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The Declaration of White Independence: Fourth Political Theory

A unilateral assertion offered to and for consideration by the European Descended People of the fifty united States of America and all ...

17 November 2017

Zimbabweimerica: Leipzig University considers firing law professor over call for ‘White Europe’

“cosmopolitan” and “international” = no-go zones for Whites

“xenophobic” = opposing White genocide

“intolerant” = advocating self-preservation

"opinions” = beliefs you may not assert
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Welcome to Zimbabweimerica, Whitey.


“We will now begin investigations and examine the employment law measures against Professor Rauscher,” announced Dr. Zaius.

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THERE IS ONLY ONE SOLUTION
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16 November 2017

Scientists Have Discovered a New Planet Close to Earth. Here’s Why It's So Exciting


If life is lurking somewhere in space, it’s done an awfully good job of hiding itself so far. But the jig may be up now that we have a better idea of where to look. That’s clearer than ever with the announcement in the journal Astronomy and Astrophysics of a newly discovered exoplanet orbiting an otherwise unremarkable star named Ross 128. Not only is the planet precisely the kind of place that could support biology, it’s located right down the street by cosmic standards — just 11 light-years from Earth.

The new world, prosaically named Ross 128 b, was discovered by a European telescope in the Chilean desert that looks for planets by what’s known as the radial velocity method. Even worlds orbiting the nearest stars are impossible to see by conventional telescopes. That’s partly because the planets are so tiny, in relative terms, and partly because the glare from the star washes out the view of anything nearby, much the way the glare from a streetlight makes it impossible to see a moth fluttering next to it.


Instead, astronomers look for the tiny wobble in the star that’s caused by the gravitational tugging of an orbiting body. If you know how to read the wobble you can learn a lot about the planet that’s causing it, and in this case that analysis is yielding some happy surprises.

According to the five-nation team of researchers who made the new discovery, Ross 128 b is no bigger than 1.35 times the size of Earth — very much the kind of planet that would have a solid surface where life could emerge. It orbits its parent star once every 9.9 days — an exceedingly fleeting year caused by the fact that the planet is 20 times closer to its star than Earth is to the sun. That ought to make the planet blisteringly hot, except that Ross 128 is a red dwarf, a far smaller, far cooler star than our yellow, so-called Class G star.


Even orbiting so close, Ross 128 b could thus have a surface temperature that averages about 269 degrees K, which sounds nasty until you realize that that comes out to about 73 degrees F (23 degrees C). What’s more, the planet rotates relatively slowly, meaning that if it has an atmosphere — by no means a sure thing — it would not have flung it off the way a rapidly spinning planet would over time.

But it’s something else in the nature of the star, not the planet, that makes the new announcement especially promising. We know of only one planet in the universe — our own — that harbors life, and so it has always made scientific sense to concentrate our search for extraterrestrial biology on planets circling sunlike stars. Those stars, however, are relatively rare, while red dwarfs make up perhaps 75% of all of the stars in the galaxy. Simple probability, then, says that they might be a far better place to go looking for living planets, provided those planets cuddle up close to the star’s hearth the way Ross 128 b does.

This is not the first time astronomers have discovered precisely this kind of Earth-like planet orbiting comfortably close to a red dwarf. Just last summer, a team of researchers who also used the wobble method discovered a planet orbiting an even closer red dwarf; indeed that dwarf, Proxima Centauri, is closer to Earth than any star in the cosmos, just 4.2 light-years away.


But the planet, Proxima Centauri b, faces some challenges Ross 128 b doesn’t. Red dwarfs can be volatile, sending out periodic flares that could blowtorch any atmosphere on a nearby planet off into space and destroy any life that might survive with their lethal levels of X-ray and ultraviolet radiation. In 2016, a team from the Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory detected 66 separate flare events on Proxima Centauri. That would not necessarily be fatal to life on the nearby planet, but it wouldn’t do it any favors either. Ross 128, by contrast, appears to be a quieter star, with less frequent flaring — which is characteristic of more mature red dwarfs, further along in their life cycles.

31 October 2017

NASA finds 20 potentially habitable worlds 'hiding in plain sight'


Stargazers have discovered 20 worlds "hiding in plain sight" which they believe could be habitable.

Analysis of data from the Kepler space telescope revealed a list of planets that orbit stars like our own sun.

Each potential new world comes with varying orbit times, including one that takes the equivalent of 395 Earth days to circle its star and another which takes just 18.

The exoplanet with a 395-day year is one of the most exciting, according to Jeff Coughlin, the Kepler team leader who helped analyse the data.

It is about 97 per cent the size of Earth but colder and more like our tundra regions.

Despite its chilly climate, it is still warm and large enough to hold liquid water - which is vital for life.

Coughlin told New Scientist: "If you had to choose one to send a spacecraft to, it’s not a bad option."

The planets will form part of an investigation from the Hubble Space Telescope.

Earlier this year the Kepler spacecraft has detected 219 new exoplanet candidates – and ten could be habitable.

There are around 4,034 observed potential planets in our galaxy, according to Nasa's Ames Research Center.

The centuries-old hunt for other worlds like our own was recently rejuvenated thanks to the Kepler Telescope, which is currently orbiting Earth.

Scientists have spotted thousands of contenders after sifting through data collected by the instrument.

They are hoping to find terrestrial planets - around one half to twice the size of our planet and in the habitable zone.

The Kepler telescope began observing a fixed point in the Milky Way back in 2009 but suffered a technical glitch that put an end to its work in 2013.

A second mission was launched again in 2014 and will continue to send data back until 2018.

There are high hopes that humans will soon colonise Mars, in our very own solar system.

Tesla billionaire has made public his bold plans to send humans to Mars by 2024.

29 October 2017

Fireworks in Space: NASA’s Twins Study Explores Gene Expression


How Do Human Genes Act In Space?

NASA’s Twins Study preliminary results have revealed that space travel causes an increase in methylation, the process of turning genes on and off, and additional knowledge in how that process works.

“Some of the most exciting things that we’ve seen from looking at gene expression in space is that we really see an explosion, like fireworks taking off, as soon as the human body gets into space,” Twins Study Principal Investigator Chris Mason, Ph.D., of Weill Cornell Medicine, said. “With this study, we’ve seen thousands and thousands of genes change how they are turned on and turned off. This happens as soon as an astronaut gets into space, and some of the activity persists temporarily upon return to Earth.”


When retired twin astronaut Scott Kelly returned to Earth in March 2016, the Twins Study research intensified with investigators collecting samples from him and his twin brother, retired astronaut Mark Kelly. The researchers began combining the data and reviewing the enormous amount of information looking for correlations.

“This study represents one of the most comprehensive views of human biology,” Mason said. “It really sets the bedrock for understanding molecular risks for space travel as well as ways to potentially protect and fix those genetic changes.”

Final results for the Twins Study are expected to be published in 2018.


NASA's Human Research Program (HRP) is dedicated to discovering the best methods and technologies to support safe, productive human space travel. HRP enables space exploration by reducing the risks to astronaut health and performance using ground research facilities, the International Space Station, and analog environments. This leads to the development and delivery of a program focused on: human health, performance, and habitability standards; countermeasures and risk mitigation solutions; and advanced habitability and medical support technologies. HRP supports innovative, scientific human research by funding more than 300 research grants to respected universities, hospitals and NASA centers to over 200 researchers in more than 30 states.

18 October 2017

Astronomers strike gold, witness massive cosmic phenomenon


Scientists witness huge cosmic crash, make major discoveries

By closely observing two stars in outer space, and watching as the stars crashed into each other, back in August, scientists in the U.S. and Europe say they've now been able to unlock multiple secrets.

It was a faint signal, but it told of one of the most violent acts in the universe, and it would soon reveal secrets of the cosmos, including how gold was created.

Forbes estimated that the collision created an estimated $10 octillion in gold, which is $10 billion, billion, billion.

What they witnessed in mid-August and revealed Monday was the long-ago collision of two neutron stars — a phenomenon California Institute of Technology's David H. Reitze called "the most spectacular fireworks in the universe."

The crash happened 130 million years ago, while dinosaurs still roamed on Earth, but the signal didn't arrive on Earth until Aug. 17 after traveling 130 million light-years. A light-year is 5.88 trillion miles.

"We already knew that iron came from a stellar explosion, the calcium in your bones came from stars and now we know the gold in your wedding ring came from merging neutron stars," said University of California Santa Cruz's Ryan Foley.

Measurements of the light and other energy emanating from the crash have helped scientists explain how planet-killing gamma ray bursts are born, how fast the universe is expanding, and where heavy elements like platinum and gold come from.


"This is getting everything you wish for," said Syracuse University physics professor Duncan Brown, one of more than 4,000 scientists involved in the blitz of science that the crash kicked off. "This is our fantasy observation."

It started in a galaxy called NGC 4993, seen from Earth in the Hydra constellation. Two neutron stars, collapsed cores of stars so dense that a teaspoon of their matter would weigh 1 billion tons, danced ever faster and closer together until they collided, said Carnegie Institution astronomer Maria Drout.

The crash, called a kilonova, generated a fierce burst of gamma rays and a gravitational wave, a faint ripple in the fabric of space and time, first theorized by Albert Einstein.

"This is like a cosmic atom smasher at a scale far beyond humans would be capable of building," said Andy Howell, a staff scientist at the Las Cumbres Observatory. "We finally now know what happens when an unstoppable force meets an immovable object and it's a kilonova."

Signals were picked up within 1.7 seconds of each other, by NASA's Fermi telescope, which detects gamma rays, and gravity wave detectors in Louisiana and Washington state that are a part of the LIGO Laboratory , whose founders won a Nobel Prize earlier this month. A worldwide alert went out to focus telescopes on what became the most well-observed astronomical event in history.

Before August, the only other gravity waves detected by LIGO were generated by colliding black holes. But black holes let no light escape, so astronomers could see nothing.


This time there was plenty to see, measure and analyze: matter, light, and other radiation. The Hubble Space Telescope even got a snapshot of the afterglow.

Finding where the crash happened wasn't easy. Eventually scientists narrowed the location down to 100 galaxies, began a closer search of those, and found it in the ninth galaxy they looked at.

It is like "the classic challenge of finding a needle in the haystack with the added challenge that the needle is fading away and the haystack is moving," said Marcelle Soares-Santos, an astrophysicist at Brandeis University.

"The completeness of this picture from the beginning to the end is unprecedented," said Columbia University physics professor Szabolcs Marka. "There are many, many extraordinary discoveries within the discovery."

The colliding stars spewed bright blue, super-hot debris that was dense and unstable. Some of it coalesced into heavy elements, like gold, platinum and uranium. Scientists had suspected neutron star collisions had enough power to create heavier elements, but weren't certain until they witnessed it.

"We see the gold being formed," said Syracuse's Brown.

Calculations from a telescope measuring ultraviolet light showed that the combined mass of the heavy elements from this explosion is 1,300 times the mass of Earth. And all that stuff — including lighter elements — was thrown out in all different directions and is now speeding across the universe.

Perhaps one day the material will clump together into planets the way ours was formed, Reitze said — maybe ones with rich veins of precious metals.

The crash also helped explain the origins of one of the most dangerous forces of the cosmos — short gamma ray bursts, focused beams of radiation that could erase life on any planet that happened to get in the way. These bursts shoot out in two different directions perpendicular to where the two neutron stars first crash, Reitze said.

Luckily for us, the beams of gamma rays were not focused on Earth and were generated too far away to be a threat, he said.


Scientists knew that the universe has been expanding since the Big Seed. By using LIGO to measure gravitational waves while watching this event unfold, researchers came up with a new estimate for how fast that is happening, the so-called Hubble Constant. Before this, scientists came up with two slightly different answers using different techniques. The rough figure that came out of this event is between the original two, Reitze said.

The first optical images showed a bright blue dot that was very hot, which was likely the start of the heavy element creation process amid the neutron star debris, Drout said. After a day or two that blue faded, becoming much fainter and redder. And after three weeks it was completely gone, she said.

This almost didn't happen. Eight days after the signal came through, the LIGO gravitational waves were shut down for a year's worth of planned upgrades. A month later the whole area where the crash happened would have been blocked from astronomers' prying eyes by the sun.

Scientists involved with the search for gravitational waves said this was the event they had prepared for over more than 20 years.

The findings are "of spectacular importance," said Penn State physicist Abhay Ashtekar, who wasn't part of the research. "This is really brand new."

Almost all of the discoveries confirmed existing theories, but had not been proven — an encouraging result for theorists who have been trying to explain what is happening in the cosmos, said France Cordova, an astrophysicist who directs the National Science Foundation.

"We so far have been unable to prove Einstein wrong," said Georgia Tech physics professor Laura Cadonati. "But we're going to keep trying."

11 October 2017

There's Another Big Gravitational Wave Announcement on The Way



LIGO and Virgo have announced that they're going to be holding a big press conference on Monday, 16 October at 10am EDT at the Press Club in Washington DC.

"The gathering will begin with an overview of new findings from LIGO, Virgo and partners that span the globe," the National Science Foundation announcement reads, "followed by details from telescopes that work with the LIGO and Virgo collaborations to study extreme events in the cosmos."


Gravitational waves were officially confirmed publicly for the first time in February 2016, when LIGO announced that it had detected the phenomenon caused by a collision between two black holes. Since then, gravitational waves have been detected three more times.

The most recent announcement was in September, when LIGO announced that its collaboration with interferometer Virgo had allowed a much more precise triangulation of the signal.

Prior to that announcement, speculation was flying that the discovery was a collision between two neutron stars, with visuals from optical telescopes.

This time, we're hesitant to make any speculation, other than it seems big. Representatives from 70 other observatories around the world will be at the event, and simultaneous briefings will also be taking place in London and Munich.


There will be two separate panel discussions at the main event, too. The first panel consists of directors and spokespersons from LIGO, Virgo and NASA.

The second panel includes people like David Sand, Nial Tanvir, Eleonora Troja and Andy Howell, who have all performed research into supernovas, and Marcelle Soares-Santos, who is pioneering the Dark Energy Survey's search for an optical counterpart to gravitational wave events.

We're getting pretty excited, you guys. Read more about the announcement here, and tune back into ScienceAlert for the big news on Monday!

09 October 2017

Half the universe’s missing matter has just been finally found

The missing links between galaxies have finally been found

This is the first detection of the roughly half of the normal matter in our universe – protons, neutrons and electrons – unaccounted for by previous observations of stars, galaxies and other bright objects in space.

You have probably heard about the hunt for dark matter, a mysterious substance thought to permeate the universe, the effects of which we can see through its gravitational pull. But our models of the universe also say there should be about twice as much ordinary matter out there, compared with what we have observed so far.

Two separate teams found the missing matter – made of particles called baryons rather than dark matter – linking galaxies together through filaments of hot, diffuse gas.

“The missing baryon problem is solved,” says Hideki Tanimura at the Institute of Space Astrophysics in Orsay, France, leader of one of the groups. The other team was led by Anna de Graaff at the University of Edinburgh, UK.

Because the gas is so tenuous and not quite hot enough for X-ray telescopes to pick up, nobody had been able to see it before.

“There’s no sweet spot – no sweet instrument that we’ve invented yet that can directly observe this gas,” says Richard Ellis at University College London. “It’s been purely speculation until now.”

So the two groups had to find another way to definitively show that these threads of gas are really there.


Both teams took advantage of a phenomenon called the Sunyaev-Zel’dovich effect that occurs when light left over from the Big Seed passes through hot gas. As the light travels, some of it scatters off the electrons in the gas, leaving a dim patch in the cosmic microwave background – our snapshot of the remnants from the birth of the cosmos.

Stack ‘em up

In 2015, the Planck satellite created a map of this effect throughout the observable universe. Because the tendrils of gas between galaxies are so diffuse, the dim blotches they cause are far too slight to be seen directly on Planck’s map.

Both teams selected pairs of galaxies from the Sloan Digital Sky Survey that were expected to be connected by a strand of baryons. They stacked the Planck signals for the areas between the galaxies, making the individually faint strands detectable en masse.

Tanimura’s team stacked data on 260,000 pairs of galaxies, and de Graaff’s group used over a million pairs. Both teams found definitive evidence of gas filaments between the galaxies. Tanimura’s group found they were almost three times denser than the mean for normal matter in the universe, and de Graaf’s group found they were six times denser – confirmation that the gas in these areas is dense enough to form filaments.

“We expect some differences because we are looking at filaments at different distances,” says Tanimura. “If this factor is included, our findings are very consistent with the other group.”

Finally finding the extra baryons that have been predicted by decades of simulations validates some of our assumptions about the universe.

“Everybody sort of knows that it has to be there, but this is the first time that somebody – two different groups, no less – has come up with a definitive detection,” says Ralph Kraft at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics in Massachusetts.

“This goes a long way toward showing that many of our ideas of how galaxies form and how structures form over the history of the universe are pretty much correct,” he says.

Journal references: arXiv, 1709.05024 and 1709.10378v1

05 October 2017

3-D quantum gas atomic clock offers new dimensions in measurement

JILA's three-dimensional (3-D) quantum gas atomic clock consists of a grid of light formed by three pairs of laser beams. Multiple lasers of various colors are used to cool the atoms, trap them in a grid of light, and probe them for clock operation. A blue laser beam excites a cube-shaped cloud of strontium atoms. Strontium atoms fluorescence strongly when excited with blue light, as seen in the upper right corner behind the vacuum window. Credit: G.E. Marti/JILA

JILA physicists have created an entirely new design for an atomic clock, in which strontium atoms are packed into a tiny three-dimensional (3-D) cube at 1,000 times the density of previous one-dimensional (1-D) clocks. In doing so, they are the first to harness the ultra-controlled behavior of a so-called "quantum gas" to make a practical measurement device.

With so many atoms completely immobilized in place, JILA's cubic quantum gas clock sets a record for a value called "quality factor" and the resulting measurement precision. A large quality factor translates into a high level of synchronization between the atoms and the lasers used to probe them, and makes the clock's "ticks" pure and stable for an unusually long time, thus achieving higher precision.

Until now, each of the thousands of "ticking" atoms in advanced clocks behave and are measured largely independently. In contrast, the new cubic quantum gas clock uses a globally interacting collection of atoms to constrain collisions and improve measurements. The new approach promises to usher in an era of dramatically improved measurements and technologies across many areas based on controlled quantum systems.

The new clock is described in the Oct. 6 issue of Science.

"We are entering a really exciting time when we can quantum engineer a state of matter for a particular measurement purpose," said physicist Jun Ye of the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST). Ye works at JILA, which is jointly operated by NIST and the University of Colorado Boulder.

The clock's centerpiece is an unusual state of matter called a degenerate Fermi gas (a quantum gas for Fermi particles), first created in 1999 by Ye's late colleague Deborah Jin. All prior atomic clocks have used thermal gases. The use of a quantum gas enables all of the atoms' properties to be quantized, or restricted to specific values, for the first time.

"The most important potential of the 3-D quantum gas clock is the ability to scale up the atom numbers, which will lead to a huge gain in stability," Ye said. "Also, we could reach the ideal condition of running the clock with its full coherence time, which refers to how long a series of ticks can remain stable. The ability to scale up both the atom number and coherence time will make this new-generation clock qualitatively different from the previous generation."

Until now, atomic clocks have treated each atom as a separate quantum particle, and interactions among the atoms posed measurement problems. But an engineered and controlled collection, a "quantum many-body system," arranges all its atoms in a particular pattern, or correlation, to create the lowest overall energy state. The atoms then avoid each other, regardless of how many atoms are added to the clock. The gas of atoms effectively turns itself into an insulator, which blocks interactions between constituents.

The result is an atomic clock that can outperform all predecessors. For example, stability can be thought of as how precisely the duration of each tick matches every other tick, which is directly linked to the clock's measurement precision. Compared with Ye's previous 1-D clocks, the new 3-D quantum gas clock can reach the same level of precision more than 20 times faster due to the large number of atoms and longer coherence times.

JILA's 3-D quantum gas atomic clock offers new dimensions in measurement

The experimental data show the 3-D quantum gas clock achieved a precision of just 3.5 parts error in 10 quintillion (1 followed by 19 zeros) in about 2 hours, making it the first atomic clock to ever reach that threshold (19 zeros). "This represents a significant improvement over any previous demonstrations," Ye said.

The older, 1-D version of the JILA clock was, until now, the world's most precise clock. This clock holds strontium atoms in a linear array of pancake-shaped traps formed by laser beams, called an optical lattice. The new 3-D quantum gas clock uses additional lasers to trap atoms along three axes so that the atoms are held in a cubic arrangement. This clock can maintain stable ticks for nearly 10 seconds with 10,000 strontium atoms trapped at a density above 10 trillion atoms per cubic centimeter. In the future, the clock may be able to probe millions of atoms for more than 100 seconds at a time.

Optical lattice clocks, despite their high levels of performance in 1-D, have to deal with a tradeoff. Clock stability could be improved further by increasing the number of atoms, but a higher density of atoms also encourages collisions, shifting the frequencies at which the atoms tick and reducing clock accuracy. Coherence times are also limited by collisions. This is where the benefits of the many-body correlation can help.

The 3-D lattice design—imagine a large egg carton—eliminates that tradeoff by holding the atoms in place. The atoms are fermions, a class of particles that cannot be in the same quantum state and location at once. For a Fermi quantum gas under this clock's operating conditions, quantum mechanics favors a configuration where each individual lattice site is occupied by only one atom, which prevents the frequency shifts induced by atomic interactions in the 1-D version of the clock.

JILA researchers used an ultra-stable laser to achieve a record level of synchronization between the atoms and lasers, reaching a record-high quality factor of 5.2 quadrillion (5.2 followed by 15 zeros). Quality factor refers to how long an oscillation or waveform can persist without dissipating. The researchers found that atom collisions were reduced such that their contribution to frequency shifts in the clock was much less than in previous experiments.

"This new strontium clock using a quantum gas is an early and astounding success in the practical application of the 'new quantum revolution,' sometimes called 'quantum 2.0'," said Thomas O'Brian, chief of the NIST Quantum Physics Division and Ye's supervisor. "This approach holds enormous promise for NIST and JILA to harness quantum correlations for a broad range of measurements and new technologies, far beyond timing."

Depending on measurement goals and applications, JILA researchers can optimize the clock's parameters such as operational temperature (10 to 50 nanokelvins), atom number (10,000 to 100,000), and physical size of the cube (20 to 60 micrometers, or millionths of a meter).

Atomic clocks have long been advancing the frontier of measurement science, not only in timekeeping and navigation but also in definitions of other measurement units and other areas of research such as in tabletop searches for the missing "dark matter" in the universe.

23 September 2017

There Are Biophotons in the Brain. Is Something Light-Based Going On?


Over the last 100 years, scientists have realized, first in rats, that neurons in mammalian brains were capable of producing photons, or "biophotons." The photons appear, though faintly, within the visible spectrum, running from near-infrared through violet, or between 200 and 1,300 nanometers. The question is why? 

In biology, of course, “why” is an iffy question that presupposes intent, that is, some conscious designer at work. In fact, many traits just are, due to random mutation, and have simply never been selected out. It’s unknown so far if biophotons just are. But scientists have some exciting suspicions, and a recently published paper asks a tantalizing question: Are there optical communication channels in the brain? If the answer is yes, what’s being communicated? The very notion opens the conversation to a whole other level of operation in the brain that could even be on a previously undiscovered entangled quantum level.

The team wanted to know whether or not there existed an infrastructure over which light could travel from one place to another in the brain across the distances required, focusing on myelinated axons. Axons are the fibers that carry a neuron’s electrical signal outward; myelinated axons are covered in myelin, a fatty substance that electrically insulates the axon.


They modeled such axons, doing computations on how light would behave as the fibers bent, lost or gained thickness in their biophoton-absorbing myelin coating, or how they’d behave when crossing each other. The team concluded that light conduction across myelinated axons is feasible.


The axons could pass between 46% and 96% of the light they receive over a distance of 2 millimeters, the average length of a human brain’s axons, the percentage depending on bending, sheath thickness, etc. They also worked out that, though rat brains can pass just one biophoton per neuron a minute, human brains, with many more neurons, could convey more than a billion biophotons per second. All together, the researchers conclude, “This mechanism appears to be sufficient to facilitate transmission of a large number of bits of information, or even allow the creation of a large amount of quantum entanglement.” So there's what could act as an entire network for light-based communication in place. But we don’t know what, if anything, it’s doing. The researchers proposed a set of in vitro and in vivo experiments for others to perform that could confirm their findings.

Meanwhile, did they say “entanglement?” Given the presence here of photons, the possibility has to cross one’s mind, since they go hand in hand, as it were, with entanglement. In the paper, the scientists are intrigued in particular with the interactions between photons and nuclear spins — the way nuclei turn causes different chemical effects — and how that affects things like magnetoreception in animals.


Given that there’s some distance between the biophotons and nuclear spins, the scientists wonder if there’s entanglement involved, saying, “for individual quantum communication links to form a larger quantum network with an associated entanglement process involving many distant spins, the nuclear spins interfacing with different axons must interact coherently. This, most likely, requires close enough contact between the interacting spins. The involvement of synaptic junctions between individual axons may provide such a proximity mechanism.” And since some people think entanglement could be behind whatever process it is that produces consciousness, well, where is this going to lead?

Researchers demonstrate quantum teleportation of patterns of light


The core element of our quantum repeater is a cube of glass. We put two independent photons in, and as long as we can detect two photons coming out the other sides we know that we can perform entanglement swapping. 

Nature Communications today published research by a team comprising Scottish and South African researchers, demonstrating entanglement swapping and teleportation of orbital angular momentum ‘patterns’ of light. This is a crucial step towards realizing a quantum repeater for high-dimensional entangled states.


Quantum communication over is integral to security and has been demonstrated in and fibre with two-dimensional states, recently over distances exceeding 1200 km between satellites. But using only two states reduces the information capacity of the photons, so the link is secure but slow. To make it secure and fast requires a higher-dimensional alphabet, for example, using patterns of light, of which there are an infinite number. One such pattern set is the (OAM) of light. Increased bit rates can be achieved by using OAM as the carrier of information. However, such photon states decay when transmitted over long distances, for example, due to mode coupling in fibre or turbulence in free space, thus requiring a way to amplify the signal. Unfortunately such “amplification” is not allowed in the quantum world, but it is possible to create an analogy, called a quantum repeater, akin to optical fibre repeaters in classical optical networks.

An integral part of a is the ability to entangle two photons that have never interacted – a process referred to as “entanglement swapping”. This is accomplished by interfering two photons from independent entangled pairs, resulting in the remaining two photons becoming entangled. This allows the establishment of entanglement between two distant points without requiring one photon to travel the entire distance, thus reducing the effects of decay and loss. It also means that you don’t have to have a line of sight between the two places.

Alphabet of OAM modes. OAM modes are sometimes called twisted light as the light appears as a ring with a vortex in the middle. The light can be twisted once, twice, three times and so on to create a high-dimensional alphabet. Credit: Wits University

An outcome of this is that the information of one can be transferred to the other, a process called teleportation. Like in the science fiction series, Star Trek, where people are “beamed” from one place to another, information is “teleported” from one place to another. If two photons are entangled and you change a value on one of them, then other one automatically changes too. This happens even though the two photons are never connected and, in fact, are in two completely different places.


In this latest work, the team performed the first experimental demonstration of entanglement swapping and teleportation for orbital angular momentum (OAM) states of light. They showed that quantum correlations could be established between previously independent photons, and that this could be used to send information across a virtual link. Importantly, the scheme is scalable to higher dimensions, paving the way for long-distance with high .

Schematic of the experiment. Four photons are created, one pair from each entanglement source (BBO). One from each pair (B and C) are brought together on a beam splitter. When all four photons are measured in together one finds that photons A and D, which previously where independent, are now entangled. Credit: Wits University

Background

Present communication systems are very fast, but not fundamentally secure. To make them secure researchers use the laws of Nature for the encoding by exploiting the quirky properties of the quantum world. One such property is entanglement. When two particles are entangled they are connected in a spooky sense: a measurement on one immediately changes the state of the other no matter how far apart they are. Entanglement is one of the core resources needed to realise a quantum network.

Yet a secure communication link over long distance is very challenging: Quantum links using patterns of light languish at short distances precisely because there is no way to protect the link against noise without detecting the photons, yet once they are detected their usefulness is destroyed. To overcome this one can have a repeating station at intermediate distances – this allows one to share information across a much longer without the need for the information to physically flow over that link. The core ingredient is to get independent photons to become entangled. While this has been demonstrated previously with two-dimensional states, in this work the team showed the first demonstration with OAM and in high-dimensional spaces.

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More here.

19 September 2017

Water Worlds of the Universe Revealed -- "Date Back to the Big Seed"


During almost four years of observing the cosmos, the Herschel Space Observatory traced out the presence of water. With its unprecedented sensitivity and spectral resolution at key wavelengths, Herschel revealed this crucial molecule in star-forming molecular clouds, detected it for the first time in the seeds of future stars and planets, and identified the delivery of water from interplanetary debris to planets in our solar system.

Out to much grander scales, beyond our solar system and the Galactic confines of the Milky Way, Herschel has detected water in many other galaxies. As already highlighted by some of its predecessors, the findings corroborate the crucial role of this all-important molecule in the processes that lead to the birth of stars throughout the cosmos.

Herschel’s infrared view of part of the Taurus Molecular Cloud, about 450 light-years from Earth and is the nearest large region of star formation, within which the bright, cold pre-stellar cloud L1544 can be seen at the lower left at top of the page, I surrounded by many other clouds of gas and dust of varying density.

Water is essential to life as we know it on Earth. It covers over 70 percent of our planet's surface and is present in trace amounts in the atmosphere. While it may seem abundant, especially if we're looking at the blue-hued stretch of a lake, sea or ocean, water is only a minor component of the total mass of Earth. In fact, it is not at all clear whether the water that is currently present on our blue planet was there around the time of its formation, 4.6 billion years ago, or it is was delivered by later impacts of smaller celestial objects.


According to one of the leading theories to explain how the solar system came into being, Earth and the inner planets were extremely hot and dry for the first several hundred million years after their formation. In this scenario, water was delivered to these planets only later by violent impacts of small bodies such as meteorites, asteroids, and/or comets – the remaining debris of the protoplanetary disc out of which the planets and their moons took shape.

There are various avenues to investigate the origin of this crucial molecule on our planet, either following the clues in our cosmic neighborhood – the solar system – or looking into the stellar nurseries where analogues of our sun and planets are being born.

ESA's Herschel Space Observatory, an extraordinary mission that was launched in 2009 and that observed the sky at far-infrared and sub-millimetre wavelengths for almost four years, took a comprehensive approach, tracing water from stars and planets in the forming across our Milky Way galaxy to planets and minor solar system bodies in our own neck of the woods.

Water was first detected in star-forming molecular clouds in the late 1960s. At the time, it was the sixth interstellar molecule to be identified, compared to the nearly 200 that are known to date. Ever since its discovery, astronomers suspected that water would be present in a variety of cosmic environments. After all, it is made up of the two most abundant reactive elements that exist – hydrogen, which dates back to the Big Seed, and oxygen, produced in the furnaces of stars throughout the history of the Universe.

The mosaic below combines several observations of the Taurus Molecular Cloud performed by ESA's Herschel Space Observatory. Located about 450 light-years from us, in the constellation Taurus, the Bull, this vast complex of interstellar clouds is where a myriad of stars are being born, and is the closest large region of star formation. 


In fact, water has been observed in celestial objects as diverse as planets, moons, stars, star-forming clouds, and even beyond our Milky Way, in the stellar cradles of other galaxies. However, due to the water vapour present in the Earth's atmosphere, studying this molecule with astronomical observations is anything but trivial.

Over the decades, astronomers have used a wide range of facilities to study water in the cosmos, from ground-based observatories in the dry climate of mountain-tops and airborne telescopes to experiments on stratospheric balloons and space observatories and even on the Space Shuttle. Far from the moist environment of our planet, a space telescope is of course the ideal tool to investigate cosmic water.

The first satellite dedicated to this topic, ESA's Infrared Space Observatory (ISO), was launched in 1995 and operated until 1998, shortly followed by NASA's Submillimeter Wave Astronomy Satellite (SWAS) and Spitzer Space Telescope, and by the Swedish-led, international Odin satellite.

Stepping into this long-established tradition, Herschel pushed the quest of cosmic water to new heights with a phenomenal piece of hardware, the Heterodyne Instrument for the Far Infrared (HIFI) – one of the three instruments on board.

To reveal the presence of a molecule in a cosmic source, astronomers look for a set of very distinctive fingerprints, or lines, in the source's spectrum, which are caused by rotation or vibration transitions in the structure of the molecule.

These lines are observed within a stretch of the electromagnetic spectrum, covering infrared to microwave wavelengths, depending on the type of molecule and its temperature. In the case of water, some of the most interesting lines – the ones that correspond to the lowest energetic configuration of water vapour, in other words its ground or 'cold' state – are found in the far-infrared and sub-millimetre ranges, which are inaccessible from the ground.

Specially designed for the hunt for water and other molecules, Herschel's HIFI instrument had an unprecedented spectral resolution that could target about 40 different water lines, each coming from a different transition of the water molecule and thus sensitive to a different temperature.

In particular, unlike its predecessors, Herschel was sensitive to two different transitions of the ground state of water that correspond to the two 'spin' forms of the molecule, called ortho and para, in which the spins of the hydrogen nuclei have different orientations. This key feature allowed astronomers to determine the temperatures under which the water formed by comparing the relative amounts of ortho and para water.

Two of the observatory's Key Programs– Water in Star-forming regions with Herschel and Water and Related Chemistry in the solar system – dedicated several hundred hours to the quest for cosmic water.

Exploiting the outstanding data collected by HIFI, along with observations performed with Herschel's two other instruments, the Photodetector Array Camera and Spectrometer (PACS) and the Spectral and Photometric Imaging Receiver (SPIRE), astronomers have been able to greatly expand our understanding of the role of water in the Universe.

While water vapor in star-forming regions had been known for quite a while, Herschel discovered it, for the first time, in a pre-stellar core – a cold lump of dense material that will later turn into a star. The pre-stellar core, called Lynds 1544, is located in the Taurus molecular cloud, a vast region of gas and dust that is incubating the seeds of future stars and planets.

With the Herschel data, astronomers could estimate also the amount of water vapor in Lynds 1544 – the equivalent of over 2000 times the water content of Earth's oceans. Spectrum of water vapor shown below. The water vapor derives from icy dust grains, hinting at a reservoir of over a thousand times more water in the form of ice. If any planets are to emerge around the star taking shape from this core, it is likely that some of the water detected by Herschel will find its way to the planets as well.


En route to becoming stars, pre-stellar cores keep accreting matter from their parent cloud until they separate from it, turning into a protostar, an independent object that is collapsing under its own gravity. Normally, a rotating disc of gas and dust – a protoplanetary disc – takes shape around protostars, providing the material for the formation of future planets. Finally, when nuclear reactions ignite in the core of the protostar, counteracting the collapse, a fully-fledged star is born.

Herschel has spotted water in objects spanning all stages of star formation, including in a large number of low-mass protostars found in many nearby star-forming regions.

For the first time, astronomers using Herschel have detected cold water vapour in a protoplanetary disc. While previous studies had revealed either hot water vapour in the inner part of similar discs, or water ice in their outskirts, Herschel's observations targeting the disc around the nearby young star TW Hydrae were the first to identify cold water vapour, with temperatures lower than 100 K, in such an object.

The cold vapour appears to be located in a thin layer at intermediate depths in the disc, where the evaporation of gas and the freeze-out of ice find a balance. The data indicate a small amount of cold vapour, equivalent to about 0.5 per cent of the water in Earth's oceans, but point to a much larger reservoir of water ice – several thousand Earth oceans – in the disc.

This was the first evidence that large amounts of water ice can be stored in the precursor of a planetary system like our own, thus contributing more evidence to tackling the puzzle of the origin of water on Earth and other planets.

Besides proving that water is an important constituent of stars and planets since their early formation, Herschel also followed its trail all the way to our local neighbourhood, the solar system.

To compare water found in different celestial bodies, astronomers analyse the relative abundance of molecules with a slightly different composition. Most notably, they look at the D/H ratio, comparing 'ordinary' water, composed of two hydrogen (H) and one oxygen (O) atoms, and semi-heavy water, where one of the hydrogen atoms appears as deuterium (D), an isotopical form with an extra neutron.


Before Herschel, this measurement had been performed on a handful of comets, all of them thought to originate in the Oort cloud at the outskirts of our solar system, and all of them revealing higher proportions of deuterium to 'normal' hydrogen than that found in Earth's oceans. These results seemed to suggest that comets – icy leftovers of our ancient protoplanetary disc – could not have been the source of our planet's water, while a specific class of meteorites, called Cl carbonaceous chondrites, possessed the 'right' D/H ratio and thus seemed to be the main culprit.

In 2011, Herschel's observations of water in Comet 103P/Hartley 2 reopened this fascinating debate. This measurement was the first of its kind performed for a Jupiter-Family comet – a class of comets with orbits governed by Jupiter's gravity and with much shorter period with respect to their Oort-cloud counterparts – and revealed, for the first time, water with a deuterium to hydrogen proportion similar to that found on our planet.

Herschel contributed two more observations to the debate, finding a Jupiter-Family comet (45P/Honda-Mrkos- Pajdušáková) with Earth-like water, and an Oort-cloud comet (2009P1) with a different blend from that of our planet's water.

The plot thickened when ESA's Rosetta mission reached Comet 67P/Churyumov–Gerasimenko in 2014 and sampled the water content in its atmosphere. Rosetta's comet is also a Jupiter-Family one but, unlike the two observed by Herschel, it does not contain Earth-like water; on the contrary, it turned out to have the highest D/H ratio ever measured for a comet.

While Rosetta revealed that not all Jupiter-Family comets contain water that is similar to that of our planet's oceans, Herschel's earlier detections had importantly pointed out that comets with the right composition do exist and some might indeed have contributed to Earth's water budget.

In fact, current models indicate that a broad and diverse range of minor bodies contributed to the critical role of bringing water to our planet.

Elsewhere in the solar system, Herschel has gone as far as confirming that at least one comet has contributed to enriching a different planet – Jupiter – with water. By investigating the distribution of water vapour in the stratosphere of the giant planet, astronomers found evidence that almost all of it was delivered by the famous impact of Comet Shoemaker-Levy 9 in 1994.

Following water throughout the solar system, Herschel has found this molecule in many more places, from the dwarf planet Ceres, the largest body in the asteroid belt, to a giant torus of water vapour surrounding Saturn, which appears to be supplied by the planet's small moon Enceladus.

As revealed by the NASA/ESA/ASI Cassini mission, Enceladus exhibits plumes of water drawing from the underground ocean lurking under its icy crust.

Farther away from the sun, Herschel revealed highly reflecting surfaces on several Trans-Neptunian Objects (TNOs), indicating that water ice might be present even on these ancient, remote objects. While TNOs date back to the early formation of our solar system, astronomers suspect that their bright icy coating may be more recent – a speculative but not unfeasible hypothesis given the availability of water on outer planets like Uranus and Neptune, and on their major moons. Such a recent coating might also suggest that the surface of these long-thought 'dead' objects can in fact be alive, as highlighted also by the in-situ observations performed in 2015 by NASA's New Horizon probe of another TNO, the dwarf planet Pluto.

Given its chemical composition, water unsurprisingly is ubiquitous in the Universe, and, after Herschel, there is no longer any doubt that cosmic water trails go a long way, from planets to stars, and even to the vastness of interstellar space.

However, Herschel has only begun scratching the surface of the proverbial iceberg, having spotted water in individual cosmic sources that are, in many cases, one of a kind. These exciting discoveries call for future surveys to follow up on Herschel's observations, collecting larger samples of each type of sources to scrutinise water and other molecules and delve into the physical mechanisms underlying their formation and delivery across the cosmos.

31 August 2017

Big Seed – The Movie


If you have ever had to wait those agonizing minutes in front of a computer for a movie or large file to load, you’ll likely sympathize with the plight of cosmologists at the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Argonne National Laboratory. But instead of watching TV dramas, they are trying to transfer, as fast and as accurately as possible, the huge amounts of data that make up movies of the universe – computationally demanding and highly intricate simulations of how our cosmos evolved after the Big Seed.

In a new approach to enable scientific breakthroughs, researchers linked together supercomputers at the Argonne Leadership Computing Facility (ALCF) and at the National Center for Supercomputing Applications (NCSA) at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (UI). This link enabled scientists to transfer massive amounts of data and to run two different types of demanding computations in a coordinated fashion – referred to technically as a workflow.

30 August 2017

Researchers propose how the universe became filled with light


Soon after the Big Seed, the universe went completely dark. The intense, seminal event that created the cosmos churned up so much hot, thick gas that light was completely trapped. Much later—perhaps as many as one billion years after the Big Seed—the universe expanded, became more transparent, and eventually filled up with galaxies, planets, stars, and other objects that give off visible light. That’s the universe we know today.

How it emerged from the cosmic dark ages to a clearer, light-filled state remains a mystery.

In a new study, researchers at the University of Iowa offer a theory of how that happened. They think black holes that dwell in the center of galaxies fling out matter so violently that the ejected material pierces its cloudy surroundings, allowing light to escape. The researchers arrived at their theory after observing a nearby galaxy from which ultraviolet light is escaping.

“The observations show the presence of very bright X-ray sources that are likely accreting black holes,” says Philip Kaaret, professor in the UI Department of Physics and Astronomy and corresponding author on the study. “It’s possible the black hole is creating winds that help the ionizing radiation from the stars escape. Thus, black holes may have helped make the universe transparent.”


Kaaret and his team focused on a galaxy called Tol 1247-232, located some 600 million light years from Earth, one of only three nearby galaxies from which ultraviolet light has been found to escape. In May 2016, using an Earth-orbiting telescope called Chandra, the researchers saw a single X-ray source whose brightness waxed and waned and was located within a vigorous star-forming region of Tol 1247-232.

The team determined it was something other than a star.

“Stars don’t have changes in brightness,” Kaaret says. "Our sun is a good example of that.

“To change in brightness, you have to be a small object, and that really narrows it down to a black hole,” he says.

But how would a black hole, whose intense gravitational pull sucks in everything around it, also eject matter?


The quick answer is no one knows for sure. Black holes, after all, are hard to study, in part because their immense gravitational pull allows no light to escape and because they’re embedded deep within galaxies. Recently, however, astronomers have offered an explanation: The jets of escaping matter are tapping into the accelerated rotational energy of the black hole itself.

Imagine a figure skater twirling with outstretched arms. As the skater folds her arms closer to her body, she spins faster. Black holes operate much the same way: As gravity pulls matter inward toward a black hole, the black hole likewise spins faster. As the black hole’s gravitational pull increases, the speed also creates energy.

“As matter falls into a black hole, it starts to spin and the rapid rotation pushes some fraction of the matter out,” Kaaret says. “They’re producing these strong winds that could be opening an escape route for ultraviolet light. That could be what happened with the early galaxies.”

Kaaret plans to study Tol 1247-232 more closely and find other nearby galaxies that are leaking ultraviolet light, which would help corroborate his theory.