Everyone should occasionally break the law

in some small and delightful way,
it’s good for the hygiene of the brain."
(Sir Terry Pratchett)



Cheeky & Geeky Se Moi;

Vision, Faith & Attitude!

Nie Hao, Gaat ie, Fawakka?


DISCLAIMER: I do not own the photos published here, unless stated.

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shinyslingback:

Spectrum of Colors Revealed Through Lit String

British artist, physicist, and all-around science enthusiast Paul Friedlander produces kinetic light sculptures that provide a colorful feast for the eyes. Each piece in his body of work offers a visual medley of light and motion by rapidly rotating a piece of string through white light. The vibrating rope becomes invisible to the human eye, but colors from the light (which would normally be invisible to the naked eye) are revealed in rapid succession.

The scientific artist gives insight into the history of his career shift into the arts and explains the science in it all: “I decided to focus on kinetic art: a subject in which I could bring together my divided background and combine my knowledge of physics with my love of light. In 1983, at London’s ICA, I exhibited the first sculptures to use chromastrobic light, a discovery I had made the previous year. Chromastrobic light changes color faster than the eye can see, causing the appearance of rapidly moving forms to mutate in the most remarkable ways.”

http://www.mymodernmet.com/profiles/blogs/paul-friedlander-kinetic-light-sculptures

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12 Piano notes made visible for the first time Shannon Novak, a New Zealand-born fine artist, commissioned us to image 12 piano notes as inspiration for a series of 12 musical canvases. We decided to image the notes in video mode because when we observed the ‘A1’ note we discovered, surprisingly, that the energy envelope changes over time as the string’s harmonics mix in the piano’s wooden bridge. Instead of the envelope being fairly stable, as we had imagined, the harmonics actually cause the CymaGlyphs to be wonderfully dynamic. Our ears can easily detect the changes in the harmonics and the CymaScope now reveals them—probably a first in acoustic physics.
(via Musicology :: Cymascope Research)

12 Piano notes made visible for the first time 

Shannon Novak, a New Zealand-born fine artist, commissioned us to image 12 piano notes as inspiration for a series of 12 musical canvases. We decided to image the notes in video mode because when we observed the ‘A1’ note we discovered, surprisingly, that the energy envelope changes over time as the string’s harmonics mix in the piano’s wooden bridge. Instead of the envelope being fairly stable, as we had imagined, the harmonics actually cause the CymaGlyphs to be wonderfully dynamic. Our ears can easily detect the changes in the harmonics and the CymaScope now reveals them—probably a first in acoustic physics.

(via Musicology :: Cymascope Research)

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Defending Physics Against Cracked.com
"In science, "fact" can only mean "confirmed to such a degree that it would be perverse to withhold provisional assent." I suppose that apples might start to rise tomorrow, but the possibility does not merit equal time in physics classrooms." -Stephen Jay Gould
Those of you who follow me on either google+, facebook or twitter know that I sometimes post interesting articles about science from around the world, including this very good article about myths about outer space, from the often-entertaining cracked.com. So, as you can imagine, I was (at first) very excited when I saw this article last week over there.
(Image credit: cracked.com.)
Imagine my disappointment when I read this, and realized that the “6 Scientific Discoveries that Laugh in the Face of Physics” turn out to all be things that physics understands and can explain! Looking at it today, you can see that well over 1,000,000 people have read this, so let’s see if we can’t get the correct information back out there to as many of them as possible. Without further ado, let’s take a look at these six scientific discoveries, and do our best to get it right!

(Image credit: Miloslav Druckmuller / SWNS.)
6.) The Sun Can Make Stuff Hotter Than Itself.
Above is the Sun’s Corona, visible only during a total solar eclipse, as shown above. And while the surface of the Sun is very hot, at something around 5800 K, the Corona comes in at temperatures over one million Kelvin. Mysterious, mind-boggling and inexplicable by the laws of physics, right?
Except that temperature is not the same thing as heat! The Sun’s surface is much, much denser than the incredibly rarified corona, so that even though the Sun’s photosphere is less than 1% of the corona’s temperature, it emits energy at a rate that’s over 40,000 timesthe amount required to heat the corona up to it’s high temperature. We even think we know why: the wave heating theory, where energy can be transferred over long distances from the solar interior to the corona.

(Image credits: Robert Krampf; stills taken from MetaCafe.)
Remember what temperature is: a measure of the mean speed of the particles. Similar to how two balls — a tiny one and a very massive one — dropped one-atop-the-other will lead the tiny ball to rocket upwards at an incredible speed, the problem isn’t getting a few particles to have a very large speed. The problem also isn’t unique to the Sun; if we take a look at Earth’s upper atmosphere, where it gets really rarified (above 80 km), we find that it does the same thing in terms of temperature!

(Image credit: Earth’s Atmosphere, from kowoma.de.)
The problem is that we associate temperature with heat in our minds, but the “very high temperature” corona contains almost no heat! But if we look in terms of heat, the Sun’s photosphere contains much more than the corona; the corona merely reaches higher temperatures.

(Image credit: © 1968 George Resch - Fundamental Photographs.)
5.) When You Look Closely, Gravity Stops Making Sense.
The article laments that gravity is so mind-numbingly weak. How dare you, gravity! And it’s true; weaker by something like 38 orders of magnitude than the electromagnetic force, even your puny comb can outdo the gravitational pull of the entire Earth when it comes to lifting certain objects. But this isn’t a mystery, it’s an empirical fact of nature!

(Image credit: Joan Adler, Technion, Israel.)
The standard model of particles and interactions can do a whole lot, but one of the things it can’t do is explain why the fundamental forces are the strength that they are. Neither can general relativity, our theory of gravity. As you can see, gravity is very, mind-numbingly weak, even compared to the weakest other force.
But whether you look close or far, at something as massive as a supermassive black hole or as tiny as a laboratory mass, general relativity still gives the correct answer to everything. The only argument that one could even make that “when you look very close, it stops making sense” would be to go down to the smallest scales we know of.

(Image credits: Ultra-Cold Matter Research at William & Mary.)
Only, with gravity, we can barely make it below the millimeter-scale before it becomes too difficult to measure. And we can measure the effects of gravitation down to these sub-millimeter scales: it obeys general relativity just fine, thank you. Perhaps someday, we’ll reach down to quantum mechanical scales and find that our classical theory of gravity, general relativity, is insufficient. But in theory, general relativity is good all the way down tothe quantum limit of the Universe, and we have yet to find an experiment or observation that contradicts it.

(Image credit: Pioneer 10 by Don Davis, for NASA.)
4.) Satellites Speed Up for No Reason.
So, get this. In the 1970s, we launched two probes — Pioneer 10 and 11 — into the outer Solar System. As we tracked their positions over many decades, we knew exactly what to expect. After all, we know the laws of gravity, we know the masses and positions of the Sun and all the planets, and we should be able to predict the spacecrafts’ motions flawlessly. Except we saw a small — but definitely non-negligible — acceleration back towards the Sun!
Immediately, a number of spectacular explanations arose. Gravity is wrong! The solar system is full of dark matter! Spaghetti! Except among most astrophysicists (like me), anotherexplanation arose: maybe the asymmetric spacecraft is being heated (and is radiating) asymmetrically.

(Image credit: NASA / Francisco et al., retrieved from Jennifer Ouellette.)
For decades, the debate raged, as much as anything where one side doesn’t really give the other side much credibility can rage. And then last year, it was definitively measured that the “anomalous acceleration” is not constant, but decreasing, and hence in total agreement with the theory that it’s due to the thermal effects that the astrophysicists pointed out. So yes, cracked, satellites speed up for no reason, but only if you ignore the actual reason.

(via Defending Physics Against Cracked.com : Starts With A Bang)

Defending Physics Against Cracked.com

"In science, "fact" can only mean "confirmed to such a degree that it would be perverse to withhold provisional assent." I suppose that apples might start to rise tomorrow, but the possibility does not merit equal time in physics classrooms." -Stephen Jay Gould

Those of you who follow me on either google+facebook or twitter know that I sometimes post interesting articles about science from around the world, including this very good article about myths about outer space, from the often-entertaining cracked.com. So, as you can imagine, I was (at first) very excited when I saw this article last week over there.cracked1.jpg

(Image credit: cracked.com.)

Imagine my disappointment when I read this, and realized that the “6 Scientific Discoveries that Laugh in the Face of Physics” turn out to all be things that physics understands and can explain! Looking at it today, you can see that well over 1,000,000 people have read this, so let’s see if we can’t get the correct information back out there to as many of them as possible. Without further ado, let’s take a look at these six scientific discoveries, and do our best to get it right!


corona-large_1594047a.jpeg

(Image credit: Miloslav Druckmuller / SWNS.)

6.) The Sun Can Make Stuff Hotter Than Itself.

Above is the Sun’s Corona, visible only during a total solar eclipse, as shown above. And while the surface of the Sun is very hot, at something around 5800 K, the Corona comes in at temperatures over one million Kelvin. Mysterious, mind-boggling and inexplicable by the laws of physics, right?

Except that temperature is not the same thing as heat! The Sun’s surface is much, much denser than the incredibly rarified corona, so that even though the Sun’s photosphere is less than 1% of the corona’s temperature, it emits energy at a rate that’s over 40,000 timesthe amount required to heat the corona up to it’s high temperature. We even think we know why: the wave heating theory, where energy can be transferred over long distances from the solar interior to the corona.

Krampf1.jpgKrampf2.jpgKrampf3.jpg

(Image credits: Robert Krampf; stills taken from MetaCafe.)

Remember what temperature is: a measure of the mean speed of the particles. Similar to how two balls — a tiny one and a very massive one — dropped one-atop-the-other will lead the tiny ball to rocket upwards at an incredible speed, the problem isn’t getting a few particles to have a very large speed. The problem also isn’t unique to the Sun; if we take a look at Earth’s upper atmosphere, where it gets really rarified (above 80 km), we find that it does the same thing in terms of temperature!

atmosphere_02.jpeg

(Image credit: Earth’s Atmosphere, from kowoma.de.)

The problem is that we associate temperature with heat in our minds, but the “very high temperature” corona contains almost no heat! But if we look in terms of heat, the Sun’s photosphere contains much more than the corona; the corona merely reaches higher temperatures.


Fphoto-05306801A-2FP.jpeg

(Image credit: © 1968 George Resch - Fundamental Photographs.)

5.) When You Look Closely, Gravity Stops Making Sense.

The article laments that gravity is so mind-numbingly weak. How dare you, gravity! And it’s true; weaker by something like 38 orders of magnitude than the electromagnetic force, even your puny comb can outdo the gravitational pull of the entire Earth when it comes to lifting certain objects. But this isn’t a mystery, it’s an empirical fact of nature!

forces.jpeg

(Image credit: Joan Adler, Technion, Israel.)

The standard model of particles and interactions can do a whole lot, but one of the things it can’t do is explain why the fundamental forces are the strength that they are. Neither can general relativity, our theory of gravity. As you can see, gravity is very, mind-numbingly weak, even compared to the weakest other force.

But whether you look close or far, at something as massive as a supermassive black hole or as tiny as a laboratory mass, general relativity still gives the correct answer to everything. The only argument that one could even make that “when you look very close, it stops making sense” would be to go down to the smallest scales we know of.

Atomic_MachZender_1.jpegSubMillimeter_Gravity_2.gif

(Image credits: Ultra-Cold Matter Research at William & Mary.)

Only, with gravity, we can barely make it below the millimeter-scale before it becomes too difficult to measure. And we can measure the effects of gravitation down to these sub-millimeter scales: it obeys general relativity just fine, thank you. Perhaps someday, we’ll reach down to quantum mechanical scales and find that our classical theory of gravity, general relativity, is insufficient. But in theory, general relativity is good all the way down tothe quantum limit of the Universe, and we have yet to find an experiment or observation that contradicts it.


pioneer10.jpeg

(Image credit: Pioneer 10 by Don Davis, for NASA.)

4.) Satellites Speed Up for No Reason.

So, get this. In the 1970s, we launched two probes — Pioneer 10 and 11 — into the outer Solar System. As we tracked their positions over many decades, we knew exactly what to expect. After all, we know the laws of gravity, we know the masses and positions of the Sun and all the planets, and we should be able to predict the spacecrafts’ motions flawlessly. Except we saw a small — but definitely non-negligible — acceleration back towards the Sun!

Immediately, a number of spectacular explanations arose. Gravity is wrongThe solar system is full of dark matterSpaghetti! Except among most astrophysicists (like me), anotherexplanation arose: maybe the asymmetric spacecraft is being heated (and is radiating) asymmetrically.

Pioneer_heating.jpg

(Image credit: NASA / Francisco et al., retrieved from Jennifer Ouellette.)

For decades, the debate raged, as much as anything where one side doesn’t really give the other side much credibility can rage. And then last year, it was definitively measured that the “anomalous acceleration” is not constant, but decreasing, and hence in total agreement with the theory that it’s due to the thermal effects that the astrophysicists pointed out. So yes, cracked, satellites speed up for no reason, but only if you ignore the actual reason.


black_hole1.jpg

(via Defending Physics Against Cracked.com : Starts With A Bang)

photo

Even before the discovery of nuclear fission, Lise Meitner was making strides in academia. Already gaining the respects of notable notables such as Max Planck, she became the first female physics professor in Berlin. 
Working with Otto Hahn, she aided in the discovery of several new isotopes and made advancements in the field of radioactivity. 
Unfortunately, being Jewish in wartime Austria forced her to flee to the Netherlands in 1938, preventing her from ever publicly working with Hahn, she did so anyway, because the reason we do science is because it’s fucking awesome.

Even before the discovery of nuclear fission, Lise Meitner was making strides in academia. Already gaining the respects of notable notables such as Max Planck, she became the first female physics professor in Berlin.

Working with Otto Hahn, she aided in the discovery of several new isotopes and made advancements in the field of radioactivity. 

Unfortunately, being Jewish in wartime Austria forced her to flee to the Netherlands in 1938, preventing her from ever publicly working with Hahn, she did so anyway, because the reason we do science is because it’s fucking awesome.

photo

scienceisbeauty:


The next great era of awakening of human intellect may well produce a method of understanding the qualitative content of equations. Today we cannot. Today we cannot see that the water flow equations contain such things as the barber pole structure of turbulence that one sees between rotating cylinders. Today we cannot see whether Schroedinger’s equation contains frogs, musical composers, or morality - or whether it does not.

Credits: R.P. Feynman, R.B. Leighton and M. Sands, The Feynman Lectures on Physics, Vol. II, Addison-Wesley,  Reading, Massachusetts, p. 41-12, 1964.
Source: Bernd Hamann PH.D. page, The Institute for Data Analysis and Visualization, UCDavis.

scienceisbeauty:

The next great era of awakening of human intellect may well produce a method of understanding the qualitative content of equations. Today we cannot. Today we cannot see that the water flow equations contain such things as the barber pole structure of turbulence that one sees between rotating cylinders. Today we cannot see whether Schroedinger’s equation contains frogs, musical composers, or morality - or whether it does not.

Credits: R.P. Feynman, R.B. Leighton and M. SandsThe Feynman Lectures on Physics, Vol. II, Addison-Wesley,  Reading, Massachusetts, p. 41-12, 1964.

Source: Bernd Hamann PH.D. pageThe Institute for Data Analysis and Visualization, UCDavis.

(via cursivereverie-deactivated20111)

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metaconscious:

Knot theory is the study of mathematical knots which cannot be undone.
The original motivation for the founders of knot theory was to create a table of knots and links, which are knots of several components entangled with each other. Over six billion knots and links have been tabulated since the beginnings of knot theory in the 19th century.
Archaeologists have discovered that knot tying dates back to prehistoric times. Besides their uses such as recording information and tying objects together, knots have interested humans for their aesthetics and spiritual symbolism. Knots appear in various forms of Chinese artwork dating from several centuries BC (see Chinese knotting). The endless knot appears in Tibetan Buddhism, while the Borromean rings have made repeated appearances in different cultures, often representing strength in unity. The Celtic monks who created the Book of Kells lavished entire pages with intricate Celtic knotwork.
In the last several decades of the 20th century, scientists became interested in studying physical knots in order to understand knotting phenomena in DNA and other polymers. Knot theory can be used to determine if a molecule is chiral (has a “handedness”) or not (Simon 1986). Tangles, strings with both ends fixed in place, have been effectively used in studying the action of topoisomerase on DNA (Flapan 2000). Knot theory may be crucial in the construction of quantum computers, through the model of topological quantum computation (Collins 2006).
Learn more at Wikipedia

metaconscious:

Knot theory is the study of mathematical knots which cannot be undone.

The original motivation for the founders of knot theory was to create a table of knots and links, which are knots of several components entangled with each other. Over six billion knots and links have been tabulated since the beginnings of knot theory in the 19th century.

Archaeologists have discovered that knot tying dates back to prehistoric times. Besides their uses such as recording information and tying objects together, knots have interested humans for their aesthetics and spiritual symbolism. Knots appear in various forms of Chinese artwork dating from several centuries BC (see Chinese knotting). The endless knot appears in Tibetan Buddhism, while the Borromean rings have made repeated appearances in different cultures, often representing strength in unity. The Celtic monks who created the Book of Kells lavished entire pages with intricate Celtic knotwork.

In the last several decades of the 20th century, scientists became interested in studying physical knots in order to understand knotting phenomena in DNA and other polymers. Knot theory can be used to determine if a molecule is chiral (has a “handedness”) or not (Simon 1986). Tangles, strings with both ends fixed in place, have been effectively used in studying the action of topoisomerase on DNA (Flapan 2000). Knot theory may be crucial in the construction of quantum computers, through the model of topological quantum computation (Collins 2006).

Learn more at Wikipedia


(Source: metaconscious)