Archive for the ‘Science’ Category

An electron is a small ball of negative charge that is smaller than an atom. Does it have a shape?
Conjure electrons as charges and it surrounds the nucleus of every atom that determine how chemical reactions proceed. Their uses in industry are abundant: from electronics and welding to imaging and advanced particle accelerators they are the main components of atoms making up the world around us.
As far as physicists currently know, electrons have no internal structure — and thus no shape in the classical meaning of this word. In the modern language of particle physics, which tackles the behavior of objects smaller than an atomic nucleus, the fundamental blocks of matter are continuous fluid-like substances known as “quantum fields” that permeate the whole space around us. In this language, an electron is perceived as a quantum, or a particle, of the “electron field.”
Suppose we treat fields as ‘entities’ in terms of space. Firstly we must adapt our definition of shape so it can be used at incredibly small distances, or in other words, in the realm of quantum physics. It gives us a way to define an electron’s properties such that they mimic how we describe shapes in the classical world. For example a photon striking a needle and deflecting it is a new indication of shape. Its shape is comparable to how we perceive in our macroscopic world the rays of light bouncing off different objects around us. It is a sensation of a fleeting flash but as tangible as inspiration when it can fire up another Hafiz or Keats who composed Ode to a Nightingale after hearing the bird. Yes one can dash out a couplet of exquisite beaut or see visions. When it happens it is not merely quantum field but the whole being has had a transcendental experience, which is other worldly to put it baldly. Simply put, we define shapes by seeing how objects react when we shine light onto them and when we are moved with its sensation to find meanings that were never thought up before it is truth. The Ode to the Nightingale has its own truth to which only the poet is the sole arbiter. Its enduring quality derives from it

What replaces the concept of shape in the micro world? Since light is nothing but a combination of oscillating electric and magnetic fields, it would be useful to define quantum properties of an electron that carry information about how it responds to applied electric and magnetic fields. Having said this when we walk on cloud number nine or shuffle our feet as though dragged down by some oppressive mood is how we we respond to space about us.
When I say I can feel presence of God who shall define my space, or its extent or what I can subjectively vouch as true?


Read Full Post »

In one fable posted some years ago I had posited an idea that at infinitesimal spaces while treating the headache of Zeus the spark created by the fire god must behave in such ways that the clot and the spark act as one. In that thought experiment, Erwin Schrödinger’s cat achieves a similar state: Cat in a box would be exposed to a radioactive particle that had even odds of decaying or not. Until the box was opened, the poor cat would be both alive and dead at the same time, which seemed clearly absurd to Schrödinger.In other words these are entangled. Entanglement as a quantum effect describes where particles separated by vast distances mysteriously link up their states. Scientists in 2016 have already created with quantum-entangled bacteria.
Usually, we describe quantum physics as a set of rules that governs the behavior of extremely tiny things: light particles, atoms and so on to which realm of livings things and bacteria belongs to another order. This larger world, at the bacterial scale (which is also our scale — the chaotic realm of life) isn’t supposed to be anywhere near that weird.

There’s just something about the quantum world that doesn’t seem to make sense in ours. Bouts of migraine in most sufferers seem to be triggered by solar flares. The light takes some eight minutes to reach us but it triggers migraine earlier than that. Why?
But scientists don’t agree on where the boundary between the ordinary and the quantum world lies — or if it even exists at all. Chiara Marletto, a physicist at the University of Oxford and a co-author on the recent paper, which was published Oct. 10 in The Journal of Physics Communications, said that there’s no reason to expect that there’s a limit on the size of quantum effects.

“I’m interested in studying the border where quantum rules stop applying,” she told Live Science. “Some people say that quantum theory is not a universal theory, so it does not apply to any object in the universe, but actually will at some point break down. My interest is to show that actually, that’s not the case.”

In 2017, a team of researchers based at the University of Sheffield in England said they had created a state of what’s known as quantum coupling in photosynthetic bacteria. They placed a few hundred bacteria in a tiny, mirrored room and bounced light around. (Based on the length of the mini room, only a certain wavelength of light persisted over time, known as the resonant frequency.) Over time, six of the bacteria appeared to develop a limited quantum connection to the light. So the resonant frequency of light inside the tiny room seemed to synchronize with the frequency at which electrons jumped in and out of position inside the bacteria’s photosynthetic molecules.
Marletto said that her model shows that this effect likely involved more than just quantum coupling. There was likely something going on even weirder than what those experimentalists described, she said.

The bacteria, she and her colleagues showed, likely became entangled with the light. What this means is that the equations used to define each of the waveforms — of both the light and the bacteria — become one equation. Neither is solvable without the other. (According to quantum mechanics, all objects can be described as both particle and wave, but practically speaking, in “large” objects like bacteria, the waveforms are impossible to see or measure.)

Like Schrödinger’s proverbial cat in a box, the whole system seemed to exist in an uncertain netherworld. How often we have seen rational man interacting with rational men as we would assume every delegate, who deliberated around the table hammering out the Treaty of Versailles in 1919 and what did they produce? Just the opposite. Why speak of rational idea of man when he cannot fathom the weird world of justice and equality operating without? You deny justice with the most cogent arguments and quote instances out of the whole and what you produce is more misery and just opposite to your professed principles. This is entanglement on a moral plane. Between our physical universe and worlds created purely on abstract ideas only entanglement that is sustainable not by rules of men or by their material accomplishment but by moral laws. For me God is that moral being.

(Ack: Schrödinger’s Bacteria? Physics Experiment Leads to 1st Entanglement of Living Organisms-Nov.13.Rafi Letzer-Live Science)

Read Full Post »

“Science Education in the United States is the equivalent of a radically divided market because it takes place in 16,000 largely autonomous school districts. If a new drug is developed by a pharmaceutical company, it can be approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and then sold to everyone in the United States. But “if you have figured out the equivalent of . . . the latest cure in science education, you must, in a sense, persuade 16,000 FDAs that this is the antidote to their ills. And therein lies one dimension of what makes this problem so massive.” When politics enter the hallowed halls of education there falls a shadow of votes that obscurantism carry. So creationism, intelligent design and many other opinions must also be allowed in. Where politics is matter of numbers one would assume mathematics ought to be high in priorities.

U.S. students with reported higher levels of confidence scored lower than students in other countries who reported themselves to be less confident. For example, 39 percent of U.S. students said that they usually do well in mathematics, while just 4 percent of students in Japan said the same. Yet the average mathematics score in the United States was considerably lower than that in Japan.“We tend to believe that a large determinant of a student’s success in school is ability,” Sullivan said. “In many other cultures and countries, it is perceived and believed that the correlation is with effort, with work, with investment, and self-discipline.”Here we have the finger on the pulse of anti-Science. Lack of self-discipline is the worm in the can: given the premium on wealth and affluence the privileged children can afford the best education and opportunities as we recently witnessed appointment of one to a top job had the whole nation divided. Parties either covered up the nominee’s past or dismissed the minority party as ‘playing politics. Politics has taken over civility truth and good manners. How can Science perform without scientific temper where truth must be shown for what is?
So bad science is where human potential had been already compromised by what wealth plays in the national blood stream. The young from privileged Haves develop rather affluenza and one of the legal luminaries who was recently elevated to the Supreme Court admitted in his diary that ‘obnoxious drunk’ more or less explained their status. It was achieved with no sweat and it is part of the American dream.
There remains a very sharp divide between the perceptions of leaders in the United States and the perceptions of parents. Even though most parents know that more mathematics and science are needed for students, they tend not to extend that reasoning to their own children. (Ack: 2. Science and Science Education in the United States/ Kathryn Sullivan, director of the Battelle Center for Mathematics and Science Education Policy at Ohio State Uni/ https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK26409)
Major threat to the future is our collective influence on the climate, environment and biodiversity, So, it’s important to have international conversations about how to combat the pressures humanity has placed on the world. And it’s much easier to solve the world’s problems, such as by combating climate change, than by packing up our things and going to a new planet. But politics can find yet another topic if climate control does not bring in votes and serve equally disastrous to the whole world. There must be a truism that a nation who achieves the superpower status may do ten victory laps and yet prove disastrous for future.

“It’s a dangerous illusion to think that we can escape the world’s problems by going to Mars,” In fact, robots — who will likely be better-adapted to space travel than humans — will mostly be the ones exploring the cosmos while man shall be still playing politics and keep Anti-Science alive and a threat. Robots are not truly a threat for the future as man is. “I don’t worry as much as some people do about AI taking over,” one Scientist said recently, “Humans evolved from earlier primates because of natural selection, and the traits that were favored were intelligence and aggression”. Electronics “are not engaged in a struggle for survival as in Darwinian selection, so there’s no reason why they should be aggressive,” he said. For that reason, they probably won’t kill off the human race and expand into the universe. That would be too “anthropomorphic” of them.”(Ack: Live Science)

Read Full Post »

Here is a quote from an article from Nature of 10, March,2015: “In another embarrassing moment for US scientists, Senator James Inhofe (Republican, Oklahoma) last month theatrically tossed a snowball onto the floor of the Senate during a debate on global warming. Despite all the talk of record temperatures in 2014, he said, there was snow on the lawn of the Capitol in Washington DC in winter.
Inhofe may or may not be aware of the distinction between weather and climate. Either way, he is unlikely to alter his views on climate change. More important is how such messages are received by the public, and in particular by the millions of schoolchildren who will be wrestling with the problem of global warming long after Inhofe is gone.
The United States has an opportunity to hugely improve the way that Earth sciences are taught in its schools. The difference between weather and climate, for example, could become standard discussion for third-grade classes, when children are eight or nine years old. Powerful lobby groups are trying to derail this opportunity. All scientists should help to stop them. (Ack: /www.nature.com/news /Help to fight the battle for Earth in US schools/ Nicole D.LaDue)”

One of the disastrous consequences of universal literacy which of course was a natural result of Enlightenment and it is what we see in the field of education. Science made Easy for all one could say was a typical American invention. As a result we have Pop Science as expounded through pop culture by superheroes. Superman, Spiderman and Wonder woman et al. Education geared to keep the Junior off trouble served through Marvel comics and DC comics has only created nay sayers on climate control take control. What happened? Did we trivialize Science without acquiring scientific temper? How can we not when nations let education find means to fund itself. Naturally funds provided by Big Corporations come to dictate future and education was geared to profits. So money invested paid off the Corporations well. So we have now alternate Science and Science.
Liberty is my birthright, right? Under capitalism what is time consuming research is Bad Science. So let those who foot the bill hold the world to ransom. For a profit margin we see before us the specter of Anti-Science and the nation whose only survival strategy is on dollar and cents fight shy of the Paris Accord. Their deep state is coal and fossil fuel.
We have this news:
“It’s the final call, say scientists, the most extensive warning yet on the risks of rising global temperatures.

Their dramatic report on keeping that rise under 1.5 degrees C says the world is now completely off track, heading instead towards 3C. Keeping to the preferred target of 1.5C above pre-industrial levels will mean “rapid, far-reaching and unprecedented changes in all aspects of society”.

It will be hugely expensive – but the window of opportunity remains open.

After three years of research and a week of haggling between scientists and government officials at a meeting in South Korea, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has issued a special report on the impact of global warming of 1.5C.(Ack: BBC online news)

The politics in the US has made the movers and shakers in the White House deny the facts. It is fake news which is fashionable so Pop science give the Environmental Agency some ‘facts’ that are stranger than Science. Past debacles are alternate facts so anything where preferred lobby groups can make fat profits seems to win the argument each time.
Can a task force of insects carrying genetically modified viruses save America’s farms — or are they an uncontrollable bioweapon in the making? Forget about killer bees of yesterday and this is the realm of Insect Allies yielding a kill at the drop of command,”Go!”

This is the debate swirling around a controversial new Pentagon research project called “Insect Allies.” Funded by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), the project involves using gene-editing techniques like CRISPR to infect insects with modified viruses that could help make America’s crops more resilient. If a cornfield were hit by an unexpected drought or suddenly exposed to a pathogen, for example, Insect Allies might deploy an army of aphids carrying a genetically modified virus to slow the corn plant’s growth rate.

According to the DARPA website, these “targeted therapies” could take effect in a single growing season, potentially protecting the American crop system from food security threats like disease, flooding, frost and even “threats introduced by state or non-state actors.(www.Live Science.com)

(To be concluded)

Read Full Post »

Science is for man and not the other way around.

The earth slowly gave rise to life and the fact that it is a habitable planet means its a living planet. Life forms that cannot make a living from their context need to know why. There are two options before man. Either he has to make the environment change or he has to change. Science is essential for man to formulate an action plan so he knows what is to be done. A farmer living from labour in his fields acquires certain knowledge so he knows when to make the soil ready for sowing planting and harvest. The earth presents a kind of manual for all those who are keen to benefit from. Science in short is knowledge borne out of experience.

But ask if Science is doing its job correctly and allow people in different walks of life to share their knowledge so life on the earth is more pleasant than before. More than millennia of living has only made living fraught with grave danger we are either applying our knowledge wrongly or Science on which we have laid so much trust is not serving us well. Instead we allow technology to force our hand in directions that bodes us no good in the long run. Technology is Big business and if profit motives guide governmental plans to scorch the earth or pollute waters and yet hope Science can find a solutions to the changed circumstances are we to praise Science as handmaiden to success? Let me quote from Life Science: “Scientists have long known that the distribution of mass around the Earth determines its spin, much like how the shape and weight distribution of a spinning top determines how it moves. Also, Earth’s spin isn’t perfectly even, as scientists know thanks to slight wiggles in the movements of the stars across the night sky that have been recorded for thousands of years.” Fine that the scientists have sedulously recorded all the facts but despite of their efforts polar caps melt and the earth wobbles much more at alarming rate one will have to conclude they are only plugging the crumbling dike with their finger while the level of the water dammed rises ever so high. “Since 1899, the Earth’s axis of spin has shifted about 34 feet (10.5 meters). A new research quantifies the reasons why and finds that a third is due to melting ice and rising sea levels, particularly in Greenland — placing the blame on the doorstep of anthropogenic climate change”. Science certainly must be considered as the right of every man who considers himself as one who knows his place in the society of men and is determined to make it count. But Science alone cannot help for reasons beyond any human being.
“”We have provided evidence for more than one single process that is the key driver” for altering the Earth’s axis, said Surendra Adhikari, an Earth system scientist at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California, and a lead researcher on the new study.
This brings back to the moral question of knowledge that is applied. If man wants to use it for his own enjoyment in his time does he have to leave the earth fit for nothing else regardless of his offspring and generations to come? Is it not what we see about us. All the affluents and carcinogenic waste from industrial complexes are let into rivers with impunity. Of course governmental agencies set up to protect the environment are told to look other way so that big corporations can make more profits, and it fits with the objectives of the party in power. While they are in power they may dispense their favors to whomsoever they please. It is thus individuals and political parties flex their muscles to show their freedom and libertarian principles count. Morality of an individual must be allowed to its full expression which is to work with forces that have looked neither to hours and days but hold a variable speed than that of man. We are here for a certain period of time and let not our freedom be a millstone around the necks of generations to come. If the temper of short term success (that can be counted in dollar and cents guide the acquisition of knowledge we may be sure Science we pursue cannot be of much worth. No wonder we have read of news in the media of Academic malfeasances where doctoral theses are dodgy and deceptive. ‘Fame and fortune in the life time’ is what afflicts Science and not truth. It reflects the prevailing attitudes where morality, like truth is reduced to transactional. Science could do better.

Read Full Post »

We are familiar with the adage ‘Best laid plans of man and mice often go awry’ and science can tell how to sequence genome of man and mouse but cannot answer a simple thing as why their best laid plans go awry. Here we see knowledge laid up on two legs one of which unfortunately is so short so much so all their theories,- despite being formulated with greatest care come crashing down. I shall cite an example to the danger of leaving science to decide any outcome in the world.
When we consider the discipline of Science no name greater than Einstein can be found. He wrote a letter to the President of the USA that led to the Manhattan Project. (The Einstein–Szilárd letter was a letter written by Leó Szilárd and signed by Albert Einstein that was sent to the United States President Franklin D. Roosevelt on August 2, 1939. Written by Szilárd in consultation with fellow Hungarian physicists Edward Teller and Eugene Wigner, the letter warned that Germany might develop atomic bombs and suggested that the United States should start its own nuclear program. It prompted action by Roosevelt, which eventually resulted in the Manhattan Project developing the first atomic bombs-Ack:wikipedia)
Need we consider a more unwise step than this? Granted that at the time the idea was logically sound (in order to bring the war to a speedier conclusion) but none had an inkling that would lead to. But consider the world in future being held to ransom by a mad man with his finger on the button? Think of the spent fuel rods and nuclear waste leaching into the soil and into food chain: higher incidence of cancer across the globe owe partly to it. Man’s haste for solving a problem on hand is like putting out a lit matchstick but if it should in the process, throw the entire woods in flames what shall we say? Man’s foresight does not match with what is observable by hindsight. We are still living in the plethora of problems still needing a solution. While plastic littered everywhere on land the marine life is showing strain of chocking on plastic debris finding their way into ocean gyre. By reasons allied to man’s indiscriminate land use climate is showing weird patterns and as a result the coral life is bleached or dying.
Logic and rational approach to any problem is sound but fraught with danger where the problem is merely a tip of the iceberg of imponderables. Scientists speak of a cosmological inflation (It is a theory of exponential expansion of space in the early universe. The inflationary epoch lasted from 10−36 seconds after the conjectured Big Bang singularity to sometime between 10−33 and 10−32 seconds after the singularity) So between Cause and effect when repeated along the line causes a no man’s land to form, where what you do to right a wrong loses its meaning. Think of Israeli-Palestine problem. Israel shoots to stop an intifada but stone throwing resistance escalates into molotov cocktails and rockets from across the border. There are no winners or losers but the whole region being sucked into an all drawn out war of annihilation. Science has no clue despite their claim of proven data and sequence of tests and revising experiments all over again and into whose hands they are playing?
Theoretical Physics by itself is as harmless as a drudge who passes his time digging up names in order to set up a family tree. Pure Science must serve man. But their pursuits are funded by those who can make fat profits. So Technology comes in to their help.
Technology is all about dollars and cents It shall be thus Science has blundered into fields no one has ever gone before. But for every kill the pride of lions casts shadow, and hyenas will know they can have their fill when the lions turn their attention to other things. Between Science and Technology it is no different than this symbiotic relationship. Science makes a breakthrough and it causes some other concern which needs to be reworked. Of the Hubble Constant I had discussed elsewhere the bug that stymies effort is in the human mind itself. Plastic was a wonder material touted once as man’s ingenuity and harbinger of progress.

Moral aspect of man is not some formula and its source is not proved in an aseptic lab but in intra-personal relationships: happiness of living in harmony is natural and morality is sum total arrived for which no mathematical equation exists. When man has done wrong (for war is a wrong perpetuated by might over right) any solution that sound logical and timely must negotiate with changed circumstances following the war. The problem with Manhattan project did not take into account North Korea to cite an example. Science knows nothing of moral clause in the Why of living. Science is an exact discipline, so says the man who may be a moral being who never tell a lie knowingly.
(To be concluded)

Read Full Post »

How matter behaves at a larger scale one can easily observe: a cube of ice melts into water in a period of time and it can turn into vapor when it is heated. These are transitions. In a new study, of Sep.10 in the journal Nature Physics, researchers witnessed these phase transitions in systems made up of just seven light particles, or photons, a state at which matter can reach at ultra-cold temperatures. This physical state is known as a Bose-Einstein condensate, in which particles begin to blend together and act in unison.
Physicists have revealed that just seven quantum particles can behave as if they were in a crowd of billions.
Because photons are packets of light, they’re made of energy, not matter, which makes the idea of them going through a phase transition strange. But back in 2010, a team of German researchers showed that light particles could be induced to behave as a BEC would, just like their matter-particle cousins.
To trap the photons, those researchers built a small mirrored chamber and filled it with a colored dye. When the light particles banged into the dye particles, the dye particles would absorb them and re-emit them, so the photons took longer to move through the chamber — effectively slowing them down. When the photons struck the chamber’s mirrored walls, the photons would bounce off without being absorbed or escaping. So the chamber was effectively a space where researchers could make photons sluggish and put them in close quarters. And in that situation, the physicists found, the photons would interact with one another like matter, and exhibit behaviors recognizable as those of a BEC.
There were some differences between the micro-BEC and phase transitions involving larger groups of particles, the researchers noted. When ice heats up past its melting point, it seems to go from solid to liquid form instantly, without any in-between stage. The same is true for most phase transitions of most chemicals. But the seven-photon BEC seemed to form a bit more gradually, the researchers said in the statement, rather than all at once.
Still, they wrote in the paper, the photon phase transition showed that even at very small scales, phase transitions are remarkably like what’s common at larger scales. Physics is physics, all the way down.
Seven is a magic number, considering the number 7 is used in the Judaeo-Christian scriptures. The manner the number 7 is used by the Holy Spirit to indicate perfection, complete and adequate in the sense it rounds off a set as in the example of Sabbath, seventh day.
(Ack: Live Science/ 7 Quantum Particles Act Like Billions in Weird Physics Experiment/
Rafi Letzter,September 10, 2018)

Read Full Post »

Older Posts »