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We're a little crazy, about science!

Classical Physics

Drawing a line between quantum and classical world

Schrodinger's cat

Quantum theory is one of the great achievements of 20th century science, yet physicists have struggled to find a clear boundary between our everyday world and what Albert Einstein called the “spooky” features of the quantum world, including cats that could be both alive and dead, and photons that can communicate with each other across space instantaneously.

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Dead galaxies in Coma Cluster may be packed with dark matter

Coma Cluster
Coma Cluster

This artist’s impression of the ‘quenching’ process shows how a normal blue (star-forming) galaxy lost its gas while falling into the Coma Cluster very early on in its formation.
Image credit goes to: Ameron Yozin, ICRAR/UWA

Galaxies in a cluster roughly 300 million light years from Earth could contain as much as 100 times more dark matter than visible matter, according to an Australian study. The research, published today, used powerful computer simulations to study galaxies that have fallen into the Coma Cluster, one of the largest structures in the Universe in which thousands of galaxies are bound together by gravity.

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Tiny grains of lithium dramatically improve performance of fusion plasma

tokamak fusion reactor

While fusion might still be a far off dream, a new discovery may help bring that dream closer to reality. Scientists have discovered a phenomenon that helps them to improve fusion plasmas, a finding that could quicken the development of large scale fusion energy. The scientists found that when they injected tiny grains of lithium into a plasma undergoing a particular kind of turbulence then, under the right conditions, the temperature and pressure rose dramatically.

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The universe is expanding, but how fast?

Nasa swift super nova

That same galaxy in a NASA Swift image is shown, with bars indicating the location of supernova SN 2011fe. The Swift image is a false-color image with UV emission blue and optical emission red.
Image credit goes to: NASA/Swift

We are expanding, well more accurately the universe is expanding. However researchers have found certain types of supernovae, or exploding stars, are more diverse than previously thought. The results have implications for big cosmological questions, such as how fast the universe has been expanding since the Big Bang. Most importantly, the findings hint at the possibility that the acceleration of the expansion of the universe might not be quite as fast as textbooks say.

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New theory tries to define where black holes don’t exist

black hole

The quintessential feature of a black hole is its “point of no return,” or what is more technically called its event horizon, yes just like the movie. When anything—a star, a particle, or wayward human—crosses this horizon, the black hole’s massive gravity pulls it in with such force that it is impossible to escape. At least, this is what happens in traditional black hole models based on general relativity. In general, the existence of this event horizon is responsible for most of the strange phenomena associated with black holes.

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Are Black Holes just in Our Imagination?!

black hole

Black holes, physicists have been fighting over them forever, heck there is even a book entitled the black hole war! (which I do recommend for anyone interested) It’s no real surprise since they are the ultimate unknown – the blackest and most dense objects in the universe that do not even let light escape. And as if they weren’t bizarre enough to begin with, now add this to the mix: they don’t exist.

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The Holographic Universe [we might Live in!]

matrix

Are you feeling a little… flat? Well that might be because you are only in 2 dimensions. I know what you’re thinking, insane! Well first check the name of the business and second, check out the science. In fact, it may seem like a joke, but the math suggests that it could very well be true and with it could come a deeper understanding of the universe. Testing this hypothesis (which was first made in the late 90’s) has been harder to do than you might think, but that has now changed. We are officially checking to see if our universe is a hologram!

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Voyager has hit interstellar space…. maybe?

intersteller space

Poor Voyager, he just can’t catch a break. We’ve said it’s hit interstellar space more times than we want to admit and in 2012, the Voyager mission team announced that the Voyager 1 spacecraft had passed into interstellar space [confirmed late 2013], traveling further from Earth than any other man-made object.

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Optical Cables, from Thin Air!

wardenclyffe-tesla-tower

It’s a project that would make Tesla proud. Just imagine being able to instantaneously run an optical cable or fiber to any point on earth, or even into space. That’s what researchers are trying to do. Did I mention it was instantaneous and involved no connection other than the air around us? Well if you are as excited as I am, then you should read on! If not, two words, laser weapons!!

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The Surprisingly Magnetic Black Hole

blackhole

Black holes suck. Nothing can escape a black hole, not even light, which is why they are “black”. They are also an interesting bit of physics. Normally “classical” physics applies to things that are large enough to see [and even things that you can’t in some cases]. Conversely quantum mechanics deals with the “unseen”, atoms and their interactions. That is normally the end of the story, never shall the two meet.

In fact, because there is no clearly defined line between the quantum and the classical, there has been trouble blending the two theories. Which is unfortunate in that there are a few specific examples where the quantum world and the classical world collide, one of them just happens to be black holes.

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Alzheimer’s? Forget about it!

Just one of many horrible diseases of the brain.

Just one of many horrible diseases of the brain.

Let’s face it, diseases that affect the brain are some of the hardest to deal with. Anyone who’s lost someone to alzheimer’s knows exactly what I am talking about. Looking at someone you love and watching them slip away without any visible difference can be heart wrenching!

However, there is a new hope! Physicists [of all things] from Michigan State University published an article in the Journal of Biological Chemistry, that might make alzheimers and associated diseases a thing of the past.

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The Future of Fusion Funding

fusion

Photograph Courtesy of EFDA-JET

Fusion, the promise of clean, renewable energy has been so powerful that scientists have been chasing the dream for roughly 50 years now. Since the birth of atomic energy and the realization of the immense power hidden hidden in the atom, commercial fusion energy has always been 20 years away.

In one of the most ambitious fusion projects global leaders came together to construct the world’s largest fusion plant– ITER [International Thermonuclear Experimental Reactor], in the hopes that scaling the technology to a larger size will be key in producing a fusion reaction that creates more energy than it takes to sustain the reaction.

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Neutrinos have a weight problem

cmb neutrinos

Photo credit goes to: ESA and the Planck Collaboration

There have been some unfortunate problems with the Standard Model of Cosmology. These problems came from the fact that the neutrinos mass was never accurately measured. Thanks to some new observations, we now have managed to [hopefully] find the mass of a neutrino for the first time.

The study I am referring to was completed by Richard Battye and Adam Moss. It was recently published in Physical Review Letters. Using the Planck satellite, which was launched in 2009, scientists have been able to observe directional dependent aspects of the Cosmic Microwave Background [CMB].

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Indecisive? So is Quantum Mechanics.

k-bigpic

This is a particle [or atom], cute no?

A atom walks into a bar. Bartender says ‘What will you have?’ The atom says ‘I’m uncertain’.

Or my personal favorite Heisenberg gets pulled over by a police officer, officer says ‘Do you have any idea how fast you were going?’ Heisenberg replies ‘No, but I know EXACTLY where I am.’

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