Tag Archives | Physics

Social Physics with Kyle Findlay

Kyle FindlayVia Technoccult:

Klint Finley: What, as a “social physicist,” do you actually do?

Kyle Findlay: Well, at the moment I’m on my own in this “field,” if you can call it that. It just seems like the best description of what I do and what interests me so hopefully it sticks.

Basically, my interest is in understanding how people act as groups. As emergent entities that have their own (hopefully) predictable and describable topological forms. That’s the lofty idea anyway. And the tools of chaos theory, systems theory, network theory, physics, mathematics, etc. help describe this.

Do you have a background in physical sciences?

None at all. I studied “business science” at the University of Cape Town. My first job was for a company with a strong academic background, started by a professor of religion and a professor of statistics. They used a 5-dimensional catastrophe cusp model to describe people’s relationships with ideas.

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Is This What God Sounds Like?

Higgs-BosonFascinating developments from the Large Hadron Collider, as the BBC reports that the so-called “God particle” has been simulated as sound:

Scientists have simulated the sounds set to be made by sub-atomic particles such as the Higgs boson when they are produced at the Large Hadron Collider.

Their aim is to develop a means for physicists at Cern to “listen to the data” and pick out the Higgs particle if and when they finally detect it.

Dr Lily Asquith modelled data from the giant Atlas experiment at the LHC. She worked with sound engineers to convert data expected from collisions at the LHC into sounds.

“If the energy is close to you, you will hear a low pitch and if it’s further away you hear a higher pitch,” the particle physicist told BBC News. “If it’s lots of energy it will be louder and if it’s just a bit of energy it will be quieter.”

The £6bn LHC machine on the Swiss-French border is designed to shed light on fundamental questions in physics.

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ESC Chicago Keynote Makes Case For Time Travel

Karen Field reports that theoretical physicist Ronald Mallett is on a lifelong mission to build a time machine. His theory of a time machine, based on Einstein’s Theory of Relativity, involves creating a circulating beam of light and exploiting the energy to produce a gravitational field, at RF Designline:

Ronald Mallett, a professor of theoretical physics at the University of Connecticut, gave a mind-bending keynote speech on the physics of time travel to an enthralled audience at the Embedded Systems Conference here Tuesday morning, describing how black holes, blue giant stars, and worm holes (tunnels that connect the mouths of black holes)—some of the strangest things in the Universe—illustrate (at least in theory) the potential for time travel some day.

And that day, Mallett claimed, is not so far in the future as one might think.

“Time travel one of mankind’s oldest fantasies. But is it really possible? All of us have wondered what’s going to happen in the future, and we’ve contemplated the question, ‘What if I could back and change something in my past?” said Mallet.

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Mysterious Radio Waves Emitted From Nearby Galaxy

Galaxy M82Stephen Battersby writes on New Scientist:
There is something strange in the cosmic neighbourhood. An unknown object in the nearby galaxy M82 has started sending out radio waves, and the emission does not look like anything seen anywhere in the universe before. "We don't know what it is," says co-discoverer Tom Muxlow of Jodrell Bank Centre for Astrophysics near Macclesfield, UK. The thing appeared in May last year, while Muxlow and his colleagues were monitoring an unrelated stellar explosion in M82 using the MERLIN network of radio telescopes in the UK. A bright spot of radio emission emerged over only a few days, quite rapidly in astronomical terms. Since then it has done very little except baffle astrophysicists. It certainly does not fit the pattern of radio emissions from supernovae: they usually get brighter...
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Every Black Hole Contains Another Universe?

Ker Than writes on National Geographic News:
Black Holes Hold Universes

Like part of a cosmic Russian doll, our universe may be nested inside a black hole that is itself part of a larger universe. In turn, all the black holes found so far in our universe — from the microscopic to the supermassive — may be doorways into alternate realities.

According to a mind-bending new theory, a black hole is actually a tunnel between universes — a type of wormhole. The matter the black hole attracts doesn’t collapse into a single point, as has been predicted, but rather gushes out a “white hole” at the other end of the black one, the theory goes.

In a recent paper published in the journal Physics Letters B, Indiana University physicist Nikodem Poplawski presents new mathematical models of the spiraling motion of matter falling into a black hole. His equations suggest such wormholes are viable alternatives to the “space-time singularities” that Albert Einstein predicted to be at the centers of black holes.

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For One Tiny Instant, Physicists May Have Broken a Law of Nature

So does this now mean the evil, “mirror” universe exists? Beware your doppelganger, especially if he (or she?!) has a goatee … Suzanne Taylor Muzzin reports on PhysOrg:
Mirror Spock

For a brief instant, it appears, scientists at Brook haven National Laboratory on Long Island recently discovered a law of nature had been broken.

Action still resulted in an equal and opposite reaction, gravity kept the Earth circling the Sun, and conservation of energy remained intact. But for the tiniest fraction of a second at the Relativistic Heavy Ion Collider (RHIC), physicists created a symmetry-breaking bubble of space where parity no longer existed.

Parity was long thought to be a fundamental law of nature. It essentially states that the universe is neither right- nor left-handed — that the laws of physics remain unchanged when expressed in inverted coordinates. In the early 1950s it was found that the so-called weak force, which is responsible for nuclear radioactivity, breaks the parity law.

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Mega Shark Attack on Airplane Explained by Physics

Now this is entertainment. But here's the real life physics behind it (click here). Stephen Tauban writes on his blog:
Last year, I discovered the wonderfully cheezy and sharky movie: Mega Shark Vs. Giant Octopus. While it certainly appealed to a more straight-to-DVD niche market of creature-feature enthusiasts, it wasn’t half bad. Pretty laughable in parts … well actually, in most parts when you consider the wooden acting and crap computer animation. However the most ridiculous scene has to be when Mega Shark takes down a commercial jetliner that is cruising over the middle of the ocean. It was this moment that took the movie from being a little ho-hum to “holy shit, did that shark just eat a plane!?” Check out the clip: It’s pretty incredible when you think about it. I mean, how the hell did it do that? What would it require for a shark the size of a plane to launch itself out of the water and take down a moving aircraft? After reviewing some of my basic physics calculations I came up with some pretty startling figures. However, it didn’t feel like I would be doing such an epic event justice with just a basic blog post, which meant it was time to do what I love most: an infographic! I had been itching to do one for a while now, and this seemed like the perfect opportunity. So with all that said, check out the resulting design below. Oh, and just click on the image to download the full size PDF version for the smaller details.
Megashark
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A New Look at Newton’s Second Law Could Explain Away the Existence of Dark Matter

From PopSci:

And all it takes to measure is a simple spinning disk here on Earth. When reached for comment, Dark Matter says: “Come on, you almost found me!”

Dark matter’s status as a mysterious and invisible lurker in the universe has frustrated scientists for years. Now, one hopes to solve the puzzle a different way: using a modified version of Newton’s second law that would eliminate the need for dark matter altogether. Researchers in Brazil have devised an experiment that could put the modified Newtonian dynamics (MOND) to the test, New Scientist reports.

Much indirect evidence for dark matter — supposedly 25 percent of the mass in the universe — comes from observing its invisible gravitational effect on visible galaxies and their stars. Deep underground experiments on Earth have attempted to directly detect the weakly interacting particles (WIMPS) that scientists believe constitute dark matter.

But dark matter’s existence is based on the assumption that Newton’s second law of motion holds true at all physical scales.

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The First Test That Proves General Theory of Relativity Wrong

Vlad Tarko writes on Softpedia:
Relativity Is Wrong?According to Einstein’s theory of general relativity, a moving mass should create another field, called gravitomagnetic field, besides its static gravitational field. This field has now been measured for the first time and to the scientists’ astonishment, it proved to be no less than one hundred million trillion times larger than Einstein’s General Relativity predicts.

This gravitomagnetic field is similar to the magnetic field produced by a moving electric charge (hence the name “gravitomagnetic” analogous to “electromagnetic”). For example, the electric charges moving in a coil produce a magnetic field — such a coil behaves like a magnet. Similarly, the gravitomagnetic field can be produced to be a mass moving in a circle. What the electric charge is for electromagnetism, mass is for gravitation theory (the general theory of relativity).

A spinning top weights more than the same top standing still. However, according to Einstein’s theory, the difference is negligible.

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Coast to Coast AM: Time Technology & Research

From the January 31, 2010 show of Coast to Coast AM: TimeControl
Joining Art Bell for the entire 4-hour program, physicist Dr. David Anderson discussed the state of time technology from his research, as well as other labs around the world. He recapped his work from 2002, when he last appeared with Art on the show. At that juncture, his team had created small time warp fields that he said could accelerate time by 300% within the field, as well as reversing time. He described the initiation of a time warp field as quite spectacular to witness, "between the combinations of different chemical reagents and high energy lasers we use to excite or initiate a time warp field...a lot of light, a lot of energy." Since 2002, the effects have increased by "two orders of magnitudes," both in time acceleration and retardation rates, and living organisms have been successfully tested in the warp fields, he detailed. By regenerating "closed timelike curves" (bending spacetime so time loops back on itself) we're finding it "just as easy to move backwards in time as well as forward," Anderson explained.
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