“Perhaps a Star Trek experience within our lifetime is not such a remote possibility.” These are the words of Dr. Harold “Sonny” White, the Advanced Propulsion Theme Lead for the NASA Engineering Directorate. Dr. White and his colleagues don’t just believe a real life warp drive is theoretically possible; they’ve already started the work to create one.
Yes. A real warp drive, Scotty.
This is relevant to my [past] interests (i.e., back when I still worked as a nuclear engineer). It is also relevant to my current interests (i.e., funny shit and shopping on Amazon).
Very interesting read on how the high-energy lightning bolts can induce antimatter and gamma ray release on Earth, a previously unheard-of hypothesis. (subscription may be required for full article) (via jtotheizzoe)
Colorized photo of physicists who attended the 1927 Solvay Conference, including Einstein, Curie, Bohr, Compton, Heisenberg, Schrödinger, etc.
wtf! Make up your minds, scientists! I can’t handle all this back and forth. :-P
A more fine-tuned approach to the faster-than-light neutrino observations from CERN has given strength to the original claim. that subatomic particles can move faster than the speed of light.
Previously, OPERA scientists had clocked neutrinos arriving at a distant detector before the light pulse that accompanied them. This implied that they traveled faster than the speed of light, running contrary to Einstein’s theory of the max speed limit for the universe.
One source of error for that observation was the long pulse time of the neutrino/light source. Essentially, picture a train leaving a station, but I only tell you that it left between 9 and 10 AM. If it arrives at your station at 4 PM, you don’t know if it took 6 hours or 7 hours to get to you, because you don’t have an accurate “time zero”.
By only opening the neutrino/light window for three nanoseconds, the scientists were more sure that the speed they were measuring was accurate. By more accurately knowing when the neutrinos and light left the station, they know more accurately when they arrived.
So far, based on OPERA’s new results, the result holds up (statistically … remember this is all statistics).
Fermilab in Illinois is currently upgrading some equipment in order to try and match this result, which will be the true test of how true it might be. Stay tuned in the coming months.
What Is Space? If Only We Knew
Tonight [yesterday], PBS will air the first episode of a four-part NOVA documentary hosted by Brian Greene, based on his book The Fabric of the Cosmos. From the description and a quick preview, the episode will present some of the key modern ideas concerning the nature of space, both from the perspective of Einstein’s theory of general relativity — the theory we use to describe the universe as a whole, and from the perspective of quantum mechanics — the theory we use to describe the world of atoms and subatomic particles.
… [this next bit is one of the more interesting parts] …
For a short amount of time, energy conservation can be violated and you get something out of nothing. In practice, this happens by the amazing creation of matter and antimatter particles out of empty space (or vacuum), what we call virtual particles. They pop out of the vacuum and go back to it.Pushing this notion to the extreme, our whole universe could have arisen from a vacuum fluctuation. This is science’s modern creatio ex nihilo story. Space may be a stretched out bubble originated out of nothing 13.7 billion years ago. If we only knew what space is …