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  • richardmitnick 12:45 am on January 25, 2022 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: "Extraordinary black hole found in neighboring galaxy", , , ,   

    From The University of Utah (US): “Extraordinary black hole found in neighboring galaxy” 

    From The University of Utah (US)

    January 24, 2022

    Anil Seth
    Associate Professor
    Department of Physics & Astronomy

    Renuka Pechetti
    Postdoctoral Research Scholar
    The Liverpool John Moores University (UK)

    Lisa Potter
    Research/science communications specialist,
    University of Utah Communications
    Office: 801-585-3093
    Mobile: 949-533-7899

    The left panel shows a wide-field image of Messier 31 [Andromeda] with the red box and inset showing the location and image of B023-G78 where the black hole was found.
    PHOTO CREDIT: Iván Éder/ NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope/NASA Hubble Advanced Camera for Surveys/HRC.

    Astronomers discovered a black hole unlike any other. At one hundred thousand solar masses, it is smaller than the black holes we have found at the centers of galaxies, but bigger than the black holes that are born when stars explode. This makes it one of the only confirmed intermediate-mass black holes, an object that has long been sought by astronomers.

    “We have very good detections of the biggest, stellar-mass black holes up to 100 times the size of our sun, and supermassive black holes at the centers of galaxies that are millions of times the size of our sun, but there aren’t any measurements of black between these. That’s a large gap,” said senior author Anil Seth, associate professor of Astronomy at the University of Utah and co-author of the study. “This discovery fills the gap.”

    The black hole was hidden within B023-G078, an enormous star cluster in our closest neighboring galaxy Andromeda. Long thought to be a globular star cluster, the researchers argue that B023-G078 is instead a stripped nucleus. Stripped nuclei are remnants of small galaxies that fell into bigger ones and had their outer stars stripped away by gravitational forces. What’s left behind is a tiny, dense nucleus orbiting the bigger galaxy and at the center of that nucleus, a black hole.

    “Previously, we’ve found big black holes within massive, stripped nuclei that are much bigger than B023-G078. We knew that there must be smaller black holes in lower mass stripped nuclei, but there’s never been direct evidence,” said lead author Renuka Pechetti of The Liverpool John Moores University (UK), who started the research while at the U. “I think this is a pretty clear case that we have finally found one of these objects.”

    The study published on Jan. 11, 2022, in The Astrophysical Journal.

    A decades-long hunch

    B023-G078 was known as a massive globular star cluster—a spherical collection of stars bound tightly by gravity. However, there had only been a single observation of the object that determined its overall mass, about 6.2 million solar masses. For years, Seth had a feeling it was something else.

    “I knew that the B023-G078 object was one of the most massive objects in Andromeda and thought it could be a candidate for a stripped nucleus. But we needed data to prove it. We’d been applying to various telescopes to get more observations for many, many years and my proposals always failed,” said Seth. “When we discovered a supermassive black hole within a stripped nucleus in 2014, the Gemini Observatory gave us the chance to explore the idea.”

    With their new observational data from the Gemini Observatory and images from the Hubble Space Telescope, Pechetti, Seth and their team calculated how mass was distributed within the object by modeling its light profile. A globular cluster has a signature light profile that has the same shape near the center as it does in the outer regions. B023-G078 is different. The light at the center is round and then gets flatter moving outwards. The chemical makeup of the stars changes too, with more heavy elements in the stars at the center than those near the object’s edge.

    Gemini Observatory

    National Science Foundation(US)’s NOIRLab National Optical-Infrared Astronomy Research Laboratory(US), the US center for ground-based optical-infrared astronomy, operates the international Gemini Observatory (a facility of NSF, NRC–Canada, Gemini Argentina | Argentina.gob.ar, ANID–Chile, Ministry of Science, Technology, Innovation and Communications [Ministério da Ciência, Tecnolgia, Inovação e Comunicações](BR),and Korea Astronomy and Space Science Institute[알림사항])(KR)

    National Science Foundation(US) NOIRLab’s Gemini North Frederick C Gillett telescope at Mauna Kea Observatory Hawai’i (US) Altitude 4,213 m (13,822 ft).

    Mauna Kea Observatories Hawai’i (US) altitude 4,213 m (13,822 ft).

    GEMINI/North GMOS .

    NSF NOIRLab(US) NOAO(US) Gemini South telescope (US) on the summit of Cerro Pachón at an altitude of 7200 feet. There are currently two telescopes commissioned on Cerro Pachón, Gemini South and the Southern Astrophysical Research Telescope. A third, the Vera C. Rubin Observatory, is under construction.

    NSF NOIRLab NOAO (US) Cerro Tololo Inter-American Observatory(CL) approximately 80 km to the East of La Serena, Chile, at an altitude of 2200 meters.

    NOAO Gemini Planet Imager on Gemini South.

    National Aeronautics and Space Administration(US)/European Space Agency [Agence spatiale européenne] [Europäische Weltraumorganisation](EU) Hubble Space Telescope.

    “Globular star clusters basically form at the same time. In contrast, these stripped nuclei can have repeated formation episodes, where gas falls into the center of the galaxy, and forms stars. And other star clusters can get dragged into the center by the gravitational forces of the galaxy,” said Seth. “It’s kind of the dumping ground for a bunch of different stuff. So, stars in stripped nuclei will be more complicated than in globular clusters. And that’s what we saw in B023-G078.”

    The researchers used the object’s mass distribution to predict how fast the stars should be moving at any given location within the cluster and compared it to their data. The highest velocity stars were orbiting around the center. When they built a model without including a black hole, the stars at the center were too slow compared their observations. When they added the black hole, they got speeds that matched the data. The black hole adds to the evidence that this object is a stripped nucleus.

    “The stellar velocities we are getting gives us direct evidence that there’s some kind of dark mass right at the center,” said Pechetti. “It’s very hard for globular clusters to form big black holes. But if it’s in a stripped nucleus, then there must already be a black hole present, left as a remnant from the smaller galaxy that fell into the bigger one.”

    The researchers are hoping to observe more stripped nuclei that may hold more intermediate mass black holes. These are an opportunity to learn more about the black hole population at the centers of low-mass galaxies, and to learn about how galaxies are built up from smaller building blocks.

    “We know big galaxies form generally from the merging of smaller galaxies, but these stripped nuclei allow us to decipher the details of those past interactions,” said Seth.

    Other authors include Sebastian Kamann of the Liverpool John Moores University; Nelson Caldwell, Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics; Jay Strader, The Michigan State University (US); Mark den Brok, The Leibniz Institute for Astrophysics [Leibniz-Institut für Astrophysik] Potsdam (DE); Nora Luetzgendorf, The European Space Agency [Agencia Espacial Europea] [Agence spatiale européenne][Europäische Weltraumorganisation](EU); Nadine Neumayer, MPG Institute for Astronomy [MPG Institut für Astronomie](DE); and Karina Voggel, Strasbourg Astronomical Observatory [Observatoire Astronomique de Strasbourg](FR).

    See the full article here .


    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    Stem Education Coalition

    The University of Utah (US) is a public coeducational space-grant research university in Salt Lake City, Utah, United States. As the state’s flagship university, the university offers more than 100 undergraduate majors and more than 92 graduate degree programs. The university is classified in the highest ranking: “R-1: Doctoral Universities – Highest Research Activity” by the Carnegie Classification of Institutions of Higher Education. The Carnegie Classification also considers the university as “selective”, which is its second most selective admissions category. Graduate studies include the S.J. Quinney College of Law and the School of Medicine, Utah’s only medical school. As of Fall 2015, there are 23,909 undergraduate students and 7,764 graduate students, for an enrollment total of 31,673.

    The university was established in 1850 as the University of Deseret by the General Assembly of the provisional State of Deseret, making it Utah’s oldest institution of higher education. It received its current name in 1892, four years before Utah attained statehood, and moved to its current location in 1900.

    The university ranks among the top 50 U.S. universities by total research expenditures with over $486 million spent in 2014. 22 Rhodes Scholars, three Nobel Prize winners, two Turing Award winners, three MacArthur Fellows, various Pulitzer Prize winners, two astronauts, Gates Cambridge Scholars, and Churchill Scholars have been affiliated with the university as students, researchers, or faculty members in its history. In addition, the university’s Honors College has been reviewed among 50 leading national Honors Colleges in the U.S. The university has also been ranked the 12th most ideologically diverse university in the country.

  • richardmitnick 11:15 pm on January 24, 2022 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: "Radio footprints of galactic interactions discovered in the Shapely Supercluster", , , , , , ,   

    From CSIRO (AU)-Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation: “Radio footprints of galactic interactions discovered in the Shapely Supercluster” 

    CSIRO bloc

    From CSIRO (AU)-Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation

    24 January 2022

    Rachel Rayner

    Interaction between clusters and groups of galaxies within a supercluster have been observed through the detection of radio waves by telescopes all over the world.

    ESA Planck Shapley Supercluster.

    A group of international radio astronomers led by INAF Italian National Institute for Astrophysics [Istituto Nazionale di Astrofisica](IT), and including Australian Astronomical Optics (AAO) Macquarie University (AU), have conducted a multi-frequency and multi-band study of the Shapley Supercluster, the largest constellation of galaxies in the local Universe. The astronomers discovered radio emission which was acting as a “bridge” between a cluster of galaxies and a group of galaxies.

    The observations, published in Astronomy & Astrophysics, were carried out with the Australian ASKAP radio telescope, the South African MeerKAT radio telescope, and the Indian Giant Metrewave Radio Telescope (GMRT). Optical data collected with ESO’s VLT Survey Telescope (VST) and X-ray data from ESA’s XMM-Newton space telescope completed the study.

    SKA ASKAP Pathfinder Radio Telescope.

    SKA SARAO Meerkat telescope , 90 km outside the small Northern Cape town of Carnarvon, SA.

    GMRT Upgraded Giant Metrewave Radio Telescope, an array of thirty telecopes, located near Pune in India.

    ESO VLT Survey Telescope [VST].

    European Space Agency [Agencia Espacial Europea][Agence spatiale européenne][Europäische Weltraumorganisation](EU) XMM Newton X-ray Telescope.

    “The emission was triggered by the collision of these separate groupings of galaxies,” said co-author Professor Andrew Hopkins from AAO Macquarie. “Despite its difficulty to detect, this unique emission will now allow astronomers to better study the regions between clusters of galaxies.”

    Tiziana Venturi, Director of the INAF’s Radio Astronomy Institute and lead author of the article, explains: “This exceptional emission finally allows us to study the regions between clusters of galaxies, the ideal environments to look for traces of interaction between these structures. In the study, we also report the discovery of another couple of objects – a very peculiar head-tail radio galaxy and a ram-pressure stripped spiral galaxy, whose origin is traced back to the same collision phenomenon that generated the emission on the megaparsec scale”. The emission extends on the scale of millions of light-years, and it takes the form of an arc and a filament.

    “Ram pressure stripping can have a profound impact on the evolution of galaxies, removing the cooler gas that helps with star formation,” said Professor Hopkins. “This case shows that ram pressure stripping can involve both warm gas and radio-emitting plasma, and highlights the role of cluster-cluster interaction in triggering it,” said Professor Hopkins.

    “The head-tail radio galaxy, whose tail is broken and culminates in a misaligned bar, is now being observed in a number of clusters. Early analysis of this galaxy is showing some exciting results, which deserve further investigation.”

    The Shapley Supercluster covers a large area of the southern hemisphere sky 600 million light-years from the Milky Way in the Centaurus constellation. As a result, the region hosts over 1000 clusters and groups of galaxies, which allows an in-depth study of the role of the environment on the evolution of galaxies and on the thermal (gas) and non-thermal (radio emission and magnetic fields) components that make up the clusters of galaxies.

    This particular region first captured the interest of radio astronomers in the 1990s. However, before the development of ASKAP and MeerKAT (the two precursors of the SKA project, respectively managed by the Australia’s national science agency, CSIRO, and by the South African Radio Astronomy Observatory [SARAO]), it has basically been impossible to study it, in this fashion due to the lack of radio interferometers in the southern hemisphere with the necessary sensitivity.

    Venturi adds “Now, ASKAP and MeerKAT have both unlocked greater access to the Shapley Concentration with the higher resolution and sensitivity to study this area in more depth. The synergy between the very high-quality radio data and other X-ray and optical data allowed a very detailed study.”

    The radio data represent the state of the art of precursors of the SKA project and provide only a first taste of the wealth of information and discoveries that will come with the SKA radio telescopes (the construction will start in 2022 in Western Australia and South Africa), as well as the complexity of the data analysis that radio astronomers will have to face soon.

    The study aims to highlight the observational effects of the so-called minor merger phenomena. Until now, it was not clear whether scale relations between various clusters and groups would also apply to these phenomena, less striking but much more common in the Universe.

    “We were able to show through this study that these phenomena can be rather remarkable and that they leave detectable traces on single galaxies, on clusters and groups of galaxies, and even the regions between them,” said Professor Hopkins.

    The observations captured in this research also confirm the importance of technologies like SKA precursors on the understanding of the weak population of radio sources in clusters, both associated with individual galaxies and associated with the intra-cluster and inter-cluster medium.

    See the full article here .


    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    Stem Education Coalition

    CSIRO campus

    CSIRO (AU)-Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation, is Australia’s national science agency and one of the largest and most diverse research agencies in the world.

    CSIRO works with leading organisations around the world. From its headquarters in Canberra, CSIRO maintains more than 50 sites across Australia and in France, Chile and the United States, employing about 5,500 people.

    Federally funded scientific research began in Australia 104 years ago. The Advisory Council of Science and Industry was established in 1916 but was hampered by insufficient available finance. In 1926 the research effort was reinvigorated by establishment of the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR), which strengthened national science leadership and increased research funding. CSIR grew rapidly and achieved significant early successes. In 1949 further legislated changes included renaming the organisation as CSIRO.

    Notable developments by CSIRO have included the invention of atomic absorption spectroscopy; essential components of Wi-Fi technology; development of the first commercially successful polymer banknote; the invention of the insect repellent in Aerogard and the introduction of a series of biological controls into Australia, such as the introduction of myxomatosis and rabbit calicivirus for the control of rabbit populations.

    Research and focus areas

    Research Business Units

    As at 2019, CSIRO’s research areas are identified as “Impact science” and organised into the following Business Units:

    Agriculture and Food
    Health and Biosecurity
    Data 61
    Land and Water
    Mineral Resources
    Oceans and Atmosphere

    National Facilities
    CSIRO manages national research facilities and scientific infrastructure on behalf of the nation to assist with the delivery of research. The national facilities and specialized laboratories are available to both international and Australian users from industry and research. As at 2019, the following National Facilities are listed:

    Australian Animal Health Laboratory (AAHL)
    Australia Telescope National Facility – radio telescopes included in the Facility include the Australia Telescope Compact Array, the Parkes Observatory, Mopra Observatory and the Australian Square Kilometre Array Pathfinder.

    STCA CSIRO Australia Compact Array (AU), six radio telescopes at the Paul Wild Observatory, is an array of six 22-m antennas located about twenty five kilometres (16 mi) west of the town of Narrabri in Australia.

    CSIRO-Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (AU) Parkes Observatory, [ Murriyang, the traditional Indigenous name] , located 20 kilometres north of the town of Parkes, New South Wales, Australia, 414.80m above sea level.

    CSIRO-Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (AU) Mopra radio telescope.

    Australian Square Kilometre Array Pathfinder.

    NASA Canberra Deep Space Communication Complex, AU, Deep Space Network. Credit: NASA.

    CSIRO Canberra campus.

    ESA DSA 1, hosts a 35-metre deep-space antenna with transmission and reception in both S- and X-band and is located 140 kilometres north of Perth, Western Australia, near the town of New Norcia.

    CSIRO-Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (AU)”>CSIRO R/V Investigator.

    UK Space NovaSAR-1 satellite (UK) synthetic aperture radar satellite.

    CSIRO Pawsey Supercomputing Centre AU)

    Magnus Cray XC40 supercomputer at Pawsey Supercomputer Centre Perth Australia.

    Galaxy Cray XC30 Series Supercomputer at at Pawsey Supercomputer Centre Perth Australia.

    Pausey Supercomputer CSIRO Zeus SGI Linux cluster.

    Others not shown


    SKA- Square Kilometer Array.

    SKA Square Kilometre Array low frequency at Murchison Widefield Array, Boolardy station in outback Western Australia on the traditional lands of the Wajarri peoples.

    EDGES telescope in a radio quiet zone at the Murchison Radio-astronomy Observatory in Western Australia, on the traditional lands of the Wajarri peoples.

  • richardmitnick 9:17 pm on January 24, 2022 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: "Orbital Insertion Burn a Success-Webb Arrives at L2", ,   

    From The NASA/ESA/CSA James Webb Space Telescope: “Orbital Insertion Burn a Success-Webb Arrives at L2” 

    NASA Webb Header

    National Aeronautics Space Agency(USA)/The European Space Agency [Agencia Espacial Europea] [Agence spatiale européenne][Europäische Weltraumorganisation](EU)/ Canadian Space Agency [Agence Spatiale Canadienne](CA) Webb Infrared Space Telescope(US) James Webb Space Telescope annotated, finally launched December 25, 2021, ten years late.

    From The NASA/ESA/CSA James Webb Space Telescope

    January 24, 2022
    Alise Fisher

    Today, at 2 p.m. EST, Webb fired its onboard thrusters for nearly five minutes (297 seconds) to complete the final postlaunch course correction to Webb’s trajectory. This mid-course correction burn inserted Webb toward its final orbit around the second Sun-Earth Lagrange point, or L2, nearly 1 million miles away from the Earth.

    LaGrange Points map. NASA.

    The final mid-course burn added only about 3.6 miles per hour (1.6 meters per second) – a mere walking pace – to Webb’s speed, which was all that was needed to send it to its preferred “halo” orbit around the L2 point.

    “Webb, welcome home!” said NASA Administrator Bill Nelson. “Congratulations to the team for all of their hard work ensuring Webb’s safe arrival at L2 today. We’re one step closer to uncovering the mysteries of the universe. And I can’t wait to see Webb’s first new views of the universe this summer!”

    The final burn. Credit: Steve Sabia/NASA Goddard Space Flight Center(US).

    Webb’s orbit will allow it a wide view of the cosmos at any given moment, as well as the opportunity for its telescope optics and scientific instruments to get cold enough to function and perform optimal science. Webb has used as little propellant as possible for course corrections while it travels out to the realm of L2, to leave as much remaining propellant as possible for Webb’s ordinary operations over its lifetime: station-keeping (small adjustments to keep Webb in its desired orbit) and momentum unloading (to counteract the effects of solar radiation pressure on the huge sunshield).

    “During the past month, JWST has achieved amazing success and is a tribute to all the folks who spent many years and even decades to ensure mission success,” said Bill Ochs, Webb project manager at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center. “We are now on the verge of aligning the mirrors, instrument activation and commissioning, and the start of wondrous and astonishing discoveries.”

    Now that Webb’s primary mirror segments and secondary mirror have been deployed from their launch positions, engineers will begin the sophisticated three-month process of aligning the telescope’s optics to nearly nanometer precision.

    See the full article here .


    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    Stem Education Coalition

    The NASA/ESA/CSA James Webb Space Telescope will be a large infrared telescope with a 6.5-meter primary mirror. Webb was finally launched December 25, 2021, ten years late.

    The James Webb Space Telescope will be the premier observatory of the next decade, serving thousands of astronomers worldwide. It will study every phase in the history of our Universe, ranging from the first luminous glows after the Big Bang, to the formation of solar systems capable of supporting life on planets like Earth, to the evolution of our own Solar System.

    The James Webb Space Telescope is the world’s largest, most powerful, and most complex space science telescope ever built. Webb will solve mysteries in our solar system, look beyond to distant worlds around other stars, and probe the mysterious structures and origins of our universe and our place in it.

    Webb telescope was formerly known as the “Next Generation Space Telescope” (NGST); it was renamed in Sept. 2002 after a former NASA administrator, James Webb.

    Webb is an international collaboration between National Aeronautics and Space Administration (US), the European Space Agency (ESA), and the Canadian Space Agency (CSA). The NASA Goddard Space Flight Center (US) is managing the development effort. The main industrial partner is Northrop Grumman; the Space Telescope Science Institute (US) will operate Webb after launch.

    Several innovative technologies have been developed for Webb. These include a folding, segmented primary mirror, adjusted to shape after launch; ultra-lightweight beryllium optics; detectors able to record extremely weak signals, microshutters that enable programmable object selection for the spectrograph; and a cryocooler for cooling the mid-IR detectors to 7K.

    There will be four science instruments on Webb: The Near InfraRed Camera (NIRCam), The Near InfraRed Spectrograph (NIRspec), The Mid-InfraRed Instrument (MIRI), and The Fine Guidance Sensor/ Near InfraRed Imager and Slitless Spectrograph (FGS-NIRISS). Webb’s instruments will be designed to work primarily in the infrared range of the electromagnetic spectrum, with some capability in the visible range. It will be sensitive to light from 0.6 to 28 micrometers in wavelength.
    National Aeronautics Space Agency (US) Webb NIRCam.

    European Space Agency [Agence spatiale européenne](EU)Webb NIRspec.

    European Space Agency [Agence spatiale européenne](EU) Webb MIRI schematic.

    Webb Fine Guidance Sensor-Near InfraRed Imager and Slitless Spectrograph FGS/NIRISS.

    Webb has four main science themes: The End of the Dark Ages: First Light and Reionization, The Assembly of Galaxies, The Birth of Stars and Protoplanetary Systems, and Planetary Systems and the Origins of Life.

    ESA50 Logo large

    Canadian Space Agency

  • richardmitnick 5:59 pm on January 24, 2022 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: "Complex" numbers, "Complex" numbers are widely exploited in classical and relativistic physics., "Physics(US)", "Quantum Mechanics Must Be Complex", A basic starting point for quantum theory is to represent a particle state by a vector in a "complex"-valued space called a Hilbert space., , Early on the pioneers of quantum mechanics abandoned the attempt to develop a quantum theory based on real numbers because they thought it impractical., Polarization-entangled photons generated by parametric down-conversion and detected in superconducting nanowire single-photon detectors., , , , Recent theoretical results suggested that a real-valued quantum theory could describe an unexpectedly broad range of quantum systems., Superconducting quantum processors in which the qubits have individual control and readout., The lack of a general proof left open some paths for refuting the equivalence between “complex” and “real” quantum theories., The possibility of using real numbers was never formally ruled out., This real-number approach has now been squashed by two independent experiments., Two teams show that within a standard formulation of quantum mechanics "complex" numbers are indispensable for describing experiments carried out on simple quantum networks.   

    From Physics(US): “Quantum Mechanics Must Be Complex” 

    About Physics

    From Physics(US)

    January 24, 2022

    Alessio Avella, The National Institute of Metrological Research [Istituto Nazionale di Ricerca Metrologica](IT)

    Two independent studies demonstrate that a formulation of quantum mechanics involving “complex” rather than real numbers is necessary to reproduce experimental results.

    Credit: Carin Cain/American Physical Society(US)
    Figure 1: Conceptual sketch of the three-party game used by [Chen and colleagues] and [Li and colleagues] to demonstrate that a real quantum theory cannot describe certain measurements on small quantum networks. The game involves two sources distributing entangled qubits to three observers, who calculate a “score” from measurements performed on the qubits. In both experiments, the obtained score isn’t compatible with a real-valued, traditional formulation of quantum mechanics.

    “Complex” numbers are widely exploited in classical and relativistic physics. In electromagnetism, for instance, they tremendously simplify the description of wave-like phenomena. However, in these physical theories, “complex” numbers aren’t strictly needed, as all meaningful observables can be expressed in terms of real numbers. Thus, “complex” analysis is just a powerful computational tool. But are “complex” numbers essential in quantum physics—where the mathematics (the Schrödinger equation, the Hilbert space, etc.) is intrinsically “complex”-valued? This simple question has accompanied the development of quantum mechanics since its origins, when Schrödinger, Lorentz, and Planck debated it in their correspondence [1]. But early on, the pioneers of quantum mechanics abandoned the attempt to develop a quantum theory based on real numbers because they thought it impractical. However, the possibility of using real numbers was never formally ruled out, and recent theoretical results suggested that a real-valued quantum theory could describe an unexpectedly broad range of quantum systems [2]. But this real-number approach has now been squashed by two independent experiments, performed by Ming-Cheng Chen of The University of Science and Technology [中国科学技术大学](CN) at Chinese Academy of Sciences [中国科学院](CN) [3] and by Zheng-Da Li of The Southern University of Science and Technology[南方科技大學](CN) [4]. The two teams show that within a standard formulation of quantum mechanics “complex” numbers are indispensable for describing experiments carried out on simple quantum networks.

    A basic starting point for quantum theory is to represent a particle state by a vector in a “complex”-valued space called a Hilbert space. However, for a single, isolated quantum system, finding a description based purely on real numbers is straightforward: It can simply be obtained by doubling the dimension of the Hilbert space, as the space of complex numbers is equivalent, or “isomorphic,” to a two-dimensional, real plane, with the two dimensions representing the real and imaginary part of “complex” numbers, respectively. The problem becomes less trivial when we consider the unique quantum correlations, such as entanglement, that arise in quantum mechanics. These correlations can violate the principle of local realism, as proven by so-called Bell inequality tests [5]. Violations of Bell tests may appear to require “complex” values for their description [6]. But in 2009, a theoretical work demonstrated that, using real numbers, it is possible to reproduce the statistics of any standard Bell experiment, even those involving multiple quantum systems [2]. The result reinforced the conjecture that “complex” numbers aren’t necessary, but the lack of a general proof left open some paths for refuting the equivalence between “complex” and “real” quantum theories.

    One such path was identified in 2021 through the brilliant theoretical work of Marc-Olivier Renou of the The Institute of Photonic Sciences [Instituto de Ciencias Fotónicas](ES)and co-workers [7]. The researchers considered two theories that are both based on the postulates of quantum mechanics, but one uses a “complex” Hilbert space, as in the traditional formulation, while the other uses a real space. They then devised Bell-like experiments that could prove the inadequacy of the real theory. In their theorized experiments, two independent sources distribute entangled qubits in a quantum network configuration, while causally independent measurements on the nodes can reveal quantum correlations that do not admit any real quantum representation.

    Chen and colleagues and Li and colleagues now provide the experimental demonstration of Renou and co-workers’ proposal in two different physical platforms. The experiments are conceptually based on a “game” in which three parties (Alice, Bob, and Charlie) perform a Bell-like experiment (Fig. 1). In this game, two sources distribute entangled qubits between Alice and Bob and between Bob and Charlie, respectively. Each party independently chooses, from a set of possibilities, the measurements to perform on their qubit(s). Since the sources are independent, the qubits sent to Alice and Charlie are originally uncorrelated. Bob receives a qubit from both sources and, by performing a Bell-state measurement, he generates entanglement between Alice’s and Charlie’s qubits even though these qubits never interacted (a procedure called “entanglement swapping” [8]). Finally, a “score” is calculated from the statistical distribution of measurement outcomes. As demonstrated by Renou and co-workers, a “complex” quantum theory can produce a larger score than the one produced by a real quantum theory.

    The two groups follow different approaches to implement the quantum game. Chen and colleagues use a superconducting quantum processor in which the qubits have individual control and readout. The main challenge of this approach is making the qubits, which sit on the same circuit, truly independent and decoupled—a stringent requirement for the Bell-like tests. Li and colleagues instead choose a photonic implementation that more easily achieves this independence. Specifically, they use polarization-entangled photons generated by parametric down-conversion and detected in superconducting nanowire single-photon detectors. The optical implementation comes, however, with a different challenge: The protocol proposed by Renou and co-workers requires a complete Bell-state measurement, which can be directly implemented using superconducting qubits but is not achievable exploiting linear optical phenomena. Therefore, Li and colleagues had to rely on a so-called “partial” Bell-state measurement.

    Despite the difficulties inherent in each implementation, both experiments deliver compelling results. Impressively, they beat the score of real theory by many standard deviations (by 43 σ and 4.5 σ for Chen’s and Li’s experiments, respectively), providing convincing proof that complex numbers are needed to describe the experiments.

    Interestingly, both experiments are based on a minimal quantum network scheme (two sources and three nodes), which is a promising building block for a future quantum internet. The results thus offer one more demonstration that the availability of new quantum technologies is closely linked to the possibility of testing foundational aspects of quantum mechanics. Conversely, these new fundamental insights on quantum mechanics could have unexpected implications on the development of new quantum information technologies.

    We must be careful, however, in assessing the implications of these results. One might be tempted to conclude that “complex” numbers are indispensable to describe the physical reality of the Universe. However, this conclusion is true only if we accept the standard framework of quantum mechanics, which is based on several postulates. As Renou and his co-workers point out, these results would not be applicable to alternative formulations of quantum mechanics, such as Bohmian mechanics, which are based on different postulates. Therefore, these results could stimulate attempts to go beyond the standard formalism of quantum mechanics, which, despite great successes in predicting experimental results, is often considered inadequate from an interpretative point of view [9].


    C. N. Yang, “Square root of minus one, complex phases and Erwin Schrödinger,” Selected Papers II with Commentary (World Scientific, Hackensack, 2013)[Amazon][WorldCat].
    M. McKague et al., “Simulating quantum systems using real Hilbert spaces,” Phys. Rev. Lett. 102, 020505 (2009).
    M.-C. Chen et al., “Ruling out real-valued standard formalism of quantum theory,” Phys. Rev. Lett. 128, 040403 (2022).
    Z.-D. Li et al., “Testing real quantum theory in an optical quantum network,” Phys. Rev. Lett. 128, 040402 (2022).
    A. Aspect, “Closing the door on Einstein and Bohr’s quantum debate,” Physics 8, 123 (2015).
    N. Gisin, “Bell Inequalities: Many Questions, a Few Answers,” in Quantum Reality, Relativistic Causality, and Closing the Epistemic Circle, edited by W. C. Myrvold et al. The Western Ontario Series in Philosophy of Science, Vol. 73 (Springer, Dordrecht, 2009)[Amazon][WorldCat].
    M.-O. Renou et al., “Quantum theory based on real numbers can be experimentally falsified,” Nature 600, 625 (2021).
    J.-W. Pan et al., “Experimental entanglement swapping: Entangling photons that never interacted,” Phys. Rev. Lett. 80, 3891 (1998).
    T. Norsen, Foundations of Quantum Mechanics – An Exploration of the Physical Meaning of Quantum Theory, Undergraduate Lecture Notes in Physics (Springer, Cham, 2017)[Amazon][WorldCat].

    See the full article here .


    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

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    Physicists are drowning in a flood of research papers in their own fields and coping with an even larger deluge in other areas of physics. How can an active researcher stay informed about the most important developments in physics? Physics (US) highlights a selection of papers from the Physical Review journals. In consultation with expert scientists, the editors choose these papers for their importance and/or intrinsic interest. To highlight these papers, Physics features three kinds of articles: Viewpoints are commentaries written by active researchers, who are asked to explain the results to physicists in other subfields. Focus stories are written by professional science writers in a journalistic style and are intended to be accessible to students and non-experts. Synopses are brief editor-written summaries. Physics provides a much-needed guide to the best in physics, and we welcome your comments.

  • richardmitnick 4:21 pm on January 24, 2022 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: "The Higgs boson could have kept our universe from collapsing", , , , , , , , , ,   

    From Live Science: “The Higgs boson could have kept our universe from collapsing” 

    From Live Science

    Paul Sutter

    Other patches in the multiverse would have, instead, met their ends.

    Physicists have proposed our universe might be a tiny patch of a much larger cosmos that is constantly and rapidly inflating and popping off new universes. In our corner of this multiverse, the mass of the Higgs boson was low enough that this patch did not collapse like others may have. Image credit: MARK GARLICK/SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY via Getty Images.

    The Higgs boson, the mysterious particle that lends other particles their mass, could have kept our universe from collapsing. And its properties might be a clue that we live in a multiverse of parallel worlds, a wild new theory suggests.

    That theory, in which different regions of the universe have different sets of physical laws, would suggest that only worlds in which the Higgs boson is tiny would survive.

    If true, the new model would entail the creation of new particles, which in turn would explain why the strong interaction — which ultimately keeps atoms from collapsing — seems to obey certain symmetries. And along the way, it could help reveal the nature of Dark Matter — the elusive substance that makes up most matter.

    A tale of two Higgs

    In 2012, the Large Hadron Collider achieved a truly monumental feat; this underground particle accelerator along the French-Swiss border detected for the first time the Higgs boson, a particle that had eluded physicists for decades.

    The European Organization for Nuclear Research [Organización Europea para la Investigación Nuclear][Organisation européenne pour la recherche nucléaire] [Europäische Organisation für Kernforschung](CH) [CERN].

    The European Organization for Nuclear Research [Organización Europea para la Investigación Nuclear][Organisation européenne pour la recherche nucléaire] [Europäische Organisation für Kernforschung](CH)[CERN] map.

    CERN LHC tube in the tunnel. Credit: Maximilien Brice and Julien Marius Ordan.

    SixTRack CERN LHC particles.

    The Higgs boson is a cornerstone of the Standard Model.

    European Organization for Nuclear Research [Organización Europea para la Investigación Nuclear][Organisation européenne pour la recherche nucléaire] [Europäische Organisation für Kernforschung](CH) ATLAS Higgs Event June 18, 2012.

    European Organization for Nuclear Research [Organización Europea para la Investigación Nuclear][Organisation européenne pour la recherche nucléaire] [Europäische Organisation für Kernforschung](CH) CMS Higgs Event May 27, 2012.

    This particle gives other particles their mass and creates the distinction between the weak interaction and the electromagnetic interaction.

    But with the good news came some bad. The Higgs had a mass of 125 gigaelectronvolts (GeV), which was orders of magnitude smaller than what physicists had thought it should be.

    To be perfectly clear, the framework physicists use to describe the zoo of subatomic particles, known as the Standard Model, doesn’t actually predict the value of the Higgs mass.

    Standard Model of Particle Physics, Quantum Diaries.

    For that theory to work, the number has to be derived experimentally. But back-of-the-envelope calculations made physicists guess that the Higgs would have an incredibly large mass. So once the champagne was opened and the Nobel prizes were handed out, the question loomed: Why does the Higgs have such a low mass?

    In another, and initially unrelated problem, the strong interaction isn’t exactly behaving as the Standard Model predicts it should. In the mathematics that physicists use to describe high-energy interactions, there are certain symmetries. For example, there is the symmetry of charge (change all the electric charges in an interaction and everything operates the same), the symmetry of time (run a reaction backward and it’s the same), and the symmetry of parity (flip an interaction around to its mirror-image and it’s the same).

    In all experiments performed to date, the strong interaction appears to obey the combined symmetry of both charge reversal and parity reversal. But the mathematics of the strong interaction do not show that same symmetry. No known natural phenomena should enforce that symmetry, and yet nature seems to be obeying it.

    What gives?

    A matter of multiverses

    A pair of theorists, Raffaele Tito D’Agnolo of the French Alternative Energies and Atomic Energy Commission (CEA) and Daniele Teresi of CERN, thought that these two problems might be related. In a paper published in January to the journal Physical Review Letters, they outlined their solution to the twin conundrums.

    Their solution: The universe was just born that way.

    They invoked an idea called the multiverse, which is born out of a theory called inflation. Inflation is the idea that in the earliest days of the Big Bang, our cosmos underwent a period of extremely enhanced expansion, doubling in size every billionth of a second.


    Alan Guth, from M.I.T., who first proposed cosmic inflation.

    Lamda Cold Dark Matter Accerated Expansion of The universe http scinotions.com the-cosmic-inflation-suggests-the-existence-of-parallel-universes. Credit: Alex Mittelmann.

    Alan Guth’s notes:
    Alan Guth’s original notes on inflation.

    Physicists aren’t exactly sure what powered inflation or how it worked, but one outgrowth of the basic idea is that our universe has never stopped inflating. Instead, what we call “our universe” is just one tiny patch of a much larger cosmos that is constantly and rapidly inflating and constantly popping off new universes, like foamy suds in your bathtub.

    Different regions of this “multiverse” will have different values of the Higgs mass. The researchers found that universes with a large Higgs mass find themselves catastrophically collapsing before they get a chance to grow. Only the regions of the multiverse that have low Higgs masses survive and have stable expansion rates, leading to the development of galaxies, stars, planets and eventually high-energy particle colliders.

    To make a multiverse with varying Higgs masses, the team had to introduce two more particles into the mix. These particles would be new additions to the Standard Model. The interactions of these two new particles set the mass of the Higgs in different regions of the multiverse.

    And those two new particles are also capable of doing other things.

    Time for a test

    The newly proposed particles modify the strong interaction, leading to the charge-parity symmetry that exists in nature. They would act a lot like an axion, another hypothetical particle that has been introduced in an attempt to explain the nature of the strong interaction.

    The new particles don’t have a role limited to the early universe, either. They might still be inhabiting the present-day cosmos. If one of their masses is small enough, it could have evaded detection in our accelerator experiments, but would still be floating around in space.

    In other words, one of these new particles could be responsible for the Dark Matter, the invisible stuff that makes up over 85% of all the matter in the universe.

    It’s a bold suggestion: solving two of the greatest challenges to particle physics and also explaining the nature of Dark Matter.

    Could a solution really be this simple? As elegant as it is, the theory still needs to be tested. The model predicts a certain mass range for the Dark Matter, something that future experiments that are on the hunt for dark matter, like the underground facility the Super Cryogenic Dark Matter Search, could determine. Also, the theory predicts that the neutron should have a small but potentially measurable asymmetry in the electric charges within the neutron, a difference from the predictions of the Standard Model.

    Unfortunately, we’re going to have to wait awhile. Each of these measurements will take years, if not decades, to effectively rule out — or support – the new idea.

    Dark Matter Background
    Fritz Zwicky discovered Dark Matter in the 1930s when observing the movement of the Coma Cluster., Vera Rubin a Woman in STEM, denied the Nobel, some 30 years later, did most of the work on Dark Matter.

    Fritz Zwicky.
    Coma cluster via NASA/ESA Hubble, the original example of Dark Matter discovered during observations by Fritz Zwicky and confirmed 30 years later by Vera Rubin.
    In modern times, it was astronomer Fritz Zwicky, in the 1930s, who made the first observations of what we now call dark matter. His 1933 observations of the Coma Cluster of galaxies seemed to indicated it has a mass 500 times more than that previously calculated by Edwin Hubble. Furthermore, this extra mass seemed to be completely invisible. Although Zwicky’s observations were initially met with much skepticism, they were later confirmed by other groups of astronomers.

    Thirty years later, astronomer Vera Rubin provided a huge piece of evidence for the existence of dark matter. She discovered that the centers of galaxies rotate at the same speed as their extremities, whereas, of course, they should rotate faster. Think of a vinyl LP on a record deck: its center rotates faster than its edge. That’s what logic dictates we should see in galaxies too. But we do not. The only way to explain this is if the whole galaxy is only the center of some much larger structure, as if it is only the label on the LP so to speak, causing the galaxy to have a consistent rotation speed from center to edge.

    Vera Rubin, following Zwicky, postulated that the missing structure in galaxies is dark matter. Her ideas were met with much resistance from the astronomical community, but her observations have been confirmed and are seen today as pivotal proof of the existence of dark matter.
    Astronomer Vera Rubin at the Lowell Observatory in 1965, worked on Dark Matter (The Carnegie Institution for Science).

    Vera Rubin, with Department of Terrestrial Magnetism (DTM) image tube spectrograph attached to the Kitt Peak 84-inch telescope, 1970.

    Vera Rubin measuring spectra, worked on Dark Matter(Emilio Segre Visual Archives AIP SPL).
    Dark Matter Research

    Super Cryogenic Dark Matter Search from DOE’s SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory (US) at Stanford University (US) at SNOLAB (Vale Inco Mine, Sudbury, Canada).

    LBNL LZ Dark Matter Experiment (US) xenon detector at Sanford Underground Research Facility(US) Credit: Matt Kapust.

    Lamda Cold Dark Matter Accerated Expansion of The universe http scinotions.com the-cosmic-inflation-suggests-the-existence-of-parallel-universes. Credit: Alex Mittelmann.

    DAMA at Gran Sasso uses sodium iodide housed in copper to hunt for dark matter LNGS-INFN.

    Yale HAYSTAC axion dark matter experiment at Yale’s Wright Lab.

    DEAP Dark Matter detector, The DEAP-3600, suspended in the SNOLAB (CA) deep in Sudbury’s Creighton Mine.

    The LBNL LZ Dark Matter Experiment (US) Dark Matter project at SURF, Lead, SD, USA.

    DAMA-LIBRA Dark Matter experiment at the Italian National Institute for Nuclear Physics’ (INFN’s) Gran Sasso National Laboratories (LNGS) located in the Abruzzo region of central Italy.

    DARWIN Dark Matter experiment. A design study for a next-generation, multi-ton dark matter detector in Europe at The University of Zurich [Universität Zürich](CH).

    PandaX II Dark Matter experiment at Jin-ping Underground Laboratory (CJPL) in Sichuan, China.

    Inside the Axion Dark Matter eXperiment U Washington (US) Credit : Mark Stone U. of Washington. Axion Dark Matter Experiment.

    See the full article here .


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  • richardmitnick 1:44 pm on January 24, 2022 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: "The mystery of the brightest planetary nebulae", A planetary nebula is the gaseous envelope expelled from a star when it becomes a red giant., All of the brightest planetary nebulae have the same intrinsic brightness in their [OIII] 5007 Angstrom emission line and they do not exceed this., , , Planetary nebulae can be used as rulers to measure the distances to the galaxies., Planetary nebulae convert the huge quantity of ultraviolet energy of the star into visible light., This uniformity is such a robust property that it can be used to measure distances to galaxies at up to 70 million light years away and even further.   

    From IAC-The Institute of Astrophysics of the Canary Islands [Instituto de Astrofísica de Canarias](ES): “The mystery of the brightest planetary nebulae” 

    Instituto de Astrofísica de Andalucía

    From IAC-The Institute of Astrophysics of the Canary Islands [Instituto de Astrofísica de Canarias](ES)


    Antonio Mampaso (IAC)

    Romano Corradi (GRANTECAN)

    (Left) The “Cat’s Eye Nebula”, in our Galaxy. At the distance of the Andromeda Galaxy [Messier 31] (right) a thousand times further away, these nebuale are seen as “green dots”. Credit: Romano Corradi.

    A recent study led by researchers at the Instituto de Astrofísica de Canarias (IAC) has resolved an old debate about the progenitor stars of the brightest planetary nebulae. The first author of this article, which has just been published in the journal Astronomy & Astrophysics, is Rebeca Galera Rosillo, a doctoral student at the IAC who passed away in 2020 when she was finishing this work for her doctoral thesis.

    The first and most important datum needed to grasp the nature of the universe is to know its size, to measure the distance to the galaxies. Just as in the Renaissance people began to work out the size of the Earth, and the positions of the seas and the continents, today we map the universe using distance scales which have been determined little by little, star by star, galaxy by galaxy.

    Only a hundred years ago we did not even know that the galaxies are systems of stars, thousands of millions of them. It has been advances in technology, bigger and bigger telescopes, and more and more sensitive instruments, which have allowed us to study the galaxies and allowed us to start analizing their individual stars. Even today we cannot study ordinary stars such as the Sun in galaxies outside our own, but we can study them when they evolve, and in particular those that become planetary nebulae.

    A planetary nebula is the gaseous envelope expelled from a star when it becomes a red giant, which is a critical phase in which the star cannot support the weight of its own mass, because it has burned all of its best and most abundant fuel, hydrogen, and it starts to use its reserve of helium. It is at that point when its internal nucleus becomes exposed, and because of its very high temperature (the surface of the star goes from some 3.000 Celsius to 100,000 Celsius or more in a few thousand years), it emits almost all of its light in the ultraviolet, heating violently the layers of gas which it has expelled, and ionizing them.

    “What is fascinating is that these envelopes, which we call planetary nebulae convert the huge quantity of ultraviolet energy of the star into visible light, and mostly into one emission line which is just where the human eye is most sensitive, in the yellow-green part of the spectrum” explains Antonio Mampaso, an IAC researcher and co-author of the article.” It is the emission line of doubly ionized atomic oxygen [OIII] 5007 Angstrom”.

    According to Romano Corradi, the director of the Gran Telescopio Canarias (GTC or Grantecan) [below] and a co-author of the article, “the planetary nebulae are key to understand the chemical enrichment of the Universe, the ticking which marks the chemical advance towards the future. But it has also been shown that they can be used as rulers to measure the distances to the galaxies, because in all types of galaxies (spirals, ellpticals, young and old galaxies) all of the brightest planetary nebulae have the same intrinsic brightness in their [OIII] 5007 Angstrom emission line and they do not exceed this”. This uniformity is such a robust property that it can be used to measure distances to galaxies at up to 70 million light years away and even further. But the researchers do not know why the brightest planetary nebulae have luminosities which are all very close together, around a “magic” value of brightness, considering the variety of the physical processes involved.

    Short lived but splendid

    Standard theoretical models predict that the maximum brightness of a planetary nebula should be different according to the type of galaxy, and furthermore, that nebulae which are so bright should not exist in very evolved systems, because we expect that their progenitor stars are relatively massive, more than twice the mass of the Sun, which should have disappeared from the oldest systems. Observations contradict both of these assumptions.

    A team of eight astronomers, led by the IAC, and which include Jorge García Rojas, and David Jones, posdoctoral IAC researchers, has tackled this mystery, determining the physical and chemical parameters of the brightest planetary nebulae and their progenitor stars in the nearest spiral galaxy, the Andromeda galaxy, Messier 31, with the highest possible accuracy. To do this they have obtained with the GTC, at the Roque de los Muchachos Observatory, (Garafía, La Palma, Canary Islands) very deep spectra of a sample of planetary nebulae in Messier 31. The result is that the brightest planetary nebulae are normal nebulae, with a density slightly above average, and with progenitor stars with masses close to 1.5 times the mass of the Sun.

    “A recent piece of theoretical work, using the most advanced evolutionary models, suggests that stars with these masses could generate, at least during around a thousand years, planetaries as luminous as this” points out Mampaso. “The results obtained show that to understand the brightest nebulae we don’t need massive stars, even though there are many of them in a galaxy such as Messier 31.

    This work was led by Rebeca Galera Rosillo, a doctoral student at the IAC who passed away in 2020 when she was finishing this research. She came from Puebla de Don Fabrique, in Granada. Rebeca was the only woman astronomer in the history of her village. After finishing her studies at The University of Granada [Universidad de Granada](ES), where she was an outstanding student, she joined the IAC in 2014 with a pre-doctoral contract for the training of research personnel under the supervisión of Antonio Mampaso and Roman Corradi. During her last years she worked as an astronomer at The Isaac Newton Group of Telescopes (ING) in La Palma, while finishing her doctoral thesis.

    “Rebeca used to say that planetary nebulae are cosmic fireflies, they have short lives, shine brightly, and are beautiful”, remember her co-directors Corradi and Mampaso, “In her work as an astrophysicist she reached the frontier of knowledge, as far as one can reach today” they say, “But in addition to her passion for astronomy, she also left us her joy, and a visión of the world where music and art, solidarity with those who are suffering, and science, can be united to make the world better and more just.”

    The Gran Telescopio Canarias and the Observatories of the Instituto de Astrofísica de Canarias (IAC) are part of the Spanish network of The Unique Scientific and Technical Infrastructures [Infraestructuras Científicas y Técnicas Singulares](ES) .

    See the full article here .


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    IAC-The Institute of Astrophysics of the Canary Islands [Instituto de Astrofísica de Canarias] (ES) operates two astronomical observatories in the Canary Islands:

    Roque de los Muchachos Observatory on La Palma
    Teide Observatory on Tenerife.

    The Instituto de Astrofísica the headquarters, which is in La Laguna (Tenerife).

    Observatorio del Roque de los Muchachos at La Palma (ES) at an altitude of 2400m.

    The seeing statistics at ORM make it the second-best location for optical and infrared astronomy in the Northern Hemisphere, after Mauna Kea Observatory Hawaii (US).

    Maunakea Observatories Hawai’i (US) altitude 4,213 m (13,822 ft).

    The site also has some of the most extensive astronomical facilities in the Northern Hemisphere; its fleet of telescopes includes the 10.4 m Gran Telescopio Canarias, the world’s largest single-aperture optical telescope as of July 2009, the William Herschel Telescope (second largest in Europe), and the adaptive optics corrected Swedish 1-m Solar Telescope.

    Gran Telescopio Canarias [Instituto de Astrofísica de Canarias ](ES) sited on a volcanic peak 2,267 metres (7,438 ft) above sea level.

    Isaac Newton Group 4.2 meter William Herschel Telescope at Roque de los Muchachos Observatory on La Palma in the Canary Islands(ES), 2,396 m (7,861 ft).

    The Swedish 1m Solar Telescope SST at the Roque de los Muchachos observatory on La Palma Spain, Altitude 2,360 m (7,740 ft).

    The observatory was established in 1985, after 15 years of international work and cooperation of several countries with the Spanish island hosting many telescopes from Britain, The Netherlands, Spain, and other countries. The island provided better seeing conditions for the telescopes that had been moved to Herstmonceux by the Royal Greenwich Observatory, including the 98 inch aperture Isaac Newton Telescope (the largest reflector in Europe at that time). When it was moved to the island it was upgraded to a 100-inch (2.54 meter), and many even larger telescopes from various nations would be hosted there.

    Tiede Observatory, Tenerife, Canary Islands (ES)

    Teide Observatory [Observatorio del Teide], IAU code 954, is an astronomical observatory on Mount Teide at 2,390 metres (7,840 ft), located on Tenerife, Spain. It has been operated by the Instituto de Astrofísica de Canarias since its inauguration in 1964. It became one of the first major international observatories, attracting telescopes from different countries around the world because of the good astronomical seeing conditions. Later the emphasis for optical telescopes shifted more towards Roque de los Muchachos Observatory on La Palma.

  • richardmitnick 12:39 pm on January 24, 2022 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: "Physicists discover 'secret sauce' behind exotic properties of a new quantum material", , , Classical physics can be used to explain any number of phenomena that underlie our world-until things get exquisitely small., Enter quantum mechanics-the field that tries to explain the behavior of subatomic particles like electrons and quarks and resulting effects., In charge density waves the electrons arrange themselves in the shape of ripples-much like those in a sand dune., Kagome metal, Kagome metals can exhibit exotic properties such as unconventional superconductivity; nematicity and charge-density waves., MIT Materials Research Laboratory (US), , , The kagome metal family are composed of layers of atoms arranged in repeating units similar to a Star of David or sheriff’s badge., , The van Hove singularity involves the relationship between the electrons’ energy and velocity.   

    From The Massachusetts Institute of Technology (US): “Physicists discover ‘secret sauce’ behind exotic properties of a new quantum material” 

    MIT News

    From The Massachusetts Institute of Technology (US)

    January 21, 2022
    Elizabeth A. Thomson | MIT Materials Research Laboratory (US)

    A visualization of the zero-energy electronic states — also known as a “Fermi surface” — from the kagome material studied by MIT’s Riccardo Comin and colleagues. Image courtesy of the Comin Laboratory.

    MIT physicists and colleagues have discovered the “secret sauce” behind some of the exotic properties of a new quantum material that has transfixed physicists due to those properties, which include superconductivity.

    Although theorists had predicted the reason for the unusual properties of the material, known as a kagome metal, this is the first time that the phenomenon behind those properties has been observed in the laboratory.

    “The hope is that our new understanding of the electronic structure of a kagome metal will help us build a rich platform for discovering other quantum materials,” says Riccardo Comin, the Class of 1947 Career Development Associate Professor of Physics at MIT, whose group led the study. That, in turn, could lead to a new class of superconductors, new approaches to quantum computing, and other quantum technologies.

    The work is reported in the Jan. 13 online issue of the journal Nature Physics.

    Classical physics can be used to explain any number of phenomena that underlie our world-until things get exquisitely small. Subatomic particles like electrons and quarks behave differently, in ways that are still not fully understood. Enter quantum mechanics, the field that tries to explain their behavior and resulting effects.

    The kagome metal at the heart of the current work is a new quantum material, or one that manifests the exotic properties of quantum mechanics at a macroscopic scale. In 2018 Comin and Joseph Checkelsky, MIT’s Mitsui Career Development Associate Professor of Physics, led the first study on the electronic structure of kagome metals, spurring interest into this family of materials. Members of the kagome metal family are composed of layers of atoms arranged in repeating units similar to a Star of David or sheriff’s badge. The pattern is also common in Japanese culture, particularly as a basket-weaving motif.

    “This new family of materials has attracted a lot of attention as a rich new playground for quantum matter that can exhibit exotic properties such as unconventional superconductivity, nematicity, and charge-density waves,” says Comin.

    Unusual properties

    Superconductivity and hints of charge density wave order in the new family of kagome metals studied by Comin and colleagues were discovered in the laboratory of Professor Stephen Wilson at The University of California -Santa Barbara (US), where single crystals were also synthesized (Wilson is a coauthor of the Nature Physics paper). The specific kagome material explored in the current work is made of only three elements (cesium, vanadium, and antimony) and has the chemical formula CsV3Sb5.

    The researchers focused on two of the exotic properties that a kagome metal shows when cooled below room temperatures. At those temperatures, electrons in the material begin to exhibit collective behavior. “They talk to each other, as opposed to moving independently,” says Comin.

    One of the resulting properties is superconductivity, which allows a material to conduct electricity extremely efficiently. In a regular metal, electrons behave much like people dancing individually in a room. In a kagome superconductor, when the material is cooled to 3 kelvins (about -454 degrees Fahrenheit) the electrons begin to move in pairs, like couples at a dance. “And all these pairs are moving in unison, as if they were part of a quantum choreography,” says Comin.

    At 100 K, the kagome material studied by Comin and collaborators exhibits yet another strange kind of behavior known as charge density waves. In this case, the electrons arrange themselves in the shape of ripples, much like those in a sand dune. “They’re not going anywhere; they’re stuck in place,” Comin says. A peak in the ripple represents a region that is rich in electrons. A valley is electron-poor. “Charge density waves are very different from a superconductor, but they’re still a state of matter where the electrons have to arrange in a collective, highly organized fashion. They form, again, a choreography, but they’re not dancing anymore. Now they form a static pattern.”

    Comin notes that kagome metals are of great interest to physicists in part because they can exhibit both superconductivity and charge density waves. “These two exotic phenomena are often in competition with one another, therefore it is unusual for a material to host both of them.”

    The secret sauce?

    But what is behind the emergence of these two properties? “What causes the electrons to start talking to each other, to start influencing each other? That is the key question,” says first author Mingu Kang, a graduate student in the MIT Department of Physics also affiliated with The MPG POSTECH Korea Research Initiative. That’s what the physicists report in Nature Physics. “By exploring the electronic structure of this new material, we discovered that the electrons exhibit an intriguing behavior known as an electronic singularity,” Kang says. This particular singularity is named for Léon van Hove, the Belgian physicist who first discovered it.

    The van Hove singularity involves the relationship between the electrons’ energy and velocity. Normally, the energy of a particle in motion is proportional to its velocity squared. “It’s a fundamental pillar of classical physics that [essentially] means the greater the velocity, the greater the energy,” says Comin. Imagine a Red Sox pitcher hitting you with a fast ball. Then imagine a kid trying to do the same. The pitcher’s ball would hurt a lot more than the kid’s, which has less energy.

    What the Comin team found is that in a kagome metal, this rule doesn’t hold anymore. Instead, electrons traveling with different velocities happen to all have the same energy. The result is that the pitcher’s fast ball would have the same physical effect as the kid’s. “It’s very counterintuitive,” Comin says. He noted that relating the energy to the velocity of electrons in a solid is challenging and requires special instruments at two international synchrotron research facilities: Beamline 4A1 of the Pohang Light Source and Beamline 7.0.2 (MAESTRO) of the Advanced Light Source at Lawrence Berkeley National Lab.

    Pohang Light Source at The Pohang University of Science and Technology [성실; 창의; 진취](KR).

    Comments Professor Ronny Thomale of The Julius Maximilian University of Würzburg [Universität Würzburg](DE): “Theoretical physicists (including my group) have predicted the peculiar nature of van Hove singularities on the kagome lattice, a crystal structure made of corner-sharing triangles. Riccardo Comin has now provided the first experimental verification of these theoretical suggestions.” Thomale was not involved in the work.

    When many electrons exist at once with the same energy in a material, they are known to interact much more strongly. As a result of these interactions, the electrons can pair up and become superconducting, or otherwise form charge density waves. “The presence of a van Hove singularity in a material that has both makes perfect sense as the common source for these exotic phenomena” adds Kang. “Therefore, the presence of this singularity is the ‘secret sauce’ that enables the quantum behavior of kagome metals.”

    The team’s new understanding of the relationship between energy and velocities in the kagome material “is also important because it will enable us to establish new design principles for the development of new quantum materials,” Comin says. Further, “we now know how to find this singularity in other systems.”

    Direct feedback

    When physicists are analyzing data, most of the time that data must be processed before a clear trend is seen. The kagome system, however, “gave us direct feedback on what’s happening,” says Comin. “The best part of this study was being able to see the singularity right there in the raw data.”

    Additional authors of the Nature Physics paper are Shiang Fang of Rutgers University (US); Jeung-Kyu Kim, Jonggyu Yoo, and Jae-Hoon Park of Max Planck POSTECH/Korea Research Initiative and Pohang University of Science and Technology (Korea); Brenden Ortiz of the University of California-Santa Barbara (US); Jimin Kim of The Institute for Basic Science of Korea [기초과학연구원](KR); Giorgio Sangiovanni of the Universität Würzburg (Germany); Domenico Di Sante of The University of Bologna [Alma mater studiorum – Università di Bologna](IT) and The Flatiron Institute Center for Computational Astrophysics (US); Byeong-Gyu Park of Pohang Light Source (Korea); Sae Hee Ryu, Chris Jozwiak, Aaron Bostwick and Eli Rotenberg of DOE’s Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (US); and Efthimios Kaxiras of Harvard University (US).

    This work was funded by the Air Force Office of Scientific Research, the National Science Foundation, the National Research Foundation of Korea, a Samsung Scholarship, a Rutgers Center for Material Theory Distinguished Postdoctoral Fellowship, the California NanoSystems Institute, the European Union Horizon 2020 program, the German Research Foundation, and it used the resources of the Advanced Light Source, a Department of Energy Office of Science user facility.

    See the full article here .

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    MIT Seal

    USPS “Forever” postage stamps celebrating Innovation at MIT.

    MIT Campus

    The Massachusetts Institute of Technology (US) is a private land-grant research university in Cambridge, Massachusetts. The institute has an urban campus that extends more than a mile (1.6 km) alongside the Charles River. The institute also encompasses a number of major off-campus facilities such as the MIT Lincoln Laboratory (US), the MIT Bates Research and Engineering Center (US), and the Haystack Observatory (US), as well as affiliated laboratories such as the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard(US) and Whitehead Institute (US).

    Massachusettes Institute of Technology-Haystack Observatory(US) Westford, Massachusetts, USA, Altitude 131 m (430 ft).

    Founded in 1861 in response to the increasing industrialization of the United States, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (US) adopted a European polytechnic university model and stressed laboratory instruction in applied science and engineering. It has since played a key role in the development of many aspects of modern science, engineering, mathematics, and technology, and is widely known for its innovation and academic strength. It is frequently regarded as one of the most prestigious universities in the world.

    As of December 2020, 97 Nobel laureates, 26 Turing Award winners, and 8 Fields Medalists have been affiliated with MIT as alumni, faculty members, or researchers. In addition, 58 National Medal of Science recipients, 29 National Medals of Technology and Innovation recipients, 50 MacArthur Fellows, 80 Marshall Scholars, 3 Mitchell Scholars, 22 Schwarzman Scholars, 41 astronauts, and 16 Chief Scientists of the U.S. Air Force have been affiliated with The Massachusetts Institute of Technology (US) . The university also has a strong entrepreneurial culture and MIT alumni have founded or co-founded many notable companies. Massachusetts Institute of Technology (US) is a member of the Association of American Universities (AAU).

    Foundation and vision

    In 1859, a proposal was submitted to the Massachusetts General Court to use newly filled lands in Back Bay, Boston for a “Conservatory of Art and Science”, but the proposal failed. A charter for the incorporation of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, proposed by William Barton Rogers, was signed by John Albion Andrew, the governor of Massachusetts, on April 10, 1861.

    Rogers, a professor from the University of Virginia (US), wanted to establish an institution to address rapid scientific and technological advances. He did not wish to found a professional school, but a combination with elements of both professional and liberal education, proposing that:

    “The true and only practicable object of a polytechnic school is, as I conceive, the teaching, not of the minute details and manipulations of the arts, which can be done only in the workshop, but the inculcation of those scientific principles which form the basis and explanation of them, and along with this, a full and methodical review of all their leading processes and operations in connection with physical laws.”

    The Rogers Plan reflected the German research university model, emphasizing an independent faculty engaged in research, as well as instruction oriented around seminars and laboratories.

    Early developments

    Two days after Massachusetts Institute of Technology (US) was chartered, the first battle of the Civil War broke out. After a long delay through the war years, MIT’s first classes were held in the Mercantile Building in Boston in 1865. The new institute was founded as part of the Morrill Land-Grant Colleges Act to fund institutions “to promote the liberal and practical education of the industrial classes” and was a land-grant school. In 1863 under the same act, the Commonwealth of Massachusetts founded the Massachusetts Agricultural College, which developed as the University of Massachusetts Amherst (US)). In 1866, the proceeds from land sales went toward new buildings in the Back Bay.

    Massachusetts Institute of Technology (US) was informally called “Boston Tech”. The institute adopted the European polytechnic university model and emphasized laboratory instruction from an early date. Despite chronic financial problems, the institute saw growth in the last two decades of the 19th century under President Francis Amasa Walker. Programs in electrical, chemical, marine, and sanitary engineering were introduced, new buildings were built, and the size of the student body increased to more than one thousand.

    The curriculum drifted to a vocational emphasis, with less focus on theoretical science. The fledgling school still suffered from chronic financial shortages which diverted the attention of the MIT leadership. During these “Boston Tech” years, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (US) faculty and alumni rebuffed Harvard University (US) president (and former MIT faculty) Charles W. Eliot’s repeated attempts to merge MIT with Harvard College’s Lawrence Scientific School. There would be at least six attempts to absorb MIT into Harvard. In its cramped Back Bay location, MIT could not afford to expand its overcrowded facilities, driving a desperate search for a new campus and funding. Eventually, the MIT Corporation approved a formal agreement to merge with Harvard, over the vehement objections of MIT faculty, students, and alumni. However, a 1917 decision by the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court effectively put an end to the merger scheme.

    In 1916, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (US) administration and the MIT charter crossed the Charles River on the ceremonial barge Bucentaur built for the occasion, to signify MIT’s move to a spacious new campus largely consisting of filled land on a one-mile-long (1.6 km) tract along the Cambridge side of the Charles River. The neoclassical “New Technology” campus was designed by William W. Bosworth and had been funded largely by anonymous donations from a mysterious “Mr. Smith”, starting in 1912. In January 1920, the donor was revealed to be the industrialist George Eastman of Rochester, New York, who had invented methods of film production and processing, and founded Eastman Kodak. Between 1912 and 1920, Eastman donated $20 million ($236.6 million in 2015 dollars) in cash and Kodak stock to MIT.

    Curricular reforms

    In the 1930s, President Karl Taylor Compton and Vice-President (effectively Provost) Vannevar Bush emphasized the importance of pure sciences like physics and chemistry and reduced the vocational practice required in shops and drafting studios. The Compton reforms “renewed confidence in the ability of the Institute to develop leadership in science as well as in engineering”. Unlike Ivy League schools, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (US) catered more to middle-class families, and depended more on tuition than on endowments or grants for its funding. The school was elected to the Association of American Universities (US)in 1934.

    Still, as late as 1949, the Lewis Committee lamented in its report on the state of education at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (US) that “the Institute is widely conceived as basically a vocational school”, a “partly unjustified” perception the committee sought to change. The report comprehensively reviewed the undergraduate curriculum, recommended offering a broader education, and warned against letting engineering and government-sponsored research detract from the sciences and humanities. The School of Humanities, Arts, and Social Sciences and the MIT Sloan School of Management were formed in 1950 to compete with the powerful Schools of Science and Engineering. Previously marginalized faculties in the areas of economics, management, political science, and linguistics emerged into cohesive and assertive departments by attracting respected professors and launching competitive graduate programs. The School of Humanities, Arts, and Social Sciences continued to develop under the successive terms of the more humanistically oriented presidents Howard W. Johnson and Jerome Wiesner between 1966 and 1980.

    Massachusetts Institute of Technology (US)‘s involvement in military science surged during World War II. In 1941, Vannevar Bush was appointed head of the federal Office of Scientific Research and Development and directed funding to only a select group of universities, including MIT. Engineers and scientists from across the country gathered at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (US)’s Radiation Laboratory, established in 1940 to assist the British military in developing microwave radar. The work done there significantly affected both the war and subsequent research in the area. Other defense projects included gyroscope-based and other complex control systems for gunsight, bombsight, and inertial navigation under Charles Stark Draper’s Instrumentation Laboratory; the development of a digital computer for flight simulations under Project Whirlwind; and high-speed and high-altitude photography under Harold Edgerton. By the end of the war, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (US) became the nation’s largest wartime R&D contractor (attracting some criticism of Bush), employing nearly 4000 in the Radiation Laboratory alone and receiving in excess of $100 million ($1.2 billion in 2015 dollars) before 1946. Work on defense projects continued even after then. Post-war government-sponsored research at MIT included SAGE and guidance systems for ballistic missiles and Project Apollo.

    These activities affected Massachusetts Institute of Technology (US) profoundly. A 1949 report noted the lack of “any great slackening in the pace of life at the Institute” to match the return to peacetime, remembering the “academic tranquility of the prewar years”, though acknowledging the significant contributions of military research to the increased emphasis on graduate education and rapid growth of personnel and facilities. The faculty doubled and the graduate student body quintupled during the terms of Karl Taylor Compton, president of Massachusetts Institute of Technology (US) between 1930 and 1948; James Rhyne Killian, president from 1948 to 1957; and Julius Adams Stratton, chancellor from 1952 to 1957, whose institution-building strategies shaped the expanding university. By the 1950s, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (US) no longer simply benefited the industries with which it had worked for three decades, and it had developed closer working relationships with new patrons, philanthropic foundations and the federal government.

    In late 1960s and early 1970s, student and faculty activists protested against the Vietnam War and Massachusetts Institute of Technology (US)’s defense research. In this period Massachusetts Institute of Technology (US)’s various departments were researching helicopters, smart bombs and counterinsurgency techniques for the war in Vietnam as well as guidance systems for nuclear missiles. The Union of Concerned Scientists was founded on March 4, 1969 during a meeting of faculty members and students seeking to shift the emphasis on military research toward environmental and social problems. Massachusetts Institute of Technology (US) ultimately divested itself from the Instrumentation Laboratory and moved all classified research off-campus to the MIT (US) Lincoln Laboratory facility in 1973 in response to the protests. The student body, faculty, and administration remained comparatively unpolarized during what was a tumultuous time for many other universities. Johnson was seen to be highly successful in leading his institution to “greater strength and unity” after these times of turmoil. However six Massachusetts Institute of Technology (US) students were sentenced to prison terms at this time and some former student leaders, such as Michael Albert and George Katsiaficas, are still indignant about MIT’s role in military research and its suppression of these protests. (Richard Leacock’s film, November Actions, records some of these tumultuous events.)

    In the 1980s, there was more controversy at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (US) over its involvement in SDI (space weaponry) and CBW (chemical and biological warfare) research. More recently, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (US)’s research for the military has included work on robots, drones and ‘battle suits’.

    Recent history

    Massachusetts Institute of Technology (US) has kept pace with and helped to advance the digital age. In addition to developing the predecessors to modern computing and networking technologies, students, staff, and faculty members at Project MAC, the Artificial Intelligence Laboratory, and the Tech Model Railroad Club wrote some of the earliest interactive computer video games like Spacewar! and created much of modern hacker slang and culture. Several major computer-related organizations have originated at MIT since the 1980s: Richard Stallman’s GNU Project and the subsequent Free Software Foundation were founded in the mid-1980s at the AI Lab; the MIT Media Lab was founded in 1985 by Nicholas Negroponte and Jerome Wiesner to promote research into novel uses of computer technology; the World Wide Web Consortium standards organization was founded at the Laboratory for Computer Science in 1994 by Tim Berners-Lee; the MIT OpenCourseWare project has made course materials for over 2,000 Massachusetts Institute of Technology (US) classes available online free of charge since 2002; and the One Laptop per Child initiative to expand computer education and connectivity to children worldwide was launched in 2005.

    Massachusetts Institute of Technology (US) was named a sea-grant college in 1976 to support its programs in oceanography and marine sciences and was named a space-grant college in 1989 to support its aeronautics and astronautics programs. Despite diminishing government financial support over the past quarter century, MIT launched several successful development campaigns to significantly expand the campus: new dormitories and athletics buildings on west campus; the Tang Center for Management Education; several buildings in the northeast corner of campus supporting research into biology, brain and cognitive sciences, genomics, biotechnology, and cancer research; and a number of new “backlot” buildings on Vassar Street including the Stata Center. Construction on campus in the 2000s included expansions of the Media Lab, the Sloan School’s eastern campus, and graduate residences in the northwest. In 2006, President Hockfield launched the MIT Energy Research Council to investigate the interdisciplinary challenges posed by increasing global energy consumption.

    In 2001, inspired by the open source and open access movements, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (US) launched OpenCourseWare to make the lecture notes, problem sets, syllabi, exams, and lectures from the great majority of its courses available online for no charge, though without any formal accreditation for coursework completed. While the cost of supporting and hosting the project is high, OCW expanded in 2005 to include other universities as a part of the OpenCourseWare Consortium, which currently includes more than 250 academic institutions with content available in at least six languages. In 2011, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (US) announced it would offer formal certification (but not credits or degrees) to online participants completing coursework in its “MITx” program, for a modest fee. The “edX” online platform supporting MITx was initially developed in partnership with Harvard and its analogous “Harvardx” initiative. The courseware platform is open source, and other universities have already joined and added their own course content. In March 2009 the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (US) faculty adopted an open-access policy to make its scholarship publicly accessible online.

    Massachusetts Institute of Technology (US) has its own police force. Three days after the Boston Marathon bombing of April 2013, MIT Police patrol officer Sean Collier was fatally shot by the suspects Dzhokhar and Tamerlan Tsarnaev, setting off a violent manhunt that shut down the campus and much of the Boston metropolitan area for a day. One week later, Collier’s memorial service was attended by more than 10,000 people, in a ceremony hosted by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (US) community with thousands of police officers from the New England region and Canada. On November 25, 2013, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (US) announced the creation of the Collier Medal, to be awarded annually to “an individual or group that embodies the character and qualities that Officer Collier exhibited as a member of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (US) community and in all aspects of his life”. The announcement further stated that “Future recipients of the award will include those whose contributions exceed the boundaries of their profession, those who have contributed to building bridges across the community, and those who consistently and selflessly perform acts of kindness”.

    In September 2017, the school announced the creation of an artificial intelligence research lab called the MIT-IBM Watson AI Lab. IBM will spend $240 million over the next decade, and the lab will be staffed by MIT and IBM scientists. In October 2018 MIT announced that it would open a new Schwarzman College of Computing dedicated to the study of artificial intelligence, named after lead donor and The Blackstone Group CEO Stephen Schwarzman. The focus of the new college is to study not just AI, but interdisciplinary AI education, and how AI can be used in fields as diverse as history and biology. The cost of buildings and new faculty for the new college is expected to be $1 billion upon completion.

    The Caltech/MIT Advanced aLIGO (US) was designed and constructed by a team of scientists from California Institute of Technology (US), Massachusetts Institute of Technology (US), and industrial contractors, and funded by the National Science Foundation (US) .

    Caltech /MIT Advanced aLigo

    It was designed to open the field of gravitational-wave astronomy through the detection of gravitational waves predicted by general relativity. Gravitational waves were detected for the first time by the LIGO detector in 2015. For contributions to the LIGO detector and the observation of gravitational waves, two Caltech physicists, Kip Thorne and Barry Barish, and Massachusetts Institute of Technology (US) physicist Rainer Weiss won the Nobel Prize in physics in 2017. Weiss, who is also an Massachusetts Institute of Technology (US) graduate, designed the laser interferometric technique, which served as the essential blueprint for the LIGO.

    The mission of Massachusetts Institute of Technology (US) is to advance knowledge and educate students in science, technology, and other areas of scholarship that will best serve the nation and the world in the twenty-first century. We seek to develop in each member of The Massachusetts Institute of Technology community the ability and passion to work wisely, creatively, and effectively for the betterment of humankind.

  • richardmitnick 11:05 am on January 24, 2022 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: "Summit to ignite Europe’s bold space ambitions", ESA Director General Josef Aschbacher has worked with our Member States to define new priorities and goals for ESA for the coming years., Protection of space assets., Rapid and resilient crisis response., Space for a green future., The European Space Agency [La Agencia Espacial Europea] [Agence spatiale européenne] [Europäische Weltraumorganisation](EU), We must act now.   

    From The European Space Agency [La Agencia Espacial Europea] [Agence spatiale européenne] [Europäische Weltraumorganisation](EU) : “Summit to ignite Europe’s bold space ambitions” 

    ESA Space For Europe Banner

    European Space Agency – United Space in Europe (EU)

    From The European Space Agency [La Agencia Espacial Europea] [Agence spatiale européenne] [Europäische Weltraumorganisation](EU)


    ESA Director General Josef Aschbacher has worked with our Member States to define new priorities and goals for ESA for the coming years.

    ESA Agenda 2025 outlines the challenges ahead – in the first instance for the next four years – but also for the longer term in maintaining and growing Europe’s role in the space economy. © ESA

    European leaders will reaffirm plans to launch Europe on a world-leading trajectory during a high-level space summit to be held on 16 February in Toulouse, France.

    Urgent action is needed to tackle the unprecedented societal, economic and security challenges faced by Europe – from the climate crisis and its consequences to threats to crucial infrastructure in space and on Earth.

    Space has enormous untapped potential to help tackle these challenges and future crises, while simultaneously creating jobs and boosting innovation in the European space industry – and it is vital for Europe to catch up with other space-faring nations such as the US and China.

    The space summit seeks to identify how best to proceed. It will consist of two parts chaired by the French Presidency of the European Union, who is also chairing the ESA Council at ministerial level, reflecting the close cooperation between the EU and ESA.

    The first part will be an informal EU Competitive Council Meeting on Space, attended by government ministers and their representatives from EU member states. Thierry Breton, European Commissioner for the Internal Market in charge of space, and Josef Aschbacher, ESA Director General, are due to address the meeting.

    The second part will be an ESA Council Meeting at ministerial level, attended by government ministers and their representatives from ESA Member States.

    Leaders attending the space summit are due to discuss the EU strategy for secure connectivity and the EU strategy for space traffic management. They will also exchange views on ESA’s three “accelerators” identified by Josef Aschbacher, who has collaborated with a high-level advisory group to raise Europe’s space ambitions to the next level.

    Space for a green future aims to use data gleaned from Earth observation to help Europe act to mitigate climate change.

    Space for a green future. Credit: ESA.

    Space for a Green Future. Credit: ESA.

    Rapid and resilient crisis response seeks to better use space data and intelligent interconnectivity in space to empower vital responses to crises on Earth and complements the EU’s strategy for secure connectivity.

    Rapid and resilient crisis response. Credit: ESA.

    The protection of space assets will contribute to prevent damage to the European space infrastructure and any disruption to its economically vital infrastructures such as power supplies and communications links.

    Protection of space assets. Credit: ESA.

    It will contribute to a safer space and will be undertaken in collaboration with the EU’s strategy for space traffic management.

    As part of its preparations for the future, ESA is also developing two “inspirators” to raise European ambitions in human space exploration and in the search for extra-terrestrial life.

    Leaders at the summit will consider how best to prepare for the longer-term future. Human exploration is an essential sovereign capability among all the major space powers, except Europe. Creating the ability for European astronauts to explore space on board European vehicles developed through innovative partnerships with European space companies will ensure the future of Europe in space and provide Europeans with the same opportunities as the citizens of the other main spacefaring nations.

    Josef Aschbacher said: “The societal challenges ahead of Europe are widespread, significant and urgent. Addressing them effectively will require bold decisions and dedicated efforts on multiple fronts. Space technologies, data and services are uniquely positioned to make a difference and provide a concrete response to present and upcoming challenges. We must act now and accelerate the use of space in Europe.”

    The summit is a key milestone in the Agenda 2025 journey set out in March 2021. It follows an Intermediate Ministerial Meeting held in November 2021, where the three accelerators and two inspirators were first presented and endorsed by ESA Member States ministers through the “Matosinhos Manifesto”.

    “Matosinhos Manifesto”. Credit: ESA.
    Europe faces unprecedented societal, economic and security challenges. Space has enormous untapped potential to help tackle these challenges and future crises, while simultaneously creating jobs and boosting innovation in the European space industry.

    But we must act now.

    The climate crisis is happening in every region and globally, according to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. It is producing more frequent and intense heatwaves across Europe as well as heavy rain and flooding that threaten human lives and prosperity.

    Satellite data underpins more than half of the essential climate variables identified by the UN’s Global Climate Observing System. Space helps people not only to monitor, understand, model and predict, but – crucially – to act on climate-induced and other crises.

    Space already enables European governments and emergency services to respond to natural disasters, by providing timely and accurate images of flooded areas, for example, as well as supplying the precise geolocation of incidents and empowering the emergency response by connecting first responders to their control centres. Satellites reinforce terrestrial systems that can become compromised by natural disasters or by malicious actions.

    Further upgrading space-enabled capabilities, particularly for reliable forecasting and rapid responses to crises on Earth, will help save lives and livelihoods.

    Because people on Earth rely on space for their safety and security, it is vital to keep satellites safe and secure from natural and human-made hazards. Solar storms can damage satellites in space and electrical transmission lines on Earth, resulting in potentially large and long-lasting power cuts. Meanwhile space debris is increasing, periling active satellites in orbit. Timely and accurate warnings of threats are needed, alongside measures to deal with them.

    The societal challenges ahead of Europe are widespread, significant and urgent. Addressing them effectively will require bold decisions and dedicated efforts on multiple fronts. Space technologies, data and services are uniquely positioned to make a difference and provide a concrete response to present and upcoming challenges.

    European leaders must act and simultaneously safeguard the environment, create jobs and prosperity for their citizens, and bolster Europe’s strategic position in a changing geopolitical world while recovering from the pandemic. © ESA.

    See the full article here .


    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    Stem Education Coalition

    The European Space Agency [La Agencia Espacial Europea] [Agence spatiale européenne][Europäische Weltraumorganisation](EU), established in 1975, is an intergovernmental organization dedicated to the exploration of space, currently with 19 member states. Headquartered in Paris, ESA has a staff of more than 2,000. ESA’s space flight program includes human spaceflight, mainly through the participation in the International Space Station program, the launch and operations of unmanned exploration missions to other planets and the Moon, Earth observation, science, telecommunication as well as maintaining a major spaceport, the Guiana Space Centre at Kourou, French Guiana, and designing launch vehicles. ESA science missions are based at ESTEC (NL) in Noordwijk, Netherlands, Earth Observation missions at ESRIN in Frascati, Italy, ESA Mission Control (ESOC) is in Darmstadt, Germany, the European Astronaut Centre (EAC) that trains astronauts for future missions is situated in Cologne, Germany, and the
    European Space Astronomy Centre is located in Villanueva de la Cañada, Spain.

    ESA’s space flight programme includes human spaceflight (mainly through participation in the International Space Station program); the launch and operation of uncrewed exploration missions to other planets and the Moon; Earth observation, science and telecommunication; designing launch vehicles; and maintaining a major spaceport, the The Guiana Space Centre [Centre Spatial Guyanais; CSG also called Europe’s Spaceport) at Kourou, French Guiana. The main European launch vehicle Ariane 5 is operated through Arianespace with ESA sharing in the costs of launching and further developing this launch vehicle. The agency is also working with NASA to manufacture the Orion Spacecraft service module that will fly on the Space Launch System.

    The agency’s facilities are distributed among the following centres:

    ESA European Space Research and Technology Centre (ESTEC) (NL)in Noordwijk, Netherlands;
    ESA Centre for Earth Observation [ESRIN] (IT) in Frascati, Italy;
    ESA Mission Control ESA European Space Operations Center [ESOC](DE) is in Darmstadt, Germany;
    ESA -European Astronaut Centre [EAC] trains astronauts for future missions is situated in Cologne, Germany;
    European Centre for Space Applications and Telecommunications (ECSAT) (UK), a research institute created in 2009, is located in Harwell, England;
    ESA – European Space Astronomy Centre [ESAC] (ES) is located in Villanueva de la Cañada, Madrid, Spain.
    European Space Agency Science Programme is a long-term programme of space science and space exploration missions.


    After World War II, many European scientists left Western Europe in order to work with the United States. Although the 1950s boom made it possible for Western European countries to invest in research and specifically in space-related activities, Western European scientists realized solely national projects would not be able to compete with the two main superpowers. In 1958, only months after the Sputnik shock, Edoardo Amaldi (Italy) and Pierre Auger (France), two prominent members of the Western European scientific community, met to discuss the foundation of a common Western European space agency. The meeting was attended by scientific representatives from eight countries, including Harrie Massey (United Kingdom).

    The Western European nations decided to have two agencies: one concerned with developing a launch system, ELDO (European Launch Development Organization), and the other the precursor of the European Space Agency, ESRO (European Space Research Organisation). The latter was established on 20 March 1964 by an agreement signed on 14 June 1962. From 1968 to 1972, ESRO launched seven research satellites.

    ESA in its current form was founded with the ESA Convention in 1975, when ESRO was merged with ELDO. ESA had ten founding member states: Belgium, Denmark, France, West Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, and the United Kingdom. These signed the ESA Convention in 1975 and deposited the instruments of ratification by 1980, when the convention came into force. During this interval the agency functioned in a de facto fashion. ESA launched its first major scientific mission in 1975, Cos-B, a space probe monitoring gamma-ray emissions in the universe, which was first worked on by ESRO.

    ESA50 Logo large

    Later activities

    ESA collaborated with National Aeronautics Space Agency on the International Ultraviolet Explorer (IUE), the world’s first high-orbit telescope, which was launched in 1978 and operated successfully for 18 years.

    ESA Infrared Space Observatory.

    European Space Agency [Agence spatiale européenne][Europäische Weltraumorganisation](EU)/National Aeronautics and Space Administration (US) Solar Orbiter annotated.

    A number of successful Earth-orbit projects followed, and in 1986 ESA began Giotto, its first deep-space mission, to study the comets Halley and Grigg–Skjellerup. Hipparcos, a star-mapping mission, was launched in 1989 and in the 1990s SOHO, Ulysses and the Hubble Space Telescope were all jointly carried out with NASA. Later scientific missions in cooperation with NASA include the Cassini–Huygens space probe, to which ESA contributed by building the Titan landing module Huygens.

    ESA/Huygens Probe from Cassini landed on Titan.

    As the successor of ELDO, ESA has also constructed rockets for scientific and commercial payloads. Ariane 1, launched in 1979, carried mostly commercial payloads into orbit from 1984 onward. The next two versions of the Ariane rocket were intermediate stages in the development of a more advanced launch system, the Ariane 4, which operated between 1988 and 2003 and established ESA as the world leader in commercial space launches in the 1990s. Although the succeeding Ariane 5 experienced a failure on its first flight, it has since firmly established itself within the heavily competitive commercial space launch market with 82 successful launches until 2018. The successor launch vehicle of Ariane 5, the Ariane 6, is under development and is envisioned to enter service in the 2020s.

    The beginning of the new millennium saw ESA become, along with agencies like National Aeronautics Space Agency(US), Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency, Indian Space Research Organisation, the Canadian Space Agency(CA) and Roscosmos(RU), one of the major participants in scientific space research. Although ESA had relied on co-operation with NASA in previous decades, especially the 1990s, changed circumstances (such as tough legal restrictions on information sharing by the United States military) led to decisions to rely more on itself and on co-operation with Russia. A 2011 press issue thus stated:

    “Russia is ESA’s first partner in its efforts to ensure long-term access to space. There is a framework agreement between ESA and the government of the Russian Federation on cooperation and partnership in the exploration and use of outer space for peaceful purposes, and cooperation is already underway in two different areas of launcher activity that will bring benefits to both partners.”

    Notable ESA programmes include SMART-1, a probe testing cutting-edge space propulsion technology, the Mars Express and Venus Express missions, as well as the development of the Ariane 5 rocket and its role in the ISS partnership. ESA maintains its scientific and research projects mainly for astronomy-space missions such as Corot, launched on 27 December 2006, a milestone in the search for exoplanets.

    On 21 January 2019, ArianeGroup and Arianespace announced a one-year contract with ESA to study and prepare for a mission to mine the Moon for lunar regolith.


    The treaty establishing the European Space Agency reads:

    The purpose of the Agency shall be to provide for and to promote, for exclusively peaceful purposes, cooperation among European States in space research and technology and their space applications, with a view to their being used for scientific purposes and for operational space applications systems…

    ESA is responsible for setting a unified space and related industrial policy, recommending space objectives to the member states, and integrating national programs like satellite development, into the European program as much as possible.

    Jean-Jacques Dordain – ESA’s Director General (2003–2015) – outlined the European Space Agency’s mission in a 2003 interview:

    “Today space activities have pursued the benefit of citizens, and citizens are asking for a better quality of life on Earth. They want greater security and economic wealth, but they also want to pursue their dreams, to increase their knowledge, and they want younger people to be attracted to the pursuit of science and technology. I think that space can do all of this: it can produce a higher quality of life, better security, more economic wealth, and also fulfill our citizens’ dreams and thirst for knowledge, and attract the young generation. This is the reason space exploration is an integral part of overall space activities. It has always been so, and it will be even more important in the future.”


    According to the ESA website, the activities are:

    Observing the Earth
    Human Spaceflight
    Space Science
    Space Engineering & Technology
    Telecommunications & Integrated Applications
    Preparing for the Future
    Space for Climate


    Copernicus Programme
    Cosmic Vision
    Horizon 2000
    Living Planet Programme


    Every member country must contribute to these programmes:

    Technology Development Element Programme
    Science Core Technology Programme
    General Study Programme
    European Component Initiative


    Depending on their individual choices the countries can contribute to the following programmes, listed according to:

    Earth Observation
    Human Spaceflight and Exploration
    Space Situational Awareness


    ESA has formed partnerships with universities. ESA_LAB@ refers to research laboratories at universities. Currently there are ESA_LAB@

    Technische Universität Darmstadt
    École des hautes études commerciales de Paris (HEC Paris)
    Université de recherche Paris Sciences et Lettres
    University of Central Lancashire

    Membership and contribution to ESA

    By 2015, ESA was an intergovernmental organisation of 22 member states. Member states participate to varying degrees in the mandatory (25% of total expenditures in 2008) and optional space programmes (75% of total expenditures in 2008). The 2008 budget amounted to €3.0 billion whilst the 2009 budget amounted to €3.6 billion. The total budget amounted to about €3.7 billion in 2010, €3.99 billion in 2011, €4.02 billion in 2012, €4.28 billion in 2013, €4.10 billion in 2014 and €4.33 billion in 2015. English is the main language within ESA. Additionally, official documents are also provided in German and documents regarding the Spacelab are also provided in Italian. If found appropriate, the agency may conduct its correspondence in any language of a member state.

    Non-full member states
    Since 2016, Slovenia has been an associated member of the ESA.

    Latvia became the second current associated member on 30 June 2020, when the Association Agreement was signed by ESA Director Jan Wörner and the Minister of Education and Science of Latvia, Ilga Šuplinska in Riga. The Saeima ratified it on July 27. Previously associated members were Austria, Norway and Finland, all of which later joined ESA as full members.

    Since 1 January 1979, Canada has had the special status of a Cooperating State within ESA. By virtue of this accord, the Canadian Space Agency takes part in ESA’s deliberative bodies and decision-making and also in ESA’s programmes and activities. Canadian firms can bid for and receive contracts to work on programmes. The accord has a provision ensuring a fair industrial return to Canada. The most recent Cooperation Agreement was signed on 15 December 2010 with a term extending to 2020. For 2014, Canada’s annual assessed contribution to the ESA general budget was €6,059,449 (CAD$8,559,050). For 2017, Canada has increased its annual contribution to €21,600,000 (CAD$30,000,000).


    After the decision of the ESA Council of 21/22 March 2001, the procedure for accession of the European states was detailed as described the document titled The Plan for European Co-operating States (PECS). Nations that want to become a full member of ESA do so in 3 stages. First a Cooperation Agreement is signed between the country and ESA. In this stage, the country has very limited financial responsibilities. If a country wants to co-operate more fully with ESA, it signs a European Cooperating State (ECS) Agreement. The ECS Agreement makes companies based in the country eligible for participation in ESA procurements. The country can also participate in all ESA programmes, except for the Basic Technology Research Programme. While the financial contribution of the country concerned increases, it is still much lower than that of a full member state. The agreement is normally followed by a Plan For European Cooperating State (or PECS Charter). This is a 5-year programme of basic research and development activities aimed at improving the nation’s space industry capacity. At the end of the 5-year period, the country can either begin negotiations to become a full member state or an associated state or sign a new PECS Charter.

    During the Ministerial Meeting in December 2014, ESA ministers approved a resolution calling for discussions to begin with Israel, Australia and South Africa on future association agreements. The ministers noted that “concrete cooperation is at an advanced stage” with these nations and that “prospects for mutual benefits are existing”.

    A separate space exploration strategy resolution calls for further co-operation with the United States, Russia and China on “LEO exploration, including a continuation of ISS cooperation and the development of a robust plan for the coordinated use of space transportation vehicles and systems for exploration purposes, participation in robotic missions for the exploration of the Moon, the robotic exploration of Mars, leading to a broad Mars Sample Return mission in which Europe should be involved as a full partner, and human missions beyond LEO in the longer term.”

    Relationship with the European Union

    The political perspective of the European Union (EU) was to make ESA an agency of the EU by 2014, although this date was not met. The EU member states provide most of ESA’s funding, and they are all either full ESA members or observers.


    At the time ESA was formed, its main goals did not encompass human space flight; rather it considered itself to be primarily a scientific research organisation for uncrewed space exploration in contrast to its American and Soviet counterparts. It is therefore not surprising that the first non-Soviet European in space was not an ESA astronaut on a European space craft; it was Czechoslovak Vladimír Remek who in 1978 became the first non-Soviet or American in space (the first man in space being Yuri Gagarin of the Soviet Union) – on a Soviet Soyuz spacecraft, followed by the Pole Mirosław Hermaszewski and East German Sigmund Jähn in the same year. This Soviet co-operation programme, known as Intercosmos, primarily involved the participation of Eastern bloc countries. In 1982, however, Jean-Loup Chrétien became the first non-Communist Bloc astronaut on a flight to the Soviet Salyut 7 space station.

    Because Chrétien did not officially fly into space as an ESA astronaut, but rather as a member of the French CNES astronaut corps, the German Ulf Merbold is considered the first ESA astronaut to fly into space. He participated in the STS-9 Space Shuttle mission that included the first use of the European-built Spacelab in 1983. STS-9 marked the beginning of an extensive ESA/NASA joint partnership that included dozens of space flights of ESA astronauts in the following years. Some of these missions with Spacelab were fully funded and organizationally and scientifically controlled by ESA (such as two missions by Germany and one by Japan) with European astronauts as full crew members rather than guests on board. Beside paying for Spacelab flights and seats on the shuttles, ESA continued its human space flight co-operation with the Soviet Union and later Russia, including numerous visits to Mir.

    During the latter half of the 1980s, European human space flights changed from being the exception to routine and therefore, in 1990, the European Astronaut Centre in Cologne, Germany was established. It selects and trains prospective astronauts and is responsible for the co-ordination with international partners, especially with regard to the International Space Station. As of 2006, the ESA astronaut corps officially included twelve members, including nationals from most large European countries except the United Kingdom.

    In the summer of 2008, ESA started to recruit new astronauts so that final selection would be due in spring 2009. Almost 10,000 people registered as astronaut candidates before registration ended in June 2008. 8,413 fulfilled the initial application criteria. Of the applicants, 918 were chosen to take part in the first stage of psychological testing, which narrowed down the field to 192. After two-stage psychological tests and medical evaluation in early 2009, as well as formal interviews, six new members of the European Astronaut Corps were selected – five men and one woman.

    Cooperation with other countries and organisations

    ESA has signed co-operation agreements with the following states that currently neither plan to integrate as tightly with ESA institutions as Canada, nor envision future membership of ESA: Argentina, Brazil, China, India (for the Chandrayan mission), Russia and Turkey.

    Additionally, ESA has joint projects with the European Union, NASA of the United States and is participating in the International Space Station together with the United States (NASA), Russia and Japan (JAXA).

    European Union
    ESA and EU member states
    ESA-only members
    EU-only members

    ESA is not an agency or body of the European Union (EU), and has non-EU countries (Norway, Switzerland, and the United Kingdom) as members. There are however ties between the two, with various agreements in place and being worked on, to define the legal status of ESA with regard to the EU.

    There are common goals between ESA and the EU. ESA has an EU liaison office in Brussels. On certain projects, the EU and ESA co-operate, such as the upcoming Galileo satellite navigation system. Space policy has since December 2009 been an area for voting in the European Council. Under the European Space Policy of 2007, the EU, ESA and its Member States committed themselves to increasing co-ordination of their activities and programmes and to organising their respective roles relating to space.

    The Lisbon Treaty of 2009 reinforces the case for space in Europe and strengthens the role of ESA as an R&D space agency. Article 189 of the Treaty gives the EU a mandate to elaborate a European space policy and take related measures, and provides that the EU should establish appropriate relations with ESA.

    Former Italian astronaut Umberto Guidoni, during his tenure as a Member of the European Parliament from 2004 to 2009, stressed the importance of the European Union as a driving force for space exploration, “…since other players are coming up such as India and China it is becoming ever more important that Europeans can have an independent access to space. We have to invest more into space research and technology in order to have an industry capable of competing with other international players.”

    The first EU-ESA International Conference on Human Space Exploration took place in Prague on 22 and 23 October 2009. A road map which would lead to a common vision and strategic planning in the area of space exploration was discussed. Ministers from all 29 EU and ESA members as well as members of parliament were in attendance.

    National space organisations of member states:

    The Centre National d’Études Spatiales(FR) (CNES) (National Centre for Space Study) is the French government space agency (administratively, a “public establishment of industrial and commercial character”). Its headquarters are in central Paris. CNES is the main participant on the Ariane project. Indeed, CNES designed and tested all Ariane family rockets (mainly from its centre in Évry near Paris)
    The UK Space Agency is a partnership of the UK government departments which are active in space. Through the UK Space Agency, the partners provide delegates to represent the UK on the various ESA governing bodies. Each partner funds its own programme.
    The Italian Space Agency A.S.I. – Agenzia Spaziale Italiana was founded in 1988 to promote, co-ordinate and conduct space activities in Italy. Operating under the Ministry of the Universities and of Scientific and Technological Research, the agency cooperates with numerous entities active in space technology and with the president of the Council of Ministers. Internationally, the ASI provides Italy’s delegation to the Council of the European Space Agency and to its subordinate bodies.
    The German Aerospace Center (DLR)[Deutsches Zentrum für Luft- und Raumfahrt e. V.] is the national research centre for aviation and space flight of the Federal Republic of Germany and of other member states in the Helmholtz Association. Its extensive research and development projects are included in national and international cooperative programmes. In addition to its research projects, the centre is the assigned space agency of Germany bestowing headquarters of German space flight activities and its associates.
    The Instituto Nacional de Técnica Aeroespacial (INTA)(ES) (National Institute for Aerospace Technique) is a Public Research Organization specialised in aerospace research and technology development in Spain. Among other functions, it serves as a platform for space research and acts as a significant testing facility for the aeronautic and space sector in the country.

    National Aeronautics Space Agency(US)

    ESA has a long history of collaboration with NASA. Since ESA’s astronaut corps was formed, the Space Shuttle has been the primary launch vehicle used by ESA’s astronauts to get into space through partnership programmes with NASA. In the 1980s and 1990s, the Spacelab programme was an ESA-NASA joint research programme that had ESA develop and manufacture orbital labs for the Space Shuttle for several flights on which ESA participate with astronauts in experiments.

    In robotic science mission and exploration missions, NASA has been ESA’s main partner. Cassini–Huygens was a joint NASA-ESA mission, along with the Infrared Space Observatory, INTEGRAL, SOHO, and others.

    National Aeronautics and Space Administration(US)/European Space Agency [Agence spatiale européenne][Europäische Weltraumorganisation](EU)/ASI Italian Space Agency [Agenzia Spaziale Italiana](IT) Cassini Spacecraft.

    European Space Agency [Agence spatiale européenne][Europäische Weltraumorganisation](EU) Integral spacecraft

    European Space Agency [Agence spatiale européenne](EU)/National Aeronautics and Space Administration(US) SOHO satellite. Launched in 1995.

    Also, the Hubble Space Telescope is a joint project of NASA and ESA.

    National Aeronautics and Space Administration(US)/European Space Agency [Agence spatiale européenne] [Europäische Weltraumorganisation](EU) Hubble Space Telescope

    Future ESA-NASA joint projects include the James Webb Space Telescope and the proposed Laser Interferometer Space Antenna.

    National Aeronautics Space Agency(USA)/European Space Agency [Agence spatiale européenne] Canadian Space Agency [Agence Spatiale Canadienne](CA) James Webb Space Telescope annotated. Scheduled for launch in December 2021.

    Gravity is talking. Lisa will listen. Dialogos of Eide.

    The European Space Agency [Agence spatiale européenne][Europäische Weltraumorganisation](EU)/National Aeronautics and Space Administration (US) eLISA space based, the future of gravitational wave research.

    NASA has committed to provide support to ESA’s proposed MarcoPolo-R mission to return an asteroid sample to Earth for further analysis. NASA and ESA will also likely join together for a Mars Sample Return Mission. In October 2020 the ESA entered into a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with NASA to work together on the Artemis program, which will provide an orbiting lunar gateway and also accomplish the first manned lunar landing in 50 years, whose team will include the first woman on the Moon.

    NASA ARTEMIS spacecraft depiction.
    Cooperation with other space agencies

    Since China has started to invest more money into space activities, the Chinese Space Agency(CN) has sought international partnerships. ESA is, beside the Russian Space Agency, one of its most important partners. Two space agencies cooperated in the development of the Double Star Mission. In 2017, ESA sent two astronauts to China for two weeks sea survival training with Chinese astronauts in Yantai, Shandong.

    ESA entered into a major joint venture with Russia in the form of the CSTS, the preparation of French Guiana spaceport for launches of Soyuz-2 rockets and other projects. With India, ESA agreed to send instruments into space aboard the ISRO’s Chandrayaan-1 in 2008. ESA is also co-operating with Japan, the most notable current project in collaboration with JAXA is the BepiColombo mission to Mercury.

    European Space Agency [Agence spatiale européenne][Europäische Weltraumorganisation](EU)/Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency [国立研究開発法人宇宙航空研究開発機構](JP) Bepicolumbo in flight illustration. Artist’s impression of BepiColombo – ESA’s first mission to Mercury. ESA’s Mercury Planetary Orbiter (MPO) will be operated from ESOC Germany.

    ESA’s Mercury Planetary Orbiter (MPO) will be operated from ESOC Germany.

    Speaking to reporters at an air show near Moscow in August 2011, ESA head Jean-Jacques Dordain said ESA and Russia’s Roskosmos space agency would “carry out the first flight to Mars together.”

  • richardmitnick 10:20 am on January 24, 2022 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: "Bubbles of methane rising from seafloor in Puget Sound", 349 plumes of methane gas bubbling up from the seafloor in Puget Sound., A biological source of methane beneath the seafloor seems likely., , , In follow-up work scientists used underwater microphones this fall to eavesdrop on the bubbles., The release of methane-a powerful greenhouse gas responsible for almost a quarter of global warming-is being studied around the world., The source may be in the dense clay sediment deposited after the last Ice Age when glaciers first carved out the Puget Sound basin.,   

    From The University of Washington (US): “Bubbles of methane rising from seafloor in Puget Sound” 

    From The University of Washington (US)

    January 19, 2022
    Hannah Hickey

    The release of methane-a powerful greenhouse gas responsible for almost a quarter of global warming-is being studied around the world, from Arctic wetlands to livestock feedlots. A University of Washington team has discovered a source much closer to home: 349 plumes of methane gas bubbling up from the seafloor in Puget Sound, which holds more water than any other U.S. estuary.

    This map of Puget Sound shows the location of the methane plumes (yellow and white circles) detected along the ship’s path (purple). Black lines show the South Whidbey Island Fault Zone, the Seattle Fault Zone and the Tacoma Fault Zone. Black squares are urban sewer outfalls, which don’t match the bubble plumes’ locations.Credit: Johnson et al./University of Washington.

    The columns of bubbles are especially pronounced off Alki Point in West Seattle and near the ferry terminal in Kingston, Washington, according to a study in the January issue of Geochemistry, Geophysics, Geosystems.

    “There are methane plumes all over Puget Sound,” said lead author Paul Johnson, a UW professor of oceanography. “Single plumes are all over the place, but the big clusters of plumes are at Kingston and at Alki Point.”

    Previous UW research had found methane bubbling up from the outer coasts of Washington and Oregon [JGR Solid Earth]. The bubbles in Puget Sound were first discovered by surprise in 2011, when the UW’s global research vessel, the R/V Thomas G. Thompson, had kept its sonar beams turned on as it returned to its home port on the UW campus. The underwater images created by the soundwaves showed a distinct, persistent bubble plumes as the vessel rounded the Kingston ferry terminal.

    Since then, the team analyzed sonar data collected during 18 cruises on the UW’s smaller research vessel, the R/V Rachel Carson. Methane plumes were seen from Hood Canal to offshore of Everett to south of the Tacoma Narrows. At Alki, the bubbles rise 200 meters, about the height of the Space Needle, to reach the ocean’s surface.

    “Off Alki, every 3 feet or so there’s a crisp, sharp hole in the seafloor that’s 3-5 inches in diameter,” Johnson said. “There are holes all over the place, but there aren’t bubbles or fluid coming out of all of them. There’s occasionally a burst of bubbles, and then another one 50 feet away that has a new burst of bubbles.”

    Bubble Plume off Alki Point in Seattle.
    This research video shows bubbles emerging from the seafloor about 200 meters (650 feet) deep. It was recorded Oct. 25, 2020, about 1 mile offshore from Seattle’s Alki Point. Credit: Paul Johnson/University of Washington.

    The study is an early step toward exploring the release of methane from estuaries, or places where saltwater and freshwater meet, a subject more widely studied in Europe. Though only a small amount of natural methane is released compared to human sources, understanding how the greenhouse gas cycles through ecosystems becomes increasingly important with climate change.

    “In order to understand methane in the atmosphere and control the human sources, we have to know the natural sources,” Johnson said.

    The two persistent fields of bubble plumes occur above geologic faults: for the Alki bubbles, located above a branch of the Seattle Fault, and for the Kingston bubbles, above the South Whidbey Fault. It’s likely that the bubbles are connected to the underlying geology, Johnson said.

    Marine technician Sonia Brugger (right) and marine engineer Tor Bjorklund aboard the R/V Rachel Carson in December 2020 collecting data near the Alki Point vent field. Alki Point is seen in the distance. Credit: University of Washington.
    Questions remain about the bubbles’ origins. One initial hypothesis, that the bubbles might be coming from the Cascadia Subduction Zone, was not supported by preliminary data. The gas bubbles don’t show the same distinctive chemistry as nearby hot springs and deep wells that connect to this geologic feature deep underground.

    Humans also don’t seem responsible. Puget Sound has in the past been a dumping ground for waste or sediment, but vigorous tides sweep that material out into the open ocean, Johnson said. Sewer outflows, gas lines and freshwater storm drains also don’t match the plumes’ locations.

    Instead, a biological source of methane beneath the seafloor seems likely, Johnson said. The source may be in the dense clay sediment deposited after the last Ice Age, when glaciers first carved out the Puget Sound basin. The methane seems to be biological in origin, and the bubbles also support methane-eating bacterial mats in the surrounding water.

    Jerry (Junzhe) Liu, a senior in oceanography, helped to analyze the data and participated in a 2019 cruise that contributed data.

    “I’m interested in two seemingly parallel fields: fault zones and air-sea interactions for climate,” Liu said. “This project covers all the way from below the seafloor to above the ocean’s surface.”

    In follow-up work scientists used underwater microphones this fall to eavesdrop on the bubbles. Shima Abadi, an associate professor at the University of Washington Bothell, is analyzing the sound that bubbles make when they are emitted. The team also hopes to go back to Alki Point with a remotely operated vehicle that could place instruments inside a vent hole to fully analyze the emerging fluid and gas.

    Co-authors of the paper are Tor Bjorklund, an engineer in UW oceanography; Chenyu (Fiona) Wang, a former UW undergraduate; Susan Hautala, a UW associate professor of oceanography; Nicholas D. Ward, a UW affiliate assistant professor of oceanography and researcher at The DOE’s Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (US); Susan Merle and Sharon Walker at The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (US); and Tamara Baumberger at The Oregon State University (US). The research was funded by The National Science Foundation (US).

    See the full article here .


    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    Stem Education Coalition


    The University of Washington (US) is one of the world’s preeminent public universities. Our impact on individuals, on our region, and on the world is profound — whether we are launching young people into a boundless future or confronting the grand challenges of our time through undaunted research and scholarship. Ranked number 10 in the world in Shanghai Jiao Tong University rankings and educating more than 54,000 students annually, our students and faculty work together to turn ideas into impact and in the process transform lives and our world. For more about our impact on the world, every day.

    So what defines us —the students, faculty and community members at the University of Washington? Above all, it’s our belief in possibility and our unshakable optimism. It’s a connection to others, both near and far. It’s a hunger that pushes us to tackle challenges and pursue progress. It’s the conviction that together we can create a world of good. Join us on the journey.

    The University of Washington (US) is a public research university in Seattle, Washington, United States. Founded in 1861, University of Washington is one of the oldest universities on the West Coast; it was established in downtown Seattle approximately a decade after the city’s founding to aid its economic development. Today, the university’s 703-acre main Seattle campus is in the University District above the Montlake Cut, within the urban Puget Sound region of the Pacific Northwest. The university has additional campuses in Tacoma and Bothell. Overall, University of Washington encompasses over 500 buildings and over 20 million gross square footage of space, including one of the largest library systems in the world with more than 26 university libraries, as well as the UW Tower, lecture halls, art centers, museums, laboratories, stadiums, and conference centers. The university offers bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral degrees through 140 departments in various colleges and schools, sees a total student enrollment of roughly 46,000 annually, and functions on a quarter system.

    University of Washington is a member of the Association of American Universities(US) and is classified among “R1: Doctoral Universities – Very high research activity”. According to the National Science Foundation(US), UW spent $1.41 billion on research and development in 2018, ranking it 5th in the nation. As the flagship institution of the six public universities in Washington state, it is known for its medical, engineering and scientific research as well as its highly competitive computer science and engineering programs. Additionally, University of Washington continues to benefit from its deep historic ties and major collaborations with numerous technology giants in the region, such as Amazon, Boeing, Nintendo, and particularly Microsoft. Paul G. Allen, Bill Gates and others spent significant time at Washington computer labs for a startup venture before founding Microsoft and other ventures. The University of Washington’s 22 varsity sports teams are also highly competitive, competing as the Huskies in the Pac-12 Conference of the NCAA Division I, representing the United States at the Olympic Games, and other major competitions.

    The university has been affiliated with many notable alumni and faculty, including 21 Nobel Prize laureates and numerous Pulitzer Prize winners, Fulbright Scholars, Rhodes Scholars and Marshall Scholars.

    In 1854, territorial governor Isaac Stevens recommended the establishment of a university in the Washington Territory. Prominent Seattle-area residents, including Methodist preacher Daniel Bagley, saw this as a chance to add to the city’s potential and prestige. Bagley learned of a law that allowed United States territories to sell land to raise money in support of public schools. At the time, Arthur A. Denny, one of the founders of Seattle and a member of the territorial legislature, aimed to increase the city’s importance by moving the territory’s capital from Olympia to Seattle. However, Bagley eventually convinced Denny that the establishment of a university would assist more in the development of Seattle’s economy. Two universities were initially chartered, but later the decision was repealed in favor of a single university in Lewis County provided that locally donated land was available. When no site emerged, Denny successfully petitioned the legislature to reconsider Seattle as a location in 1858.

    In 1861, scouting began for an appropriate 10 acres (4 ha) site in Seattle to serve as a new university campus. Arthur and Mary Denny donated eight acres, while fellow pioneers Edward Lander, and Charlie and Mary Terry, donated two acres on Denny’s Knoll in downtown Seattle. More specifically, this tract was bounded by 4th Avenue to the west, 6th Avenue to the east, Union Street to the north, and Seneca Streets to the south.

    John Pike, for whom Pike Street is named, was the university’s architect and builder. It was opened on November 4, 1861, as the Territorial University of Washington. The legislature passed articles incorporating the University, and establishing its Board of Regents in 1862. The school initially struggled, closing three times: in 1863 for low enrollment, and again in 1867 and 1876 due to funds shortage. University of Washington awarded its first graduate Clara Antoinette McCarty Wilt in 1876, with a bachelor’s degree in science.

    19th century relocation

    By the time Washington state entered the Union in 1889, both Seattle and the University had grown substantially. University of Washington’s total undergraduate enrollment increased from 30 to nearly 300 students, and the campus’s relative isolation in downtown Seattle faced encroaching development. A special legislative committee, headed by University of Washington graduate Edmond Meany, was created to find a new campus to better serve the growing student population and faculty. The committee eventually selected a site on the northeast of downtown Seattle called Union Bay, which was the land of the Duwamish, and the legislature appropriated funds for its purchase and construction. In 1895, the University relocated to the new campus by moving into the newly built Denny Hall. The University Regents tried and failed to sell the old campus, eventually settling with leasing the area. This would later become one of the University’s most valuable pieces of real estate in modern-day Seattle, generating millions in annual revenue with what is now called the Metropolitan Tract. The original Territorial University building was torn down in 1908, and its former site now houses the Fairmont Olympic Hotel.

    The sole-surviving remnants of Washington’s first building are four 24-foot (7.3 m), white, hand-fluted cedar, Ionic columns. They were salvaged by Edmond S. Meany, one of the University’s first graduates and former head of its history department. Meany and his colleague, Dean Herbert T. Condon, dubbed the columns as “Loyalty,” “Industry,” “Faith”, and “Efficiency”, or “LIFE.” The columns now stand in the Sylvan Grove Theater.

    20th century expansion

    Organizers of the 1909 Alaska-Yukon-Pacific Exposition eyed the still largely undeveloped campus as a prime setting for their world’s fair. They came to an agreement with Washington’s Board of Regents that allowed them to use the campus grounds for the exposition, surrounding today’s Drumheller Fountain facing towards Mount Rainier. In exchange, organizers agreed Washington would take over the campus and its development after the fair’s conclusion. This arrangement led to a detailed site plan and several new buildings, prepared in part by John Charles Olmsted. The plan was later incorporated into the overall University of Washington campus master plan, permanently affecting the campus layout.

    Both World Wars brought the military to campus, with certain facilities temporarily lent to the federal government. In spite of this, subsequent post-war periods were times of dramatic growth for the University. The period between the wars saw a significant expansion of the upper campus. Construction of the Liberal Arts Quadrangle, known to students as “The Quad,” began in 1916 and continued to 1939. The University’s architectural centerpiece, Suzzallo Library, was built in 1926 and expanded in 1935.

    After World War II, further growth came with the G.I. Bill. Among the most important developments of this period was the opening of the School of Medicine in 1946, which is now consistently ranked as the top medical school in the United States. It would eventually lead to the University of Washington Medical Center, ranked by U.S. News and World Report as one of the top ten hospitals in the nation.

    In 1942, all persons of Japanese ancestry in the Seattle area were forced into inland internment camps as part of Executive Order 9066 following the attack on Pearl Harbor. During this difficult time, university president Lee Paul Sieg took an active and sympathetic leadership role in advocating for and facilitating the transfer of Japanese American students to universities and colleges away from the Pacific Coast to help them avoid the mass incarceration. Nevertheless many Japanese American students and “soon-to-be” graduates were unable to transfer successfully in the short time window or receive diplomas before being incarcerated. It was only many years later that they would be recognized for their accomplishments during the University of Washington’s Long Journey Home ceremonial event that was held in May 2008.

    From 1958 to 1973, the University of Washington saw a tremendous growth in student enrollment, its faculties and operating budget, and also its prestige under the leadership of Charles Odegaard. University of Washington student enrollment had more than doubled to 34,000 as the baby boom generation came of age. However, this era was also marked by high levels of student activism, as was the case at many American universities. Much of the unrest focused around civil rights and opposition to the Vietnam War. In response to anti-Vietnam War protests by the late 1960s, the University Safety and Security Division became the University of Washington Police Department.

    Odegaard instituted a vision of building a “community of scholars”, convincing the Washington State legislatures to increase investment in the University. Washington senators, such as Henry M. Jackson and Warren G. Magnuson, also used their political clout to gather research funds for the University of Washington. The results included an increase in the operating budget from $37 million in 1958 to over $400 million in 1973, solidifying University of Washington as a top recipient of federal research funds in the United States. The establishment of technology giants such as Microsoft, Boeing and Amazon in the local area also proved to be highly influential in the University of Washington’s fortunes, not only improving graduate prospects but also helping to attract millions of dollars in university and research funding through its distinguished faculty and extensive alumni network.

    21st century

    In 1990, the University of Washington opened its additional campuses in Bothell and Tacoma. Although originally intended for students who have already completed two years of higher education, both schools have since become four-year universities with the authority to grant degrees. The first freshman classes at these campuses started in fall 2006. Today both Bothell and Tacoma also offer a selection of master’s degree programs.

    In 2012, the University began exploring plans and governmental approval to expand the main Seattle campus, including significant increases in student housing, teaching facilities for the growing student body and faculty, as well as expanded public transit options. The University of Washington light rail station was completed in March 2015, connecting Seattle’s Capitol Hill neighborhood to the University of Washington Husky Stadium within five minutes of rail travel time. It offers a previously unavailable option of transportation into and out of the campus, designed specifically to reduce dependence on private vehicles, bicycles and local King County buses.

    University of Washington has been listed as a “Public Ivy” in Greene’s Guides since 2001, and is an elected member of the American Association of Universities. Among the faculty by 2012, there have been 151 members of American Association for the Advancement of Science, 68 members of the National Academy of Sciences(US), 67 members of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, 53 members of the National Academy of Medicine(US), 29 winners of the Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers, 21 members of the National Academy of Engineering(US), 15 Howard Hughes Medical Institute Investigators, 15 MacArthur Fellows, 9 winners of the Gairdner Foundation International Award, 5 winners of the National Medal of Science, 7 Nobel Prize laureates, 5 winners of Albert Lasker Award for Clinical Medical Research, 4 members of the American Philosophical Society, 2 winners of the National Book Award, 2 winners of the National Medal of Arts, 2 Pulitzer Prize winners, 1 winner of the Fields Medal, and 1 member of the National Academy of Public Administration. Among UW students by 2012, there were 136 Fulbright Scholars, 35 Rhodes Scholars, 7 Marshall Scholars and 4 Gates Cambridge Scholars. UW is recognized as a top producer of Fulbright Scholars, ranking 2nd in the US in 2017.

    The Academic Ranking of World Universities (ARWU) has consistently ranked University of Washington as one of the top 20 universities worldwide every year since its first release. In 2019, University of Washington ranked 14th worldwide out of 500 by the ARWU, 26th worldwide out of 981 in the Times Higher Education World University Rankings, and 28th worldwide out of 101 in the Times World Reputation Rankings. Meanwhile, QS World University Rankings ranked it 68th worldwide, out of over 900.

    U.S. News & World Report ranked University of Washington 8th out of nearly 1,500 universities worldwide for 2021, with University of Washington’s undergraduate program tied for 58th among 389 national universities in the U.S. and tied for 19th among 209 public universities.

    In 2019, it ranked 10th among the universities around the world by SCImago Institutions Rankings. In 2017, the Leiden Ranking, which focuses on science and the impact of scientific publications among the world’s 500 major universities, ranked University of Washington 12th globally and 5th in the U.S.

    In 2019, Kiplinger Magazine’s review of “top college values” named University of Washington 5th for in-state students and 10th for out-of-state students among U.S. public colleges, and 84th overall out of 500 schools. In the Washington Monthly National University Rankings University of Washington was ranked 15th domestically in 2018, based on its contribution to the public good as measured by social mobility, research, and promoting public service.

  • richardmitnick 9:45 am on January 24, 2022 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: "At the interface of physics and mathematics", , , Integrable model: equation that can be solved exactly., , , , , String Theory-which scientists hope will eventually provide a unified description of particle physics and gravity., ,   

    From The Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Zürich [ETH Zürich] [Eidgenössische Technische Hochschule Zürich] (CH): “At the interface of physics and mathematics” 

    From The Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Zürich [ETH Zürich] [Eidgenössische Technische Hochschule Zürich] (CH)

    Barbara Vonarburg

    Sylvain Lacroix is a theoretical physicist who conducts research into fundamental concepts of physics – an exciting but intellectually challenging field of science. As an Advanced Fellow at ETH Zürich’s Institute for Theoretical Studies (ITS), he works on complex equations that can be solved exactly only thanks to their large number of symmetries.

    “It was fascinating to learn abstract mathematical concepts and see them neatly applied in the realm of physics,” says Sylvain Lacroix, Advanced Fellow at the Institute for Theoretical Studies. Photo: Nicola Pitaro/ETH Zürich.

    “I got hooked on the interplay of physics and mathematics while I was still at secondary school,” says 30-​year-old Sylvain Lacroix, who was born and grew up near Paris. “It was fascinating to learn abstract mathematical concepts and see them neatly applied in the realm of physics.” During his studies at The University of Lyon [Université Claude Bernard Lyon 1] (FR), he devoted much of his energy and enthusiasm to physics problems that had highly complex underlying mathematical structures. So when it came to selecting a topic for his doctoral thesis, this area of research seemed like the obvious choice. He decided to explore the theory of what are known as integrable models – a subject he has continued to pursue up to the present day.

    Lacroix readily acknowledges that most people outside his line of work find the term “integrable models” completely incomprehensible: “I have to admit that it’s probably not the simplest or most accessible field of physics,” he says, almost apologetically. That’s why he takes pains to explain it in layman’s terms: “We define a model as a body of laws, a set of equations that describe the behaviour of certain quantities, for example how the position of an object changes over time.” An integrable model is characterised by equations that can be solved exactly, which is by no means a given.

    Symmetry is the key

    Many of the equations used in modern physics – such as that practised at The European Organization for Nuclear Research [Organización Europea para la Investigación Nuclear][Organisation européenne pour la recherche nucléaire] [Europäische Organisation für Kernforschung](CH) [CERN] – are so complex that they can be solved only approximately. These approximation methods often serve their purpose well, for instance if there is only a weak interaction between two particles. However, other cases require exact calculations – and that’s where integrable models come in. But what makes them so exact? “That’s another aspect that is tricky to explain,” Lacroix says, “but it ultimately comes down to symmetry.” Take, for example, the symmetry of time or space: a physics experiment will produce the same results whether you perform it today or – under identical conditions – ten days from now, and whether it takes place in Zürich or New York. Consequently, the equation that describes the experiment must remain invariant even if the time or location changes. This is reflected in the mathematical structure of the equation, which contains the corresponding constraints. “If we have enough symmetries, this results in so many constraints that we can simplify the equation to the point where we get exact results,” says the physicist.

    Integrable models and their exact solutions are actually very rare in mathematics. “If I chose a random equation, it would be extremely unlikely to have this property of exact solvability,” Lacroix says. “But equations of this kind really do exist in nature.” Some describe the movement of waves propagating in a channel, for example, while others describe the behaviour of a hydrogen atom. “But it’s important to note that my work doesn’t have any practical applications of that kind,” Lacroix says. “I don’t examine concrete physical models; instead, I study mathematical structures and attempt to find general approaches that will allow us to construct new exactly solvable equations.” Although some of these formulas may eventually find a real-​world application, others probably won’t.

    After completing his doctoral thesis, Lacroix spent three years working as a postdoc at The University of Hamburg [Universität Hamburg](DE), before finally moving to Zürich in September 2021. “I don’t have a family, so I had no problem making the switch,” he says. He is relieved that he can now spend five years at the ITS as an Advanced Fellow and focus entirely on his research without having to worry about the future. He admits it was a pleasure getting to know different countries as a postdoc and that he enjoyed moving from place to place. “But it makes it very hard to have any kind of stability in your life.”

    A beautiful setting

    Lacroix spends most of his time working in his office at the ITS, which is located in a stately building dating from 1882 not far from the ETH Main Building. “It’s a lovely place,” he says, glancing out the window at the green surroundings and the city beyond. “I feel very much at home here. Living in Zürich is wonderful, it’s such a great feeling being here.” In his spare time, he likes watching movies, reading books and socialising. “I love meeting up with friends in restaurants or cafés,” he says. He also feels fortunate that he didn’t start working in Zürich until after the Covid measures had been relaxed.

    “I’m vaccinated and everyone’s very careful at ETH. We still have restrictions in place, but life is slowly getting back to normal – and that made it much easier to get to know my colleagues from day one,” he says. One of the greatest privileges of working at the ITS, Lacroix says, is that it offers an international environment that brings together researchers from all over the world. As well as offering a space for experts to exchange ideas and holding seminars where Fellows can present their work, the Institute also has a tradition of organising joint excursions. In the autumn of 2021, Lacroix joined his colleagues on a hike in the Flumserberg mountain resort for the first time: “I love hiking and it’s incredible to have the mountains so close.”

    Normally, however, he can be found sitting at his desk jotting down a series of mostly abstract equations on a sheet of paper. Occasionally his computer comes in handy, he says, because it has become so much more than just a calculating device; today’s computers can also handle abstract mathematical concepts, which can be very useful. Most people don’t really understand much of what Lacroix puts down on paper, but that doesn’t bother him: “I’ve learned to live with that,” he says; “I don’t feel isolated in my research at all – at least not in the academic sphere.”

    A better understanding of quantum field theory

    Integrable models are extremely symmetrical models, Lacroix explains. The basic principle of symmetry plays an important role in modern physics, for example in quantum field theory – the theoretical basis of particle physics – as well as in string theory, which scientists hope will eventually provide a unified description of particle physics and gravity. So could such an all-​encompassing unified field theory turn out to be an integrable model? “That would obviously be great, especially for me!” Lacroix says with a wry smile. “But it’s a bit optimistic to believe that whatever unified theory of physics finally emerges will have enough symmetries to make it completely exact.”

    Even if the equations he studies don’t explain the world directly, he still believes they can help us achieve a better understanding of theoretical physics. For example, we can take advantage of so-​called “toy models”, which have a particularly large number of symmetries, to simplify extremely complex equations in quantum field theory. “This gives us a better understanding of how the theory works, even if these models are too simplistic for the real world,” Lacroix says. Yet his primary interest lies in the purely mathematical questions that integrable models pose, and he admits that the equations they involve sometimes even appear in his dreams: “It’s hard to shake off what I’ve been thinking about the entire day. But I’ve never managed to solve a mathematical problem in my dreams – at least not so far!”

    See the full article here .


    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    Stem Education Coalition

    ETH Zurich campus

    The Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Zürich [ETH Zürich] [Eidgenössische Technische Hochschule Zürich] (CH) is a public research university in the city of Zürich, Switzerland. Founded by the Swiss Federal Government in 1854 with the stated mission to educate engineers and scientists, the school focuses exclusively on science, technology, engineering and mathematics. Like its sister institution The Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Lausanne [EPFL-École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne](CH) , it is part of The Swiss Federal Institutes of Technology Domain (ETH Domain)) , part of the The Swiss Federal Department of Economic Affairs, Education and Research [EAER][Eidgenössisches Departement für Wirtschaft, Bildung und Forschung] [Département fédéral de l’économie, de la formation et de la recherche] (CH).

    The university is an attractive destination for international students thanks to low tuition fees of 809 CHF per semester, PhD and graduate salaries that are amongst the world’s highest, and a world-class reputation in academia and industry. There are currently 22,200 students from over 120 countries, of which 4,180 are pursuing doctoral degrees. In the 2021 edition of the QS World University Rankings ETH Zürich is ranked 6th in the world and 8th by the Times Higher Education World Rankings 2020. In the 2020 QS World University Rankings by subject it is ranked 4th in the world for engineering and technology (2nd in Europe) and 1st for earth & marine science.

    As of November 2019, 21 Nobel laureates, 2 Fields Medalists, 2 Pritzker Prize winners, and 1 Turing Award winner have been affiliated with the Institute, including Albert Einstein. Other notable alumni include John von Neumann and Santiago Calatrava. It is a founding member of the IDEA League and the International Alliance of Research Universities (IARU) and a member of the CESAER network.

    ETH Zürich was founded on 7 February 1854 by the Swiss Confederation and began giving its first lectures on 16 October 1855 as a polytechnic institute (eidgenössische polytechnische Schule) at various sites throughout the city of Zurich. It was initially composed of six faculties: architecture, civil engineering, mechanical engineering, chemistry, forestry, and an integrated department for the fields of mathematics, natural sciences, literature, and social and political sciences.

    It is locally still known as Polytechnikum, or simply as Poly, derived from the original name eidgenössische polytechnische Schule, which translates to “federal polytechnic school”.

    ETH Zürich is a federal institute (i.e., under direct administration by the Swiss government), whereas The University of Zürich [Universität Zürich ] (CH) is a cantonal institution. The decision for a new federal university was heavily disputed at the time; the liberals pressed for a “federal university”, while the conservative forces wanted all universities to remain under cantonal control, worried that the liberals would gain more political power than they already had. In the beginning, both universities were co-located in the buildings of the University of Zürich.

    From 1905 to 1908, under the presidency of Jérôme Franel, the course program of ETH Zürich was restructured to that of a real university and ETH Zürich was granted the right to award doctorates. In 1909 the first doctorates were awarded. In 1911, it was given its current name, Eidgenössische Technische Hochschule. In 1924, another reorganization structured the university in 12 departments. However, it now has 16 departments.

    ETH Zürich, EPFL (Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Lausanne) [École polytechnique fédérale de Lausanne](CH), and four associated research institutes form The Domain of the Swiss Federal Institutes of Technology (ETH Domain) [ETH-Bereich; Domaine des Écoles polytechniques fédérales] (CH) with the aim of collaborating on scientific projects.

    Reputation and ranking

    ETH Zürich is ranked among the top universities in the world. Typically, popular rankings place the institution as the best university in continental Europe and ETH Zürich is consistently ranked among the top 1-5 universities in Europe, and among the top 3-10 best universities of the world.

    Historically, ETH Zürich has achieved its reputation particularly in the fields of chemistry, mathematics and physics. There are 32 Nobel laureates who are associated with ETH Zürich, the most recent of whom is Richard F. Heck, awarded the Nobel Prize in chemistry in 2010. Albert Einstein is perhaps its most famous alumnus.

    In 2018, the QS World University Rankings placed ETH Zürich at 7th overall in the world. In 2015, ETH Zürich was ranked 5th in the world in Engineering, Science and Technology, just behind the Massachusetts Institute of Technology(US), Stanford University(US) and University of Cambridge(UK). In 2015, ETH Zürich also ranked 6th in the world in Natural Sciences, and in 2016 ranked 1st in the world for Earth & Marine Sciences for the second consecutive year.

    In 2016, Times Higher Education World University Rankings ranked ETH Zürich 9th overall in the world and 8th in the world in the field of Engineering & Technology, just behind the Massachusetts Institute of Technology(US), Stanford University(US), California Institute of Technology(US), Princeton University(US), University of Cambridge(UK), Imperial College London(UK) and University of Oxford(UK) .

    In a comparison of Swiss universities by swissUP Ranking and in rankings published by CHE comparing the universities of German-speaking countries, ETH Zürich traditionally is ranked first in natural sciences, computer science and engineering sciences.

    In the survey CHE ExcellenceRanking on the quality of Western European graduate school programs in the fields of biology, chemistry, physics and mathematics, ETH Zürich was assessed as one of the three institutions to have excellent programs in all the considered fields, the other two being Imperial College London(UK) and The University of Cambridge(UK), respectively.

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