Tagged: COSMOS (AU) Toggle Comment Threads | Keyboard Shortcuts

  • richardmitnick 8:18 pm on October 18, 2021 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: "Black holes belch out intergalactic smoke", A system of 20 galaxies called Nest200047, COSMOS (AU),   

    From University of Bologna [Alma mater studiorum -Università di Bologna] (IT) via COSMOS (AU) : “Black holes belch out intergalactic smoke” 

    From University of Bologna [Alma mater studiorum -Università di Bologna] (IT)


    Cosmos Magazine bloc

    From COSMOS (AU)

    19 October 2021
    Lauren Fuge

    Bubbles, rings and filaments formed over hundreds of millions of years.

    Warm gas coming from the active supermassive black hole at the centre of the Nest200047 system: the activity of such a black hole crucially impacts the evolution of the galaxy and the intergalactic environment hosting it. Credit: University of Bologna.

    Astronomers have just watched the evolution of streamers of gas around an active black hole – and they look a bit like the smoke produced by a volcanic eruption.

    The team used the ultra-sensitive Low-Frequency Array (LOFAR) in the Netherlands, as well as the Spektr-RG space observatory, to study a system of 20 galaxies called Nest200047, 200 million light-years away.

    One of these galaxies has an active black hole at its heart, which produces radio jets that in turn create bubbles and other structures in the surrounding gas.

    The researchers found that the galaxy group was home to all different ages of these structures, showing their evolution over hundreds of millions of years.

    “Our investigation shows how these gas bubbles accelerated by the black hole are expanding and transforming in time,” says astronomer Marisa Brienza, from the University of Bologna and lead author of the study, published in Nature Astronomy.

    “Indeed, they create spectacular mushroom-shaped structures, rings and filaments that are similar to those originating from a powerful volcanic eruption on planet Earth.”

    Black holes have a reputation as cosmic monsters, devouring everything they come across. But in that process, they also release enormous amounts of energy, including massive jets of particles moving close to the speed of light. These streams create bubbles of particles and magnetic fields that then influence the intergalactic medium around the black hole.

    “LOFAR gave us a unique view of the activity of black holes and their effects on their surrounding environment,” says co-author Annalisa Bonafede, also from the University of Bologna and a member of the INAF Italian National Institute for Astrophysics [Istituto Nazionale di Astrofisica] (IT).

    “Our observations of Nest200047 crucially show how magnetic fields and the very old particles accelerated by black holes and consequently aged play a central role in transferring energy to the outer regions of groups of galaxies.”

    But the study also found that many of these ancient bubbles still haven’t mixed with the surrounding gas even after all this time, likely due to the influence of magnetic fields.

    The researchers say this shows that active black holes can have effects on the scale of hundreds of millions of years, as well as on massive spatial scales up to 100 times bigger than the host galaxy.

    The team also discovered thin gas filaments around the black hole stretching for as long as a million light-years. The researchers say these are the remnants of gas bubbles produced by the black hole hundreds of millions of years ago. “In the future, we will be able to study the effects of black holes on galaxies and the intergalactic medium with increasing detail,” says Gianfranco Brunetti, co-author and an astrophysicist at the INAF Bologna. “Eventually, we will be able to unveil the nature of the filaments we discovered.”

    Bubbles made of particles

    At the core of each galaxy sits a supermassive black hole. The activity of the black hole crucially impacts the evolution of the galaxy and the intergalactic environment hosting it. For years researchers have been trying to figure out how and at what rate the action of these black holes produces those effects.

    When active, black holes consume whatever surrounds them and, in that process, they release enormous amounts of energy. Sometimes this energy comes in the form of particle streams moving at close to the speed of light and producing radio waves. In turn, these streams generate bubbles of particles and magnetic fields that, by a process of expansion, can heat and move the intergalactic medium surrounding them. This has an immense influence on the evolution of the intergalactic medium itself and, as a consequence, on star formation rates.

    This study proposes that active black holes have effects on scales that are up to 100 times bigger than the hosting galaxy and that that impact lasts up to hundreds of millions of years.

    “LOFAR gave us a unique view of the activity of black holes and their effects on their surrounding environment,” explains Annalisa Bonafede, one of the authors of the study and a professor at the University of Bologna as well as INAF member. “Our observations of Nest200047 crucially show how magnetic fields and the very old particles accelerated by black holes and consequently aged play a central role in transferring energy to the outer regions of groups of galaxies.”

    For this study, researchers also exploited observations in the X-ray band obtained using the eROSITA telescope on board the SRG space observatory.

    X-ray data allowed researchers to better study the characteristics of the intergalactic medium surrounding the radio-emitting gas bubbles.


    LOFAR is managed by Netherlands Institute for Radio Astronomy [Nederlands Instituut Voor Radioastronomie](ASTRON)(NL) , and is composed of thousands of antennas hosted by 51 radio stations scattered over different European countries. LOFAR can intercept the lowest frequencies of radio waves on Earth (between 10 and 240 mega-Hertz). The National Astrophysics Institute (INAF) is the head of the Italian team of LOFAR and contributes to the development of a new generation of electronic devices for the telescope and of the software regulating its functioning.

    The SRG spacecraft was designed by the Lavochkin Association, as part of the Roskosmos corporation and launched on July 13, 2019 with a Proton launcher from the Baikonur cosmodrome. The SRG observatory was built with the participation of the DLR German Aerospace [Deutsches Zentrum für Luft- und Raumfahrt e.V](DE) in the framework of the Russian Federal Space Program by the initiative of the Russian Academy of Sciences [Росси́йская акаде́мия нау́к](RU) represented by its Space Research Institute (IKI). The eROSITA telescope was built under the leadership of the MPG Institute for extraterrestrial Physics [MPG Institut für außerirdische Physik](DE) and DLR. The SRG spacecraft is operated by the Lavochkin Association and Deep Space Network Antennae in Bear Lakes, Ussurijsk, and Baykonur funded by Roscosmos State Corporation for Space Activities [Роскосмос](RU).

    See the full article here .

    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    Stem Education Coalition

    The University of Bologna (Alma mater studiorum – Università di Bologna) is a research university in Bologna, Italy. Founded in 1088 by an organised guild of students (hence studiorum), it is the oldest university in the world.

    It is one of the most prestigious Italian universities, commonly ranking in the first places of national, European and international rankings both as a whole and for individual subjects. Since its foundation, the University of Bologna, has attracted numerous scholars, intellectuals and students from all over Italy and the World, establishing itself as one of the main international centers of learning.

    It was the first place of study to use the term universitas for the corporations of students and masters, which came to define the institution (especially its famous law school) located in Bologna. The university’s emblem carries the motto Alma mater studiorum (“Nourishing mother of studies”) and the date A.D. 1088, and it has about 86,500 students in its 11 schools. It has campuses in Cesena, Forlì, Ravenna and Rimini and a branch center abroad in Buenos Aires, Argentina. It also has a school of excellence named Collegio Superiore di Bologna. An associate publisher of the University of Bologna is the Bononia University Press.

    The University of Bologna saw the first woman to earn a university degree and teach at a university, Bettisia Gozzadini, and the first woman to earn both a doctorate in science and a salaried position as a university professor, Laura Bassi.

  • richardmitnick 8:34 pm on August 25, 2021 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: "Small diamond-based quantum computers could be in our hands within five years", ANU research spinoff Quantum Brilliance, , COSMOS (AU), Small affordable ‘plug-and-play’ quantum computing is one step closer. An Australian startup has won $13 million to make its diamond-based computing cores shine. Now it needs to grow.   

    From Australian National University (AU) via COSMOS (AU) : “Small diamond-based quantum computers could be in our hands within five years” 

    ANU Australian National University Bloc

    From Australian National University (AU)


    Cosmos Magazine bloc


    25 August 2021
    Jamie Seidel

    An Australian startup has received funding to make the next quantum computer.

    Andrew Horsely. Credit: ANU.

    Small affordable ‘plug-and-play’ quantum computing is one step closer. An Australian startup has won $13 million to make its diamond-based computing cores shine. Now it needs to grow.

    ANU research spinoff Quantum Brilliance has found a way to use synthetic diamonds to drive quantum calculations. Now it’s on a five-year quest to produce commercially viable Quantum Accelerators. The goal is a card capable of being plugged into any existing computer system similar to the way graphics cards are now.

    “We’re not deluding ourselves,” says CEO Dr Andrew Horsley. “There’s still a lot of work to do. But we’ve now got a five-year pathway to produce a lunchbox-sized device”.

    To do this, Quantum Brilliance is hiring 20 engineers, scientists, physicists, software engineers, and control engineers. The resulting quantum accelerator card will be valuable for self-driving car manufacturers, materials research labs, logistics hubs and financial services firms.

    “We’ve understood electricity and magnetism for a long time,” Dr Horsley says. “We now understand quantum phenomena and are in the process of turning that into technology. It’s very exciting. And it’s not just an iterative improvement. This is a whole new way of computing. And we’re doing it here in Australia”.

    See the full article here .


    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    Stem Education Coalition

    ANU Campus

    Australian National University (AU) is a world-leading university in Australia’s capital city, Canberra. Our location points to our unique history, ties to the Australian Government and special standing as a resource for the Australian people.

    Our focus on research as an asset, and an approach to education, ensures our graduates are in demand the world-over for their abilities to understand, and apply vision and creativity to addressing complex contemporary challenges.

    Australian National University is regarded as one of the world’s leading research universities, and is ranked as the number one university in Australia and the Southern Hemisphere by the 2021 QS World University Rankings. It is ranked 31st in the world by the 2021 QS World University Rankings, and 59th in the world (third in Australia) by the 2021 Times Higher Education.

    In the 2020 Times Higher Education Global Employability University Ranking, an annual ranking of university graduates’ employability, Australian National University was ranked 15th in the world (first in Australia). According to the 2020 QS World University by Subject, the university was also ranked among the top 10 in the world for Anthropology, Earth and Marine Sciences, Geography, Geology, Philosophy, Politics, and Sociology.

    Established in 1946, Australian National University is the only university to have been created by the Parliament of Australia. It traces its origins to Canberra University College, which was established in 1929 and was integrated into Australian National University in 1960. Australian National University enrolls 10,052 undergraduate and 10,840 postgraduate students and employs 3,753 staff. The university’s endowment stood at A$1.8 billion as of 2018.

    Australian National University counts six Nobel laureates and 49 Rhodes scholars among its faculty and alumni. The university has educated two prime ministers, 30 current Australian ambassadors and more than a dozen current heads of government departments of Australia. The latest releases of ANU’s scholarly publications are held through ANU Press online.

  • richardmitnick 8:54 pm on July 19, 2021 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: "A new world of plasma screens?", Australian researchers have used plasma to make a material that could replace a scarce element used in solar cells; touch screens; and a number of other high-tech manufacturing areas., COSMOS (AU), The team used a sputtering technique known as "high power impulse magnetron sputtering" (HiPIMS) to create nanometre-sized coats of atoms on surfaces., , Until now the primary substance for the job has been indium tin oxide or ITO-a substance is made of indium; tin; and oxygen – and indium is a scarce resource.   

    From University of Sydney (AU) via COSMOS (AU) : “A new world of plasma screens?” 

    U Sidney bloc

    From University of Sydney (AU)


    Cosmos Magazine bloc


    19 July 2021
    Ellen Phiddian

    The fourth state of matter can make cheap, smart, waste-free screen components.

    The plasma used to make the coating. Credit: Dr Behnam Akhavan.

    Australian researchers have used plasma to make a material that could replace a scarce element used in solar cells; touch screens; and a number of other high-tech manufacturing areas.

    In order to work, solar cells and phone and tablet screens need to contain a material that is transparent and can conduct electricity. The material in screen dimmers in cars and smart windows also needs to be electrochromic – that is, able to change colour or transparency depending on an externally applied voltage.

    Until now the primary substance for the job has been indium tin oxide or ITO. As the name suggests, this substance is made of indium; tin; and oxygen – and indium is a scarce resource.

    “A very small amount of it is available,” says Dr Behnam Akhavan, a senior lecturer in engineering at the University of Sydney. Demand is growing for indium because of increasing production of touchscreen devices but, even though only tiny amounts are needed, there are fears supply can’t keep up.

    “It’s also very hard to mine, because we don’t have any indium-specific mines,” says Akhavan. “It comes as a by-product of zinc.”

    Materials scientists have been looking for alternatives to ITO that are transparent, conductive and electrochromic. Two years ago, Akhavan’s team created a material that ticked all of these boxes, consisting of four very thin layers of tungsten and silver on glass. They’ve now been able to refine it down to three layers, simplifying production. And the whole thing has been made using plasma.

    The material: layers of tungsten oxide, silver, and silver/tungsten oxide on glass. Credit: Najafi-Ashtiani et al., 2021, Solar Energy Materials and Solar Cells.

    While plasma’s not common on the Earth’s surface, “it’s the most common state of matter in the universe,” according to Akhavan. “The sun, stars, lightning – they’re all made of plasma.

    “In my research, I create it in the lab to bring in some really fascinating features that other states of matter don’t have, and use it to create new materials.”

    The team used a sputtering technique known as high power impulse magnetron sputtering (HiPIMS) to create nanometre-sized coats of atoms on surfaces.

    “It detaches atoms from the target, and it deposits them on to any material that we want to be coated, such as glass,” says Akhavan.

    In this case, the researchers covered glass with a deposit deposited 30 nanometres of tungsten oxide, followed by 10 nanometres of pure silver and then another 50 nanometres of a “nanocomposite” of tungsten oxide and silver (nanoparticles of silver mixed into tungsten oxide). The result was a clear 90-nanometre-thick coat on the glass (or about a tenth of the size of a small bacterium) that is both conductive and electrochromic.

    Tungsten and silver, while not exactly abundant, are much less rare than indium.

    Dr Behnam Akhavan in the plasma lab. Credit: Dr Behnam Akhavan.

    Akhavan says an immediate use of the technology is as an anti-reflection coating for mirrors. It could also be used in smart windows, which change their transparency to prevent the in-flow of sunlight. Touchscreens could be another potential avenue for the material – although, as these devices usually don’t need to be electrochromic, Akhavan suggests that tungsten could be swapped out for more abundant titanium.

    Another advantage of the technique is that it’s effectively waste-free.

    “It’s a dry process,” says Akhavan. “No solvents or bench chemistry is involved. That makes it very environmentally friendly, because the amount of waste produced is almost zero.”

    The plasma doesn’t deposit materials onto the glass with 100% efficiency, scattering some around the rest of the vessel during the coating process. But these mis-deposited materials remain in an unaffected state and can be re-used with ease, once taken from the vessel.

    “You don’t have to extract them from a solution,” says Akhavan.

    A paper describing the material will be published in Solar Energy Materials and Solar Cells.

    See the full article here .


    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    Stem Education Coalition

    University of Sydney (AU)
    Our founding principle as Australia’s first university, U Sydney was that we would be a modern and progressive institution. It’s an ideal we still hold dear today.

    When Charles William Wentworth proposed the idea of Australia’s first university in 1850, he imagined “the opportunity for the child of every class to become great and useful in the destinies of this country”.

    We’ve stayed true to that original value and purpose by promoting inclusion and diversity for the past 160 years.

    It’s the reason that, as early as 1881, we admitted women on an equal footing to male students. Oxford University didn’t follow suit until 30 years later, and Jesus College at Cambridge University did not begin admitting female students until 1974.

    It’s also why, from the very start, talented students of all backgrounds were given the chance to access further education through bursaries and scholarships.

    Today we offer hundreds of scholarships to support and encourage talented students, and a range of grants and bursaries to those who need a financial helping hand.

    The University of Sydney (AU) is an Australian public research university in Sydney, Australia. Founded in 1850, it is Australia’s first university and is regarded as one of the world’s leading universities. The university is known as one of Australia’s six sandstone universities. Its campus, spreading across the inner-city suburbs of Camperdown and Darlington, is ranked in the top 10 of the world’s most beautiful universities by the British Daily Telegraph and the American Huffington Post.The university comprises eight academic faculties and university schools, through which it offers bachelor, master and doctoral degrees.

    The QS World University Rankings ranked the university as one of the world’s top 25 universities for academic reputation, and top 5 in the world and first in Australia for graduate employability. It is one of the first universities in the world to admit students solely on academic merit, and opened their doors to women on the same basis as men.

    Five Nobel and two Crafoord laureates have been affiliated with the university as graduates and faculty. The university has educated seven Australian prime ministers, two governors-general of Australia, nine state governors and territory administrators, and 24 justices of the High Court of Australia, including four chief justices. The university has produced 110 Rhodes Scholars and 19 Gates Scholars.

    The University of Sydney (AU) is a member of the Group of Eight, CEMS, the Association of Pacific Rim Universities and the Association of Commonwealth Universities.

  • richardmitnick 9:17 pm on June 16, 2021 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: "Kepler 52 and Kepler 968-Young exoplanet siblings", , , , , , COSMOS (AU),   

    From Columbia University (US) via COSMOS (AU) : “Kepler 52 and Kepler 968-Young exoplanet siblings” 

    Columbia U bloc

    From Columbia University (US)


    Cosmos Magazine bloc


    16 June 2021
    Richard A. Lovett

    The exoplanets Kepler 52 and Kepler 968 are really part of a bigger system.

    Two exoplanet systems – Kepler 52 and Kepler 968 – that have been drifting across the galaxy for hundreds of millions of years have proven to be parts of a 400-member star cluster.

    The two systems were discovered several years ago by NASA’s Kepler space telescope, which spotted them when they passed between us and their stars, causing their stars’ light to dim briefly.

    At the time, they were thought to be unrelated. But in 2019, astronomers using data from the European Space Agency’s Gaia space telescope realised they were part of a far-flung cluster called Theia 520, which spans a 20-degree swath across the northern sky.

    This isn’t a cluster you could see on your own. “It’s really diffuse and sprawling,” says Jason Curtis of Columbia University, speaking last week at a virtual meeting of the American Astronomical Society (US).

    Science paper

    It was only the precision of the Gaia space telescope that allowed it to be spotted at all, because Gaia’s hyper-precise star-tracking data revealed all the stars in it to be moving in a single, coherent group. This indicated that they had come from the same birth cluster, now dispersing.

    The next step, Curtis says, was to figure out how old the two planetary systems were. Prior estimates of the ages of their stars had been inconclusive, serving up answers that spanned pretty much the entire age of the universe.

    But once he knew they were both members of a cluster, Curtis says, it was possible to use a different method to determine the age of the cluster, rather than the individual stars.

    To do that, he and a team of high school students used data from Kepler, Gaia, and a 48-inch telescope on Mount Palomar in Southern California to calculate the rotation rates of 130 of Theia 520’s stars, graphing them against the stars’ masses.

    All of this was done with publicly available date, easily available online.

    “This underscores the importance of all-sky surveys and public archives,” says Marcel Agüeros, an astronomer at Columbia University and a co-author of the study.

    The results proved that the Kepler 52 and Kepler 968 stars aren’t all that ancient. Instead, Curtis says, they appear to be about 350 million years old.

    That’s because stars in a cluster are born spinning at a fairly wide range of rates, ranging from a few hours to a few days or tens of days. But as they age, they slow down, with faster-rotating stars slowing more quickly than slower-rotating ones, and bigger ones responding differently from smaller ones.

    By graphing the distribution of spin rates against mass, Curtis says, it’s possible to estimate the age of a cluster. “At any age there’s a unique signature,” he says.

    Doing this for clusters with known exoplanet systems is important, he adds, because it helps astronomers understand how planetary systems evolve over time.

    “Planets in clusters provide us with a snapshot in time,” says Elisabeth Newton, an astronomer at Dartmouth College who was not involved in the study. “When we know exactly how old planets are, we can use them to piece together the story of how planets and planetary systems evolve. Knowing that Kepler 52 and 968 are only a few hundred million years old is especially valuable because we haven’t yet found many planets that young.”

    See the full article here .


    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    Stem Education Coalition

    Columbia U Campus
    Columbia University (US) was founded in 1754 as King’s College by royal charter of King George II of England. It is the oldest institution of higher learning in the state of New York and the fifth oldest in the United States.

    University Mission Statement

    Columbia University is one of the world’s most important centers of research and at the same time a distinctive and distinguished learning environment for undergraduates and graduate students in many scholarly and professional fields. The University recognizes the importance of its location in New York City and seeks to link its research and teaching to the vast resources of a great metropolis. It seeks to attract a diverse and international faculty and student body, to support research and teaching on global issues, and to create academic relationships with many countries and regions. It expects all areas of the University to advance knowledge and learning at the highest level and to convey the products of its efforts to the world.

    Columbia University is a private Ivy League research university in New York City. Established in 1754 on the grounds of Trinity Church in Manhattan Columbia is the oldest institution of higher education in New York and the fifth-oldest institution of higher learning in the United States. It is one of nine colonial colleges founded prior to the Declaration of Independence, seven of which belong to the Ivy League. Columbia is ranked among the top universities in the world by major education publications.

    Columbia was established as King’s College by royal charter from King George II of Great Britain in reaction to the founding of Princeton College. It was renamed Columbia College in 1784 following the American Revolution, and in 1787 was placed under a private board of trustees headed by former students Alexander Hamilton and John Jay. In 1896, the campus was moved to its current location in Morningside Heights and renamed Columbia University.

    Columbia scientists and scholars have played an important role in scientific breakthroughs including brain-computer interface; the laser and maser; nuclear magnetic resonance; the first nuclear pile; the first nuclear fission reaction in the Americas; the first evidence for plate tectonics and continental drift; and much of the initial research and planning for the Manhattan Project during World War II. Columbia is organized into twenty schools, including four undergraduate schools and 15 graduate schools. The university’s research efforts include the Lamont–Doherty Earth Observatory, the Goddard Institute for Space Studies, and accelerator laboratories with major technology firms such as IBM. Columbia is a founding member of the Association of American Universities and was the first school in the United States to grant the M.D. degree. With over 14 million volumes, Columbia University Library is the third largest private research library in the United States.

    The university’s endowment stands at $11.26 billion in 2020, among the largest of any academic institution. As of October 2020, Columbia’s alumni, faculty, and staff have included: five Founding Fathers of the United States—among them a co-author of the United States Constitution and a co-author of the Declaration of Independence; three U.S. presidents; 29 foreign heads of state; ten justices of the United States Supreme Court, one of whom currently serves; 96 Nobel laureates; five Fields Medalists; 122 National Academy of Sciences members; 53 living billionaires; eleven Olympic medalists; 33 Academy Award winners; and 125 Pulitzer Prize recipients.

  • richardmitnick 9:15 am on June 9, 2021 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: "Where a star is born", A planetary nebula is created when certain stars reach the end of their life cycle., , Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array(CL), , , COSMOS (AU), , , , The properties of star-forming clouds depends on where they are located., The team compared the molecular properties and star formation processes at different galactic regions., To understand how stars form we need to link the birth of a single star back to its place in the Universe., Women in STEM-Eva Schinnerer; Annie Hughes   

    From COSMOS (AU) : Women in STEM-Eva Schinnerer; Annie Hughes “Where a star is born” 

    Cosmos Magazine bloc

    From COSMOS (AU)

    9 June 2021
    Amalyah Hart

    Fascinating new insights from the 238th meeting of the American Astronomical Society (US).

    Galaxies. Credit: S. Dagnello (NRAO) Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array(CL) (ESO [Observatoire européen austral][Europäische Südsternwarte] (EU) (CL)/National Astronomical Observatory of Japan [国立天文台](JP)/National Radio Astronomy Observatory (US))/

    Stars like our Sun are born in stellar nurseries – cosmic clouds of dust and gas that churn out thousands of astral progeny in their lifetimes.

    In two new papers [Astrophysical Journal Supplement series] [only one presented here] due to be presented this week at the 238th meeting of the American Astronomical Society, scientists have for the first time charted the stellar nurseries in the nearby Universe, challenging the prevailing notion that all clouds look and act the same.

    For six years between 2013 and 2019, the international team of astronomers used the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimetre Array (ALMA) in the Atacama desert of northern Chile to survey 100,000 stellar nurseries across 90 galaxies, with the aim of understanding how they connect to their parent galaxies.

    This was part of the PHANGS (Physics at High Angular Resolution in Nearby GalaxieS) project.

    “To understand how stars form we need to link the birth of a single star back to its place in the Universe,” says Eva Schinnerer, an astronomer at the MPG Institute for Astronomy [MPG Institut für Astronomie](DE), Germany, and principal investigator of PHANGS.

    “It’s like linking a person to their home, neighbourhood, city, and region. If a galaxy represents a city, then the neighbourhood is the spiral arm, the house the star-forming unit, and nearby galaxies are neighbouring cities in the region.

    These observations have taught us that the ‘neighbourhood’ has small but pronounced effects on where and how many stars are born.”

    The team compared the molecular properties and star formation processes at different galactic regions, including galaxy discs, stellar bars, spiral arms and galaxy centres, and confirmed that location plays a key role in star formation.

    Annie Hughes, an astronomer at Research Institute in Astrophysics and Planetology [Institut de Recherche en Astrophysique et Planétologie ](FR), France, says that this is the first time scientists have a snapshot of what star-forming clouds are really like across such a broad range of different galaxies.

    “We found that the properties of star-forming clouds depend on where they are located: clouds in the dense central regions of galaxies tend to be more massive, denser, and more turbulent than clouds that reside in the quiet outskirts of a galaxy.

    “The lifecycle of clouds also depends on their environment. How fast a cloud forms stars and the process that ultimately destroys the cloud both seem to depend on where the cloud lives.”

    Co-author Erik Rosolowsky, a physicist at the University of Alberta (CA) says this complex mapping would not have been possible without ALMA.

    “We are finally seeing the diversity of star-forming gas across many galaxies and are able to understand how they are changing over time. It was impossible to make these detailed maps before ALMA,” says Rosolowsky. “This new atlas contains 90 of the best maps ever made that reveal where the next generation of stars is going to form.”

    This epic cosmic chart is just one of the crowning achievements of ALMA. Another paper, also due for presentation at the AAS meeting, details findings from radio astronomy observations of organic molecules in planetary nebulae.

    A planetary nebula is created when certain stars reach the end of their life cycle: as the dying star sheds its mass into space and becomes a white dwarf, it emits strong UV radiation, which was traditionally believed to break up any molecules into their constituent atoms.

    The team behind the paper, led by Lucy Ziurys at the University of Arizona, used ALMA to observe radio emissions from hydrogen cyanide (HCN), formyl ion (HCO+) and carbon monoxide (CO) in five planetary nebulae: M2-48, M1-7, M3-28, K3-45 and K3-58. They found that organic molecules manage to escape being torn apart, and these nebulae may in fact seed space with the molecules key for the formation of new stars and planets.

    “It was thought that molecular clouds which would give rise to new stellar systems would have to start from scratch and form these molecules from atoms,” says Ziurys. “But if the process starts with molecules instead, it could dramatically accelerate chemical evolution in nascent star systems.”

    See the full article here .

    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    Stem Education Coalition

  • richardmitnick 7:51 pm on May 18, 2021 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: "Microscopic device harvests power from heat", COSMOS (AU), If you can capture heat radiating into deep space then you can get power anytime anywhere., Optical rectennas, Rectennas are composed of an antenna which absorbs light in the form of electromagnetic waves attached to rectifying diodes which convert the received energy into DC power., Rectennas=“rectifying antennas”, The more efficient rectenna works by exploiting an enigmatic property of electrons that allows them to pass through solid matter without using any energy., This process is called resonant tunnelling.,   

    From University of Colorado Boulder (US) via COSMOS (AU): “Microscopic device harvests power from heat” 

    U Colorado

    From University of Colorado Boulder (US)


    Cosmos Magazine bloc


    19 May 2021
    Lauren Fuge

    Scientists have used quantum phenomena to build the most efficient “optical rectennas”.

    Optical rectenna. Older version 2015 Georgia Tech and https://www.mwrf.com

    Credit: wragg / Getty Images.

    US scientists have designed the most efficient “optical rectenna” yet. This tiny device, too small to be seen with the naked eye, can turn excess heat from the environment into usable electricity – and might be a game-changer for renewable energy.

    Rectennas (“rectifying antennas”) have been around for over 50 years – in 1964, they were used to power a small helicopter with microwaves. They’re composed of an antenna which absorbs light in the form of electromagnetic waves attached to rectifying diodes which convert the received energy into DC power.

    However, in order to capture optical wavelengths (as first demonstrated in 2015) rectennas need to be super small – much thinner than a human hair. This is a difficult feat, not least because the smaller an electrical device becomes, the higher its resistance and the lower its power output.

    “You need this device to have very low resistance, but it also needs to be really responsive to light,” explains Amina Belkadi from the University of Colorado Boulder, lead author of the new paper published in Nature Communications.
    [No image of U Colorado device available.]

    “Anything you do to make the device better in one way would make the other worse.”

    But Belkadi and team have now sidestepped the problem entirely, seeking a solution in the quantum realm.

    In traditional rectennas, the power-generation process involves electrons passing through an insulator, which adds resistance to a device and reduces the electricity output.

    Their newer, more efficient rectenna works by exploiting an enigmatic property of electrons that allows them to pass through solid matter without using any energy.

    “They go in like ghosts,” says Belkadi.

    This process, called resonant tunnelling, hasn’t before been applied to rectennas.

    Counter-intuitively, the researchers added two insulators to their device instead of one, creating a quantum “well”. If an electron hits it with the right energy, the particle can simply tunnel right through both insulators without any resistance, like a ghost drifting through walls.

    “If you choose your materials right and get them at the right thickness, then it creates this sort of energy level where electrons see no resistance,” says Belkadi. “They just go zooming through.”

    Researchers had previously suggested that this was possible in theoretical modelling, but this the first time it has been demonstrated in an energy-harvesting optical rectenna.

    In theory, rectennas could harvest otherwise wasted heat from places like factory smokestacks or bakery ovens, turning it into power – although efficiency is an issue.

    Belkadi and team tested a network of 250,000 rectennas on a hot plate in the lab, and found that they could capture less than 1% of the heat produced.

    “Right now, the efficiency is really low, but it’s going to increase,” says co-author Garret Moddel, also from the University of Colorado Boulder. “This innovation makes a significant step toward making rectennas more practical.”

    Modell foresees rectennas in wide use, installed on solar panels on the ground and on lighter-than-air vehicles in the atmosphere.

    “If you can capture heat radiating into deep space then you can get power anytime anywhere.”

    See the full article here .


    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    Stem Education Coalition

    U Colorado Campus

    As the flagship university of the state of Colorado University of Colorado Boulder (US), founded in 1876, five months before Colorado became a state. It is a dynamic community of scholars and learners situated on one of the most spectacular college campuses in the country, and is classified as an R1 University, meaning that it engages in a very high level of research activity. As one of 34 U.S. public institutions belonging to the prestigious Association of American Universities (AAU), a selective group of major research universities in North America, – and the only member in the Rocky Mountain region – we have a proud tradition of academic excellence, with five Nobel laureates and more than 50 members of prestigious academic academies.

    CU-Boulder has blossomed in size and quality since we opened our doors in 1877 – attracting superb faculty, staff, and students and building strong programs in the sciences, engineering, business, law, arts, humanities, education, music, and many other disciplines.

    Today, with our sights set on becoming the standard for the great comprehensive public research universities of the new century, we strive to serve the people of Colorado and to engage with the world through excellence in our teaching, research, creative work, and service.

    In 2015, the university comprised nine colleges and schools and offered over 150 academic programs and enrolled almost 17,000 students. Five Nobel Laureates, nine MacArthur Fellows, and 20 astronauts have been affiliated with CU Boulder as students; researchers; or faculty members in its history. In 2010, the university received nearly $454 million in sponsored research to fund programs like the Laboratory for Atmospheric and Space Physics and JILA. CU Boulder has been called a Public Ivy, a group of publicly funded universities considered as providing a quality of education comparable to those of the Ivy League.

    The Colorado Buffaloes compete in 17 varsity sports and are members of the NCAA Division I Pac-12 Conference. The Buffaloes have won 28 national championships: 20 in skiing, seven total in men’s and women’s cross country, and one in football. The university has produced a total of ten Olympic medalists. Approximately 900 students participate in 34 intercollegiate club sports annually as well.

    On March 14, 1876, the Colorado territorial legislature passed an amendment to the state constitution that provided money for the establishment of the University of Colorado in Boulder, the Colorado School of Mines(US) in Golden, and the Colorado State University (US) – College of Agricultural Sciences in Fort Collins.

    Two cities competed for the site of the University of Colorado: Boulder and Cañon City. The consolation prize for the losing city was to be home of the new Colorado State Prison. Cañon City was at a disadvantage as it was already the home of the Colorado Territorial Prison. (There are now six prisons in the Cañon City area.)

    The cornerstone of the building that became Old Main was laid on September 20, 1875. The doors of the university opened on September 5, 1877. At the time, there were few high schools in the state that could adequately prepare students for university work, so in addition to the University, a preparatory school was formed on campus. In the fall of 1877, the student body consisted of 15 students in the college proper and 50 students in the preparatory school. There were 38 men and 27 women, and their ages ranged from 12–23 years.

    During World War II, Colorado was one of 131 colleges and universities nationally that took part in the V-12 Navy College Training Program which offered students a path to a navy commission.

    CU hired its first female professor, Mary Rippon, in 1878. It hired its first African-American professor, Charles H. Nilon, in 1956, and its first African-American librarian, Mildred Nilon, in 1962. Its first African American female graduate, Lucile Berkeley Buchanan, received her degree in 1918.

    Research institutes

    CU Boulder’s research mission is supported by eleven research institutes within the university. Each research institute supports faculty from multiple academic departments, allowing institutes to conduct truly multidisciplinary research.

    The Institute for Behavioral Genetics (IBG) is a research institute within the Graduate School dedicated to conducting and facilitating research on the genetic and environmental bases of individual differences in behavior. After its founding in 1967 IBG led the resurging interest in genetic influences on behavior. IBG was the first post-World War II research institute dedicated to research in behavioral genetics. IBG remains one of the top research facilities for research in behavioral genetics, including human behavioral genetics, psychiatric genetics, quantitative genetics, statistical genetics, and animal behavioral genetics.

    The Institute of Cognitive Science (ICS) at CU Boulder promotes interdisciplinary research and training in cognitive science. ICS is highly interdisciplinary; its research focuses on education, language processing, emotion, and higher level cognition using experimental methods. It is home to a state of the art fMRI system used to collect neuroimaging data.

    ATLAS Institute is a center for interdisciplinary research and academic study, where engineering, computer science and robotics are blended with design-oriented topics. Part of CU Boulder’s College of Engineering and Applied Science, the institute offers academic programs at the undergraduate, master’s and doctoral levels, and administers research labs, hacker and makerspaces, and a black box experimental performance studio. At the beginning of the 2018–2019 academic year, approximately 1,200 students were enrolled in ATLAS academic programs and the institute sponsored six research labs.[64]

    In addition to IBG, ICS and ATLAS, the university’s other institutes include Biofrontiers Institute, Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental Sciences, Institute of Arctic & Alpine Research (INSTAAR), Institute of Behavioral Science (IBS), JILA, Laboratory for Atmospheric & Space Physics (LASP), Renewable & Sustainable Energy Institute (RASEI), and the University of Colorado Museum of Natural History.

  • richardmitnick 7:44 pm on May 17, 2021 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: "Dating the stars- most accurate red giant age yet", , , , COSMOS (AU), Gaia Data Release 2, , The Milky Way had already started making stars before it merged with Gaia-Enceladus.,   

    From University of Birmingham (UK) via COSMOS (AU): “Dating the stars- most accurate red giant age yet” 

    From University of Birmingham (UK)


    Cosmos Magazine bloc


    18 May 2021
    Deborah Devis

    Artist’s impression of the structure of a solar-like star and a red giant. The two images are not to scale – the scale is given in the lower right corner. Credit: Wikimedia Commons.

    Researchers have successfully dated some of our galaxy’s oldest stars back to a cosmic collision, using data from Gaia Data Release 2 and other spectroscopic surveys on their oscillations and chemical composition.

    The team, led by Josefina Montalbán of the University of Birmingham, UK, investigated the age of some red giant stars that were originally part of a satellite dwarf galaxy called Gaia-Enceladus, which collided with the Milky Way 11.5 billion years ago.

    In their study, published in Nature Astronomy, the researchers surveyed 100 red giant stars and found that the Gaia-Enceladus stars were all similar in age or slightly younger than the other stars that began life in the Milky Way. This builds on the existing theory that the Milky Way had already started making stars before it merged with Gaia-Enceladus.

    “The chemical composition, location and motion of the stars we can observe today in the Milky Way contain precious information about their origin,” says Montalbán.

    “As we increase our knowledge of how and when these stars were formed, we can start to better understand how the merger of Gaia-Enceladus with the Milky Way affected the evolution of our Galaxy.”

    As part of their analysis, they used a technique called asteroseismology, which measures relative frequency and amplitudes of the natural modes of oscillations of stars. This gives information about the size and internal structure of stars, which then helps estimate star age.

    They combined this data with spectroscopy – a technique that measures light and radiation produced by matter – to identify the chemical composition of the stars, which also reveals information about age.

    “We have shown the huge potential of asteroseismology in combination with spectroscopy to deliver precise, accurate relative ages for individual, very old, stars,” says co-author Andrea Miglio of the University of Bologna [Alma mater studiorum – Università di Bologna](IT).

    “Taken together, these measurements contribute to sharpen our view on the early years of our Galaxy and promise a bright future for Galactic archeoastronomy.”

    See the full article here .


    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    Stem Education Coalition

    University of Birmingham (UK) has been challenging and developing great minds for more than a century. Characterised by a tradition of innovation, research at the University has broken new ground, pushed forward the boundaries of knowledge and made an impact on people’s lives. We continue this tradition today and have ambitions for a future that will embed our work and recognition of the Birmingham name on the international stage.

    The University of Birmingham is a public research university located in Edgbaston, Birmingham, United Kingdom. It received its royal charter in 1900 as a successor to Queen’s College, Birmingham (founded in 1825 as the Birmingham School of Medicine and Surgery), and Mason Science College (established in 1875 by Sir Josiah Mason), making it the first English civic or ‘red brick’ university to receive its own royal charter. It is a founding member of both the Russell Group (UK) of British research universities and the international network of research universities, Universitas 21.

    The student population includes 23,155 undergraduate and 12,605 postgraduate students, which is the 7th largest in the UK (out of 169). The annual income of the institution for 2019–20 was £737.3 million of which £140.4 million was from research grants and contracts, with an expenditure of £667.4 million.

    The university is home to the Barber Institute of Fine Arts, housing works by Van Gogh, Picasso and Monet; the Shakespeare Institute; the Cadbury Research Library, home to the Mingana Collection of Middle Eastern manuscripts; the Lapworth Museum of Geology; and the 100-metre Joseph Chamberlain Memorial Clock Tower, which is a prominent landmark visible from many parts of the city. Academics and alumni of the university include former British Prime Ministers Neville Chamberlain and Stanley Baldwin, the British composer Sir Edward Elgar and eleven Nobel laureates.

    Scientific discoveries and inventions

    The university has been involved in many scientific breakthroughs and inventions. From 1925 until 1948, Sir Norman Haworth was Professor and Director of the Department of Chemistry. He was appointed Dean of the Faculty of Science and acted as Vice-Principal from 1947 until 1948. His research focused predominantly on carbohydrate chemistry in which he confirmed a number of structures of optically active sugars. By 1928, he had deduced and confirmed the structures of maltose, cellobiose, lactose, gentiobiose, melibiose, gentianose, raffinose, as well as the glucoside ring tautomeric structure of aldose sugars. His research helped to define the basic features of the starch, cellulose, glycogen, inulin and xylan molecules. He also contributed towards solving the problems with bacterial polysaccharides. He was a recipient of the Nobel Prize in Chemistry in 1937.

    The cavity magnetron was developed in the Department of Physics by Sir John Randall, Harry Boot and James Sayers. This was vital to the Allied victory in World War II. In 1940, the Frisch–Peierls memorandum, a document which demonstrated that the atomic bomb was more than simply theoretically possible, was written in the Physics Department by Sir Rudolf Peierls and Otto Frisch. The university also hosted early work on gaseous diffusion in the Chemistry department when it was located in the Hills building.

    Physicist Sir Mark Oliphant made a proposal for the construction of a proton-synchrotron in 1943, however he made no assertion that the machine would work. In 1945, phase stability was discovered; consequently, the proposal was revived, and construction of a machine that could surpass proton energies of 1 GeV began at the university. However, because of lack of funds, the machine did not start until 1953. The DOE’s Brookhaven National Laboratory (US) managed to beat them; they started their Cosmotron in 1952, and had it entirely working in 1953, before the University of Birmingham.

    In 1947, Sir Peter Medawar was appointed Mason Professor of Zoology at the university. His work involved investigating the phenomenon of tolerance and transplantation immunity. He collaborated with Rupert E. Billingham and they did research on problems of pigmentation and skin grafting in cattle. They used skin grafting to differentiate between monozygotic and dizygotic twins in cattle. Taking the earlier research of R. D. Owen into consideration, they concluded that actively acquired tolerance of homografts could be artificially reproduced. For this research, Medawar was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society. He left Birmingham in 1951 and joined the faculty at University College London (UK), where he continued his research on transplantation immunity. He was a recipient of the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine in 1960.

  • richardmitnick 7:32 pm on April 22, 2021 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: "Spinning stars speedier than expected", , , , , , COSMOS (AU),   

    From University of Birmingham (UK) via COSMOS (AU)</a: "Spinning stars speedier than expected" 

    From University of Birmingham (UK)


    Cosmos Magazine bloc


    23 April 2021
    Lauren Fuge

    The study of vibrations within stars (called asteroseismology) can be used to measure properties such as a star’s rotation, mass and age. Credit: Mark Garlick / University of Birmingham.

    Asteroseismologists confirm older stars rotate faster than previously thought.

    From planets to galaxies, asteroids to black holes, everything in the universe moves and spins, largely thanks to the good old conservation of angular momentum.

    Stars are born spinning too, but as they age, they begin to slow down. Astronomers theorise that this is due to a process called “magnetic braking”, where solar winds are caught by the star’s magnetic field and rob it of angular momentum.

    Now, a new study led by the UK’s University of Birmingham shows that old stars aren’t slowing down as quickly as the magnetic braking theory predicts.

    This confirms previous observations made back in 2016, which studied the spinning of stars by tracking the movement of dark spots across their surface. But this new paper – published in Nature Astronomy – uses a different method called asteroseismology.

    Seismology may be a more familiar field: it’s the study of seismic waves (vibrations) through the Earth’s crust, used to predict and understand earthquakes. Asteroseismology uses a similar principle to study the sound waves that move through the internal structure of stars.

    These waves cause oscillations of certain frequencies, which are visible on the surface of the star as vibrations. As the stars spin, the frequencies change slightly – imagine listening to the sirens of two ambulances change as they drive around a roundabout.

    By observing how the surface vibrations vary over time, the research team could calculate the star’s rate of rotation – as well as other properties like its mass and age.

    “Although we’ve suspected for some time that older stars rotate faster than magnetic braking theories predict, these new asteroseismic data are the most convincing yet to demonstrate that this ‘weakened magnetic braking’ is actually the case,” says lead author Oliver Hall from the University of Birmingham.

    “Models based on young stars suggest that the change in a star’s spin is consistent throughout their lifetime, which is different to what we see in these new data.”

    The team is now working on understanding how a star’s magnetic field interacts with its rotation, which may be key to solving this inconsistency.

    This kind of research could also help astronomers understand how our Sun will evolve over the next few billion years.

    “This work helps place in perspective whether or not we can expect reduced solar activity and harmful space weather in the future,” concludes co-author Guy Davies, also from the University of Birmingham.

    See the full article here .


    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    Stem Education Coalition

    U Birmingham (UK) has been challenging and developing great minds for more than a century. Characterised by a tradition of innovation, research at the University has broken new ground, pushed forward the boundaries of knowledge and made an impact on people’s lives. We continue this tradition today and have ambitions for a future that will embed our work and recognition of the Birmingham name on the international stage.

  • richardmitnick 7:14 pm on April 5, 2021 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: "First continents formed with a dash of mantle water", , COSMOS (AU), , , ,   

    From Curtin University (AU) via COSMOS (AU): “First continents formed with a dash of mantle water” 

    From Curtin University (AU)


    Cosmos Magazine bloc


    5 April 2021

    Chris Kirkland, Curtin University
    Hugh Smithies, Curtin University
    Tim Johnson, Curtin University

    Karijini National Park, in the Pilbara region of Western Australia. Credit: TED MEAD / Getty Images.

    Earth is an amazing planet. As far as we know, it’s the only planet in the universe where life exists. It’s also the only planet known to have continents: the land masses on which we live and which host the minerals needed to support our complex lives.

    Experts still vigorously debate how the continents formed. We do know water was an essential ingredient for this — and many geologists have proposed this water would have come from Earth’s surface via subduction zones (as is the case now).

    But our new research [Nature] shows this water would have actually come from deep within the planet. This suggests Earth in its youth behaved very differently to how it does today, containing more primordial water than previously thought.

    How to grow a continent

    The solid Earth is comprised of a series of layers including a dense iron-rich core, thick mantle and a rocky outer layer called the lithosphere.

    But it wasn’t always this way. When Earth first formed about 4.5 billion years ago, it was a ball of molten rock that was regularly pummelled by meteorites.

    As it cooled over a period of a billion years or so, the first continents began to emerge, made of pale-coloured granite. Exactly how they came to be has long intrigued scientists.

    Earth comprises a core, mantle and outer crust. Credit: Shutterstock.

    To make granitic continental crust capable of floating, dark volcanic rocks known as basalts have to be melted. Basalts, which are formed as a result of melting in the mantle, would have covered Earth when the planet was starting out.

    However, to make continental crust from basalt requires another essential ingredient: water. Knowing how this water got into the rocks at enough depth is key to understanding how the first continents formed.

    One mechanism of taking water to depth is through subduction. This is how most new continental crust is produced today, including the Andes mountain range in South America.

    In subduction zones, rocky plates at the bottom of the ocean chill and become increasingly dense until they’re forced under the continents and back into the mantle below, taking ocean water with them.

    When this water interacts with basalt in the mantle, it creates granitic crust. But Earth was much hotter billions of years ago, so many experts have argued subduction (at least in the form we currently understand) couldn’t have operated [Nature].

    Long linear mountain belts such as the Andes contrast starkly with the structure of the granitic crust preserved in the Pilbara region of outback Western Australia.

    This ancient crust viewed from above has a “dome-and-keel” pattern, with balloons (domes) of pale-coloured granite rising into the surrounding darker and denser basalts (the keels).

    Satellite images of the Pilbara Craton, Western Australia. Pale-coloured granite domes are surrounded by dark-coloured basalts. Credit: Google Earth.

    But where did the water needed to produce these domes come from?

    Tiny crystals record Earth’s early history

    Our research, led by scientists at the Geological Survey of Western Australia and Curtin University, addressed this question. We analysed tiny crystals trapped in the ancient magmas that cooled and solidified to form the Pilbara’s granite domes.

    These crystals, made of a mineral called zircon, contain uranium which turns into lead over time. We know the rate of this change, and can measure the amounts of uranium and lead contained within. As such, we can obtain a record of their age.

    Zircon crystals grown in an ancient magma.

    The crystals also contain clues to their origin, which can be unravelled by measuring their oxygen isotope composition. Importantly, zircons that crystallised in molten rocks hydrated by water from Earth’s surface have different compositions to zircons that formed deep in the mantle.

    Measurements show the water required for the most primitive ancient WA granites would have come from deep within Earth’s mantle and not from the surface.

    Chris Kirkland (left) and Tim Johnson loading samples into a secondary-ion mass spectrometer, which shoots a beam of ions into zircon crystals to determine their age and oxygen isotope composition.

    Is the present always the key to the past?

    How the first continents formed is part of a broader debate regarding one of the central tenets of the physical sciences: uniformitarianism. This is the idea that the processes which operated on Earth in the distant past are the same as those observed today.

    Earth today loses heat through plate tectonics, when the ridged lithospheric plates that form the planet’s solid, outer shell move around. This helps regulate its internal temperature, stabilises atmospheric composition, and probably also facilitated the development of complex life.

    Subduction is one of the most important components of this process. But several lines of evidence [Terra Nova] are inconsistent with subduction and plate tectonics on an early Earth. They indicate strongly that our planet behaved very differently in the first two billion years following its formation than it does today.

    So while uniformitarianism is a useful way to think about many geological processes, the present may not always be the key to the past.

    See the full article here .


    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    Stem Education Coalition

    Curtin University (AU) (formerly known as Curtin University of Technology and Western Australian Institute of Technology) is an Australian public research university based in Bentley and Perth, Western Australia. The university is named after the 14th Prime Minister of Australia, John Curtin, and is the largest university in Western Australia, with over 58,000 students (as of 2016).

    Curtin would like to pay respect to the indigenous members of our community by acknowledging the traditional owners of the land on which the Perth campus is located, the Wadjuk people of the Nyungar Nation; and on our Kalgoorlie campus, the Wongutha people of the North-Eastern Goldfields.

    Curtin was conferred university status after legislation was passed by the Parliament of Western Australia in 1986. Since then, the university has been expanding its presence and has campuses in Singapore, Malaysia, Dubai and Mauritius. It has ties with 90 exchange universities in 20 countries. The University comprises five main faculties with over 95 specialists centres. The University formerly had a Sydney campus between 2005 & 2016. On 17 September 2015, Curtin University Council made a decision to close its Sydney campus by early 2017.

    Curtin University is a member of Australian Technology Network (ATN), and is active in research in a range of academic and practical fields, including Resources and Energy (e.g., petroleum gas), Information and Communication, Health, Ageing and Well-being (Public Health), Communities and Changing Environments, Growth and Prosperity and Creative Writing.

    It is the only Western Australian university to produce a PhD recipient of the AINSE gold medal, which is the highest recognition for PhD-level research excellence in Australia and New Zealand.

    Curtin has become active in research and partnerships overseas, particularly in mainland China. It is involved in a number of business, management, and research projects, particularly in supercomputing, where the university participates in a tri-continental array with nodes in Perth, Beijing, and Edinburgh. Western Australia has become an important exporter of minerals, petroleum and natural gas. The Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao visited the Woodside-funded hydrocarbon research facility during his visit to Australia in 2005.

  • richardmitnick 8:33 am on February 5, 2021 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: "Tectonic timelapse", , Claude Bernard University Lyon 1 [Université Claude-Bernard Lyon 1] (FR), COSMOS (AU), , , This just in: one billion years of Earth’s history in 40 seconds.   

    From Claude Bernard University Lyon 1 [Université Claude-Bernard Lyon 1] (FR) via COSMOS (AU): “Tectonic timelapse” 

    From Claude Bernard University Lyon 1 [Université Claude-Bernard Lyon 1] (FR)


    Cosmos Magazine bloc


    4 February 2021
    Lauren Fuge

    This just in: one billion years of Earth’s history in 40 seconds.

    It’s not often you can click play and watch deep time unspool before your eyes.

    An international team of scientists has just released [Earth-Science Reviews] the first full tectonic plate reconstruction of the last billion years – spanning nearly a quarter of the Earth’s existence.

    It’s mesmerising: like ill-fitting jigsaw pieces, bits of continents slam together and morph into supercontinents, break apart, and then crash back together in new formations – with each second of the video leaping forward 25 million years.

    According to Alan Collins, a geologist from the University of Adelaide who is part of the research team, this is going to help us understand how complex life began.

    It’s only in the last billion years of the Earth’s 4.5-billion-year history that life worked out how to form cells, combine them, and make complicated creatures.

    “We have a million hypotheses of why this happened, but absolutely none of them are scientific at the moment,” Collins says. “We have no models for what the world looked like.”

    Though scientists know that many of the elements required by life – like the phosphorous in our DNA – came from the deep Earth and must have been hauled up to the surface at some point, we have no big-picture understanding of how the Earth’s many complex, interrelated systems have evolved over time. This lack of framework means we can’t quantify or test models about the Earth’s climate or the evolution of life.

    But this reconstruction – soon to be published in the journal Earth Science Reviews and led by Andrew Merdith from France’s Université of Lyon – could be the answer.

    Researchers from France, Canada, China and Australia pulled together decades of geological data to reconstruct the planet’s tectonic pulse, then input it into a piece of software developed by the EarthByte research group, at the University of Sydney.

    Called GPlates, the software is like GIS – a system for representing data related to positions on the Earth’s surface – but reaches back in time in an attempt to map the world on the grandest possible scale of history: where the plate boundaries were and how they evolved, how continents collided and how they ripped apart.

    Distribution of continental crust, ocean basins and plate boundaries in the plate model at 0 Ma (current day). Credit: Merdith et al. 2021 (Earth Science Reviews).

    “This really is an astonishing result,” says Louis Moresi, a geologist from the Australian National University who was not involved in the research.

    Moresi explains that it’s extremely difficult to figure out what the world looked like in the past, particularly because the seafloor doesn’t last very long: it’s always being recycled into the deep Earth at subduction zones.

    “That means we don’t actually have any plates as old as a billion years – nothing more than about 200 million years – everything is gone five times over!” he says. “So there is a lot of indirect evidence strung together to make this possible.”

    Previous models of plate movement were mostly based on the idea of continental drift by looking at continental rocks. The location of certain rocks at the time of their formation can be determined by looking at their “frozen in” signature of the Earth’s magnetic field. From this signature, paleomagnetic geologists can figure out their original latitude – even if their home continent has drifted thousands of kilometres since.

    But this is a tricky technique. These “time machine” rocks need to contain radioactive materials in order to accurately be dated. It’s also difficult to find old specimens that haven’t been deformed, melted or reset.

    Plus, since it’s hard to figure out where the ancient oceans were, previous plate reconstructions were missing a massive chunk of data.

    Instead, this new research focused on plate boundaries and working out how they shifted over time.

    “The plates are continually shoving the continents around and crashing them into each other,” Moresi explains. “That means the geological record is full of evidence of old plate boundaries and the past actions of plates.

    “We have billions of years of the continental record – for example, old mountain belts leave traces in the rock and sedimentary record even after being eroded – so we have evidence for plates from a billion years ago even though they are long gone into the mantle.”

    This is what the team was looking for: they dug up, scrutinised and synthesised research from over the past few decades, including figuring out where mountains were (indicated by the places continents have hit each other), where ocean basins were (which is where the continents rifted and spread apart), and the bathymetry of the ocean (which is the ocean’s depth relative to sea level; it has all sorts to do with the locations of mid-ocean ridges, and the subduction zones, and trenches).

    “It’s really just data mining on this whole-Earth scale,” Collins says – and when they pieced it together, they produced “a horrendous, four-dimensional jigsaw puzzle: three dimensions on the surface, and then it goes through time as well”.

    In 2017, the collaboration produced a similar full-plate reconstruction stretching 1–0.5 billion years ago, a span of time that encompasses some of the most exciting moments in the history of Earth, including massive climate swings and the explosion of animal life.

    Now, the team have added the most recent 500 million years, bringing us all the way to modern day.

    This work is important not just for pure geological understanding, but to give context to the incredible changes that have swept across the Earth over the past billion years.

    Starting around 720 million years ago, two massive ice ages engulfed the planet in glaciers from pole to equator in an event dubbed Snowball Earth. When we emerged from the ice, protozoa – the first true animals – evolved. By 635 million years ago, the first complex multicellular organisms were flourishing in warm and shallow seas, and then 500 million years ago life exploded with diversity, giving rise to the ancestors of all animals we know today.

    Illustration of the Earth, with the continents in their present form, but with the planet completely iced over. The Snowball Earth hypothesis suggests that, hundreds of millions of years ago, the Earth may have frozen solid like this as a result of severe climate change. Credit: MARK GARLICK/SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY/Getty Images.

    Climate events like Snowball Earth are thought to be interrelated with both plate tectonics and the evolution of life, in an intricate web of cause-and-effect.

    For example, large-scale weathering of mountain chains may have plunged us into an ice age. Global glaciers would have ground down mountains and sent a flood of nutrients out to sea, which may have caused bacteria to bloom and churn out oxygen, changing the composition of the atmosphere to the one we are familiar with today – the atmosphere that life as we know it evolved within.

    “Without plate tectonics, guaranteed we wouldn’t be here,” Collins notes.

    This kind of global plate reconstruction can help scientists begin to understand – and quantify – the complex relationships between the Earth’s system.

    It’s just one thread in the pursuit of an all-encompassing Earth systems theory, asking some of the broadest questions in Earth science: how did the planet come to be? Why does it move and breathe like it does? How did life arise?

    But to more accurately answer these questions, this model needs to be a lot more detailed: right now, it’s largely 2D, showing the size and position of the plates on the Earth’s surface over time. The next step is to build upwards, figuring out where mountains were at what time, and how long the mountain ranges were at different altitudes, as this is key to understanding their influence on climate.

    The model will also undoubtedly change as it is subject to scrutiny, feedback and collaboration by other researchers around the world, who will hopefully help expand the dataset and refine the map.

    “I would imagine the more recent part of the model is very robust, [while] the more ancient parts will be less well constrained,” Moresi notes.

    Collins readily admits that there was a fair bit of guesswork involved in producing the model – which is why it’s never been done before.

    “No one’s put their neck out enough to get it cut off by trying to produce these models – because everything on them is controversial,” he explains. “For every interpretation of every rock in the middle of Africa or whatever, somebody else will have a different age, or think it was formed in a different tectonic setting.”

    But even building this model is a step forward, because they have put it into a format that other researchers can work on. The software, GPlates, is intentionally user-friendly and open source. Anyone can come in and disagree – push a date back a few hundred million years, or interpret a piece of data as a rift margin rather than a subduction zone – then play around with the model based on their expertise.

    This model is very much a first step, Collins says, “but you’ve got to start somewhere”.

    There’s also potential to reach back and reconstruct the Earth even more distantly in time, to two billion years ago and beyond.

    “There’s so much we don’t know about,” Collins says. “Geology is really young – plate tectonics as a theory is only 50 or 50 years old, so we’re still working out all these things about the modern earth, let alone how it was 300 million years ago.

    “But the beautiful thing is, the evidence is all there. It’s all in the rocks around the continents – it’s just about learning new ways to read them.”

    See the full article here .

    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    Stem Education Coalition

    Claude Bernard University Lyon 1 [Université Claude-Bernard Lyon], is one of the three public universities of Lyon, France. It is named after the French physiologist Claude Bernard and specialises in science and technology, medicine, and sports science. It was established in 1971 by the merger of the “faculté des sciences de Lyon” with the “faculté de médecine”.

    The main administrative, teaching and research facilities are located in Villeurbanne, with other campuses located in Gerland, Rockefeller, and Laennec in the 8th arrondissement of Lyon. Attached to the University are the Hospices Civils de Lyon, including the “Centre Hospitalier Lyon-Sud”, which is the largest teaching hospital in the Rhône-Alpes region and the second-largest in France.[citation needed]

    Of the 2630 faculty, 700 are medical practitioners at local teaching hospitals. The university has been independent since January 2009 and has an annual budget of over €420 million.

    On 17 March 1808, Napoleon I founded the University of France, a national organisation with responsibility for formal education from primary through to university level. This decree created the Academy of Lyon within the University and established the Lyon Faculty of Science. The Lyon Faculty of Medicine was founded on 8 November 1874 and was later merged with the Faculty of Science on 8 December 1970 to create Claude Bernard University.

Compose new post
Next post/Next comment
Previous post/Previous comment
Show/Hide comments
Go to top
Go to login
Show/Hide help
shift + esc
%d bloggers like this: