Category Archives: physics

Canadian researchers devise method to directly measure the quantum wavefunction

From PhysOrg.com:

To get around that problem, the team, led by Jeff Lundeen, devised a method based on “weak” measurements, whereby an observation is made that only alters the particle just a little tiny bit and gives information about just one property of the particle at a time. Taking multiple such measurements of identical copies of a particle, such as a photon, gives more and more information, eventually approaching a very close approximation to the actual state of the system. In one respect this approach is similar to the way calculus is used to measure irregularly shaped objects by cutting it into a number that approaches infinity, virtual slices, then adding up the results. When combined with more certain “strong” measurement results, the procedure provides an accurate measurement of the wavefunction.

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Filed under quantum measurement, quantum mechanics

New driving force for chemical reactions discovered

From PhysOrg.com:

New research just published in the journal Science by a team of chemists at the University of Georgia and colleagues in Germany shows for the first time that a mechanism called tunneling control may drive chemical reactions in directions unexpected from traditional theories.

The finding has the potential to change how scientists understand and devise reactions in everything from materials science to biochemistry.

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Filed under chemistry, quantum mechanics

Moving mirrors make light from nothing

From NatureNews:

A team of physicists is claiming to have coaxed sparks from the vacuum of empty space. If verified, the finding would be one of the most unusual experimental proofs of quantum mechanics in recent years and “a significant milestone”, says John Pendry, a theoretical physicist at Imperial College London who was not involved in the study.

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Filed under quantum mechanics, superconducting quantum interference devices (SQUIDs)

Space Is an Elaborate Illusion

From Scientific American:

The Holographic Principle is one of several clues suggesting that the concept of “space” is an elaborate illusion—or, to be more precise, that it emerges from a deeper spaceless reality, much as living organisms emerge from inanimate matter.

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Filed under unified field theory

Progress Toward the Dream of Space Drives and Stargates

From Centauri Dreams:

Guided by Mach’s principle and Luchak’s Newtonian approximation for gravity – and a simple calculation done by Dennis Sciama in his doctoral work for Paul Dirac in the early 1950s – it is possible to show that when extended massive objects are accelerated, if their “internal” energies change during the accelerations, fluctuations in their masses should occur. That’s the purchase on gravity and inertia you need. (Ironically, though these effects are not obviously present in the field equations of GRT or electrodynamics, they do not depend on any novel coupling of those fields. So, no “new physics” is required.) But that alone is not enough. You need two more things. First, you need experimental results that show that this theorizing actually corresponds to reality. And second, you need to show how “Mach effects” can be used to make the Jupiter masses of exotic matter needed for stargates and warp drives. This can only be done with a theory of matter that includes gravity. The Standard Model of serious physics, alas, does not include gravity. A model for matter that includes gravity was constructed in 1960 by three physicists of impeccable credentials. They are Richard Arnowitt (Texas A and M), Stanley Deser (Brandeis), and Charles Misner (U. of Maryland). Their “ADM” model can be adapted to answer the question: Does some hideously large amount of exotic matter lie shrouded in the normal matter we deal with every day? Were the answer to this question “no”, you probably wouldn’t be reading this. Happily, the argument about the nature of matter and the ADM model that bears on the wormhole problem can be followed with little more than high school algebra. And it may be that shrouded in everyday stuff all around us, including us, is the Jupiter mass of exotic matter we want. Should it be possible to expose the exotic bare masses of the elementary particles that make up normal matter, then stargates may lie in our future – and if in our future, perhaps our present and past as well.

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Filed under general relativity, space travel technology, transportation technology

Is the Universe Infinite?

Youtube video produced by Cosmic Journeys:

https://www.youtube.com/v/dG1JpC5jels?version=3

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Filed under cosmology, mathematics

Why 5, 8 and 24 Are the Strangest Numbers in the Universe

From Scientific American:

The eight dimensions of the octonions aren’t the only interesting thing about the number eight, however. Baez highlights the number eight as one of his three favorite numbers. (The other two? Five and 24.) In 2008 Baez gave a series of lectures explaining what makes five, eight and 24 such unique and mysterious entities. The lectures, which are intended for a general interest audience, live on the Internet as both pdfs of the slides he used and video recordings. Watching them, you can learn not only a lot more about what makes octonions special, but also sphere stacking, the golden ratio, Islamic tiles, and why the sum of all integers equals –1/12.

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Filed under mathematics, string theory