Tag Archives | Physics

Researchers use real data rather than theory to measure the cosmos

Incase (CC BY 2.0)

Incase (CC BY 2.0)

via Phys.org:

For the first time researchers have measured large distances in the Universe using data, rather than calculations related to general relativity.

A research team from Imperial College London and the University of Barcelona has used data from astronomical surveys to measure a standard distance that is central to our understanding of the expansion of the .

Previously the size of this ‘standard ruler’ has only been predicted from theoretical models that rely on general relativity to explain gravity at large scales. The new study is the first to measure it using observed data. A standard ruler is an object which consistently has the same physical size so that a comparison of its actual size to its size in the sky will provide a measurement of its distance to earth.

“Our research suggests that current methods for measuring distance in the Universe are more complicated than they need to be,” said Professor Alan Heavens from the Department of Physics, Imperial College London who led the study.

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The Strangeness of Force [Debate]

The laws of science were founded on the idea of force. But Newton’s critics argued it was a mystical idea and the Standard model has replaced force with ‘interactions’. Does an account of force elude us because it doesn’t exist, or are forces essential if we are to explain why anything happens?

The Panel 

Philosopher of physics Eleanor Knox, eminent mathematician Peter Cameron and post-postmodern metaphysician Hilary Lawson untangle cause and effect.

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Bohm’s Gnosis: The Implicate Order

Original uploader was Karol Langner at en.wikipedia.

Original uploader was Karol Langner at en.wikipedia.

David Joseph Bohm was an American theoretical physicist who contributed innovative and unorthodox ideas to quantum theory, philosophy of mind, and neuropsychology. He is considered to be one of the most significant theoretical physicists of the 20th century.”

via Bizcharts:

The Cosmic Plenum: Bohm’s Gnosis: The Implicate Order

This article discusses the vision David Bohm intuited from his insight (gnosis) into the quantum world. This vision discerns the characteristics of an evolving cosmos in process; and, also, it ponders upon the implications for humanity. Bohm’s scientific presentations are not in this article; however, they can be found in his books listed in the Reference Section at the end of these series of articles.

BOHM AND THE IMPLICATE ORDER: AN INTRODUCTION

David Bohm, an American, was one of the leading quantum physicists of our age. He died recently. Following a venerable career at the University of California (Berkeley) and at Princeton’s Institute of Advanced Studies, he moved to become Professor of Theoretical Physics at Birkbeck College of the University of London.

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Learn physics with CERN’s John Ellis in ‘A Brief Guide to Everything’

iai-academy

Last month, The Institute of Art and Ideas (IAI), an organization committed to spreading “a progressive and vibrant intellectual culture in the UK,” launched IAI Academy — a new online educational platform that features free courses in everything from theoretical physics to the future of feminism. Get up to speed with what physicists do and don’t know with CERN physicist John Ellis’ ‘A Brief Guide to Everything’ or discover the meaning of life with sociologist Steve Fuller.

The initial lineup has 12 courses – here’s the list:

  • A Brief Guide to Everything – Web Video – John Ellis, King’s College London, CBE 
  • The Meaning of Life – Web Video – Steve Fuller, University of Warwick
  • New Adventures in Spacetime – Web Video – Eleanor Knox, King’s College London
  • Minds, Morality and Agency – Web Video – Mark Rowlands, University of Miami
  • Nine Myths About Schizophrenia – Web Video – Richard Bentall, University of Liverpool
  • The History of Fear – Web Video – Frank Furedi, University of Kent
  • Physics: What We Still Don’t Know – Web Video – David Tong, Cambridge
  • Science vs.
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Your Food Is Always Outside Of You: Some Ideas About Space But Definitely Not Time

via Ian Kilgore’s blog:

Here’s the original abstract of the talk:

YOUR FOOD IS ALWAYS OUTSIDE OF YOU

(Some Ideas About Space But Definitely Not Time)

ABSTRACT:

I’m going to, in an accessible way, cover some mathematical and physical ideas that I think are important or at least pretty cool. (CHILL. OUT.) You probably spent a lot of time in grade school factoring polynomials or whatever. I don’t care about that. I want to talk about why orbits work, what happens in 5-D, why the World Series is slightly better than a coin toss, databases are broken forever, truth itself is wrong, and what happens if an infinite number of buses roll up at your house. Or some subset of that.

I’ll cover three or four discrete topics, so don’t worry if you get lost; you’ll be following along again in a few slides. Any equations will be supplementary only- you won’t have to understand them to get the general idea.

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An infinite multiverse: a bad idea or inescapable?

Stanislav Sedov (CC by 2.0)

Stanislav Sedov (CC by 2.0)

via Ars Technica:

Earlier this week, a cultural center in Red Hook, Brooklyn played host to the sort of debate that’s usually reserved for smoke-filled dorm rooms: do we live in a multiverse and, if so, is there another you out there?

But rather than mind-altered undergrads, the debate took place among three physicists, one of whom happens to have a Nobel Prize sitting back home.

The debate was held at Pioneer Works, a nonprofit center that places artists’ studios next to a space for scientists-in-residence, mixing in a high-tech microscopy company and 3D printers for good measure. It’s mostly known for the classes it offers, which range from crafts from lockpicking and programming to learning how to play a theramin. But Pioneer Works is starting a series on controversial scientific topics, and the multiverse is the first one it chose to tackle.

It made some excellent choices to handle it.

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Dreams of the Universe: Is Particle Physics Unscientific?

From string theory to the multiverse, the theories of modern physics look increasingly exotic and untestable. But while they may be good for selling books, are they bad science? Do we need a return to empirical experiment, or should imagination be allowed its playground?

The Panel
Cambridge string theorist David Tong, experimental physicist Tara Shears, and author of The End of Science John Horgan seek the place where facts and fantasy collide.

This lecture was submitted via the Disinfo contact page.

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Science Says the Universe Could Be a Hologram, Computer Program, Black Hole or Bubble

What is the Universe? A hard question to answer , no doubt, but Smithsonian Magazine suggests there are ways to check:

The questions are as big as the universe and (almost) as old as time: Where did I come from, and why am I here? That may sound like a query for a philosopher, but if you crave a more scientific response, try asking a cosmologist.

This branch of physics is hard at work trying to decode the nature of reality by matching mathematical theories with a bevy of evidence. Today most cosmologists think that the universe was created during the big bang about 13.8 billion years ago, and it is expanding at an ever-increasing rate. The cosmos is woven into a fabric we call space-time, which is embroidered with a cosmic web of brilliant galaxies and invisible dark matter.

It sounds a little strange, but piles of pictures, experimental data and models compiled over decades can back up this description.

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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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