Tag Archives | Physics

Richard Feynam’s Physics Lectures Are Now Available For Free

Photo of Richard Feynman, taken in 1984 in the woods of the Robert Treat Paine Estate in Waltham, MA, while he and the photographer worked at Thinking Machines Corporation on the design of the Connection Machine CM-1/CM-2 supercomputer. Copyright Tamiko Thiel 1984 via Wikimedia Commons

Photo of Richard Feynman, taken in 1984 in the woods of the Robert Treat Paine Estate in Waltham, MA, while he and the photographer worked at Thinking Machines Corporation on the design of the Connection Machine CM-1/CM-2 supercomputer. Copyright Tamiko Thiel 1984 via Wikimedia Commons

Saw this on io9 and thought it would be a great thing to pass on.

via io9:

The complete online edition of The Feynman Lectures on Physics has been made available in HTML 5 through a collaboration between Caltech (where Feyman first delivered these talks, in the early 1960s) and The Feynman Lectures Website. The online edition is “high quality up-to-date copy of Feynman’s legendary lectures,” and, thanks to the implementation of scalable vector graphics, “has been designed for ease of reading on devices of any size or shape; text, figures and equations can all be zoomed without degradation.”

Volume I deals mainly with mechanics, radiation and heat; Volume II with electromagnetism and matter; and Volume III with quantum mechanics.

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Simulation Theory and the Nature of Reality with NASA Physicist and Author, Tom Campbell

Via Midwest Real

IMG_5913“When the original founding fathers of quantum mechanics were doing these experiments they were really excited… making statements like- ‘if quantum mechanics doesn’t blow your mind, that’s because you don’t understand quantum mechanics.’ They realized this was a really big deal philosophically, (and) scientifically… Then they tried to come up with a good explanation. They couldn’t find one… Now they just blow it off as ‘nobody will ever know… it’s just weird science.’ This My Big Toe theory though, explains it.”  -Tom Campbell

If that chopped up quote sounds vague, pseudo science-y, or confusing (especially if you’re not familiar with some of the basic ideas behind quantum mechanics) I get that. But, when you’re grappling with huge issues like the very nature of our reality and you’re trying to take a broad stroke across the top, things tend to get foggy, so bear with me.

(You should know about the infamous, hotly-debated double-slit experiment covered above for this talk.)

Actually, don’t bear with me, or take anything from me, because our guest, Tom Campbell has an impressive career in applied physics.… Read the rest

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First ‘Quantum Computer’ No Faster Than Regular PCs

quantum computingHave they tried rebooting the modem?

The world’s first commercial quantum computer, made by the Canadian company D-Wave Systems Inc., performed no better than a classical computer in a recent analysis.

Quantum computers are thought to be able to solve complex problems thousands of times faster than classical computers, and scientists have been working on developing them for more than a decade. These devices could be useful for modeling quantum mechanics — the realm of physics that describes how matter at the sub-microscopic scale can exist as both a particle and a wave — or for cracking encrypted online information.

A team of researchers compared the performance of a D-Wave Two device to that of a classical computer on a specific set of problems, and failed to find evidence that the quantum computer was faster. [10 Technologies That Will Transform Your Life]

“We do not see any evidence of quantum speedup in the D-Wave device,” said Matthias Troyer, a theoretical physicist at ETH Zurich, in Switzerland, and co-author of the study, detailed today (June 19) in the journal Science.

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Best Explanation of Quantum Field Theory That You Will Ever Hear

via chycho

higgs_field_I15-76-Higgs4

Below you will find an excellent lecture by Dr. Sean Carroll delivered on 12 June 2013 at the 46th Annual Fermilab Users Meeting, focusing on the importance of the discovery of the Higgs boson confirming the existence of the Higgs field – giving us a glimpse into the world of “Particles, Fields and The Future of Physics”.

For me, the highlight of the lecture occurred during the question and answer period, at approximately 1:14:32, when one of the members of the audience asked the following question:

Question: “So, could you explain a bit more on measurement? You said that you have wave and it interacts with an entangled amount of waves and then pops out a particle, right?

I found the following response by Dr. Carroll to be the best description of quantum field theory that I have ever come across:

Sean Carroll: “Yes.

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This 13th Century Bishop Anticipated the Big Bang and Multiverse Theory

PIC: PD

PIC: PD

Philosopher and theologian Robert Grosseteste had a few interesting ideas. Surprised he didn’t end up on a stake.

Via HuffPo:

A 13th century British bishop’s theories of the origin and structure of the universe were centuries ahead of their time, says a group of scholars. According to TheConversation.com, Durham University’s Ordered Universe project has found that Robert Grosseteste, the Bishop of Lincoln from 1245 until his death in 1253, anticipated the ideas of Sir Isaac Newton and other scientists by centuries.

Grosseteste was a philosopher, church reformer, poet, theologian and politician.

“Nearly 800 years later the example of Grosseteste’s works provides the basis for doing great interdisciplinary work, offering unexpected challenges to both modern scientists and humanities experts alike, especially in working closely together,” wrote the group of scholars who are attempting a modern revision of the 1912 publication of Grosseteste’s work.

One of the more startling finds among the Medieval thinker’s papers and notes is his work “De Luce” or “Concerning Light.” In it, Grosseteste made one of the first known attempts to apply a set of physical laws to the universe as a whole, transferring what he knew of light and matter to apply to worlds beyond our own.

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A New Physics Theory of Life

Pic: B. Lachner (CC)

Pic: B. Lachner (CC)

Natalie Wolchover writes at Quanta:

Why does life exist?

Popular hypotheses credit a primordial soup, a bolt of lightning and a colossal stroke of luck. But if a provocative new theory is correct, luck may have little to do with it. Instead, according to the physicist proposing the idea, the origin and subsequent evolution of life follow from the fundamental laws of nature and “should be as unsurprising as rocks rolling downhill.”

From the standpoint of physics, there is one essential difference between living things and inanimate clumps of carbon atoms: The former tend to be much better at capturing energy from their environment and dissipating that energy as heat. Jeremy England, a 31-year-old assistant professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, has derived a mathematical formula that he believes explains this capacity. The formula, based on established physics, indicates that when a group of atoms is driven by an external source of energy (like the sun or chemical fuel) and surrounded by a heat bath (like the ocean or atmosphere), it will often gradually restructure itself in order to dissipate increasingly more energy.

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Scientist Searches Twitter for Time Travelers

Picture: Babbell (CC)

Picture: Babbell (CC)

Robert Nemiroff and a team of grad students at Michigan Technological University have been searching Twitter for prescient content: Information that could not have been gained without knowledge of the future.

Via Raw Story:

As Nemiroff and one of his graduate students, Teresa Wilson, note in “Searching the Internet for evidence of time travel,” travel into the future is a commonplace occurrence — you are doing it as you read these words. Even accelerated time travel into the future is “on firm scientific footing,” as demonstrated by “the twin paradox.”

Time travel to the past is “controversial, at best, and impossible according to conventional views of the laws of physics.” But both Special and General Relativity allow for the possibility, however impractical, of traveling into the past, and it is conceivable that our contemporary “conventional views of the laws of physics” may be contravened at some point in the future, thereby allowing for someone from the future to travel into their past, which would be our present.

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Earth May Have Dark Matter Halo

Dark matter haloScientists have discovered that the Earth is heavier than they thought, with so-called Dark Matter being the leading candidate for the planet packing on the pounds, reports New Scientist:

GPS is handy for finding a route, but it might be able to solve fundamental questions in physics too. An analysis of GPS satellite orbits hints that Earth is heavier than thought, perhaps due to a halo of dark matter.

Dark matter is thought to make up about 80 per cent of the universe’s matter, but little else is known about it, including its distribution in the solar system. Hints that the stuff might surround Earth come from observations of space probes, several of which changed their speeds in unexpected ways as they flew past Earth. In 2009, Steve Adler of the Institute of Advanced Studies in Princeton, New Jersey, showed how dark matter bound by Earth’s gravity could explain these anomalies.

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What Lies Beyond The Higgs Boson?

A simulated event in the CMS detector, featuring the appearance of the Higgs boson. (CERN)

A simulated event in the CMS detector, featuring the appearance of the Higgs boson. (CERN)

Apparently scientists are having a tough time with the Higgs Boson. From Science Recorder:

According to a news release from Harvard University, Harvard and Yale scientists have made the most precise measurements ever of the shape of electrons and, as a result, have raised “severe” doubts about several popular theories of what lies beyond the Higgs boson.

“We are trying to glimpse in the lab any difference from what is predicted by the Standard Model, like what is being attempted at the LHC,” said John Doyle, Professor of Physics at Harvard, in a statement.

“It is unusual and satisfying that the exquisite precision achieved by our small team in its university lab probes the most fundamental building block of our universe at a sensitivity that compliments what is being achieved by thousands at the world’s largest accelerator,” added Gerald Gabrielse, the George Vasmer Leverett Professor of Physics at Harvard.

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New Compelling Evidence Suggesting The Universe Is A Hologram

hologramIn existential news, Tupac isn’t the only one who may merely be a flat holographic projection. Via Nature:

A team of physicists has provided some of the clearest evidence yet that our Universe could be just one big projection.

In 1997, theoretical physicist Juan Maldacena proposed an audacious model of the Universe in which gravity arises from infinitesimally thin, vibrating strings. The mathematically intricate world of strings, which exist in nine dimensions of space plus one of time, would be merely a hologram: the real action would play out in a simpler, flatter, single dimensional cosmos where there is no gravity.

Maldacena’s idea thrilled physicists because it solved apparent inconsistencies between quantum physics and Einstein’s theory of gravity.

In two papers posted on the arXiv repository, Yoshifumi Hyakutake of Ibaraki University in Japan and his colleagues now provide, if not an actual proof, at least compelling evidence that Maldacena’s conjecture is true.

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