreover, objects change over time, cups chip and break, and people would grow old and experience a "flow of time". This means that the theory now has time evolution.

The next stage of the research is to design experiments that will test predictions of the theory.

Dr Vaccaro will be speaking from a soapbox on Saturday August 20 between 1pm and 4pm in King George Square.



Nuclear puzzle may be clue to fifth force

‎Thursday, ‎September ‎1, ‎2016, ‏‎9:38:41 AMGo to full article
Riverside CA (SPX) Aug 19, 2016 - In a new paper, University of California, Riverside theoretical physicist Flip Tanedo and his collaborators have made new progress towards unravelling a mystery in the beryllium nucleus that may be evidence for a fifth force of nature.

Earlier this year, an experiment in Hungary reported very unusual behavior in the decays of beryllium-8 nuclei. The experimental collaboration suggested that their results may come from the effects of a new force of nature.

If confirmed, this would have far-reaching consequences on fundamental physics including grand unification, dark matter and the experimental strategy for pushing the frontier of human knowledge.

Intrigued, Tanedo, an assistant professor at UC Riverside, and his collaborators - all theoretical physicists - decided to investigate further.

In an paper posted earlier this year, the team did the first theoretical analysis of the Hungarian team's interpretation, and showed how usual assumptions of how a fifth force would behave don't seem to work in this case because of the high energy physics experiments that would otherwise rule it out.

This represented the first steps to finding wiggle room for what it would take for the fifth force interpretation to work.

The just posted paper fleshes out the previous work and presents explicit examples of theories that could explain the Hungarian experiment without running afoul of the existing constraints mentioned in the earlier paper.

"We think that the Hungarian anomaly is interesting and our model is proof that consistent theories can be constructed," Tanedo said. "We're not saying that a fifth force has been discovered - only that we can pass the first consistency check.

"The next big check is for other experiments to confirm the anomaly. Our paper lays down the framework for how other types of experiments can definitely check or refute the original Hungarian result. If it ends up being real, that would be a huge deal in our field."

The team performed a systematic study of the Hungarian results including cutting-edge nuclear physics, theoretical self-consistency and cross-checks with results from particle accelerators. They also developed a theoretical scaffolding to understand whether the beryllium result can be consistent with known physics.

"Some features that look perfectly mundane are actually violently at odds with other experiments, while other features that look difficult to explain actually can be explained by relaxing pre-conceptions about how a new force should manifest itself," Tanedo said. "If this is a new force, it is not at all what we would have expected."

The results of the study, which have been submitted to the journal Physics Review D and posted on the arXiv.org preprint server, elucidate the subtleties of the experimental results and illuminate the path forward.

"We've thrown down the gauntlet, so to speak and shown how on-going high-energy physics experiments built for other purposes can be used to definitively confirm or refute this new force," Tanedo said. "We should know within the next few years."

The latest paper is called "Particle Physics Models for the 17 MeV Anomaly in Beryllium Nuclear Decays." In addition to Tanedo, the authors are Jonathan L. Feng, Bartosz Fornal, Iftah Galon, Jordan Smolinsky, Tim M.P. Tait, all of the University of California, Irvine, and Susan Gardner of the University of Kentucky.



Link Between Primordial Black Holes and Dark Matter

‎Thursday, ‎September ‎1, ‎2016, ‏‎9:38:41 AMGo to full article
Greenbelt MD (SPX) May 26, 2016 - Dark matter is a mysterious substance composing most of the material universe, now widely thought to be some form of massive exotic particle. An intriguing alternative view is that dark matter is made of black holes formed during the first second of our universe's existence, known as primordial black holes. Now a scientist at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland, suggests that this interpretation aligns with our knowledge of cosmic infrared and X-ray background glows and may explain the unexpectedly high masses of merging black holes detected last year.

"This study is an effort to bring together a broad set of ideas and observations to test how well they fit, and the fit is surprisingly good," said Alexander Kashlinsky, an astrophysicist at NASA Goddard. "If this is correct, then all galaxies, including our own, are embedded within a vast sphere of black holes each about 30 times the Sun's mass."

In 2005, Kashlinsky led a team of astronomers using NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope to explore the background glow of infrared light in one part of the sky. The researchers reported excessive patchiness in the glow and concluded it was likely caused by the aggregate light of the first sources to illuminate the universe more than 13 billion years ago. Follow-up studies confirmed that this cosmic infrared background (CIB) showed similar unexpected structure in other parts of the sky.

In 2013, another study compared how the cosmic X-ray background (CXB) detected by NASA's Chandra X-ray Observatory compared to the CIB in the same area of the sky. The first stars emitted mainly optical and ultraviolet light, which today is stretched into the infrared by the expansion of space, so they should not contribute significantly to the CXB.

Yet the irregular glow of low-energy X-rays in the CXB matched the patchiness of the CIB quite well. The only object we know of that can be sufficiently luminous across this wide an energy range is a black hole. The research team concluded that primordial black holes must have been abundant among the earliest stars, making up at least about one out of every five of the sources contributing to the CIB.

The nature of dark matter remains one of the most important unresolved issues in astrophysics. Scientists currently favor theoretical models that explain dark matter as an exotic massive particle, but so far searches have failed to turn up evidence these hypothetical particles actually exist. NASA is currently investigating this issue as part of its Alpha Magnetic Spectrometer and Fermi Gamma-ray Space Telescope missions.

"These studies are providing increasingly sensitive results, slowly shrinking the box of parameters where dark matter particles can hide," Kashlinsky said. "The failure to find them has led to renewed interest in studying how well primordial black holes - black holes formed in the universe's first fraction of a second - could work as dark matter."

Physicists have outlined several ways in which the hot, rapidly expanding universe could produce primordial black holes in the first thousandths of a second after the Big Bang. The older the universe is when these mechanisms take hold, the larger the black holes can be. And because the window for creating them lasts only a tiny fraction of the first second, scientists expect primordial black holes would exhibit a narrow range of masses.

On Sept. 14, gravitational waves produced by a pair of merging black holes 1.3 billion light-years away were captured by the Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory (LIGO) facilities in Hanford, Washington, and Livingston, Louisiana. This event marked the first-ever detection of gravitational waves as well as the first direct detection of black holes. The signal provided LIGO scientists with information about the masses of the individual black holes, which were 29 and 36 times the Sun's mass, plus or minus about four solar masses. These values were both unexpectedly large and surprisingly similar.

"Depending on the mechanism at work, primordial black holes could have properties very similar to what LIGO detected," Kashlinsky explained. "If we assume this is the case, that LIGO caught a merger of black holes formed in the early universe, we can look at the consequences this has on our understanding of how the cosmos ultimately evolved."

In his new paper, published May 24 in The Astrophysical Journal Letters, Kashlinsky analyzes what might have happened if dark matter consisted of a population of black holes similar to those detected by LIGO. The black holes distort the distribution of mass in the early universe, adding a small fluctuation that has consequences hundreds of millions of years later, when the first stars begin to form.

For much of the universe's first 500 million years, normal matter remained too hot to coalesce into the first stars. Dark matter was unaffected by the high temperature because, whatever its nature, it primarily interacts through gravity. Aggregating by mutual attraction, dark matter first collapsed into clumps called minihaloes, which provided a gravitational seed enabling normal matter to accumulate.

Hot gas collapsed toward the minihaloes, resulting in pockets of gas dense enough to further collapse on their own into the first stars. Kashlinsky shows that if black holes play the part of dark matter, this process occurs more rapidly and easily produces the lumpiness of the CIB detected in Spitzer data even if only a small fraction of minihaloes manage to produce stars.

As cosmic gas fell into the minihaloes, their constituent black holes would naturally capture some of it too. Matter falling toward a black hole heats up and ultimately produces X-rays. Together, infrared light from the first stars and X-rays from gas falling into dark matter black holes can account for the observed agreement between the patchiness of the CIB and the CXB.

Occasionally, some primordial black holes will pass close enough to be gravitationally captured into binary systems. The black holes in each of these binaries will, over eons, emit gravitational radiation, lose orbital energy and spiral inward, ultimately merging into a larger black hole like the event LIGO observed.

"Future LIGO observing runs will tell us much more about the universe's population of black holes, and it won't be long before we'll know if the scenario I outline is either supported or ruled out," Kashlinsky said.

Kashlinsky leads a science team centered at Goddard that is participating in the European Space Agency's Euclid mission, which is currently scheduled to launch in 2020. The project, named LIBRAE, will enable the observatory to probe source populations in the CIB with high precision and determine what portion was produced by black holes.

Research paper: "LIGO Gravitational Wave Detection, Primordial Black Holes, and the Near-IR Cosmic Infrared Background Anisotropies," A. Kashlinsky, 2016 June 1, Astrophysical Journal Letters



New material discovery allows study of elusive Weyl fermion

‎Thursday, ‎August ‎18, ‎2016, ‏‎3:32:54 AMGo to full article
Ames IA (SPX) Aug 17, 2016 - Researchers at the U.S. Department of Energy's Ames Laboratory have discovered a new type of Weyl semimetal, a material that opens the way for further study of Weyl fermions, a type of massless elementary particle hypothesized by high-energy particle theory and potentially useful for creating high-speed electronic circuits and quantum computers.

Researchers created a crystal of molybdenum and tellurium, one of only a few compounds that had been predicted to host a new and recently postulated type of Weyl state, where the hole and electron bands normally separated by an indirect gap touch at a few Weyl points. Those points are equivalent to magnetic monopoles in the momentum space and are connected by Fermi arcs.

A combination of angle resolved photoemission spectroscopy (ARPES), modelling, density functional theory and careful calculations were used to confirm the existence of this new type of Weyl semimetal.

This material provides an exciting new platform to study the properties of Weyl fermions, and may lead the way to more new materials with unusual transport properties.

"This an important, interdisciplinary discovery because it allows us to study many aspects of these exotic particles predicted by high energy physics theory in solid state, without need for extremely expensive particle accelerators," said Adam Kaminsky, Ames Laboratory scientist and professor in the Department of Physics and Astronomy at Iowa State University.

"From my perspective as solid state physicist it is absolutely extraordinary to observe two bands touching each other at certain points and being connected by Fermi arcs - objects that are prohibited to exist in "ordinary" materials."

The research is further discussed in a paper, "Spectroscopic evidence for a type II Weyl semimetallic state in MoTe2"; authored by Lunan Huang, Timothy M. McCormick, Masayuki Ochi, Zhiying Zhao, Michi-To Suzuki, Ryotaro Arita, Yun Wu, Daixiang Mou, Huibo Cao, Jiaqiang Yan, Nandini Trivedi and Adam Kaminski; and published in Nature Materials.



Cosmology: Lore of lonely regions

‎Thursday, ‎August ‎18, ‎2016, ‏‎3:32:54 AMGo to full article
Munich, Germany (SPX) Aug 17, 2016 - A research group led by Ludwig-Maximilians-Unversitaet (LMU) in Munich physicist Nico Hamaus is calculating the dynamics of cosmic voids and deriving new insights into our entire universe.

Much of our universe is taken up by vast, hollow regions of empty space, which we call cosmic voids. They are forever expanding as the tiny amounts of matter they contain are striving to reach the outer edges, attracted by the gravity of the denser regions surrounding them.

The large-scale universe therefore resembles a cosmic web, with immense, vacuous bubbles surrounded by filaments of matter in which the galaxies are distributed. LMU physicist Dr. Nico Hamaus and colleagues analyzed data from the Sloan Digital Sky Survey (SDSS), in which scientists are mapping the structure of the universe through a telescope, and have computed the composition and geometry of the voids.

The researchers' analyses show how rapidly the voids are expanding. "By analyzing the cosmic voids, Nico Hamaus has succeeded for the first time in narrowing down cosmological models," says Professor Jochen Weller of the University Observatory of LMU.

Hamaus has published his findings in the journal Physical Review Letters. His calculations demonstrate that the analysis of cosmic voids is a suitable approach to investigating gravity in the empty regions of the universe, and at the same time determining the total density of matter in the universe.

His study thus provides important clues to the question of why the universe is expanding at an increasing rate. So far, cosmology has proposed two possible answers to this: It could be due to the dark energy that makes up almost 70 percent of our universe, and which some believe exerts a kind of anti-gravitational force, or it could be that Einstein's General Theory of Relativity is only partly correct, and we need a new theory of gravity.

"If there were any deviations from the General Theory of Relativity in the universe, those would be particularly prominent in cosmic voids. However, we detected no significant deviations in our analyses," says Hamaus.

The results therefore corroborate the prevailing notion of gravity in the universe, which had never been tested on voids before, and so supports the assumption that there must be some form of dark energy that equates to a cosmological constant. "Our study shows that we can learn a lot more about the origin and evolution of our universe from analyzing cosmic voids."



New study confirms possibility of fifth force of nature

‎Thursday, ‎August ‎18, ‎2016, ‏‎3:32:54 AMGo to full article
Irvine, Calif. (UPI) Aug 15, 2016 - New research confirms the science behind a previous study suggesting the existence of a fifth force of nature.

Last year, a group of Hungarian researchers reported the possible discovery of a new type of subatomic particle. Scientists identified a radioactive decay anomaly among the results of their particle acceleration experiments.

The anomaly suggested the presence of light particle 30 times heavier than an electron. The goal of those experiments was to find dark matter, but scientists weren't sure exactly what kind of particle they'd observed.

"The experimentalists weren't able to claim that it was a new force," Jonathan Feng, professor of physics and astronomy at the University of California, Irvine, said in a press release. "They simply saw an excess of events that indicated a new particle, but it was not clear to them whether it was a matter particle or a force-carrying particle."

Feng and his UCI colleagues recently reviewed the 2015 results, as well as findings from similar studies. The new analysis confirms the potential discovery of a fifth force of nature.

"If true, it's revolutionary," said Feng. "For decades, we've known of four fundamental forces: gravitation, electromagnetism, and the strong and weak nuclear forces. If confirmed by further experiments, this discovery of a possible fifth force would completely change our understanding of the universe, with consequences for the unification of forces and dark matter."

The original researchers weren't sure whether what they were looking at was a matter particle or a force-carrying particle. The new analysis suggests the novel subatomic particle is neither a matter particle nor a dark photon. A force-carrying particle is the most likely explanation for the radioactive decay anomaly, Feng and his colleagues argue.

In their new study, soon to be published in the Physical Review Letters, researchers suggest the mystery particle may be a "protophobic X boson."

"There's no other boson that we've observed that has this same characteristic," said co-author Timothy Tait. "Sometimes we also just call it the 'X boson,' where 'X' means unknown."

Tait and Feng think the particle may suggest a fifth force of nature as well as a dark energy and matter.

Some physicists suggest a separate sphere of physics, a contrast to the standard model of physics where dark matter and dark forces reside. These two spheres or sectors may interact with each other. The new mystery particle may be an example of this interaction.

"This dark sector force may manifest itself as this protophobic force we're seeing as a result of the Hungarian experiment," Feng said. "In a broader sense, it fits in with our original research to understand the nature of dark matter."



1400 km of optical fiber connect optical clocks in France and Germany

‎Thursday, ‎August ‎18, ‎2016, ‏‎3:32:54 AMGo to full article
Braunschweig, Germany (SPX) Aug 10, 2016 - In the past few years, optical atomic clocks have made spectacular progress, becoming 100 times more precise than the best caesium clocks. So far, their precision has been available only locally, since frequency transfer via satellite cannot provide sufficient resolution.

This has recently changed thanks to a new direct optical connection between France and Germany, established by joint work of Physikalisch-Technische Bundesanstalt (PTB) in Braunschweig, Systemes de Reference Temps-Espace (LNE-SYRTE) in Paris, and Laboratoire de Physique des Lasers (LPL) in Villetaneuse. High-precision optical frequencies can now "travel" through a 1400 km optical fibre link between LNE-SYRTE and PTB, where the most precise optical clocks in Europe are operated.

The first comparison between the French and German optical strontium clocks confirms the high expectations placed in the connection. It represents the first frequency comparison of its kind across national borders: the fully independent clocks agree with an unrivalled fractional uncertainty of 5 + 10e-17. The scientists report their results in the current issue of Nature Communications.

Their successful collaboration is a first step towards a European network of optical clocks providing ultrastable high-precision optical reference signals to diverse users. This will benefit various research areas, with applications in fundamental physics, astrophysics and geoscience.

Comparisons of clocks at the highest resolution allow a wide range of very sensitive physical experiments, for instance, the search for time-dependent changes of fundamental constants. Also, the apparent rate of a clock depends on the local gravitational potential: comparing two clocks measures the gravitational redshift between them, and thus yields their height difference.

Such measurements provide data points for the geodetic reference surface, the so-called "geoid". This research approach is pursued jointly by physicists and geodesists in the Collaborative Research Centre 1128 ("geo-Q") of the German Science Foundation (DFG).

Today's most precise atomic clocks are based on optical transitions. Such optical clocks can provide a stable frequency with a fractional uncertainty of only a few 10e-18. This is approximately 100 times more precise than the best caesium fountain clocks, which realize the unit of time, the SI second. However, clock comparisons using frequency transfer via satellites are limited to a frequency resolution near 10e-16.

For this reason, scientists from PTB and from two French institutes in Paris (Systemes de Reference Temps-Espace, LNE-SYRTE and Laboratoire de Physique des Lasers, LPL) have been working for several years on an optical fibre connection between the German and the French national metrology institutes, PTB and LNE-SYRTE.

The 1400 km long link is now completed: it is based on standard telecom optical fibres and optical power losses of 200 dB (10e20) are compensated by means of specially developed amplifiers. Furthermore, frequency fluctuations added during the propagation along the fibre are actively suppressed by up to 6 orders of magnitude. This allows the transmission of optical signals with very high stability.

The German part of the link uses commercially rented optical fibres and facilities of the German National Research and Education Network (DFN). The French part of the link uses the network for Education and Research RENATER, operated by the GIP RENATER. Approximately midway, signals from LNE-SYRTE and PTB meet at the IT Centre of the University of Strasbourg, so that the clocks of the two institutes can be compared there.

The partners involved are: Physikalisch-Technische Bundesanstalt (PTB), Institut fur Erdmessung (IfE) der Leibniz-Universitat Hannover, Laboratoire de Physique des Lasers (Universite Paris 13/Sorbonne Paris Cite/CNRS), LNE-SYRTE (Observatoire de Paris/PSL Research University/CNRS/Sorbonne Universite/UPMC Univ. Paris 6/Laboratoire National de Metrologie et d'Essais), and the GIP RENATER (CNRS, CPU, CEA, INRIA, CNES, INRA, INSERM, ONERA, CIRAD, IRSTEA, IRD, BRGM, and the MESR).

In a first comparison using the most stable optical clocks of PTB and LNE-SYRTE, the link lived up to the high expectations. Frequency fluctuations between the two strontium optical lattice clocks of less than 2+ 10e-17 were observed after only 2000 s of averaging time, and the link itself supports fast clock comparisons with an uncertainty below 10e-18.

As both clocks are based on the same atomic transition they should theoretically supply exactly the same frequency - except for the gravitational redshift due to the 25 m difference in height between the two institutes. This was indeed confirmed within the clocks' combined uncertainty of 5+ 10e-17, corresponding to a height uncertainty of only 0.5 m.

The partners consider this successful collaboration the first important step towards a European network of optical clocks connected by optical fibre links which could successively be joined by the optical clocks of further European metrology institutes. This should place them in a leading role for the dissemination of optical reference frequencies.

As a long-term perspective, such a network may provide ultrastable high-precision optical reference signals (like those currently available from metrology institutes) to a broad range of users.

Various research areas will benefit from this, including fundamental research (to test the fundamental laws of physics), geoscience and, last but not least, metrology. This work also clears the path towards a redefinition of the unit of time, the SI second, through regular international comparisons of optical clocks.

C. Lisdat et al.: A clock network for geodesy and fundamental science. Nature Comms. 7:12443 (2016), DOI 10.1038/NCOMMS12443



UCI physicists confirm possible discovery of fifth force of nature

‎Thursday, ‎August ‎18, ‎2016, ‏‎3:32:54 AMGo to full article
Irvine CA (SPX) Aug 17, 2016 - Recent findings indicating the possible discovery of a previously unknown subatomic particle may be evidence of a fifth fundamental force of nature, according to a paper published in the journal Physical Review Letters by theoretical physicists at the University of California, Irvine.

"If true, it's revolutionary," said Jonathan Feng, professor of physics and astronomy. "For decades, we've known of four fundamental forces: gravitation, electromagnetism, and the strong and weak nuclear forces. If confirmed by further experiments, this discovery of a possible fifth force would completely change our understanding of the universe, with consequences for the unification of forces and dark matter."

The UCI researchers came upon a mid-2015 study by experimental nuclear physicists at the Hungarian Academy of Sciences who were searching for "dark photons," particles that would signify unseen dark matter, which physicists say makes up about 85 percent of the universe's mass. The Hungarians' work uncovered a radioactive decay anomaly that points to the existence of a light particle just 30 times heavier than an electron.

"The experimentalists weren't able to claim that it was a new force," Feng said. "They simply saw an excess of events that indicated a new particle, but it was not clear to them whether it was a matter particle or a force-carrying particle."

The UCI group studied the Hungarian researchers' data as well as all other previous experiments in this area and showed that the evidence strongly disfavors both matter particles and dark photons. They proposed a new theory, however, that synthesizes all existing data and determined that the discovery could indicate a fifth fundamental force. Their initial analysis was published in late April on the public arXiv online server, and a follow-up paper amplifying the conclusions of the first work was released Friday on the same website.

The UCI work demonstrates that instead of being a dark photon, the particle may be a "protophobic X boson." While the normal electric force acts on electrons and protons, this newfound boson interacts only with electrons and neutrons - and at an extremely limited range. Analysis co-author Timothy Tait, professor of physics and astronomy, said, "There's no other boson that we've observed that has this same characteristic. Sometimes we also just call it the 'X boson,' where 'X' means unknown."

Feng noted that further experiments are crucial. "The particle is not very heavy, and laboratories have had the energies required to make it since the '50s and '60s," he said. "But the reason it's been hard to find is that its interactions are very feeble. That said, because the new particle is so light, there are many experimental groups working in small labs around the world that can follow up the initial claims, now that they know where to look."

Like many scientific breakthroughs, this one opens entirely new fields of inquiry.

One direction that intrigues Feng is the possibility that this potential fifth force might be joined to the electromagnetic and strong and weak nuclear forces as "manifestations of one grander, more fundamental force."

Citing physicists' understanding of the standard model, Feng speculated that there may also be a separate dark sector with its own matter and forces. "It's possible that these two sectors talk to each other and interact with one another through somewhat veiled but fundamental interactions," he said. "This dark sector force may manifest itself as this protophobic force we're seeing as a result of the Hungarian experiment. In a broader sense, it fits in with our original research to understand the nature of dark matter."



Much ado about nothing: Astronomers use empty space to study the universe

‎Thursday, ‎August ‎18, ‎2016, ‏‎3:32:54 AMGo to full article
Columbus OH (SPX) Aug 15, 2016 - Researchers who are looking for new ways to probe the nature of gravity and dark energy in the universe have adopted a new strategy: looking at what's not there.

In a paper to appear in upcoming issue of Physical Review Letters, the international team of astronomers reports that they were able to achieve four times better precision in measurements of how the universe's visible matter is clustered together by studying the empty spaces in between.

Paul Sutter, study co-author and staff researcher at The Ohio State University, said that the new measurements can help bring astronomers closer to testing Einstein's general theory of relativity, which describes how gravity works.

Sutter likened the new technique to "learning more about Swiss cheese by studying the holes," and offered another analogy to explain why astronomers would be interested in the voids of space.

"Voids are empty. They're boring, right? Galaxies are like the cities of the universe, full of bright lights and activity, and voids are like the miles and miles of quiet farmland in between," Sutter explained.

"But we're looking for bits of evidence that general relativity might be wrong, and it turns out that all the activity in galaxies makes those tiny effects harder to see. It's easier to pick up on effects in the voids, where there's less distraction - like it's easier to spot the glimmer of a firefly in a dark cornfield than in a lit-up city bustling with nightlife."

The voids, he pointed out, are only empty in the sense that they contain no normal matter. They are, in fact, full of invisible dark energy, which is causing the expansion of the universe to accelerate.

While Einstein's 1915 general theory of relativity goes a long way toward explaining gravity in the universe, Einstein couldn't have known about dark energy. That's why, today, astronomers are working to find out whether the rules of general relativity hold up in a universe dominated by it.

Sutter, in Ohio State's Department of Astronomy, worked with colleagues in Germany, France and Italy to compare computer simulations of voids in space with a portion of data from the Sloan Digital Sky Survey.

The statistical analysis revealed a four-times improvement in precision in their models of matter density and the growth of cosmological structure when they took the physics of voids into account.

They were looking for tiny deviations in void behavior that conflicted with general relativity, and they found none. So Einstein's theory of gravity holds true for now. The analysis and models are publicly available online, so the researchers hope that others will use them to do further work in the future.

"Our results demonstrate that a lot of unexplored cosmological information can be found in cosmic voids," Sutter concluded. "It's truly like getting something from nothing."

A link to the accepted journal article can be found here.



A Black Hole Story Told by a Cosmic Blob and Bubble

‎Thursday, ‎August ‎18, ‎2016, ‏‎3:32:54 AMGo to full article
Boston MA (SPX) Aug 12, 2016 - Two cosmic structures show evidence for a remarkable change in behavior of a supermassive black hole in a distant galaxy. Using data from NASA's Chandra X-ray Observatory and other telescopes, astronomers are piecing together clues from a cosmic "blob" and a gas bubble that could be a new way to probe the past activity of a giant black hole and its effect on its host galaxy.

The Green Blob, a renowned cosmic structure also called "Hanny's Voorwerp" (which means "Hanny's object" in Dutch), is located about 650 million light-years from Earth. This object was discovered in 2007 by Hanny van Arkel, at the time a school teacher, as part of the citizen science project called Galaxy Zoo.

Astronomers think that a blast of ultraviolet and X-radiation produced by a supermassive black hole at the center of the galaxy IC 2497 (only 200,000 light-years from the blob) excited the oxygen atoms in a gas cloud, giving the Green Blob its emerald glow. At present the black hole is growing slowly and not producing nearly enough radiation to cause such a glow.

However, the distance of the Green Blob from IC 2497 is large enough that we may be observing a delayed response, or an echo of past activity, from a rapidly growing black hole. Such a black hole would produce copious amounts of radiation from infalling material, categorizing it as a "quasar."

If the black hole was growing at a much higher rate in the past and then slowed down dramatically in the past 200,000 years, the glow of the Green Blob could be consistent with the present low activity of the black hole. In this scenario, the blob would become much dimmer in the distant future, as reduced ultraviolet and X-radiation levels from the faded quasar finally reach the cloud.

In this new composite image of IC 2497 (top object) and the Green Blob (bottom), X-rays from Chandra are purple and optical data from the Hubble Space Telescope are red, green, and blue.

New observations with Chandra show that the black hole is still producing large amounts of energy even though it is no longer generating intense radiation as a quasar. The evidence for this change in the black hole's activity comes from hot gas in the center of IC 2497 detected in a long exposure by Chandra. The center of the X-ray emission shows cooler gas, which astronomers interpret as a large bubble in the gas.

Astronomers suspect this bubble may have been created when a pair of jets from the black hole blew away the hot gas. In this scenario, the energy produced by the supermassive black hole has changed from that of a quasar, when energy is radiated in a broad beam, to more concentrated output in the form of collimated jets of particles and consistent with the observed radio emission in this source. Another possible explanation is that the bubble was created by radiation from the quasar before it faded.

Such changes in behavior from strong radiation to strong outflow are seen in stellar-mass black holes that weigh about 10 times that of the Sun, taking place over only a few weeks. The much higher mass of the black hole in IC 2497 results in much slower changes over many thousands of years.

The citizen and professional scientists of the Galaxy Zoo project have continued to hunt for objects like the Green Blob. Many smaller versions of the Green Blob have been found (dubbed "Voorwerpjes" or "little objects" in Dutch.) These latest results from Chandra suggest that fading quasars identified as Voorwerpjes are good places to search for examples of supermassive black holes affecting their surroundings.

"Extended X-ray Emission in the IC 2497 - Hanny's Voorwerp System: Energy Injection in the Gas Around a Fading AGN," Lia Sartori (ETH Zurich), Kevin Schawinski (ETH Zurich), Michael Koss (ETH Zurich), Ezequiel Treister (University of Concepcion, Chile), Peter Maksym (Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics), William Keel (University of Alabama, Tuscaloosa), C. Megan Urry (Yale University), Chris Lintott (Oxford University) and O. Ivy Wong (University of Western Australia), 2016 Apr. 21, Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society



Cosmic blob and bubble tell story of supermassive black hole

‎Thursday, ‎August ‎18, ‎2016, ‏‎3:32:54 AMGo to full article
Baltimore (UPI) Aug 10, 2016 - Two structures in a faraway galaxy, a cosmic blob and a gas bubble, are helping scientists understand the history of a supermassive black hole. It's an exercise in detective work researchers hope could be used to probe the evolution of other black holes.

The Green Blob was discovered in 2003 by Hanny van Arkel, who was then a teacher participating in a citizen science project called Galaxy Zoo. The blob is sometimes referred to as "Hanny's Voorwerp," Dutch for "Hanny's object." It's located 200,000 light-years away in a galaxy called IC 2497.

Researchers believe intense radiation emitted by a nearby black hole excited the oxygen atoms in the blob, giving Hanny's Voorwerp its unique green glow. But the supermassive black hole at the center of IC 2497 is currently expanding at a moderate rate; its appetite is not nearly ferocious enough to turn the blob green.

In a new study, soon to be published in the journal Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society, astronomers hypothesize that the blob's unique glow reflects the past behaviors of the nearby black hole.

The black hole is far enough away, researchers say, that the Green Blob likely serves as a mirror to the black hole's past. If so, the evidence suggests the supermassive black hole began its life as a quasar, the most massive of black holes.

The black hole has since slowed and shrunk, and its quieter behavior may one day be reflected in a less luminous Green Blob.

Researchers say the black hole's past is also reflected in a hole in the Green Blob. The glowing hot gas features a bubble of much cooler gas. Research believe the gap was created when intense X-ray jets emitted by the now-retired quasar blew away a portion of the hot gas.



Do Black Holes Have a Back Door

‎Thursday, ‎August ‎18, ‎2016, ‏‎3:32:54 AMGo to full article
Madrid, Spain (SPX) Aug 09, 2016 - One of the biggest problems when studying black holes is that the laws of physics as we know them cease to apply in their deepest regions. Large quantities of matter and energy concentrate in an infinitely small space, the gravitational singularity, where space-time curves towards infinity and all matter is destroyed. Or is it?

A recent study by researchers at the Institute of Corpuscular Physics (IFIC, CSIC-UV) in Valencia suggests that matter might in fact survive its foray into these space objects and come out the other side.

Published in the journal Classical and Quantum Gravity, the Valencian physicists propose considering the singularity as if it were an imperfection in the geometric structure of space-time. And by doing so they resolve the problem of the infinite, space-deforming gravitational pull.

"Black holes are a theoretical laboratory for trying out new ideas about gravity," says Gonzalo Olmo, a Ramon y Cajal grant researcher at the Universitat de Valencia (University of Valencia, UV). Alongside Diego Rubiera, from the University of Lisbon, and Antonio Sanchez, PhD student also at the UV, Olmo's research sees him analysing black holes using theories besides general relativity (GR).

Specifically, in this work he has applied geometric structures similar to those of a crystal or graphene layer, not typically used to describe black holes, since these geometries better match what happens inside a black hole: "Just as crystals have imperfections in their microscopic structure, the central region of a black hole can be interpreted as an anomaly in space-time, which requires new geometric elements in order to be able to describe them more precisely. We explored all possible options, taking inspiration from facts observed in nature."

Using these new geometries, the researchers obtained a description of black holes whereby the centre point becomes a very small spherical surface. This surface is interpreted as the existence of a wormhole within the black hole.

"Our theory naturally resolves several problems in the interpretation of electrically-charged black holes," Olmo explains. "In the first instance we resolve the problem of the singularity, since there is a door at the centre of the black hole, the wormhole, through which space and time can continue."

This study is based on one of the simplest known types of black hole, rotationless and electrically-charged. The wormhole predicted by the equations is smaller than an atomic nucleus, but gets bigger the bigger the charge stored in the black hole.

So, a hypothetical traveller entering a black hole of this kind would be stretched to the extreme, or "spaghettified," and would be able to enter the wormhole. Upon exiting they would be compacted back to their normal size.

Seen from outside, these forces of stretching and compaction would seem infinite, but the traveller himself, living it first-hand, would experience only extremely intense, and not infinite, forces.

It is unlikely that the star of Interstellar would survive a journey like this, but the model proposed by IFIC researchers posits that matter would not be lost inside the singularity, but rather would be expelled out the other side through the wormhole at its centre to another region of the universe.

Another problem that this interpretation resolves, according to Olmo, is the need to use exotic energy sources to generate wormholes. In Einstein's theory of gravity, these "doors" only appear in the presence of matter with unusual properties (a negative energy pressure or density), something which has never been observed. "In our theory, the wormhole appears out of ordinary matter and energy, such as an electric field" (Olmo).

The interest in wormholes for theoretical physics goes beyond generating tunnels or doors in space-time to connect two points in the universe. They would also help explain phenomena such as quantum entanglement or the nature of elementary particles. Thanks to this new interpretation, the existence of these objects could be closer to science than fiction.

Research paper: "Impact of Curvature Divergences on Physical Observers in a Wormhole Space-Time with Horizons," Gonzalo J Olmo, D. Rubiera-Garcia and A. Sanchez-Puente, 2016 April 28, Classical and Quantum Gravity



Proton pinball on the catalyst

‎Tuesday, ‎August ‎9, ‎2016, ‏‎7:02:00 AMGo to full article
Trieste, Italy (SPX) Aug 04, 2016 - The function of fuel cells is to transform chemical energy into electricity through a chemical reaction. When this technology is mature enough it will be possible to use a fuel like hydrogen without emitting CO2 into the atmosphere.

In the fuel cell, the chemical reaction is facilitated by a catalyst, typically platinum nanoparticles dispersed onto the surface of a durable and reactive material, such as cerium oxide, for example. Before this study, the active areas of these catalysts had been studied under ideal conditions, at very low temperatures and pressures, removing any dirt and moisture which could be found in the devices under ordinary working conditions.

Stefano Fabris, a Physicist at the International School for Advanced Studies (SISSA) of Trieste and CNR-IOM Istituto Officina dei Materiali, and colleagues, however, wanted to study a system in realistic conditions, in this case adding a thin layer of water onto the catalyst.

The team made some interesting discoveries: it seems the moisture, rather than making the processes less efficient, gives atoms in transit a "boost" thus significantly improving the overall efficiency of the system. The study, coordinated by Fabris, was published in the Journal of the American Chemical Society.

Fabris and colleagues' work is based on computer simulations. "This is a not an insignificant aspect, because traditional experimental techniques do not allow us to obtain detailed information about what happens at the interface between the surface of the catalyst and a liquid such as water. In this way, the atomic layers that separate the solid and the water remain a largely unexplored world, as difficult to measure as the core of a planet," explains Fabris.

"The pressure and temperature conditions prevent a direct view at the experimental level. We must therefore find other ways to investigate this kind of phenomena, such as using these numerical simulations."

Chain Reaction
Fabris and colleagues reconstructed the physical system in detail, exactly where the surface of the catalyst comes into contact with one or more layers of water molecules and observed its evolution in real time. "First, we noticed that the water in contact with the catalyst breaks down, in part, into hydrogen ions, or protons, and hydroxide ions (OH-).

This was not completely unexpected, says Matteo Farnesi Camellone, CNR-IOM (Istituto Officina dei Materiali) Researcher and first author of the work, adding that an effect like this could have been imagined a priori.

"The really interesting part happens after this breakdown," says Farnesi Camellone. When there is a certain number of protons and hydroxide ions on the surface, a so-called proton chain occurs: "a sort of pinball game where the OH- groups pass a free proton back and forth incessantly, binding it and releasing it. In the process water molecules form and break up continuously, while the protons continue to bounce and travel long distances along the surface."

The consequences for the catalytic process are positive. "All of this movement helps transport molecules between the active zones of the material. We measured increases in transport and release speed several times, the efficiency of the catalyst actually improves."

"This is the first time the catalyst has been studied with water present. Our study, besides showing that the process is favored by moisture, goes beyond to explain what happens in the material in detail, which is important knowledge for designing better fuel cells, "says Fabris.

Research paper: "Catalytic Proton Dynamics at the Water/Solid Interface of Ceria-Supported Pt Clusters"



Scientists model the 'flicker' of gluons in subatomic smashups

‎Tuesday, ‎August ‎9, ‎2016, ‏‎7:02:00 AMGo to full article
Upton NY (SPX) Aug 04, 2016 - Scientists exploring the dynamic behavior of particles emerging from subatomic smashups at the Relativistic Heavy Ion Collider are increasingly interested in the role of gluons. These glue-like particles ordinarily bind quarks within protons and neutrons, and appear to play an outsized role in establishing key particle properties.

A new study just published in Physical Review Letters reveals that a high degree of gluon fluctuation-a kind of flickering rearrangement in the distribution of gluon density within individual protons-could help explain some of the remarkable results at RHIC and also in nuclear physics experiments at the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) in Europe.

Right now it's impossible to directly "see" the distribution of gluons within individual protons and nuclei-even at the most powerful particle accelerators. So Brookhaven Lab theoretical physicists Bjorn Schenke and Heikki Mantysaari developed a mathematical model to represent a variety of arrangements of gluons within a proton.

"It is very accurately known how large the average gluon density is inside a proton," Mantysaari said. "What is not known is exactly where the gluons are located inside the proton. We model the gluons as located around the three valance quarks. Then we control the amount of fluctuations represented in the model by setting how large the gluon clouds are, and how far apart they are from each other."

The fluctuations represent the behavior of gluons in particles accelerated to high energies as they are in colliders like RHIC and the LHC. Under those conditions, the gluons are virtual particles that continuously split and recombine, essentially flickering in and out of existence like fireflies blinking on and off in the nighttime sky.

Scientists would like to know if and how these fluctuations affect the behavior of the particles created when protons collide with heavy nuclei, like the gold ions accelerated at RHIC. Data from RHIC's proton-gold collisions, and from the LHC's proton-lead collisions, have shown evidence of "collective phenomena"-particles emerging with some "knowledge" of one another and in some preferred directions rather than in a uniform fashion.

In RHIC and LHC smashups of two large particles (gold-gold or lead-lead), this collective behavior and direction-dependent flow has been explained by the liquid state of quarks and gluons-the "perfect liquid" quark-gluon plasma (QGP)-created in these collisions. But collisions of tiny protons with the larger nuclei aren't supposed to create QGP. And the current understanding of the QGP can't completely explain the experimental results.

"If we want to understand what happens, we have to know the geometry of the proton just before the collisions. It makes a difference if you have a round object hitting a nucleus vs. something with a more irregular structure hitting the nucleus," Mantysaari said. "The collective behavior we see in the experiments might imply that there is some more complex structure to the proton," he added, noting that exploring the internal structure of the proton is a fundamental research endeavor for nuclear physicists.

The model developed by Mantysaari and Schenke describes how the proton structure can fluctuate. To test the model, they turned to a different set of experimental data-results from collisions of electrons with protons at the HERA accelerator in Germany. A particular reaction that sometimes occurs in these collisions-where a particle called a J/psi is produced and the proton breaks up into a spray of other particles-is highly dependent on the level of structural fluctuations in the proton.

The Brookhaven theorists used their model to predict the frequency of this interaction while varying the level of gluon fluctuations, and compared their calculations with the experimentally observed data. They found that the version of their model with the highest degree of fluctuations was the one that fit the data best.

"This process doesn't happen at all if the proton always looks the same. The more fluctuations we have, the more likely this process is to happen," Mantysaari said.

He and Schenke are now looking to apply this knowledge to the proton-nucleus collisions.

"When the gluon fluctuations are incorporated into the hydrodynamic models of QGP, we get a better agreement with the experimental data from these proton-nucleus collisions," Mantysaari said.

As Schenke noted, "This implies that the formation of a strongly interacting QGP in proton-nucleus collisions provides a possible explanation of the experimentally observed collectivity."

If the nuclear physics community gets to build a proposed future project called an Electron-Ion Collider (EIC), they'll have an opportunity to improve on the precision of these results.

"An EIC will allow us to measure this more precisely, and in different kinematics-how the fluctuations depend on energy, for example," Mantysaari said. "And an EIC can also do the same kind of studies in nuclear targets to see how much the structure of the nucleus fluctuates event by event."

In essence, the EIC would be a true gluon-imaging machine-a way to directly probe the internal structure of the building blocks of visible matter, including the glue that binds everything in the universe today.

Research paper: "Evidence of Strong Proton Shape Fluctuations from Incoherent Diffraction"



Bump in LHC data is not a new particle, scientists announce

‎Tuesday, ‎August ‎9, ‎2016, ‏‎7:02:00 AMGo to full article
Chicago (UPI) Aug 5, 2016 - Physicists who thought they discovered a new particle, which would explain holes in theories of how the universe works, announced at a conference Friday that they were wrong.

A "bump" seen last year in data from the Large Hadron Collider has turned out to be an aberration after physicists say it disappeared in further examination and experiments.

In December, researchers involved with two experiments at the LHC, CMS and ATLAS, revealed detectors in their experiments had picked up excess pairs of photons in the debris of proton collision experiments.

The excess energy, they said at the time, showed a new particle decaying into two photons of equivalent energy -- a particle six times more massive than the Higgs boson particle discovered in 2012.

The results led to a bevy of theories, more than 500 papers in just a few months, according to Discover Magazine, though further experiments since the beginning of 2016 have suggested the variation in data was random chance as it has not been recreated.

"There was a lot of excitement when we started to collect data," David Charlton, a researcher at Birmingham University and leader of the Atlas experiment at the LHC, told BBC News. "But in the [latest results] we see no sign of a bump, there's nothing. It is a pity because it would have been a really fantastic thing if there had been a new particle."



Bridging the gap between the quantum and classical worlds

‎Tuesday, ‎August ‎9, ‎2016, ‏‎7:02:00 AMGo to full article
Onna, Japan (SPX) Aug 05, 2016 - In the quantum world, physicists study the tiny particles that make up our classical world - neutrons, electrons, photons - either one at a time or in small numbers because the behaviour of the particles is completely different on such a small scale.

If you add to the number of particles that are being studied, eventually there will be enough particles that they no longer act quantum mechanically and must be identified as classical, just like our everyday world.

But where is the line between the quantum world and the classical world? A group of scientists from Okinawa Institute of Science and Technology Graduate University (OIST) explored this question by showing what was thought to be a quantum phenomenon can be explained classically. They have recently published their results in Physical Review Letters.

"We wanted to know about the relationship and interactions between light and matter," Prof. Denis Konstantinov, author and leader of OIST's Quantum Dynamics Unit said.

"By light we mean electromagnetic fields: radio waves, microwaves, or light. They are all described by the same laws in physics. By matter, we mean a collection of tiny particles, like atoms or electrons."

Specifically, the team was interested in strong coupling in light-matter interactions where there are a large number of particles that make up the matter. Strong coupling is when the light and the matter are both affected by the interactions. In most circumstances, the light is not affected when light and matter interact.

For example, a boat in the ocean is affected by the waves, but the ocean is not really affected by the presence of the boat. Strong coupling is interesting because both the boat (matter) and waves (light) are strongly affected by the interaction with the other.

Generally, this has been thought of as a quantum effect. However, the researchers wanted to explore the boundary between the quantum and classical worlds.

"Everyone agrees that if you have a collection of a large number of quantum particles it is classical and if you have light trapped in a cavity, it is also classical," Konstantinov said. "But then, if we bring them together and strongly couple them, it somehow becomes quantum. This didn't seem quite right to us."

To see whether this type of strong coupling could be explained classically, the researchers took a collection of tens to hundreds of millions of electrons on the surface of liquid helium, which exists at very low temperatures.

They then brought the electrons into a cavity containing electromagnetic microwaves. From there, the electrons and the waves could interact and the team observed changes in both the electrons and the electromagnetic waves.

"We saw strong changes in the electromagnetic wave frequency while they were interacting with the electrons and strong changes in the electrons' activity as well," Konstantinov said. "This is a signature of strong coupling."

From there, they successfully created a classical model that described the phenomenon of strong coupling that they were seeing experimentally. This meant that strong coupling with large amounts of particles could be categorized in the classical world instead of the quantum world as previously thought.

"The transition from the quantum world to classical behaviour is not really clear. But in this case we have shown where the quantum ends and the classical begins," Konstantinov said.

"However, while this strong coupling itself is classical, it does not mean that nothing is quantum. You can bring this system to a quantum regime by introducing non-linearity like a qubit."

Qubits are units of quantum information that are integral to quantum computing because they exist in a superposition of two states and can hold a much larger amount of information compared to a regular bit used in normal computers. Understanding strong coupling and their relation to qubits could be significant for the development of quantum computing.

"Strong coupling is very important for quantum computing," Konstantinov said. "If you have strong coupling you can exchange quantum information between qubits, light, and particles, which can serve as quantum memory."



The discovery of new emission lines from highly charged heavy ions

‎Tuesday, ‎August ‎9, ‎2016, ‏‎7:02:00 AMGo to full article
Tokyo, Japan (SPX) Aug 3, 2016 - Professors Chihiro Suzuki and Izumi Murakami's research group at the National Institute for Fusion Science, together with Professor Fumihiro Koike of Sophia University, injected various elements with high atomic numbers and produced highly charged ions(*1) in LHD plasmas. By measuring the emission spectrum of the extreme ultraviolet wavelength range, they discovered a new spectral line that had not been observed experimentally in the past.

This result is not only significant for basic science research, it also is useful fundamental data for plasma application research such as the development of extreme ultraviolet lithography(*2) light sources. This research result was presented in an invited talk at the 43rd European Physical Society Conference on Plasma Physics, which was held from July 4, 2016, to July 8, 2016.

Among the elements with a high atomic number from the fifth period and higher in the periodic table (for example, tin, gold, and others), there also are many elements whose full aspect of the spectrum is unknown in the plasma.

Because high energy is necessary to generate highly charged ions where many electrons were stripped, experimental devices that can generate highly charged ions are limited. Further, there even are ions whose wavelengths of the spectral lines predicted by theory, which are fundamental physical quantities, have not been verified by experiments.

Among these elements, tungsten, an impurity which is an important element for the International Thermonuclear Experimental Reactor (ITER), and tin and lanthanide elements as possible candidates for the EUV lithography light sources are included. Further experimental verification of the theoretical model is required for these highly charged ions.

Seeking to achieve fusion energy, research on the confinement of a high-temperature plasma by the magnetic field is being actively conducted around the world. However, impurities that have entered a high-temperature plasma become highly charged ions. In that process, energy gained from the plasma is emitted as light and causes the lowering of the temperature. Because the LHD can confine high-temperature plasma in a stable manner for a long period of time and permits a large quantity of impurities, it deliberately permits impurities to enter into the plasma. This is beneficial for research on the emission spectrum from highly charged ions.

We use the Tracer Encapsulated Solid Pellet (TESPEL)(*3) developed for investigating the behaviors of impurities in high-temperature plasmas. Tin, gadolinium, tungsten, gold, bismuth, and other elements, which are in the fifth and the sixth periods of the periodic table, were encapsulated in pellets, and these pellets were injected into an LHD high-temperature plasma.

Using the Grazing Incidence Vacuum Ultraviolet Spectrometer(*4), the light emission of the extreme ultraviolet spectrum (wavelength around 1 - 15 nanometers) was systematically observed. By controlling the heating power after the pellet injection, from the condition of high (>2keV) electron temperature to the hollow condition in which the core temperature becomes zero, we successfully achieved a spectrum in this broad temperature range. As a result, responding to changes in the temperature, we observed dramatic change.

And in both the high temperature cases and the low temperature cases the dominant highly charged ion spectral lines were observed (Figure 1). Among these, regarding the spectral lines of terbium, holmium, and thulium (atomic numbers 65, 67, and 69), these were confirmed experimentally for the first time in the world. There are spectral lines that well match wavelengths theoretically predicted and spectrum lines that slip slightly, and these are useful data for the validation of theoretical calculations.

These research results, in discovering new spectral lines that had not been experimentally observed until now, are significant not only for fundamental research, they also may be significant even for presenting fundamental directions for some applied plasma research.

From this research, two-thirds of the elements from atomic number 50 through atomic number 83 have been investigated in the LHD, and a systematic experimental database has been compiled. Among these elements, research is advancing regarding tin, gadolinium, terbium, and other elements as plasma light sources for use in EUV lithography for next generation conductors.

Further, gold and bismuth are becoming candidates for light source materials for high-contrast bio-microscopes that use the so-called water window range(*5). Tungsten, as a wall material for ITER, is required for understanding the light-emission mechanism of ions in a plasma. The experiment database gained from this research will offer fundamental data helpful for improving the accuracy of simulations.

Explanation of Terminology:
(*1) Highly charged ions: Ions where many electrons are stripped from neutral atoms. These exist in high-temperature plasma such as fusion plasma and the solar corona. Because of strong Coulomb force from the nucleus those ions show different characteristics from neutral atoms or ions with low charges.

(*2) Extreme-ultraviolet (EUV) lithography: Semiconductor fabrication technology that transfers a minute circuit pattern onto a silicon wafer using an extreme-ultraviolet wavelength (EUV) light. To the extent that the wavelength is short, it is possible to reproduce a minute pattern. The lithography technology that uses a wavelength of 13.5 nanometers from tin plasma is currently being developed.

(*3) Tracer Encapsulated Solid Pellet (TESPEL): This was developed at the National Institute for Fusion Science in order to understand the behavior of impurities in a high-temperature plasma. Inside the hollow sphere made of polystyrene is a solid object impurity inserted as a pellet. The TESPEL is injected into a plasma using an injection device. The impurity is injected directly into the plasma near the core.

(*4) Grazing Incidence Vacuum Ultraviolet Spectrometer: A spectrometer used in wavelength ranges of approximately one to fifteen nanometers that are not transmissive in the air. A device that separates light into each wavelength is generally called a spectrometer. The device has this name because in this wavelength range the device is in a vacuum and the light must be introduced at an extremely shallow angle.

(*5) Water window: The range of a wavelength from 2.3 to 4.5 nanometers located between the absorption edges of characteristic x-rays of oxygen and carbon. It is called this because the light in this range is opaque with regard to the proteins that come primarily from oxygen, however, regarding water, it is transparent. Because the living organism is primarily composed of proteins and water, if we use light in this range, then it is thought that living organisms can be easily observed by the high contrast. The development of high-efficiency light sources for use in microscopes is required.



Chorus of Black Holes Sings in X-Rays

‎Tuesday, ‎August ‎9, ‎2016, ‏‎7:02:00 AMGo to full article
Pasadena CA (JPL) Aug 02, 2016 - Supermassive black holes in the universe are like a raucous choir singing in the language of X-rays. When black holes pull in surrounding matter, they let out powerful X-ray bursts. This song of X-rays, coming from a chorus of millions of black holes, fills the entire sky - a phenomenon astronomers call the cosmic X-ray background.

NASA's Chandra mission has managed to pinpoint many of the so-called active black holes contributing to this X-ray background, but the ones that let out high-energy X-rays - those with the highest-pitched "voices" - have remained elusive.

New data from NASA's Nuclear Spectroscopic Telescope Array, or NuSTAR, have, for the first time, begun to pinpoint large numbers of the black holes belting out the high-energy X-rays. Or, in astronomer-speak, NuSTAR has made significant progress in resolving the high-energy X-ray background.

"We've gone from resolving just two percent of the high-energy X-ray background to 35 percent," said Fiona Harrison, the principal investigator of NuSTAR at Caltech in Pasadena and lead author of a new study describing the findings in an upcoming issue of The Astrophysical Journal. "We can see the most obscured black holes, hidden in thick gas and dust."

The results will ultimately help astronomers understand how the feeding patterns of supermassive black holes change over time. This is a key factor in the growth of not only black holes, but also the galaxies that host them. The supermassive black hole at the center of our Milky Way galaxy is dormant now, but at some point in the past, it too would have siphoned gas and bulked up in size.

As black holes grow, their intense gravity pulls matter toward them. The matter heats up to scorching temperatures, and particles get boosted to close to the speed of light. Together, these processes make the black hole surroundings glow with X-rays. A supermassive black hole with a copious supply of fuel, or gas, will give off more high-energy X-rays.

NuSTAR is the first telescope capable of focusing these high-energy X-rays into sharp pictures.

"Before NuSTAR, the X-ray background in high energies was just one blur with no resolved sources," said Harrison. "To untangle what's going on, you have to pinpoint and count up the individual sources of the X-rays."

"We knew this cosmic choir had a strong high-pitched component, but we still don't know if it comes from a lot of smaller, quiet singers, or a few with loud voices," said co-author Daniel Stern, the project scientist for NuSTAR at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California. "Now, thanks to NuSTAR, we're gaining a better understanding of the black holes and starting to address these questions."

High-energy X-rays can reveal what lies around the most buried supermassive black holes, which are otherwise hard to see. In the same way that medical X-rays can travel through your skin to reveal pictures of bones, NuSTAR can see through the gas and dust around black holes, to get a deeper view of what's going on inside.

With NuSTAR's more complete picture of the supermassive black hole populations, astronomers can begin to puzzle together how they evolve and change over time. When did they start and stop feeding? What is the distribution of the gas and dust that both feed and hide the black holes?

The team expects to resolve more of the high-energy X-ray background over time with NuSTAR - and better decipher the X-ray voices of our universe's rowdiest choir.



PPPL applies quantum theory and Einstein's special relativity to plasma physics

‎Tuesday, ‎August ‎9, ‎2016, ‏‎7:02:00 AMGo to full article
Princeton NJ (SPX) Aug 02, 2016 - Among the intriguing issues in plasma physics are those surrounding X-ray pulsars - collapsed stars that orbit around a cosmic companion and beam light at regular intervals, like lighthouses in the sky. Physicists want to know the strength of the magnetic field and density of the plasma that surrounds these pulsars, which can be millions of times greater than the density of plasma in stars like the sun.

Researchers at the U.S. Department of Energy's (DOE) Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory (PPPL) have developed a theory of plasma waves that can infer these properties in greater detail than in standard approaches. The new research analyzes the plasma surrounding the pulsar by coupling Einstein's theory of relativity with quantum mechanics, which describes the motion of subatomic particles such as the atomic nuclei - or ions - and electrons in plasma. Supporting this work is the DOE Office of Science.

Quantum field theory
The key insight comes from quantum field theory, which describes charged particles that are relativistic, meaning that they travel at near the speed of light. "Quantum theory can describe certain details of the propagation of waves in plasma," said Yuan Shi, a graduate student in the Princeton Program in Plasma Physics and lead author of a paper published July 29 in the journal Physical Review A. Understanding the interactions behind the propagation can then reveal the composition of the plasma.

Shi developed the paper with assistance from co-authors Nat Fisch, director of the Program in Plasma Physics and professor and associate chair of astrophysical sciences at Princeton University, and Hong Qin, a physicist at PPPL and executive dean of the School of Nuclear Science and Technology at the University of Science and Technology of China. "When I worked out the mathematics they showed me how to apply it," said Shi.

In pulsars, relativistic particles in the magnetosphere, the magnetized atmosphere that surrounds the body, absorb light waves, and this absorption displays peaks against a blackbody background.

"The question is, what do these peaks mean?" asks Shi. Analysis of the peaks with equations from special relativity and quantum field theory, he found, can determine the density and field strength of the magnetosphere.

Combining physics techniques
The process combines the techniques of high-energy physics, condensed matter physics, and plasma physics. In high-energy physics, researchers use quantum field theory to describe the interaction of a handful of particles.

In condensed matter physics, people use quantum mechanics to describe the states of a large collection of particles. Plasma physics uses model equations to explain the collective movement of millions of particles. The new method utilizes aspects of all three techniques to analyze the plasma waves in pulsars.

The same technique can be used to infer the density of the plasma and strength of the magnetic field created by inertial confinement fusion experiments. Such experiments use lasers to ablate - or vaporize - a target that contains plasma fuel. The ablation then causes an implosion that compresses the fuel into plasma and produces fusion reactions.

Standard formulas give inconsistent answers
Researchers want to know the precise density, temperature and field strength of the plasma that this process creates. Standard mathematical formulas give inconsistent answers when lasers of different color are used to measure the plasma para

This is because the extreme density of the plasma gives rise to quantum effects, while the high energy density of the magnetic field gives rise to relativistic effects, says Shi. So formulations that draw upon both fields are needed to reconcile the results.

For Shi, the new technique shows the benefits of combining physics disciplines that don't often interact. Says he: "Putting fields together gives tremendous power to explain things that we couldn't understand before."



Knots in chaotic waves

‎Tuesday, ‎August ‎9, ‎2016, ‏‎7:02:00 AMGo to full article
Bristol, UK (SPX) Aug 02, 2016 - New research, using computer models of wave chaos, has shown that three-dimensional tangled vortex filaments can in fact be knotted in many highly complex ways.

The computer experiments, by academics at the University of Bristol, give rise to a huge variety of different knots, realising many that have been tabulated by pure mathematicians working in the field of knot theory.

Waves surround us all the time: sound waves in the noise around us, light waves enabling us to see, and according to quantum mechanics, all matter has a wave nature. Most of these waves, however, do not resemble the regular train of waves at the shore of the ocean - the pattern is much more chaotic.

Most significantly, the whirls and eddies form lines in space called vortices. Along these lines, the wave intensity is zero, and natural wave fields - light, sound and quantum matter - are filled with a dense tangle of these null filaments.

Mark Dennis, Professor of Theoretical Physics in the School of Physics, said: "Although the computer models were framed in the language of quantum waves, these results are expected to be completely general, suggesting a new understanding of the complexity of the three-dimensional optical and acoustic landscapes that surround us every day."

More than 40 years ago, Bristol physicians Professor Sir Michael Berry and Professor John Nye discovered vortices were originally understood to be a crucial part of wave phenomena.

This work is part of the Scientific Properties of Complex Knots (SPOCK) project, a collaboration between the Universities of Bristol and Durham. The aim of the project is to create new computational tools and mathematical techniques for the analysis, synthesis and exploitation of knotted structures in a wide range of complex physical phenomena.

The research, funded by the Leverhulme Trust, is published in Nature Communications. Paper: 'Vortex knots in tangled quantum eigenfunctions' by Alexander J Taylor and Mark R Dennis in Nature Communications.



International team of scientists unveils fundamental properties of spin Seebeck effect

‎Tuesday, ‎August ‎2, ‎2016, ‏‎2:39:37 AMGo to full article
Mainz, Germany (SPX) Jul 29, 2016 - Thermoelectric effects are a fundamental building block for the conception and development of new processes for information processing. They enable to re-use waste heat obtained in different processes for the operation of respective devices and thus contribute to the establishment of more energy-efficient, ecofriendly processes.

A promising representative of this effect category is the so-called spin Seebeck effect, which became prominent within recent years. This effect allows to convert waste heat into spin currents and thereby to transport energy as well as information in magnetic, electrically insulating materials. Physicists of Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz (JGU) in Germany together with their colleagues from Glasgow University in Scotland now succeeded to reveal essential properties of this yet to be fully understood effect.

Their findings contribute to a more thorough understanding of the underlying processes of this effect and thereby support its further development for first applications. The research work has been published in the journal Physical Review X.

The spin Seebeck effect belongs to the category of spin-thermoelectric effects. Previous work of the physicists at Mainz University in collaboration with colleagues from the University of Konstanz and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) has shown that the creation of a thermal non-equilibrium leads to the creation of magnetic waves, so-called magnons, within magnetic materials. These transport both energy and torque and thus are able to induce a voltage signal in adjacent metal thin films.

By means of material-dependent measurements over a wide temperature range and with a varied thickness of the employed magnetic material, a direct correlation between the amplitude of the voltage signal and the intrinsic properties of magnons was identified. Furthermore, it was shown that the temperature dependence of the voltage generation efficiency additionally depends strongly on the atomic structure of the interface between magnetic material and metal thin film.

"Step by step answers to the open questions about the fundamental processes of the spin Seebeck effect are given. Our results yield an essential contribution for the development of the aspiring field of magnon spintronics", said Joel Cramer, co-author of the publication and PhD student at the Graduate School of Excellence "Materials Science in Mainz" (MAINZ).

Professor Mathias Klaui added: "I am very glad that by means of the intensive collaboration with our colleagues we were able to correlate the transport of spins with the microscopic, atomistic structure. The cooperation with our colleagues from Glasgow already led to several mutual publications and an active exchange with leading groups from abroad is one of the central measures of our Graduate School of Excellence."



Physicist offers leading theory about mysterious Large Hadron Collider excess

‎Tuesday, ‎August ‎2, ‎2016, ‏‎2:39:37 AMGo to full article
Lawrence KS (SPX) Jul 29, 2016 - In December of last year, scientists at the Large Hadron Collider in Europe announced startling results hinting at the existence of an undiscovered subatomic particle - one with a mass six times heavier than the Higgs boson, the particle that made Physicist offers leading theory about mysterious Large Hadron Collider excesss in 2012.

The evidence is still thin, but if more data confirm the finding, it could sharpen humankind's understanding of the building blocks of the universe.

"This was a very surprising announcement and a puzzle at the same time, because the lifetime and mass of the particle could reveal something else beyond simply one extra particle, if it turns out to be a real signal," said Kyoungchul "K.C." Kong, associate professor of physics and astronomy at the University of Kansas. "Yet we do not claim this as a discovery, and we need more data."

Based on the LHC findings, theoretical physicists around the world rushed to offer ideas that could explain the mystery signal and guide further experimentation. Physical Review Letters, the leading peer-reviewed journal in the field, received hundreds of papers purporting to illuminate the LHC results.

"We explore ideas," Kong said of theoretical particle physicists. "Probably most of ideas are wrong - but we learn from them, and we propose better ideas."

Of the mountain of papers tendered to Physical Review Letters about the LHC findings, the journal chose to publish only four - including one co-authored by Kong, who had the original idea behind the submission.

The KU physicist said the enigmatic signal, detected at 750 giga-electron volts, or GeV, suggests "the first hint for new particles beyond the Standard Model." (The Standard Model of particle physics is a longstanding theory used to explain the forces and subatomic particles working in atoms that constitute all known matter in the universe.)

He said, "Every explanation of the 750 GeV excess needs a new particle. Most models assume one around 750 GeV."

But Kong's idea is different than most. Rather than basing his theory on the existence of a "resonance" particle with a straightforwardly corresponding mass to trigger the 750 GeV signal, Kong's paper proposes a sequence of particles at different masses, without one at 750 GeV.

"I was participating in a workshop in Korea, back in December 2015, when there was an announcement on this excess," Kong said. "Everyone was considering a resonance particle, which would have been my first choice. I wanted to interpret this differently and talked to some friends in the workshop, and proposed non-resonance interpretation."

The KU physicist said his concept depends upon a "sequential cascade decay" of a heavier particle into photons that can "fake the resonance signal" at 750 GeV.

Whether he is proven correct remains to be seen, but the promotion of his bold idea in the respected journal is extraordinary to colleagues at KU.

"Fundamental physics discoveries often take years, decades (see under Higgs) or even centuries (see under gravitational waves) to be confirmed," said Hume Feldman, professor and chair of the KU Department of Physics and Astronomy. "However, it is certainly a great honor for KU to have our research published in such a high-impact venue and chosen out of literally hundreds of entries from all over the world and from the most prestigious institutes in the world."

Another paper that proposes a different mechanism to explain the observation was written by KU Foundation Professor Christophe Royon and subsequently accepted by PRL. Assistant Professor Ian Lewis also has written a paper on the subject.

"The fact that independent KU papers were accepted by PRL out of the hundreds submitted is another testament to the high-quality research done at the Department of Physics and Astronomy," Feldman said.

Kong's co-authors were Won Sang Cho, Myeonghun Park and Sung Hak Lim of the Institute for Basic Science in Korea; Doojin Kim and Konstantin T. Matchev of the University of Florida; and Jong-Chul Park of Korea's Chungnam National University.

Currently, Kong is attending a workshop at CERN, the European nuclear agency that operates the LHC. There, his work on the puzzling results will continue.

"Theorists propose ideas, and experimentalists perform experiments to test the ideas, then publish their results - and we try to understand," he said.

Other KU faculty working at the LHC include KU's Distinguished Professor Alice Bean and professors Graham Wilson and Philip Baringer, as well as students and postdoctoral researchers.

An update on the 750 GeV excess will be presented at a conference in Chicago next week, Aug. 3-10.



Mapping electromagnetic waveforms

‎Tuesday, ‎August ‎2, ‎2016, ‏‎2:39:37 AMGo to full article
Munich, Germany (SPX) Jul 27, 2016 - Munich physicists have developed a novel electron microscope that can visualize electromagnetic fields oscillating at frequencies of billions of cycles per second.

Temporally varying electromagnetic fields are the driving force behind the whole of electronics. Their polarities can change at mind-bogglingly fast rates, and it is difficult to capture them in action. These fields control the flow of electrons in components such as 'field-effect' transistors, and are ultimately responsible for the manipulation, flow and storage of data in our computers and smartphones.

However, a better understanding of the dynamics of field variation in electronic components, such as transistors, is indispensable for future advances in electronics. Researchers in the Laboratory for Attosecond Physics, jointly run by LMU and the Max Planck Institute for Quantum Optics (MPQ), have now taken an important step towards this goal - by building an electron microscope that can image high-frequency electromagnetic fields and trace their ultrafast dynamics.

This instrument makes use of ultrashort pulses of laser light, each of which lasts for a few femtoseconds (a femtosecond equals one millionth of a billionth (10-15) of a second). These laser pulses are used to generate bunches of electrons made up of very few particles, which are then temporally compressed by the action of terahertz (1012 Hz) near-infrared radiation.

The LMU and MPQ physicists who belong to the research group in Ultrafast Electron Imaging first described this strategy earlier this year in the journal Science, and demonstrated that it can generate electron pulses that are shorter than a half-cycle of the optical field.

The researchers now show that these ultrashort electron pulses can be used to map high-frequency electromagnetic fields. In the experiment, the pulses are directed onto a microantenna that has just interacted with a precisely timed burst of terahertz radiation. The light pulse excites surface electrons in the antenna, thus creating an oscillating optical (electromagnetic) field in the immediate vicinity (the so-called near field) of the target.

When the electron pulses come under the influence of the induced electromagnetic field around the antenna, they are scattered, and the pattern of their deflection is recorded. On the basis of the dispersion of the deflected electrons, the researchers can reconstruct the spatial distribution, temporal variation, orientation and polarization of the light emitted by the microantenna.

"In order to visualize electromagnetic fields oscillating at optical frequencies, two important conditions must be met", explains Dr. Peter Baum, who led the team and supervised the experiments. "The duration of each electron pulse, and the time it takes to pass through the region of interest, must both be less than a single oscillation period of the light field." The electron pulses used in the experiment propagate at speeds approximately equal to half the speed of light.

With their novel extension of the principle of the electron microscope, the Munich physicists have shown that it should be feasible to precisely detect and measure even the tiniest and most rapidly oscillating electromagnetic fields. This will allow researchers to obtain a detailed understanding of how transistors or optoelectronic switches operate at the microscopic level.

The new technology is also of interest for the development and analysis of so-called metamaterials. Metamaterials are synthetic, patterned nanostructures, whose permeability and permittivity for electrical and magnetic fields, respectively, deviate fundamentally from those of materials found in nature.

This in turn gives rise to novel optical phenomena which cannot be realized in conventional materials. Metamaterials therefore open up entirely new perspectives in optics and optoelectronics, and could provide the basic building blocks for the fabrication of components for light-driven circuits and computers. The new approach to the characterization of electromagnetic waveforms based on the use of attosecond physics brings us a step closer to the electronics of the future.



Ancient eye in the sky

‎Tuesday, ‎August ‎2, ‎2016, ‏‎2:39:37 AMGo to full article
Tokyo, Japan (SPX) Jul 28, 2016 - Light from a distant galaxy can be strongly bent by the gravitational influence of a foreground galaxy. That effect is called strong gravitational lensing. Normally a single galaxy is lensed at a time. The same foreground galaxy can - in theory - simultaneously lens multiple background galaxies.

Although extremely rare, such a lens system offers a unique opportunity to probe the fundamental physics of galaxies and add to our understanding of cosmology. One such lens system has recently been discovered and the discovery was made not in an astronomer's office, but in a classroom. It has been dubbed the Eye of Horus, and this ancient eye in the sky will help us understand the history of the universe.

Classroom Research Pays Off
Subaru Telescope organizes a school for undergraduate students each year. One such session was held in September 2015 at the NAOJ headquarters in Mitaka, Tokyo. Subaru is currently undertaking a massive survey to image a large area of the sky at an unprecedented depth with Hyper Suprime-Cam as part of the Subaru Strategic Program. A group of astronomers and young students were analyzing some of that Hyper Suprime-Cam data at the school when they found a unique lens system. It was a classic case of a serendipitous discovery.

"When I was looking at HSC images with the students, we came across a ring-like galaxy and we immediately recognized it as a strong-lensing signature," said Masayuki Tanaka, the lead author of a science paper on the system's discovery. "The discovery would not have been possible without the large survey data to find such a rare object, as well as the deep, high quality images to detect light from distant objects."

Arsha Dezuka, a student who was working on the data, was astonished at the find. "It was my first time to look at the astronomical images taken with Hyper Suprime-Cam and I had no idea what the ring-like galaxy is," she said. "It was a great surprise for me to learn that it is such a rare, unique system!"

What They Saw
A close inspection of the images revealed two distinct arcs/rings of light with different colors. This strongly suggested that two distinct background galaxies were being lensed by the foreground galaxy. The lensing galaxy has a spectroscopic redshift of z = 0.79 (which means it's 7.0 billion light-years away, Note 1) based on data from the Sloan Digital Sky Survey.

Follow-up spectroscopic observations of the lensed objects using the infrared-sensitive FIRE spectrometer on the Magellan Telescope confirmed that there are actually two galaxies behind the lens. One lies at z = 1.30 and the other is at z = 1.99 (9.0 and 10.5 billion light-years away, respectively).

"The spectroscopic data reveal some very interesting things about the background sources," said Kenneth Wong from NAOJ, the second author of the scientific paper describing the system. "Not only do they confirm that there are two sources at different distances from us, but the more distant source seems to consist of two distinct clumps, which could indicate an interacting pair of galaxies. Also, one of the multiple images of that source is itself being split into two images, which could be due to a satellite galaxy that is too faint for us to see."

The distinct features for the system (several bright knots, an arc, a complete Einstein ring) arise from the nice alignment of the central lens galaxy and both sources, creating an eye-like structure. The astronomers dubbed it Eye of Horus, for the sacred eye of an ancient Egyptian god, since the system has an uncanny resemblance to it.

The survey with Hyper Suprime-Cam is only 30% complete and it will collect data for several more years. Astronomers expect to find roughly 10 more such systems in the survey, which will provide important insights into the fundamental physics of galaxies as well as how the universe expanded over the last several billion years.



Supermassive and Supersonic - Black Hole Studied with Sardinia Radio Telescope

‎Tuesday, ‎August ‎2, ‎2016, ‏‎2:39:37 AMGo to full article
Rome, Italy (SPX) Jul 26, 2016 - Using the brand-new Sardinia Radio Telescope (SRT), a giant parabolic dish of 64 meters diameter, a team of astronomers from the Italian National Institute for Astrophysics (INAF) and the University of Cagliari have produced a detailed image of a supermassive black hole proceeding at high speed towards the core of the distant cluster of galaxies designed as 3C 129. The results are going to be published in the scientific journal Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society.

The black hole sits at the center of an elliptical galaxy some at 300 million light-years from Earth. The black hole and its galaxy are in collision course with a nearby galaxy cluster, pulled by the gravitational force generated by the huge concentration of dark matter, galaxies, and hot gas.

The radio images reveal that the black hole is actively accreting matter. Part of this material is not falling into the black hole but expelled into two streams of plasma that merge to form a spectacular tail much longer than the size of the galaxy itself.

"The phenomenon is quite likely a jet contrail," says Matteo Murgia researcher at the INAF Astronomical Observatory of Cagliari, lead author of the study. "In the case of the black hole jets, the 'unburned fuel' consists of a plasma composed by mixture of high-energy electrons and magnetic fields that cools down by emitting radio waves. By comparing the new SRT observations with those performed with other radio telescopes, we were able to obtain for the first time a map of the age of this radio source and to conclude that the black hole is cruising at supersonic speed."

In the Earth's atmosphere the sound speed is about 1,200 km/h, but in the 'atmosphere' of the cluster of galaxy surrounding the black hole, an ultra-rarefied gas at a temperature of tens of millions of degrees Kelvin, the sound speed is as high as 4 million km/h. The black hole is traveling at a speed as much as 1.5 times this limit.

"A further peculiarity of this black hole," continues Matteo Murgia, "is the presence of a shock wave in front of the galaxy, very similar to those associated to combat aircrafts. With some surprise, we found that the black hole speed we measured is exactly the one previously theorized to explain the presence of the shock wave."

The SRT is also capable to observe the radio sky in 'polarized light.' The degree of polarization of the radio waves is an important source of information for the astronomers since can yield insights into the strength and orientation of magnetic fields in astrophysical objects. Close to the black hole the flow is turbulent and wavy with a very low polarized emission, but moving along the plasma wake the polarization level increases revealing highly ordered magnetic fields.

"This study is the first paper on a scientific results from the SRT," says Ettore Carretti, SRT Officer-in-Charge and co-author of the study. "It shows that the SRT is ready to produce high quality images of the radio sky even in polarization, that usually is challenging and left as last step to setup in a new facility. It is clear indication of the maturity of the telescope performance now ready to deliver the great and challenging science it was built for."

"The SRT is among the largest and most sensitive radio telescopes in the world and it is exciting to see early results being produced that verify its scientific performance. This will be the first of many new discoveries to come from this telescope," says Professor Steven Tingay, Head of the Radio Astronomy Section in the INAF Science Directorate.

"These fascinating images illustrate the capabilities of the SRT used in conjunction with the new state-of-the-art SARDARA backend," says Andrea Possenti Director of the Astronomical Observatory of Cagliari and PI of the SARDARA project, funded by the Sardinian Regional Government. "These results," underlines Possenti, "have been possible thanks to the joint efforts of the SRT Astronomical Validation team and the SARDARA backend developers, two tight-knit teams comprised of INAF scientists."

Research paper: "Sardinia Radio Telescope Wide-Band Spectral-Polarimetric Observations of the Galaxy Cluster 3C 129," M. Murgia, F. Govoni, E. Carretti, A. Melis, R. Concu, A. Trois, F. Loi, V. Vacca, A. Tarchi, P. Castangia, A. Possenti, A. Bocchinu, M. Burgay, S. Casu, A. Pellizzoni, T. Pisanu, A. Poddighe, S. Poppi, N. D'Amico, M. Bachetti, A. Corongiu, E. Egron, N. Iacolina, A. Ladu, P. Marongiu, C. Migoni, D. Perrodin, M. Pilia, G. Valente and G. Vargiu, 2016, Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society



Black Hole Makes Material Wobble Around It

‎Thursday, ‎July ‎28, ‎2016, ‏‎7:35:19 AMGo to full article
Pasadena CA (JPL) Jul 25, 2016 - The European Space Agency's orbiting X-ray observatory, XMM-Newton, has proved the existence of a "gravitational vortex" around a black hole. The discovery, aided by NASA's Nuclear Spectroscopic Telescope Array (NuSTAR) mission, solves a mystery that has eluded astronomers for more than 30 years, and will allow them to map the behavior of matter very close to black holes. It could also open the door to future investigations of Albert Einstein's general relativity.

Matter falling into a black hole heats up as it plunges to its doom. Before it passes into the black hole and is lost from view forever, it can reach millions of degrees. At that temperature it shines X-rays into space.

In the 1980s, pioneering astronomers using early X-ray telescopes discovered that the X-rays coming from stellar-mass black holes in our galaxy flicker. The changes follow a set pattern. When the flickering begins, the dimming and re-brightening can take 10 seconds to complete. As the days, weeks and then months progress, the period shortens until the oscillation takes place 10 times every second. Then, the flickering suddenly stops altogether.

The phenomenon was dubbed the Quasi Periodic Oscillation (QPO). "It was immediately recognized to be something fascinating because it is coming from something very close to a black hole," said Adam Ingram, University of Amsterdam, the Netherlands, who began working to understand QPOs for his doctoral thesis in 2009.

During the 1990s, astronomers had begun to suspect that the QPOs were associated with a gravitational effect predicted by Einstein's general relativity: that a spinning object will create a kind of gravitational vortex.

"It is a bit like twisting a spoon in honey. Imagine that the honey is space and anything embedded in the honey will be "dragged" around by the twisting spoon," explained Ingram. "In reality, this means that anything orbiting a spinning object will have its motion affected." In the case of an inclined orbit, it will "precess." This means that the whole orbit will change orientation around the central object. The time for the orbit to return to its initial condition is known as a precession cycle.

In 2004, NASA launched Gravity Probe B to measure this so-called Lense-Thirring effect around Earth. After painstaking analysis, scientists confirmed that the spacecraft would turn through a complete precession cycle once every 33 million years.

Around a black hole, however, the effect would be much more noticeable because of the stronger gravitational field. The precession cycle would take just a matter of seconds or less to complete. This is so close to the periods of the QPOs that astronomers began to suspect a link.

Ingram began working on the problem by looking at what happened in the flat disc of matter surrounding a black hole. Known as an accretion disc, it is the place where material gradually spirals inwards towards the black hole. Scientists had already suggested that, close to the black hole, the flat accretion disc puffs up into a hot plasma, in which electrons are stripped from their host atoms. Termed the hot inner flow, it shrinks in size over weeks and months as it is eaten by the black hole.

Together with colleagues, Ingram published a paper in 2009 suggesting that the QPO is driven by the Lense-Thirring precession of this hot flow. This is because the smaller the inner flow becomes, the closer to the black hole it would approach and so the faster its Lense-Thirring precession cycle would be. The question was: how to prove it?

"We have spent a lot of time trying to find smoking gun evidence for this behavior," said Ingram.

The answer is that the inner flow is releasing high-energy radiation that strikes the matter in the surrounding accretion disc, making the iron atoms in the disc shine like a fluorescent light tube. The iron releases X-rays of a single wavelength - referred to as "a spectral line."

Because the accretion disc is rotating, the iron line has its wavelength distorted by the Doppler effect. Line emission from the approaching side of the disc is squashed - blue shifted - and line emission from the receding disc material is stretched - red shifted. If the inner flow really is precessing, it will sometimes shine on the approaching disc material and sometimes on the receding material, making the line wobble back and forth over the course of a precession cycle.

Seeing this wobbling is where XMM-Newton came in. Ingram and colleagues from Amsterdam, Cambridge, Southampton and Tokyo applied for a long-duration observation that would allow them to watch the QPO repeatedly. They chose black hole H 1743-322, which was exhibiting a four-second QPO at the time. They watched it for 260,000 seconds with XMM-Newton. They also observed it for 70,000 seconds with NASA's NuSTAR X-ray observatory.

"The high-energy capability of NuSTAR was very important," Ingram said. "NuSTAR confirmed the wobbling of the iron line, and additionally saw a feature in the spectrum called a 'reflection hump' that added evidence for precession."

After a rigorous analysis process of adding all the observational data together, they saw that the iron line was wobbling in accordance with the predictions of general relativity. "We are directly measuring the motion of matter in a strong gravitational field near to a black hole," says Ingram.

This is the first time that the Lense-Thirring effect has been measured in a strong gravitational field. The technique will allow astronomers to map matter in the inner regions of accretion discs around black holes. It also hints at a powerful new tool with which to test general relativity.

Einstein's theory is largely untested in such strong gravitational fields. So if astronomers can understand the physics of the matter that is flowing into the black hole, they can use it to test the predictions of general relativity as never before - but only if the movement of the matter in the accretion disc can be completely understood.

"If you can get to the bottom of the astrophysics, then you can really test the general relativity," says Ingram. A deviation from the predictions of general relativity would be welcomed by a lot of astronomers and physicists. It would be a concrete signal that a deeper theory of gravity exists.

Larger X-ray telescopes in the future could help in the search because they are more powerful and could more efficiently collect X-rays. This would allow astronomers to investigate the QPO phenomenon in more detail. But for now, astronomers can be content with having seen Einstein's gravity at play around a black hole.

"This is a major breakthrough since the study combines information about the timing and energy of X-ray photons to settle the 30-year debate around the origin of QPOs. The photon-collecting capability of XMM-Newton was instrumental in this work," said Norbert Schartel, ESA Project Scientist for XMM-Newton.



Australian physicists revisit spin-bowling puzzle

‎Thursday, ‎July ‎28, ‎2016, ‏‎7:35:19 AMGo to full article
London, UK (SPX) Jul 22, 2016 - Latest calculations reveal why small variations in the rotation of the ball applied by slow bowlers in cricket can cause batsmen big problems even before deliveries have pitched on the ground

Spin bowlers in cricket are masters at making the ball loop slowly through the air to confuse batsmen. Legends of the game know the magic combinations of top-spin, side-spin and off-spin necessary to fool the opposition, but some clever calculations by physicists in Australia could help to share this knowledge with a wider audience.

Ian and Garry Robinson - Honorary Fellows at Victoria University in Melbourne and the University of New South Wales, respectively - have been busy using mathematics to shine a light on the secrets of spin-bowling. In their latest work, published in the journal Physica Scripta, the brothers highlight the significance of small variations in the proportion of different spin types applied to the ball by slow bowlers in cricket.

To calculate the various flight paths, the scientists consider a number of forces acting on the ball. These include a gravity force, operating vertically downwards; a drag force, which opposes the motion and is in the opposite direction to the ball's velocity vector; and finally, when the ball is spinning, a lift or Magnus force.

Top-spin causes the ball to dip in flight, side-spin causes the ball to move side-ways through the air and, perhaps most importantly in cricket, off-spin can cause the ball to drift across the pitch towards the end of the delivery, drawing the batsman into a more vulnerable position.

Once their numerical analysis had confirmed some of the more well-known details of the game, the researchers were ready to examine spin-bowling at a subtler level.

"We found that if the total spin is kept constant and a small amount of top-spin is added to the ball at the expense of some off-spin, the length at which the ball pitches can be reduced by as much as 25 cm - an amount that batsmen can ignore at their peril - despite little change being observed in the side-ways drift," revealed Ian Robinson. "On the other hand, a small amount of side-spin introduced to a top-spin delivery does not alter the point of pitching significantly, but can produce 10 cm or more of side-ways drift."

They considered other combinations too. "When a side-spin component is added to the spin of a ball bowled with a mixture of off-spin and top-spin in equal proportions, significant movement occurs in both the side-ways direction and in the point of pitching, of the order of a few tens of centimetres," highlighted Garry Robinson.

The physicists hope that their analysis will give newcomers to spin-bowling a helping hand in mastering the variety of deliveries necessary to keep batsmen guessing. Tennis players might also benefit from the work (on this theme, also check out - "Radar speed gun true velocity measurements of sports-balls in flight: application to tennis" by Garry Robinson and Ian Robinson 2016 Phys. Scr. 91 023008



New Yale-developed device lengthens the life of quantum information

‎Thursday, ‎July ‎28, ‎2016, ‏‎7:35:19 AMGo to full article
New Haven CT (SPX) Jul 22, 2016 - Yale University scientists have reached a milestone in their efforts to extend the durability and dependability of quantum information.

For the first time, researchers at Yale have crossed the "break even" point in preserving a bit of quantum information for longer than the lifetime of its constituent parts. They have created a novel system to encode, spot errors, decode, and correct errors in a quantum bit, also known as a "qubit." The development of such a robust method of Quantum Error Correction (QEC) has been one of the biggest remaining hurdles in quantum computation.

The findings were published online July 20 in the journal Nature.

"This is the first error correction to actually detect and correct naturally occurring errors," said Robert Schoelkopf, Sterling Professor of Applied Physics and Physics at Yale, director of the Yale Quantum Institute, and principal investigator of the study. "It is just the beginning of using QEC for real computing. Now we need to combine QEC with actual computations."

Error correction for quantum data bits is exceptionally difficult because of the nature of the quantum state. Unlike the "classical" state of either zero or one, the quantum state can be a zero, a one, or a superposition of both zero and one. Furthermore, the quantum state is so fragile that the act of observing it will cause a qubit to revert back to a classical state.

Co-lead author Andrei Petrenko, who is a Yale graduate student, added: "In our experiment we show that we can protect an actual superposition and the QEC doesn't learn whether the qubit is a zero or a one, but can still compensate for the errors."

The team accomplished it, in part, by finding a less complicated way to encode and correct the information. The Yale researchers devised a microwave cavity in which they created an even number of photons in a quantum state that stores the qubit. Rather than disturbing the photons by measuring them - or even counting them - the researchers simply determined whether there were an odd or even number of photons. The process relied on a kind of symmetry, via a technique the team developed previously.

"If a photon is lost, there will now be an odd number," said co-lead author Nissim Ofek, a Yale postdoctoral associate. "We can measure the parity, and thus detect error events without perturbing or learning what the encoded quantum bit's value actually is."

The cavity developed by Yale is able to prolong the life of a quantum bit more than three times longer than typical superconducting qubits today. It builds upon more than a decade of development in circuit QED architecture.

Schoelkopf and his frequent Yale collaborators, Michel Devoret and Steve Girvin, have made a series of quantum superconducting breakthroughs in recent years, directed at creating electronic devices that are the quantum version of the integrated circuit. Devoret, Yale's F.W. Beinecke Professor of Physics, and Girvin, Yale's Eugene Higgins Professor of Physics and Applied Physics, are co-authors of the Nature paper.

Additional co-authors from the Yale Departments of Applied Physics and Physics include assistant professor Liang Jiang; senior research scientist Luigi Frunzio; postdoctoral researcher Zaki Leghtas; postdoctoral associate Reinier Heeres; graduate students Philip Reinhold, Brian Vlastakis, and Yehan Liu; and collaborating researcher Mazyar Mirrahimi of Yale and INRIA de Paris in France.



RMIT researchers make leap in measuring quantum states

‎Thursday, ‎July ‎28, ‎2016, ‏‎7:35:19 AMGo to full article
Melbourne, Australia (SPX) Jul 22, 2016 - A breakthrough into the full characterisation of quantum states has been published today as a prestigious Editors' Suggestion in the journal Physical Review Letters.

The full characterisation (tomography) of quantum states is a necessity for future quantum computing. However, standard techniques are inadequate for the large quantum bit-strings necessary in full scale quantum computers.

A research team from the Quantum Photonics Laboratory at RMIT University and EQuS at the University of Sydney has demonstrated a new technique for quantum tomography - self-guided quantum tomography - which opens future pathways for characterisation of large quantum states and provides robustness against inevitable system noise.

Dr Alberto Peruzzo, Director of the Quantum Photonics Laboratory, said: "This is a big step forward in quantum tomography. Our technique can be applied to all quantum computing architectures in laboratories around the world."

"Characterising quantum states is a serious bottleneck in quantum information science. Self-guided quantum tomography uses a search algorithm to iteratively 'find' the quantum state.

"This technique significantly reduces the necessary resources by removing the need for any data storage or post-processing."

Robert Chapman, lead author and RMIT PhD student, said the technique employed was far more robust against inevitable noise and experimental errors than standard techniques.

"We experimentally characterise quantum states encoded in single photons - single particles of light.

"Photons are a strong candidate for future quantum computing, however, our method can be applied to other quantum computing architectures, such as ion traps and superconducting qubits.

"Any experiment suffers from measurement noise which degrades results. In our experiment, we engineer the level of noise up to extreme levels to test the performance of our algorithm. We show that self-guided quantum tomography is significantly more robust against noise than standard tomography.

"We hope research groups can employ our technique as a tool for characterising large quantum states and benefit future quantum technologies."

The research, "Experimental demonstration of self-guided quantum tomography", has been published in Physical Review Letters.



Quantum drag

‎Thursday, ‎July ‎28, ‎2016, ‏‎7:35:19 AMGo to full article
Iowa City IA (SPX) Jul 22, 2016 - Friction and drag are commonplace in nature. You experience these phenomena when riding in an airplane, pairing electrical wiring, or rubbing pieces of sandpaper together.

Friction and drag also exist at the quantum level, the realm of atoms and molecules invisible to the naked eye. But how these forces interact across materials and energy sources remain in doubt.

In a new study, University of Iowa theoretical physicist Michael Flatte proposes that a magnetic current flowing through a magnetic iron sheet will cause a current in a second, nearby magnetic iron sheet, even though the sheets aren't connected. The movement is created, Flatte and his team say, when electrons whose magnetic spin is disturbed by the current on the first sheet exert a force, through electromagnetic radiation, to create magnetic spin in the second sheet.

The findings may prove beneficial in the emerging field of spintronics, which seeks to channel the energy from spin waves generated by electrons to create smaller, more energy-efficient computers and electronic devices.

"It means there are more ways to manipulate through magnetic currents than we thought, and that's a good thing," says Flatte, senior author and team leader on the paper published June 9 in the journal Physical Review Letters.

Flatte has been studying how currents in magnetic materials might be used to build electronic circuits at the nanoscale, where dimensions are measured in billionths of a meter, or roughly 1/50,000 the width of a human hair. Scientists knew that an electrical current introduced in a wire will drag a current in another nearby wire. Flatte's team reasoned that the same effects may hold true for magnetic currents in magnetic layers.

In a magnetic substance, such as iron, each atom acts as a small, individual magnet. These atomic magnets tend to point in the same direction, like an array of tiny compasses fixated on a common magnetic point. But the slightest disturbance to the direction of just one of these atomic magnets throws the entire group into disarray: The collective magnetic strength in the group decreases. The smallest individual disturbance is called a magnon.

Flatte and his team report that a steady magnon current introduced into one iron magnetic layer will produce a magnon current in a second layer - in the same plane of the layer but at an angle to the introduced current. They propose that the electron spins disturbed in the layer where the current was introduced engage in a sort of "cross talk" with spins in the other layer, exerting a force that drags the spins along for the ride.

"What's exciting is you get this response (in the layer with no introduced current), even though there's no physical connection between the layers," says Flatte, professor in the physics department and director of the Optical Science and Technology Center at the UI. "This is a physical reaction through electromagnetic radiation."

How electrons in one layer communicate and dictate action to electrons in a separate layer is somewhat bizarre.

Take electricity: When an electrical current flows in one wire, a mutual friction drags current in a nearby wire. At the quantum level, the physical dynamics appear to be different. Imagine that each electron in a solid has an internal bar magnet, a tiny compass of sorts.

In a magnetic material, those internal bar magnets are aligned. When heat or a current is applied to the solid, the electrons' compasses get repositioned, creating a magnetic spin wave that ripples through the solid. In the theoretical case studied by Flatte, the disturbance to the solid excites magnons in one layer that then exert influence on the other layer, creating a spin wave in the other layer, even though it is physically separate.

"It turns out there is the same effect with spin waves," Flatte says.

Contributing authors to the study nclude Tianyu Liu with the physics and astronomy department at the UI and Giovanni Vignale at the University of Missouri, Columbia. The U.S. National Science Foundation funded the research through grants to the Center for Emergent Materials.



Unconventional quasiparticles predicted in conventional crystals

‎Thursday, ‎July ‎28, ‎2016, ‏‎7:35:19 AMGo to full article
Princeton NJ (SPX) Jul 22, 2016 - An international team of researchers has predicted the existence of several previously unknown types of quantum particles in materials. The particles - which belong to the class of particles known as fermions - can be distinguished by several intrinsic properties, such as their responses to applied magnetic and electric fields. In several cases, fermions in the interior of the material show their presence on the surface via the appearance of electron states called Fermi arcs, which link the different types of fermion states in the material's bulk.

The research, published online this week in the journal Science, was conducted by a team at Princeton University in collaboration with researchers at the Donostia International Physics Center (DIPC) in Spain and the Max Planck Institute for Chemical Physics of Solids in Germany.

The investigators propose that many of the materials hosting the new types of fermions are "protected metals," which are metals that do not allow, in most circumstances, an insulating state to develop. This research represents the newest avenue in the physics of "topological materials," an area of science that has already fundamentally changed the way researchers see and interpret states of matter.

The team at Princeton included Barry Bradlyn and Jennifer Cano, both associate research scholars at the Princeton Center for Theoretical Science; Zhijun Wang, a postdoctoral research associate in the Department of Physics, Robert Cava, the Russell Wellman Moore Professor of Chemistry; and B. Andrei Bernevig, associate professor of physics. The research team also included Maia Vergniory, a postdoctoral research fellow at DIPC, and Claudia Felser, a professor of physics and chemistry and director of the Max Planck Institute for Chemical Physics of Solids.

For the past century, gapless fermions, which are quantum particles with no energy gap between their highest filled and lowest unfilled states, were thought to come in three varieties: Dirac, Majorana and Weyl. Condensed matter physics, which pioneers the study of quantum phases of matter, has become fertile ground for the discovery of these fermions in different materials through experiments conducted in crystals. These experiments enable researchers to explore exotic particles using relatively inexpensive laboratory equipment rather than large particle accelerators.

In the past four years, all three varieties of gapless fermions have been theoretically predicted and experimentally observed in different types of crystalline materials grown in laboratories around the world. The Weyl fermion was thought to be last of the group of predicted quasiparticles in nature. Research published earlier this year in the journal Nature (Wang et al., doi:10.1038/nature17410) has shown, however, that this is not the case, with the discovery of a bulk insulator which hosts an exotic surface fermion.

In the current paper, the team predicted and classified the possible exotic fermions that can appear in the bulk of materials. The energy of these fermions can be characterized as a function of their momentum into so-called energy bands, or branches.

Unlike the Weyl and Dirac fermions, which, roughly speaking, exhibit an energy spectrum with 2- and 4-fold branches of allowed energy states, the new fermions can exhibit 3-, 6- and 8-fold branches. The 3-, 6-, or 8-fold branches meet up at points - called degeneracy points - in the Brillouin zone, which is the parameter space where the fermion momentum takes its values.

"Symmetries are essential to keep the fermions well-defined, as well as to uncover their physical properties," Bradlyn said. "Locally, by inspecting the physics close to the degeneracy points, one can think of them as new particles, but this is only part of the story," he said.

Cano added, "The new fermions know about the global topology of the material. Crucially, they connect to other points in the Brillouin zone in nontrivial ways."

During the search for materials exhibiting the new fermions, the team uncovered a fundamentally new and systematic way of finding metals in nature. Until now, searching for metals involved performing detailed calculations of the electronic states of matter.

"The presence of the new fermions allows for a much easier way to determine whether a given system is a protected metal or not, in some cases without the need to do a detailed calculation," Wang said.

Verginory added, "One can just count the number of electrons of a crystal, and figure out, based on symmetry, if a new fermion exists within observable range."

The researchers suggest that this is because the new fermions require multiple electronic states to meet in energy: The 8-branch fermion requires the presence of 8 electronic states. As such, a system with only 4 electrons can only occupy half of those states and cannot be insulating, thereby creating a protected metal.

"The interplay between symmetry, topology and material science hinted by the presence of the new fermions is likely to play a more fundamental role in our future understanding of topological materials - both semimetals and insulators," Cava said.

Felser added, "We all envision a future for quantum physical chemistry where one can write down the formula of a material, look at both the symmetries of the crystal lattice and at the valence orbitals of each element, and, without a calculation, be able to tell whether the material is a topological insulator or a protected metal."



Weird quantum effects stretch across hundreds of miles

‎Thursday, ‎July ‎28, ‎2016, ‏‎7:35:19 AMGo to full article
Boston MA (SPX) Jul 19, 2016 - In the world of quantum, infinitesimally small particles, weird and often logic-defying behaviors abound. Perhaps the strangest of these is the idea of superposition, in which objects can exist simultaneously in two or more seemingly counterintuitive states. For example, according to the laws of quantum mechanics, electrons may spin both clockwise and counter-clockwise, or be both at rest and excited, at the same time.

The physicist Erwin Schrodinger highlighted some strange consequences of the idea of superposition more than 80 years ago, with a thought experiment that posed that a cat trapped in a box with a radioactive source could be in a superposition state, considered both alive and dead, according to the laws of quantum mechanics. Since then, scientists have proven that particles can indeed be in superposition, at quantum, subatomic scales. But whether such weird phenomena can be observed in our larger, everyday world is an open, actively pursued question.

Now, MIT physicists have found that subatomic particles called neutrinos can be in superposition, without individual identities, when traveling hundreds of miles. Their results, to be published later this month in Physical Review Letters, represent the longest distance over which quantum mechanics has been tested to date.

A subatomic journey across state lines
The team analyzed data on the oscillations of neutrinos - subatomic particles that interact extremely weakly with matter, passing through our bodies by the billions per second without any effect. Neutrinos can oscillate, or change between several distinct "flavors," as they travel through the universe at close to the speed of light.

The researchers obtained data from Fermilab's Main Injector Neutrino Oscillation Search, or MINOS, an experiment in which neutrinos are produced from the scattering of other accelerated, high-energy particles in a facility near Chicago and beamed to a detector in Soudan, Minnesota, 735 kilometers (456 miles) away. Although the neutrinos leave Illinois as one flavor, they may oscillate along their journey, arriving in Minnesota as a completely different flavor.

The MIT team studied the distribution of neutrino flavors generated in Illinois, versus those detected in Minnesota, and found that these distributions can be explained most readily by quantum phenomena: As neutrinos sped between the reactor and detector, they were statistically most likely to be in a state of superposition, with no definite flavor or identity.

What's more, the researchers found that the data was "in high tension" with more classical descriptions of how matter should behave. In particular, it was statistically unlikely that the data could be explained by any model of the sort that Einstein sought, in which objects would always embody definite properties rather than exist in superpositions.

"What's fascinating is, many of us tend to think of quantum mechanics applying on small scales," says David Kaiser, the Germeshausen Professor of the History of Science and professor of physics at MIT. "But it turns out that we can't escape quantum mechanics, even when we describe processes that happen over large distances. We can't stop our quantum mechanical description even when these things leave one state and enter another, traveling hundreds of miles. I think that's breathtaking."

Kaiser is a co-author on the paper, which includes MIT physics professor Joseph Formaggio, junior Talia Weiss, and former graduate student Mykola Murskyj.

A flipped inequality
The team analyzed the MINOS data by applying a slightly altered version of the Leggett-Garg inequality, a mathematical expression named after physicists Anthony Leggett and Anupam Garg, who derived the expression to test whether a system with two or more distinct states acts in a quantum or classical fashion.

Leggett and Garg realized that the measurements of such a system, and the statistical correlations between those measurements, should be different if the system behaves according to classical versus quantum mechanical laws.

"They realized you get different predictions for correlations of measurements of a single system over time, if you assume superposition versus realism," Kaiser explains, where "realism" refers to models of the Einstein type, in which particles should always exist in some definite state.

Formaggio had the idea to flip the expression slightly, to apply not to repeated measurements over time but to measurements at a range of neutrino energies. In the MINOS experiment, huge numbers of neutrinos are created at various energies, where Kaiser says they then "careen through the Earth, through solid rock, and a tiny drizzle of them will be detected" 735 kilometers away.

According to Formaggio's reworking of the Leggett-Garg inequality, the distribution of neutrino flavors - the type of neutrino that finally arrives at the detector - should depend on the energies at which the neutrinos were created. Furthermore, those flavor distributions should look very different if the neutrinos assumed a definite identity throughout their journey, versus if they were in superposition, with no distinct flavor.

"The big world we live in"
Applying their modified version of the Leggett-Garg expression to neutrino oscillations, the group predicted the distribution of neutrino flavors arriving at the detector, both if the neutrinos were behaving classically, according to an Einstein-like theory, and if they were acting in a quantum state, in superposition. When they compared both predicted distributions, they found there was virtually no overlap.

More importantly, when they compared these predictions with the actual distribution of neutrino flavors observed from the MINOS experiment, they found that the data fit squarely within the predicted distribution for a quantum system, meaning that the neutrinos very likely did not have individual identities while traveling over hundreds of miles between detectors.

But what if these particles truly embodied distinct flavors at each moment in time, rather than being some ghostly, neither-here-nor-there phantoms of quantum physics? What if these neutrinos behaved according to Einstein's realism-based view of the world? After all, there could be statistical flukes due to defects in instrumentation, that might still generate a distribution of neutrinos that the researchers observed. Kaiser says if that were the case and "the world truly obeyed Einstein's intuitions," the chances of such a model accounting for the observed data would be "something like one in a billion."

"What gives people pause is, quantum mechanics is quantitatively precise and yet it comes with all this conceptual baggage," Kaiser says. "That's why I like tests like this: Let's let these things travel further than most people will drive on a family road trip, and watch them zoom through the big world we live in, not just the strange world of quantum mechanics, for hundreds of miles. And even then, we can't stop using quantum mechanics. We really see quantum effects persist across macroscopic distances."



Gravitational vortex provides new way to study matter close to a black hole

‎Wednesday, ‎July ‎20, ‎2016, ‏‎7:20:52 AMGo to full article
Paris (ESA) Jul 19, 2016 - ESA's orbiting X-ray observatory, XMM-Newton, has proved the existence of a 'gravitational vortex' around a black hole. The discovery, aided by NASA's NuSTAR mission, solves a mystery that has eluded astronomers for more than 30 years and will allow them to map the behaviour of matter very close to black holes. It could also open the door to future investigations of Albert Einstein's general relativity.

Matter falling into a black hole heats up as it plunges to its doom. Before it passes into the black hole and is lost from view forever, it can reach millions of degrees. At that temperature it shines X-rays into space.

In the 1980s, pioneering astronomers using early X-ray telescopes discovered that the X-rays coming from black holes flicker. The changes follow a set pattern. When the flickering begins, the dimming and re-brightening can take 10 seconds to complete. As the days, weeks and then months progress, the period shortens until the oscillation takes place 10 times every second. Then, the flickering suddenly stops altogether.

The phenomenon was dubbed the Quasi Periodic Oscillation (QPO). "It was immediately recognised to be something fascinating because it is coming from something very close to a black hole," says Adam Ingram, University of Amsterdam, The Netherlands, who began working to understand QPOs for his PhD in 2009.

During the 1990s, astronomers had begun to suspect that the QPOs were associated with a gravitational effect predicted by Einstein's general relativity: that a spinning object will create a kind of gravitational vortex.

"It is a bit like twisting a spoon in honey. Imagine that the honey is space and anything embedded in the honey will be 'dragged' around by the twisting spoon," explains Ingram. "In reality, this means that anything orbiting a spinning object will have its motion affected." In the case of an inclined orbit, it will 'precess'. This means that the whole orbit will change orientation around the central object. The time for the orbit to return to its initial condition is known as a precession cycle.

In 2004, NASA launched Gravity Probe B to measure this so-called Lense-Thirring effect around Earth. After painstaking analysis, scientists confirmed that the spacecraft would turn through a complete precession cycle once every 33 million years.

Around a black hole, however, the effect would be much more noticeable because of the stronger gravitational field. The precession cycle would take just a matter of seconds or less to complete. This is so close to the periods of the QPOs that astronomers began to suspect a link.

Ingram began working on the problem during his PhD, looking at what happened in the flat disc of matter surrounding a black hole. Known as an accretion disc, it is the place where material gradually spirals inwards towards the black hole. It had already been suggested that, close to the black hole, the flat accretion disc puffs up into a hot plasma, in which electrons are stripped from their host atoms.

Termed the hot inner flow, it shrinks in size over weeks and months as it is eaten by the black hole. Together with colleagues, Ingram published a paper in 2009 suggesting that the QPO is driven by Lense-Thirring precession of this hot flow. This is because the smaller the inner flow becomes, the closer to the black hole it would approach and so the faster its Lense-Thirring precession cycle would be. The question was: how to prove it?

"We have spent a lot of time trying to find smoking gun evidence for this behaviour," says Ingram.

The answer was that the inner flow is releasing high energy radiation that strikes the matter in the surrounding accretion disc, making the iron atoms in the disc shine like a fluorescent light tube. Instead of visible light, the iron releases X-rays of a single wavelength - referred to as 'a line'.

Because the accretion disc is rotating, the iron line has its wavelength distorted by the Doppler effect. Line emission from the approaching side of the disc is squashed - blue shifted - and line emission from the receding disc material is stretched - red shifted. If the inner flow really is precessing, it will sometimes shine on the approaching disc material and sometimes on the receding material, making the line wobble back and forth over the course of a precession cycle.

Seeing this wobbling is where XMM-Newton came in. Ingram and colleagues from Amsterdam, Cambridge, Durham, Southampton and Tokyo applied for a long duration observation that would allow them to watch the QPO repeatedly. They chose black hole H 1743-322, which was exhibiting a four-second QPO at the time. They watched it for 260,000 seconds with XMM-Newton. They also observed it for 70,000 seconds with NASA's NuSTAR X-ray observatory.

After a complicated analysis procedure to add all the observational data together, they saw that the iron line was wobbling in accordance with the predictions of general relativity. "We are directly measuring the motion of matter in a strong gravitational field near to a black hole," says Ingram.

This is the first time that the Lense-Thirring effect has been measured in a strong gravitational field. The technique will allow astronomers to map matter in the inner regions of accretion discs around black holes. It also hints at a powerful new tool with which to test general relativity.

Einstein's theory is largely untested in such strong gravitational fields. So if astronomers can understand the physics of the matter that is flowing into the black hole, they can use it to test the predictions of general relativity as never before - but only if the movement of the matter in the accretion disc can be completely understood.

"If you can get to the bottom of the astrophysics, then you can really test the general relativity," says Ingram. A deviation from the predictions of general relativity would be welcomed by a lot of astronomers and physicists. It would be a concrete signal that a deeper theory of gravity exists.

Larger X-ray telescopes in the future could help in the search because they could collect the X-rays faster. This would allow astronomers to investigate the QPO phenomenon in more detail. But for now, astronomers can be content with having seen Einstein's gravity at play around a black hole.

"This is a major breakthrough since the study combines information about the timing and energy of X-ray photons to settle the 30-year debate around the origin of QPOs. The photon collecting capability of XMM-Newton was instrumental in this work," says Norbert Schartel, ESA Project Scientist for XMM-Newton.

The results reported in this article are published in "A quasi-periodic modulation of the iron line centroid energy in the black hole binary H 1743-322", by Adam Ingram and colleagues, to appear in Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society, 461 (2): 1967-1980; doi: 10.1093/mnras/stw1245









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




DVD - R159.00



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If you purchase the 4 discs individually the price will be R636.00


 YOU SAVE R 237.00!

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.



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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Book   R169.00




Available in the following formats:
Price R 159.00

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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.



Searching For The Truth On Origins
By Roger Oakland

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