Posts Tagged ‘physics’


Is our universe fine-tuned for the existence of life – or does it just look that way from where we’re sitting?

November 15, 2013

It can be unsettling to contemplate the unlikely nature of your own existence, to work backward causally and discover the chain of blind luck that landed you in front of your computer screen, or your mobile, or wherever it is that you are reading these words. For you to exist at all, your parents had to meet, and that alone involved quite a lot of chance and coincidence. If your mother hadn’t decided to take that calculus class, or if her parents had decided to live in another town, then perhaps your parents never would have encountered one another. But that is only the tiniest tip of the iceberg. Even if your parents made a deliberate decision to have a child, the odds of your particular sperm finding your particular egg are one in several billion. The same goes for both your parents, who had to exist in order for you to exist, and so already, after just two generations, we are up to one chance in 1027. Carrying on in this way, your chance of existing, given the general state of the universe even a few centuries ago, was almost infinitesimally small. You and I and every other human being are the products of chance, and came into existence against very long odds.

Excerpt from an article writen by Tim Maudlin at Aeon. Continue THERE


The Feynman Lectures on Physics AVAILABLE

September 14, 2013

Nearly fifty years have passed since Richard Feynman taught the introductory physics course at Caltech that gave rise to these three volumes, The Feynman Lectures on Physics. In those fifty years our understanding of the physical world has changed greatly, but The Feynman Lectures on Physics has endured. Feynman’s lectures are as powerful today as when first published, thanks to Feynman’s unique physics insights and pedagogy. They have been studied worldwide by novices and mature physicists alike; they have been translated into at least a dozen languages with more than 1.5 millions copies printed in the English language alone. Perhaps no other set of physics books has had such wide impact, for so long.

Click HERE


Paperscape: A map of 871,888 scientific papers from the arXiv until today

September 11, 2013

A chart of 870,000 scientific studies so far. Paperscape shows each scientific paper as a circle, with the size of each determined by how many others cite it. Users can toggle the heat map, which colors each study according to its age. ArXiv began in 1991. A cluster around the topic dark energy shows that it spans multiple fields, including quantum cosmology, quantum physics, and condensed matter.

The study of the universe is a universe itself. An infographic designed by two physicists maps the hundreds of thousands of studies in arXiv, an open repository for physics, mathematics, computer science, quantitative biology, finance, and statistics papers that is maintained by Cornell University. The category of a paper’s research determines the color of its circle, and the more cited the paper is, the bigger its circle. Each marker is placed according to the number of references it takes to get from it to each other paper. Accordingly, papers are clustered around topics, such as extrasolar planets, dwarf stars, and superconductivity. Some multicolored clusters show where disciplines intersect around topics like neutrinos, dark matter, dark energy, and networks. Toggle the heat map to color each study according to its age to see which topics are getting the most attention. To learn more about how the infographic works, see its blog.



June 10, 2013

The familiar trigonometric functions can be geometrically derived from a circle.

But what if, instead of the circle, we used a regular polygon?

In this animation, we see what the “polygonal sine” looks like for the square and the hexagon. The polygon is such that the inscribed circle has radius 1.

We’ll keep using the angle from the x-axis as the function’s input, instead of the distance along the shape’s boundary. (These are only the same value in the case of a unit circle!) This is why the square does not trace a straight diagonal line, as you might expect, but a segment of the tangent function. In other words, the speed of the dot around the polygon is not constant anymore, but the angle the dot makes changes at a constant rate.

Since these polygons are not perfectly symmetrical like the circle, the function will depend on the orientation of the polygon.



Light Show tricks meaning out of physics and biology

February 19, 2013

Light Show explores the experiential and phenomenal aspects of light by bringing together sculptures and installations that use light to sculpt and shape space in different ways. The exhibition showcases artworks created from the 1960s to the present day, including immersive environments, free-standing light sculptures and projections.

From atmospheric installations to intangible sculptures that you can move around and even through, visitors can experience light in all of its spatial and sensory forms. Individual artworks explore different aspects of light such as colour, duration, intensity and projection, as well as perceptual phenomena. They also use light to address architecture, science and film, and do so using a variety of lighting technologies.

Read Article: Light Show tricks meaning out of physics and biology.

Light Show runs at the Hayward Gallery, London, until 28 April.


Water Bridge – Collective Molecular Dynamics

January 3, 2013

Water bridge – surprising phenomenon formed by water exposed to high voltage. This effect represent “Collective Molecular Dynamics”,

“Voeikov: Could the dynamics of formation of the water bridge be also at work in the process of formation of living structures?”

When a high voltage is applied to pure water filling two beakers kept close to each other, a connection forms spontaneously, giving the impression of a floating water bridge. This phenomenon is of special interest, since it comprises a number of phenomena currently tackled in modern water science. The formation and the main properties of this floating water bridge are analyzed in the conceptual framework of quantum electrodynamics.

Via Zyga, Lisa (2007-09-28). “Water forms floating ‘bridge’ when exposed to high voltage”. Science News. Retrieved 2007-09-29


Happy Restart of the Earth’s Tropical Orbital Period!

January 1, 2013

The year, of course, is the time it takes for the Earth to go around the Sun, right? Well, not exactly. It depends on what you mean by “year” and how you measure it. This takes a wee bit of explaining, so while the antacid is dissolving in your stomach to remedy last night’s excesses, sit back and let me tell you the tale of the year.

Excerpt from an article written by Phil Plait at Bad Astronomy, SLATE. Continue HERE