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G David Bock
Lynden WA USA
Posts: 480
Joined: 2020
Science and Math, Etc.
12/2/2020 8:29:45 PM
This thread is for the more general and generic aspects of science and related topics, as they may influence future geo-politics and hence the military potentials. Remember, as per some minds of the past and wiser than mine, it could be said; 'War is the continuation of politics when diplomacy fails.'

We'll lead off with this article;
This Will Help You Grasp the Sizes of Things in the Universe
It’s one thing to imagine the scale of the universe. It’s another to see it up close.
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EXCERPT:
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Caleb Scharf wants to take you on an epic tour. His latest book, The Zoomable Universe, starts from the ends of the observable universe, exploring its biggest structures, like groups of galaxies, and goes all the way down to the Planck length—less than a billionth of a billionth of a billionth of a meter. It is a breathtaking synthesis of the large and small. Readers journeying through the book are treated to pictures, diagrams, and illustrations all accompanied by Scharf’s lucid, conversational prose. These visual aids give vital depth and perspective to the phenomena that he points out like a cosmic safari guide. Did you know, he offers, that all the Milky Way’s stars can fit inside the volume of our solar system?

Scharf, the director of Columbia University’s Astrobiology Center, is a suitably engaging guide. He’s the author of the 2012 book Gravity’s Engines: How Bubble-Blowing Black Holes Rule Galaxies, Stars, and Life in the Universe, and he speculated in Nautilus about whether alien life could be so advanced as to be indistinguishable from physics.

In The Zoomable Universe, Scharf puts the notion of scale—in biology and physics—center-stage. “The start of your journey through this book and through all known scales of reality is at that edge between known and unknown,” he writes. Nautilus caught up with him to talk about our experience with scale and why he thinks it’s mysterious. (Scharf is a member of Nautilus’ advisory board.)
....
https://getpocket.com/explore/item/this-will-help-you-grasp-the-sizes-of-things-in-the-universe?utm_source=pocket-newtab
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TANSTAAFL - There Ain't No Such Thing As A Free Lunch
G David Bock
Lynden WA USA
Posts: 480
Joined: 2020
Science and Math, Etc.
12/3/2020 12:41:51 AM
Did a 9th planet 'escape' billions of years ago ?
https://www.unexplained-mysteries.com/news/341348/did-a-9th-planet-escape-billions-of-years-ago
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TANSTAAFL - There Ain't No Such Thing As A Free Lunch
G David Bock
Lynden WA USA
Posts: 480
Joined: 2020
Science and Math, Etc.
12/7/2020 1:06:21 AM
Earth’s Orbital Shifts May Have Triggered Ancient Global Warming
A study combining astronomical and geologic data hints at an extraterrestrial cause for extreme climate change 56 million years ago.
https://getpocket.com/explore/item/earth-s-orbital-shifts-may-have-triggered-ancient-global-warming?utm_source=pocket-newtab
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TANSTAAFL - There Ain't No Such Thing As A Free Lunch
G David Bock
Lynden WA USA
Posts: 480
Joined: 2020
Science and Math, Etc.
12/17/2020 3:03:23 AM
Mathematicians Explore Mirror Link Between Two Geometric Worlds
Decades after physicists happened upon a stunning mathematical coincidence, researchers are getting close to understanding the link between two seemingly unrelated geometric universes.
...
https://getpocket.com/explore/item/mathematicians-explore-mirror-link-between-two-geometric-worlds?utm_source=pocket-newtab
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TANSTAAFL - There Ain't No Such Thing As A Free Lunch
G David Bock
Lynden WA USA
Posts: 480
Joined: 2020
Science and Math, Etc.
12/23/2020 3:12:02 PM
A couple helpful guides of sorts;
How should you talk to friends and relatives who believe conspiracy theories?
https://www.bbc.com/news/blogs-trending-55350794?utm_source=pocket-newtab
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The Baloney Detection Kit
Carl Sagan’s rules for critical thinking offer cognitive fortification against propaganda, pseudoscience, and general falsehood.
https://getpocket.com/explore/item/the-baloney-detection-kit-carl-sagan-s-rules-for-bullshit-busting-and-critical-thinking?utm_source=pocket-newtab
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TANSTAAFL - There Ain't No Such Thing As A Free Lunch
G David Bock
Lynden WA USA
Posts: 480
Joined: 2020
Science and Math, Etc.
1/4/2021 3:26:46 PM
One Hundred Years Ago, Einstein’s Theory of General Relativity Baffled the Press and the Public
Few people claimed to fully understand it, but the esoteric theory still managed to spark the public’s imagination.
EXCERPT:
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When the year 1919 began, Albert Einstein was virtually unknown beyond the world of professional physicists. By year’s end, however, he was a household name around the globe. November 1919 was the month that made Einstein into “Einstein,” the beginning of the former patent clerk’s transformation into an international celebrity.

On November 6, scientists at a joint meeting of the Royal Society of London and the Royal Astronomical Society announced that measurements taken during a total solar eclipse earlier that year supported Einstein’s bold new theory of gravity, known as general relativity. Newspapers enthusiastically picked up the story. “Revolution in Science,” blared the Times of London; “Newtonian Ideas Overthrown.” A few days later, the New York Times weighed in with a six-tiered headline—rare indeed for a science story. “Lights All Askew in the Heavens,” trumpeted the main headline. A bit further down: “Einstein’s Theory Triumphs” and “Stars Not Where They Seemed, or Were Calculated to Be, But Nobody Need Worry.”

The spotlight would remain on Einstein and his seemingly impenetrable theory for the rest of his life. As he remarked to a friend in 1920: “At present every coachman and every waiter argues about whether or not the relativity theory is correct.” In Berlin, members of the public crowded into the classroom where Einstein was teaching, to the dismay of tuition-paying students. And then he conquered the United States. In 1921, when the steamship Rotterdam arrived in Hoboken, New Jersey, with Einstein on board, it was met by some 5,000 cheering New Yorkers. Reporters in small boats pulled alongside the ship even before it had docked. An even more over-the-top episode played out a decade later, when Einstein arrived in San Diego, en route to the California Institute of Technology where he had been offered a temporary position. Einstein was met at the pier not only by the usual throng of reporters, but by rows of cheering students chanting the scientist’s name.
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“Many of those who opposed Einstein on philosophical grounds were also anti-Semites, and later on, adherents of what the Nazis called Deutsche Physic—‘German physics’—which was ‘good’ Aryan physics, as opposed to this Jüdisch Spitzfindigkeit—‘Jewish subtlety,’ Stachel says. “So one gets complicated mixtures, but the myth that everybody loved Einstein is certainly not true. He was hated as a Jew, as a pacifist, as a socialist [and] as a relativist, at least.” As the 1920s wore on, with anti-Semitism on the rise, death threats against Einstein became routine. Fortunately he was on a working holiday in the United States when Hitler came to power. He would never return to the country where he had done his greatest work.

For the rest of his life, Einstein remained mystified by the relentless attention paid to him. As he wrote in 1942, “I never understood why the theory of relativity with its concepts and problems so far removed from practical life should for so long have met with a lively, or indeed passionate, resonance among broad circles of the public. ... What could have produced this great and persistent psychological effect? I never yet heard a truly convincing answer to this question.”

Today, a full century after his ascent to superstardom, the Einstein phenomenon continues to resist a complete explanation. The theoretical physicist burst onto the world stage in 1919, expounding a theory that was, as the newspapers put it, “dimly perceptible.” Yet in spite of the theory’s opacity—or, very likely, because of it—Einstein was hoisted onto the lofty pedestal where he remains to this day. The public may not have understood the equations, but those equations were said to reveal a new truth about the universe, and that, it seems, was enough.
....
https://getpocket.com/explore/item/one-hundred-years-ago-einstein-s-theory-of-general-relativity-baffled-the-press-and-the-public?utm_source=pocket-newtab
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TANSTAAFL - There Ain't No Such Thing As A Free Lunch
G David Bock
Lynden WA USA
Posts: 480
Joined: 2020
Science and Math, Etc.
1/6/2021 12:43:24 PM
Quantum Leaps, Long Assumed to Be Instantaneous, Take Time
An experiment caught a quantum system in the middle of a jump — something the originators of quantum mechanics assumed was impossible.
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When quantum mechanics was first developed a century ago as a theory for understanding the atomic-scale world, one of its key concepts was so radical, bold and counter-intuitive that it passed into popular language: the “quantum leap.” Purists might object that the common habit of applying this term to a big change misses the point that jumps between two quantum states are typically tiny, which is precisely why they weren’t noticed sooner. But the real point is that they’re sudden. So sudden, in fact, that many of the pioneers of quantum mechanics assumed they were instantaneous.

A 2019 experiment shows that they aren’t. By making a kind of high-speed movie of a quantum leap, the work reveals that the process is as gradual as the melting of a snowman in the sun. “If we can measure a quantum jump fast and efficiently enough,” said Michel Devoret of Yale University, “it is actually a continuous process.” The study, which was led by Zlatko Minev, a graduate student in Devoret’s lab, was published on Monday in Nature. Already, colleagues are excited. “This is really a fantastic experiment,” said the physicist William Oliver of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, who wasn’t involved in the work. “Really amazing.”

But there’s more. With their high-speed monitoring system, the researchers could spot when a quantum jump was about to appear, “catch” it halfway through, and reverse it, sending the system back to the state in which it started. In this way, what seemed to the quantum pioneers to be unavoidable randomness in the physical world is now shown to be amenable to control. We can take charge of the quantum.

All Too Random

The abruptness of quantum jumps was a central pillar of the way quantum theory was formulated by Niels Bohr, Werner Heisenberg and their colleagues in the mid-1920s, in a picture now commonly called the Copenhagen interpretation. Bohr had argued earlier that the energy states of electrons in atoms are “quantized”: Only certain energies are available to them, while all those in between are forbidden. He proposed that electrons change their energy by absorbing or emitting quantum particles of light — photons — that have energies matching the gap between permitted electron states. This explained why atoms and molecules absorb and emit very characteristic wavelengths of light — why many copper salts are blue, say, and sodium lamps yellow.

Bohr and Heisenberg began to develop a mathematical theory of these quantum phenomena in the 1920s. Heisenberg’s quantum mechanics enumerated all the allowed quantum states, and implicitly assumed that jumps between them are instant — discontinuous, as mathematicians would say. “The notion of instantaneous quantum jumps … became a foundational notion in the Copenhagen interpretation,” historian of science Mara Beller has written.

Another of the architects of quantum mechanics, the Austrian physicist Erwin Schrödinger, hated that idea. He devised what seemed at first to be an alternative to Heisenberg’s math of discrete quantum states and instant jumps between them. Schrödinger’s theory represented quantum particles in terms of wavelike entities called wave functions, which changed only smoothly and continuously over time, like gentle undulations on the open sea. Things in the real world don’t switch suddenly, in zero time, Schrödinger thought — discontinuous “quantum jumps” were just a figment of the mind. In a 1952 paper called “Are there quantum jumps?,” Schrödinger answered with a firm “no,” his irritation all too evident in the way he called them “quantum jerks.”

The argument wasn’t just about Schrödinger’s discomfort with sudden change. The problem with a quantum jump was also that it was said to just happen at a random moment — with nothing to say why that particular moment. It was thus an effect without a cause, an instance of apparent randomness inserted into the heart of nature. Schrödinger and his close friend Albert Einstein could not accept that chance and unpredictability reigned at the most fundamental level of reality. According to the German physicist Max Born, the whole controversy was therefore “not so much an internal matter of physics, as one of its relation to philosophy and human knowledge in general.” In other words, there’s a lot riding on the reality (or not) of quantum jumps.
....
https://getpocket.com/explore/item/quantum-leaps-long-assumed-to-be-instantaneous-take-time?utm_source=pocket-newtab
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TANSTAAFL - There Ain't No Such Thing As A Free Lunch
G David Bock
Lynden WA USA
Posts: 480
Joined: 2020
Science and Math, Etc.
1/6/2021 12:51:37 PM
Why Gravity Is Not Like the Other Forces
We asked four physicists why gravity stands out among the forces of nature. We got four different answers.
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Physicists have traced three of the four forces of nature — the electromagnetic force and the strong and weak nuclear forces — to their origins in quantum particles. But the fourth fundamental force, gravity, is different.

Our current framework for understanding gravity, devised a century ago by Albert Einstein, tells us that apples fall from trees and planets orbit stars because they move along curves in the space-time continuum. These curves are gravity. According to Einstein, gravity is a feature of the space-time medium; the other forces of nature play out on that stage.

But near the center of a black hole or in the first moments of the universe, Einstein’s equations break. Physicists need a truer picture of gravity to accurately describe these extremes. This truer theory must make the same predictions Einstein’s equations make everywhere else.

Physicists think that in this truer theory, gravity must have a quantum form, like the other forces of nature. Researchers have sought the quantum theory of gravity since the 1930s. They’ve found candidate ideas — notably string theory, which says gravity and all other phenomena arise from minuscule vibrating strings — but so far these possibilities remain conjectural and incompletely understood. A working quantum theory of gravity is perhaps the loftiest goal in physics today.

What is it that makes gravity unique? What’s different about the fourth force that prevents researchers from finding its underlying quantum description? We asked four different quantum gravity researchers. We got four different answers.

Gravity Breeds Singularities
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Gravity Leads to Black Holes
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Gravity Creates Something From Nothing
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Gravity Can’t Be Calculated
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https://www.quantamagazine.org/why-gravity-is-not-like-the-other-forces-20200615/
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TANSTAAFL - There Ain't No Such Thing As A Free Lunch

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