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Posts Tagged ‘Science’

Light of my Life is not the light of your life

It was Isaac Newton who from series of experiments postuated that light is a spectrum of 7 colors. We also believe from the colors we see in a rainbow. The red light along one edge of the rainbow is electromagnetic radiation with a wavelength of about 620 to 750 nanometres; the violet light along the opposite edge is radiation with a wavelength of 380 to 450nm.

But there is far more to electromagnetic radiation than these visible colours. Light with wavelengths slightly longer than the red light we see is called infrared. Light with wavelengths slightly shorter than violet is called ultraviolet.

Many animals can actually see ultraviolet, and so can some people, says Eleftherios Goulielmakis of the Max Planck Institute of Quantum Optics in Garching, Germany. In some circumstances even infrared is visible to humans.

Beyond ultraviolet, electromagnetic wavelengths can go shorter than 100nm. This is the realm of X-rays and gamma rays. You won’t often hear X-rays described as a form of light.

“A scientist wouldn’t say ‘I’m shining X-ray light on the target’. They would say ‘I’m using X-rays’,” says Goulielmakis.

Meanwhile, go beyond infrared and electromagnetic wavelength stretches to 1cm and even up to thousands of kilometres. These electromagnetic waves are given familiar names like microwaves and radio waves. It may seem strange to think of the radio waves used in broadcasting as light.

“There is no real physical difference between radio waves and visible light from the point of view of physics,” says Goulielmakis. “You would describe them with exactly the same sort of equations and mathematics.” It’s only our everyday language that treats them as different.

So we have another definition of light. It is the very narrow range of electromagnetic radiation that our eyes can actually see. In other words, light is a subjective label that we only use because our senses are limited.

benny

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There was time when electricity and magnetism seemed different things for a layman. But scientists like Hans Christian Oersted and Michael Faraday established that they are deeply entwined.

Oersted found that an electric current passing through a wire deflects the needle of a magnetic compass. Meanwhile, Faraday discovered that moving a magnet near a wire can generate an electric current in the wire. The idea of “electromagnetism” did not emerge until James Clerk Maxwell showed that electric and magnetic fields travel in the manner of waves, and that those waves move essentially at the speed of light. By a leap of imagination he theorized that light itself was carried by electromagnetic waves – which means light is a form of electromagnetic radiation.

In the late 1880s, a few years after Maxwell’s death, German physicist Heinrich Hertz became the first to formally demonstrate that Maxwell’s theoretical concept of the electromagnetic wave was correct.

Maxwell’s contribution to science is huge. Albert Einstein, who was inspired by Maxwell, said that he changed the world forever. Among many other things, his calculations helped explain what light is.

Having provided some scientific background let me try to explain the concept of the Trinity. Ishall quote relevant parts from the Nicene Creed:

I believe in one God, the Father Almighty, Maker of heaven and earth, and of all things visible and invisible.

And in one Lord Jesus Christ, the only-*begotten Son of God, …light of Light, very God of very God; (*begotten in the sense he is not made, being of one substance with the Father, by whom all things were made.)

And I believe in the Holy Ghost, the Lord and Giver of Life; who proceeds from the Father [and the Son]; who with the Father and the Son together is worshipped and glorified; who spoke by the prophets.

Electricity, Magnetism and Light are three manifestatios of energy. Moslems would call their Supreme Being as the Lord of three worlds. Monotheism is fine and it has its way of manifesting in different modes. The Prophet of incomparable Light has to be inspired which is a mode different from writing down words. To be accurate and not miss an accent or sense is yet another mode; To be able to repeat verbatim is different. I can only answer for my faith. I have seen the light! I can say confidently. So shall say a blind standing under the sun being warmed by the light.

Do not forget the UN has designated 2015 as the International Year of Light.

I read the news this morning:

A toddler 18-month-old boy was killed in the night-time attack on two homes in the village of Duma,on the West Bank. His parents and brother suffered serious injuries. Slogans in Hebrew, including the word “revenge”, were found sprayed on a wall of one of the firebombed houses. On the other hand we had heard how a captured Jordanian pilot was set on fire by Daesh Jihadi elements. Obviously the glory of Light is wasted on them.

benny

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Astrophysical journal of the 20th century was agog with Einsteins’ general theory of Relativity and this century is astir with Black holes. In our known universe the idea that no particle can pass faster than light was sacrosanct. Every theory had to fit in order to pass approval. In 2011 was a debate going on about faster-than-light neutrinos. Imagine the notion of the universe having internal boundaries! Only that we have not had any convincing proof to support this quirky idea. It has now been ditched.

What makes a black hole special is its event horizon. If you pass through you are lost forever, in the most complete way, from the universe you left behind. It’s a boundary to the knowable universe. Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence. The claim that the universe has internal boundaries is extraordinary. So what’s the evidence for event horizons? One may point to observations of hot matter around the postulated event horizon and say that matter is at least as far from the horizon as the size of the black hole itself. Einstein’s theory of gravity, describes these hot matter observations well, and if it continues to do so all the way down to the event horizon then black holes exist. But we’ve yet to see evidence for that.

Our theoretical explanations may require the existence of things for which there is no direct evidence. It happens all the time in physics. If you accept the Standard Model of Particle Physics then you probably believe in the Higgs boson even though it took a while in order to prove its existence. Similarly, if you believe general relativity then you probably believe in event horizons.

At best we may conclude the best theoretical model of the observational data implies a black hole. But that model includes general relativity, which we expect does not completely describe black holes, as it predicts a singularity – a point of infinite density and infinitesimal volume, at which space and time become infinitely distorted. Things can become quite weird is it not?

So when you come across the term “infinite” in physics it is more like the white spaces in old maps with a notation, ‘terra incognita’, meaning we have reached the limits of our understanding.

Thanks to Stephen Hawking who jiggered with black hole predicts small event horizons eventually explode due to’Hawking radiation.’

So it’s possible event horizons are where quantum mechanics first requires significant modifications to general relativity. Speculating further, it’s also possible that such modifications would prevent event horizons from forming. That might save us from living in a universe with parts that are unknowable.

‘Black holes are a bit like free will. Irrespective of the evidence, most of us live as if free will exists. And most astrophysicists live as if black holes exist’.

(The Conversation/ Black holes might exist, but let’s stay skeptical-Prof.craig savage, Theoretical Physics- Au.NU/ Nov.29, 2011)

(To be concluded)

benny

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Even though scientists have managed to quantify how much dark matter lurks in distant galaxies, astronomers have been hard-pressed to figure out how much of the mysterious stuff lies within our own.

But in a paper published in the journal Nature Physics, a team of researchers has managed to measure the amount of dark matter in the inner Milky Way, which could shed light on the structure and evolution of our galaxy, and perhaps of others as well. Dark matter is that mysterious stuff that accounts for 84.1% of the matter in the universe, while normal matter – all the stuff we can see, from galaxies to stars and planets and black holes and us – makes up a mere 15.9%. Because it doesn’t interact with light, it is completely invisible to us, and the only way to tell it’s there is by looking for its powerful gravitational influence on the normal matter around us. For example, astronomers are able to calculate how much dark matter is in far-off galaxies by looking at their spin. Basically, astronomers can tell how much mass is in a spiral galaxy by watching how fast it rotates. The faster the spin, the more massive the galaxy. And if they’re more massive, the galaxies should be brighter, too, because they should be filled with more stars. But astronomers noticed galaxies that were spinning really fast, even though they weren’t bright. If the mass causing these galaxies to spin so fast wasn’t from stars or gas, then what exactly was it? Scientists need to measure how much of it there is in a given galaxy in order to understand the behavior of galaxies and the large-scale structure of the cosmos. For distant galaxies, that’s relatively easy to do. Ironically, for the galaxy we live in, that’s a much more difficult measurement to make, said UC Irvine astrophysicist James Bullock, who was not involved the study. [Measuring] anything is hard when you’re inside of it,” Bullock said. “It’s kind of like trying to figure out what kind of house you live in without ever leaving your house.”

Our knowledge of the forces that in certain phases seem to go contrary to our expectations as well as helpful at times is woefully inadequate. We call it luck. If we were lucky to hit a jackpot only to be burgled of the winnings why call it luck? On the other side of the coin if we have been led through a short leash in our adolescence and in old age face with what little we have, in a happy frame of mind, what do we call those years of restraint?

In short when life negates your chances as well as compensates later on must owe to forces that are at play. These forces are such reason cannot adequately explain these switch off/on phenomenon. Reason is simple: We are too much involved as to be impartial. If we cannot measure the dark matter inside our galaxy we may as well consider it as a possibility. If one born is in a log cabin and suffers hardships reason may explain it as something owing to the way circumstances are. If the same person could finally occupy the highest office of the land how reason shall explain it? Taking a leaf out of nature one might say, hardship as necessary as to make one toughen up. It makes sense, does it not? If President Lincoln’s life is synonymous with slave question it might add an additional insight: Life of hardship made him sensitive to the sufferings of the slaves. But actual details of the life show he was not moved by the plight of the slaves as much as he thought slave question was a question mark in the democratic credentials of the nation. How can a nation be half free and half slaves? Indeed it is a matter of personal integrity that he dared to make a change knowing that he was a marked man. Life of a man is not to be really measured by superficial details of birth, death, honors received etc., but in what manner the life could make positive changes. (LATimes-science Now-Heart of darkness: Scientists probe dark matter near Milky Way’s core)

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One of the scary scenarios that is liable to be overlooked is bacteria that have become immune to antibiotics. To add fuel to it new classes of antibiotics aren’t being found as we would like to.

First of all we need to understand mechanism in nature has given bacteria similar strategies that we adopt in our present times*.

Bacteria evolve and learn to defend themselves. Bacteria need host as aliens a home. These may find their way into the blood stream through a cut just as easily migrants land off Lampedusa island in Mediterranean sea.

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The majority of antibiotics we use at home or in hospitals today have their origins in natural products.

The penicillins, cephalosporins, aminoglycosides, rifamycins, tetracyclines and glycopeptide-based antibiotics all came from bacteria or fungi. They were made by nature in response to selective evolutionary pressure over eons of “chemical warfare”, in which microorganisms battled to survive by killing off their competitors with antibiotics.

In a single scoop of soil, bacteria and fungi number in the millions. They also come in thousands of varieties, and survive by fighting each other. We know this because for the past century, several newly discovered antibiotics have been found by isolating them from the bacteria and fungi that produce them to defend their own lives.

Of course, they also co-evolved resistance mechanisms to avoid being killed by their own compounds, so antibiotic resistance is equally ancient. Scientists have found antibiotic resistance genes in bacteria isolated from 30,000-year-old permafrost, long before antibiotics were discovered and used by humans.

Most antibiotics found during the “golden age” were from micro-organisms themselves, isolated from soil or plants and then cultured in the laboratory. They were easily screened on agar culture plates or liquid culture broths to see if they could kill pathogenic bugs.

The toolkit required was pretty simple: some dirt, a culture flask to grow the antibiotic-producing bacteria or fungi, a column to separate and isolate the potential new antibiotic, and a culture plate and incubator to test if the compound could kill a disease-causing pathogenic bacteria.

Chemists were then able to “tweak” these new structures to extend their activity against different bacteria and improve their ability to treat infection in the clinic. Most of the antibiotics we have are derived from just one soil-dwelling bacterial order – the Actinomycetales.

We have somewhat exhausted our resources by exploiting what was easily found around us. So scientists have been forced to look further afield, turning to coral reefs, deep oceans and cave-dwelling bacteria to search for new promising molecules.

Key challenges

Philosopher Sun Tzu said “the supreme art of war is to subdue the enemy without fighting”. We are now in a protracted war against superbugs, as we have overplayed a key weapon against disease. Our unfortunate misuse and abuse of antibiotics means that bacteria have developed new ways to inactivate the drugs, to stop them getting to their targets within the bacteria cells, and to pump them back out of the cell when they do get in.

The cost and time required to bring new drugs to market are staggering. Estimates for the time to bring a new antibiotic through the preclinical, clinical and regulatory approval process are in the order of 13 to 15 years and around US$1.2 billion. If the costs of failures are factored in, it is closer to US$2.5 billion.

Because we expect to pay $20 or at most $200 for a course of antibiotics (compared to more than $20,000 for many cancer treatments), and because we only take antibiotics for a week or two, almost all of the companies that were active in antibiotic discovery have left the field over the last 20 years.

Tail spin:

*Evolution of free societies thanks to multiculturalism allow sneak attacks from host of aliens that have gained entry under different pretexts. Some are benign but faith based Jihadists who are more likely impressionable youth finding welfare programs of the host nation to fund their layabout lifestyle too attractive to miss the freeloading so they could hang out with friends of same attitudes. These naturally have no skills nor care to develop for their betterment or others. If they find themselves marginalised as sure as their choices would indicate they will know whom to blame. Their host nation of course. (Have you ever found any of them feeling they are parasites or blame lay in their own choices? No never.) What little they know is they are likely recruits for different groups who want to impose their own agenda when the time is opportune. An apt example would be the recent 8 Jan. attack in Paris. The terrorist brothers under the behest of Yememi branch of al-Qaeda imagined that by attacking Charlie Hebdo on the issue of Prophet Mohammad cartoon they could strangle free speech and make a dent in the tenor of the French society. Had they succeeded they would sooner or later upped their ante by escalating their hold by demanding something else similarly spacious. Hitler tried it before them and got away. (Had these terrorists honored the intent of the prophet instead of a silly point of blasphemy involved in portraiture, much of this bloodshed would have been needless.)

Such evolution is inevitable since the bacteria also mimic the host in many areas while seeking their opportunity. Under free speech in Park View schools, in UK impressionable minds were being groomed to view white women are devoid of all morals and similar lies. These hate strategies under faith based school management were caught in camera in time. When bacteria evolves similarly into malignant tumours superior technology must be relied to neutralise them.

Ref. Birmingham mail’of 26/7/14-Trojan Horse

Matthew Cooper/the Conversation/14/1/15-We need new anti-biotics

benny

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Was evolution of brain a necessity? Man being a social animal has necessary space in his skull to accommodate the wiring that would need for honing his communicative skills. Other species have comparatively not much space for what man is equipped for. Nevertheless a bee can make sense of its world as well as get the best in its brief life span. So in terms of utility a life form is never for a moment at a loss to make a go of it. If a group of lizards in Madagascar thrown into the islands with fewer possibilities of sustenance evolves into miniature version of its cousin elsewhere a biologist would say it is owing to insular dwarfism. It is so. The group has learnt to adapt itself in terms of its environment. The dynamics of jiggering with its body size, habits are as unconscious as its consequences are obvious. So brain is not merely the size and circuits but being conscious of its undeniable connection to the world outside. 

Having said this let me mention about bilingualism.

If man was not conscious about other groups different from his having different languages the topic of bilingualism would be a non-starter.

Bilingualism affects the structure of the brain including both major types of brain tissue – the grey matter and the white matter. The neurons in our brain have two distinct anatomical features: their cell bodies, where all the processing of information, thinking and planning happens, and their axons, which are the main avenues that connect brain areas and transfer information between them. The cell bodies are organised around the surface of the brain – the grey matter – and all the axons converge and interconnect underneath this into the white matter.

We call it white matter because the axons are wrapped in a fatty layer, the myelin, which ensures better neuronal communication – the way information is transferred around the brain. The myelin functions as an “insulation” that prevents information “leaking” from the axon during transfer.

Brain is in fact a jumble of parts from jellyfish, lizards all put together. We are using the nerve net from jellyfishes while design features of the brain are derived from lizards. Jellyfish do not have brain and their communication system developed 600 million years ago cannot be what is best for us. The brain evolved out of necessity to take care of different groups speaking different languages do affect the structure of the brain. How is it then that some groups like the Western societies pride in their ability to explore new ideas while some resist any idea that has been associated with something sacrosanct genuine or imagined? If a non-Muslin takes the name of Allah it is tantamount to blasphemy or image of Prophet Mohammed is depicted it is an insult. What is a drawing but of the same category as letters drawn with a brush or pen or by pressing keys? If a mulla in the prophets name urges his audience to hate and kill it is not an insult to the position he holds or to his Maker? 

Recalling the recent outrage of some terrorists attacking the Charlie Hebdo office in Paris makes me wonder if brain has to do with these murderers who can shoot people in the broad light in the name of their prophet. Where does their intolerance come from? Are they brainwashed to forget the consequences? Or have their brains put into sleep mode by their fear of group disapproval? If such fear can skew up their thinking brainwashing is unnecessary. Man has himself necessitated its stagnation. Religion is not detrimental to one’s onward development. It is supposed to sooth and heal divisions since moral value of any life is worth preserving. 

JE SUIS CHARLIE

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Early in 2014 Jeremy England proposed a theory, based in thermodynamics, showing that the emergence of life was not accidental, but necessary. “Under certain conditions, matter inexorably acquires the key physical attribute associated with life,”a theory, based in thermodynamics, showing that the emergence of life was not accidental, but necessary.

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. Professor England, a 31-year-old assistant professor at the MIT, 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. This could mean that under certain conditions, matter inexorably acquires the key physical attribute associated with life.

Giordano Bruno, who was burnt at the stake for heresy in 1600, was perhaps the first to take Copernicanism to its logical extension, speculating that stars were other suns, circled by other worlds, populated by beings like ourselves. His extreme minority view in his own time now looks better than ever, thanks to England.

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Matter has to out its abstract aspects underlying in a material form that can give matter its rising in the ladder (of evolution) which is just as well that it correspondingly acquires a coherence in its abstract nature.

Light as a photon having velocity and distance to cover shall create an uncertainty principle. If Creationists and Evolutionists cannot agree on the role of God let us not get drawn into the useless polemics. Doubt is necessary in the realm of Material universe.

How did man bring out underlying abstract of nature of matter to propound a theory of anything? Man we say is capable of abstract thinking. So doubt as well as God is borne out of his imagination. What is it if it does not touch anything nor lead to anywhere? It is useless. If a man because of doubt takes a position of sceptic or a Theist it has only value for his species. Science does not prove anything else.

Benny

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