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  • richardmitnick 10:41 am on July 24, 2019 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , MSU-Michigan State University   

    From Michigan State University: “USING BIG DATA” 

    Michigan State Bloc

    From Michigan State University

    July 24, 2019

    Solving the world’s biggest challenges

    About 2.5 quintillion bytes of data are created every day around the world. Now a first-of-its-kind research group at Michigan State University is on a mission to extract meaningful information from immense data sets to create solutions for some of society’s biggest challenges.

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    The Department of Computational Mathematics, Science and Engineering’s collaborative environment brings together biologists, engineers, astronomers and mathematicians as well as undergrads and grad students. These researchers create models that help tackle complex problems like researching dying stars so we can understand the origins of matter, mapping Earth’s interior to better predict earthquakes and developing novel ideas in network theory to explain complex diseases.

    “When disciplines come together — or even collide — it pushes researchers to look at similar problems in very different ways,” says Arjun Krishnan, assistant professor in the department. “It allows scientists and students to extend their reach, discover new things and be better scientists.”

    See the full article here .


    five-ways-keep-your-child-safe-school-shootings

    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    Stem Education Coalition

    Michigan State Campus

    Michigan State University (MSU) is a public research university located in East Lansing, Michigan, United States. MSU was founded in 1855 and became the nation’s first land-grant institution under the Morrill Act of 1862, serving as a model for future land-grant universities.

    MSU pioneered the studies of packaging, hospitality business, plant biology, supply chain management, and telecommunication. U.S. News & World Report ranks several MSU graduate programs in the nation’s top 10, including industrial and organizational psychology, osteopathic medicine, and veterinary medicine, and identifies its graduate programs in elementary education, secondary education, and nuclear physics as the best in the country. MSU has been labeled one of the “Public Ivies,” a publicly funded university considered as providing a quality of education comparable to those of the Ivy League.

    Following the introduction of the Morrill Act, the college became coeducational and expanded its curriculum beyond agriculture. Today, MSU is the seventh-largest university in the United States (in terms of enrollment), with over 49,000 students and 2,950 faculty members. There are approximately 532,000 living MSU alumni worldwide.

     
  • richardmitnick 7:37 am on May 22, 2019 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , Cancer Cell Line Encyclopedia, Database of Genotypes and Phenotypes, Gene Expression Omnibus, , MSU-Michigan State University, MSU’s Global Impact Initiative, Organoids, Scientists are using a lot of genomic data to identify medical issues sooner in patients but also using it to assist their scientific counterparts in researching diseases better., The Cancer Genome Atlas   

    From Michigan State University: “Big data helps identify better way to research breast cancer’s spread” 

    Michigan State Bloc

    From Michigan State University

    May 15, 2019
    Sarina Gleason
    Media Communications office
    (517) 355-9742
    sarina.gleason@cabs.msu.edu

    Bin Chen
    College of Human Medicine office
    616-234-2819
    chenbi12@msu.edu

    Scientists are using a lot of genomic data to identify medical issues sooner in patients, but they’re also using it to assist their scientific counterparts in researching diseases better.

    In a new study, Michigan State University researchers are analyzing large volumes of data, often referred to as big data, to determine better research models to fight the spread of breast cancer and test potential drugs. Current models used in the lab frequently involve culturing cells on flat dishes, or cell lines, to model tumor growth in patients.

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    The study is published in Nature Communications.

    This spreading, or metastasis, is the most common cause of cancer-related death, with around 90% of patients not surviving. To date, few drugs can treat cancer metastasis and knowing which step could go wrong in the drug discovery process can be a shot in the dark.

    “The differences between cell lines and tumor samples have raised the critical question to what extent cell lines can capture the makeup of tumors,” said Bin Chen, senior author and assistant professor in the College of Human Medicine.

    To answer this question, Chen and Ke Liu, first author of the study and a postdoctoral scholar, performed an integrative analysis of data taken from genomic databases including The Cancer Genome Atlas, Cancer Cell Line Encyclopedia, Gene Expression Omnibus and the database of Genotypes and Phenotypes.

    “Leveraging open genomic data to discover new cancer therapies is our ultimate goal,” said Chen, who is part of MSU’s Global Impact Initiative. “But before we begin to pour a significant amount of money into expensive experiments, we need to evaluate early research models and choose the appropriate one for drug testing based on genomic features.”

    By using this data, the researchers found substantial differences between lab-created breast cancer cell lines and actual advanced, or metastatic, breast cancer tumor samples. Surprisingly, MDA-MB-231, a cancer cell line used in nearly all metastatic breast cancer research, showed little genomic similarities to patient tumor samples.

    “I couldn’t believe the result,” Chen said. “All evidence pointed to large differences between the two. But, on the flip side, we were able to identify other cell lines that closely resembled the tumors and could be considered, along with other criteria, as better options for this research.”

    The organoid model was found to most likely mirror patient samples. This newly developed technology uses 3D tissue cultures and can capture more of the complexities of how tumors form and grow.

    “Studies have shown that organoids can preserve the structural and genetic makeup of the original tumor,” Chen said. “We found at the gene expression level, it was able to do this, more so than cancer cell lines.”

    However, Chen and Liu added that both the organoids and cell lines couldn’t adequately model the immediate molecular landscape surrounding a tumor found at different sites in the body.

    They said knowing all these factors will help scientists interpret results, especially unexpected ones, and urge the scientific community to develop more sophisticated research models.

    “Our study demonstrates the power of leveraging open data to gain insights on cancer,” Chen said. “Any advances we can make in early research will help us facilitate the discovery of better therapies for people with breast cancer down the road.”

    See the full article here .


    five-ways-keep-your-child-safe-school-shootings

    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    Stem Education Coalition

    Michigan State Campus

    Michigan State University (MSU) is a public research university located in East Lansing, Michigan, United States. MSU was founded in 1855 and became the nation’s first land-grant institution under the Morrill Act of 1862, serving as a model for future land-grant universities.

    MSU pioneered the studies of packaging, hospitality business, plant biology, supply chain management, and telecommunication. U.S. News & World Report ranks several MSU graduate programs in the nation’s top 10, including industrial and organizational psychology, osteopathic medicine, and veterinary medicine, and identifies its graduate programs in elementary education, secondary education, and nuclear physics as the best in the country. MSU has been labeled one of the “Public Ivies,” a publicly funded university considered as providing a quality of education comparable to those of the Ivy League.

    Following the introduction of the Morrill Act, the college became coeducational and expanded its curriculum beyond agriculture. Today, MSU is the seventh-largest university in the United States (in terms of enrollment), with over 49,000 students and 2,950 faculty members. There are approximately 532,000 living MSU alumni worldwide.

     
  • richardmitnick 11:57 am on May 9, 2019 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: A new genetically engineered shell based on natural structures and the principles of protein evolution., , Bacteria across our planet contain nanometer-sized factories that do many different things., , , MSU-Michigan State University, , Natural protein shells   

    From Michigan State University: “Simpler and smaller: A new synthetic nanofactory inspired by nature” 

    Michigan State Bloc

    From Michigan State University

    May 2, 2019
    Igor Houwat
    MSU-DOE Plant Research Laboratory office
    (517) 353-2223
    houwatig@msu.edu

    1

    Bacteria across our planet contain nanometer-sized factories that do many different things. Some make nutrients, others isolate toxic materials that could harm the bacteria. We have barely scratched the surface of their functional diversity.

    But all share a common exterior, a shell made of protein tiles, that Michigan State University researchers are learning how to manipulate in the lab. This will allow them to build factories of their own design, using the natural building blocks. Indeed, scientists see the structures as a source of new technologies. They are trying to repurpose them to do things they don’t in nature.

    In a new study, the lab of Cheryl Kerfeld reports a new genetically engineered shell, based on natural structures and the principles of protein evolution. The new shell is simpler, made of only a single designed protein. It will be easier to work with and, perhaps, even evolve in the lab. The study is published in ACS Synthetic Biology.

    Natural shells are made of up to three types of proteins. The most abundant is called BMC-H. Six BMC-H proteins come together to form a hexagon shape to tile the wall.

    At some time in evolutionary history, some pairs of BMC-H proteins became joined together, in tandem. Three of these mergers, called BMC-T, join to also form a hexagon shape.

    “The two halves of a BMC-T protein can evolve separately while staying next to each other, because they are fused together,” said Bryan Ferlez, a postdoc in the Kerfeld lab. “This evolution allows for diversity in the structures and functions of BMC-T shell proteins, something that we want to recreate by design in the lab.”

    Taking their cue from this natural evolution of shell proteins, the team created an artificial BMC-T protein, called BMC-H2, by fusing two BMC-H protein sequences together. The new design was successful.

    “To our surprise, BMC-H2 proteins form shells on their own,” said. Sean McGuire a former undergraduate research student and technician in the Kerfeld lab. “They look like wiffle balls, with gaps in the shell,”

    This is because natural shells are icoshedral, meaning that they are made of hexamers and pentamers—think of a soccer ball.

    Next, the team capped the gaps in the wiffle ball shell with BMC-P, the third type of shell protein that forms pentamers.

    “The result is a shell, about 25 nanometers wide, made up of only two protein types: the new BMC-H2 and BMC-P,” Bryan says. “It is around half the size of the structure built with all three protein types.”

    The next goal is to fit it with custom enzymes and fine tune it to enhance the chemical reactions within. The new ‘designer’ shell could have uses in biofuel production, medicine and industrial applications.

    See the full article here .


    five-ways-keep-your-child-safe-school-shootings

    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    Stem Education Coalition

    Michigan State Campus

    Michigan State University (MSU) is a public research university located in East Lansing, Michigan, United States. MSU was founded in 1855 and became the nation’s first land-grant institution under the Morrill Act of 1862, serving as a model for future land-grant universities.

    MSU pioneered the studies of packaging, hospitality business, plant biology, supply chain management, and telecommunication. U.S. News & World Report ranks several MSU graduate programs in the nation’s top 10, including industrial and organizational psychology, osteopathic medicine, and veterinary medicine, and identifies its graduate programs in elementary education, secondary education, and nuclear physics as the best in the country. MSU has been labeled one of the “Public Ivies,” a publicly funded university considered as providing a quality of education comparable to those of the Ivy League.

    Following the introduction of the Morrill Act, the college became coeducational and expanded its curriculum beyond agriculture. Today, MSU is the seventh-largest university in the United States (in terms of enrollment), with over 49,000 students and 2,950 faculty members. There are approximately 532,000 living MSU alumni worldwide.

     
  • richardmitnick 3:03 pm on April 11, 2019 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , Helical Carotenoid Protein, MSU-Michigan State University, , Photoprotection,   

    From Michigan State University: “MSU researchers discover light absorbing protein in cyanobacteria” 

    Michigan State Bloc

    From Michigan State University

    April 11, 2019

    Igor Houwat
    MSU-DOE Plant Research Laboratory office
    (517) 353-2223
    houwatig@msu.edu

    1

    Cyanobacteria are tiny, hardy organisms. Each cell is 25 times smaller than a human hair. Their collective ability to do photosynthesis is why we have air to breathe and a diverse and complex biosphere.

    Scientists are interested in what makes cyanobacteria great at photosynthesis. Some want to isolate and copy successful processes which would then be repurposed for human usage, like in medicine or for renewable energy.

    One of these processes is photoprotection. It includes a network of proteins that detect surrounding light levels and protect cyanobacteria from damages caused by overexposure to bright light.

    The lab of Cheryl Kerfeld at Michigan State University recently discovered a family of proteins, the Helical Carotenoid Protein, or HCP, that are the evolutionary ancestors of today’s photoprotective proteins. Although ancient, HCP still live on alongside their modern descendants.

    This discovery has opened new avenues to explore photoprotection and for the first time, the Kerfeld lab structurally and biophysically characterizes one of these proteins. They call it HCP2. The study is in the journal BBA-Bioenergetics.

    Structurally, the HCP2 is a monomer when isolated in a solution, but in its crystallized form, it curiously shows up as a dimer.

    “We don’t think that the dimer is the protein’s form when it is in the cyanobacteria,” says Maria Agustina Dominguez-Martin, a post-doc in the Kerfeld lab. “Most likely, HCP2 binds to a yet unknown partner. The dimer situation during crystallization is artificial, because the only available molecules in the environment are others like itself.”

    The scientists try to determine HCP2s functions. It is a good quencher of reactive oxygen species, damaging byproducts of photosynthesis. But since many other proteins can do that as well, Dominguez-Martin doesn’t think that is HCP2’s main function.

    “We have yet to identify a primary function,” Dominguez-Martin says. “The difficulty is that the HCP family is a recent discovery, so we don’t have much basis for comparison.”

    The ability to detect light is key for applications, especially in biotech. One promising area is optogenetics, a technology that uses light to control living cells. Optogenetics systems are like light switches that activate predetermined functions when struck by a light source.

    HCP2 could play a part in such applications. But this is all far down the road.

    “There are 9 evolutionary families of HCP to explore,” Dominguez-Martin said. “That adds up to hundreds of variants with possibly distinctive functions that we have yet to discover. With that in mind, we’re characterizing other proteins from the HCP family to expand our available data set.”

    Because these proteins likely play a role in photoprotection, they may represent a system that scientists could engineer for “smart photoprotection,” reducing wasteful photoprotection which would then help photosynthetic organisms become more efficient.

    See the full article here .


    five-ways-keep-your-child-safe-school-shootings

    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    Stem Education Coalition

    Michigan State Campus

    Michigan State University (MSU) is a public research university located in East Lansing, Michigan, United States. MSU was founded in 1855 and became the nation’s first land-grant institution under the Morrill Act of 1862, serving as a model for future land-grant universities.

    MSU pioneered the studies of packaging, hospitality business, plant biology, supply chain management, and telecommunication. U.S. News & World Report ranks several MSU graduate programs in the nation’s top 10, including industrial and organizational psychology, osteopathic medicine, and veterinary medicine, and identifies its graduate programs in elementary education, secondary education, and nuclear physics as the best in the country. MSU has been labeled one of the “Public Ivies,” a publicly funded university considered as providing a quality of education comparable to those of the Ivy League.

    Following the introduction of the Morrill Act, the college became coeducational and expanded its curriculum beyond agriculture. Today, MSU is the seventh-largest university in the United States (in terms of enrollment), with over 49,000 students and 2,950 faculty members. There are approximately 532,000 living MSU alumni worldwide.

     
  • richardmitnick 5:55 pm on March 13, 2019 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , , MSU-Michigan State University, Trihydrogen or H3+ is acknowledged by scientists as the molecule that made the universe.   

    From Michigan State University: “Understanding and controlling the molecule that made the universe” 

    Michigan State Bloc

    From Michigan State University

    March 13, 2019

    Layne Cameron
    Media Communications office
    (517) 353-8819
    cell: (765) 748-4827
    Layne.Cameron@cabs.msu.edu

    Marcos Dantus
    Chemistry office
    (517) 355-9715
    dantus@msu.edu

    Trihydrogen, or H3+, is acknowledged by scientists as the molecule that made the universe. In recent issues of Nature Communications and the Journal of Chemical Physics, Michigan State University researchers employed high-speed lasers to shine a spotlight on the mechanisms that are key in H3+ creation and its unusual chemistry.

    H3+ is prevalent in the universe, the Milky Way, gas giants and the Earth’s ionosphere. It’s also being created and studied in the lab of Marcos Dantus, University Distinguished Professor in chemistry and physics. Using ultrafast lasers – and technology invented by Dantus – a team of scientists is beginning to understand the chemistry of this iconic molecule.

    “Observing how roaming H2 molecules evolve to H3+ is nothing short of astounding,” Dantus said. “We first documented this process using methanol; now we’ve been able to expand and duplicate this process in a number of molecules and identified a number of new pathways.”

    Astrochemists see the big picture, observing H3+ and defining it through an interstellar perspective. It’s created so fast ­– in less time than it takes a bullet to cross an atom – that it is extremely difficult to figure out how three chemical bonds are broken and three new ones are formed in such a short timescale.

    That’s when chemists using femtosecond lasers come into play. Rather than study the stars using a telescope, Dantus’ team literally looks at the small picture. The entire procedure is viewed at the molecular level and is measured in femtoseconds – 1 millionth of 1 billionth of a second. The process the team views takes between 100 and 240 femtoseconds. Dantus knows this because the clock starts when he fires the first laser pulse. The laser pulse then “sees” what’s happening.

    The two-laser technique revealed the hydrogen transfer, as well as the hydrogen-roaming chemistry, that’s responsible for H3+ formation. Roaming mechanisms briefly generate a neutral molecule (H2) that stays in the vicinity and extracts a third hydrogen molecule to form H3+. And it turns out there’s more than one way it can happen. In one experiment involving ethanol, the team revealed six potential pathways, confirming four of them.

    Since laser pulses are comparable to sound waves, Dantus’ team discovered a “tune” that enhances H3+ formation and one that discourages formation. When converting these “shaped” pulses to a slide whistle, successful formation happens when the note starts flats, rises slightly and finishes with a downward, deeper dive. The song is music to the ears of chemists who can envision many potential applications for this breakthrough.

    “These chemical reactions are the building blocks of life in the universe,” Dantus said. “The prevalence of roaming hydrogen molecules in high-energy chemical reactions involving organic molecules and organic ions is relevant not only for materials irradiated with lasers, but also materials and tissues irradiated with x-rays, high energy electrons, positrons and more.”

    This study reveals chemistry that is relevant in terms of the universe’s formation of water and organic molecules. The secrets it could unlock, from astrochemical to medical, are endless, he added.

    MSU scientists who contributed to the Nature Communications paper included Nagitha Ekanayake, Muath Nairat, Nicholas Weingartz, Benjamin Farris, Benjamin Levine and James Jackson. Researchers from Kansas State University also contributed to this study.

    MSU scientists who contributed to the Journal of Chemical Physics paper included Ekanayake, Nairat, Matthew Michie, Weingartz and Levine.

    This research was funded by the Department of Energy and the National Science Foundation.

    (Note to media: Please include link to the original papers in online coverage: https://www.nature.com/articles/s41467-018-07577-0; https://aip.scitation.org/doi/10.1063/1.5070067)

    See the full article here .


    five-ways-keep-your-child-safe-school-shootings

    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    Stem Education Coalition

    Michigan State Campus

    Michigan State University (MSU) is a public research university located in East Lansing, Michigan, United States. MSU was founded in 1855 and became the nation’s first land-grant institution under the Morrill Act of 1862, serving as a model for future land-grant universities.

    MSU pioneered the studies of packaging, hospitality business, plant biology, supply chain management, and telecommunication. U.S. News & World Report ranks several MSU graduate programs in the nation’s top 10, including industrial and organizational psychology, osteopathic medicine, and veterinary medicine, and identifies its graduate programs in elementary education, secondary education, and nuclear physics as the best in the country. MSU has been labeled one of the “Public Ivies,” a publicly funded university considered as providing a quality of education comparable to those of the Ivy League.

    Following the introduction of the Morrill Act, the college became coeducational and expanded its curriculum beyond agriculture. Today, MSU is the seventh-largest university in the United States (in terms of enrollment), with over 49,000 students and 2,950 faculty members. There are approximately 532,000 living MSU alumni worldwide.

     
  • richardmitnick 2:08 pm on January 23, 2019 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , , MSU-Michigan State University   

    From Michigan State University: “Birth of massive black holes in the early universe revealed” 

    Michigan State Bloc

    From Michigan State University

    Jan. 23, 2019
    John Toon
    Layne Cameron
    Brian O’Shea

    The light released from around the first massive black holes in the universe is so intense that it is able to reach telescopes across the entire expanse of the universe. Incredibly, the light from the most distant black holes (or quasars) has been traveling to us for more than 13 billion light years. However, we do not know how these monster black holes formed.

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    A 30,000 light-year region from the Renaissance Simulation centered on a cluster of young galaxies that generate radiation (white) and metals (green) while heating the surrounding gas. A dark matter halo just outside this heated region forms three supermassive stars (inset) each over 1,000 times the mass of our sun that will quickly collapse into massive black holes and eventually supermassive black holes over billions of years. Photo by Advanced Visualization Lab, National Center for Supercomputing Applications

    New research led by researchers from Georgia Institute of Technology, Dublin City University, Michigan State University, the University of California at San Diego, the San Diego Supercomputer Center and IBM provides a new and extremely promising avenue for solving this cosmic riddle. The team showed that when galaxies assemble extremely rapidly – and sometimes violently – that can lead to the formation of very massive black holes. In these rare galaxies, normal star formation is disrupted and black hole formation takes over.

    The new study finds that massive black holes form in dense starless regions that are growing rapidly, turning upside down the long-accepted belief that massive black hole formation was limited to regions bombarded by the powerful radiation of nearby galaxies. Conclusions of the simulation-based study, to be reported Jan. 23 in the journal Nature and supported by funding from the National Science Foundation, the European Union and NASA, also finds that massive black holes are much more common in the universe than previously thought.

    The key criteria for determining where massive black holes formed during the universe’s infancy relates to the rapid growth of pre-galactic gas clouds that are the forerunners of all present-day galaxies, meaning that most supermassive black holes have a common origin forming in this newly discovered scenario, said John Wise, an associate professor in the Center for Relativistic Astrophysics in Georgia Tech’s School of Physics and the paper’s corresponding author. Dark matter collapses into halos that are the gravitational glue for all galaxies. Early rapid growth of these halos prevented the formation of stars that would have competed with black holes for gaseous matter flowing into the area.

    “In this study, we have uncovered a totally new mechanism that sparks the formation of massive black holes in particular dark matter halos,” Wise said. “Instead of just considering radiation, we need to look at how quickly the halos grow. We don’t need that much physics to understand it – just how the dark matter is distributed and how gravity will affect that. Forming a massive black hole requires being in a rare region with an intense convergence of matter.”

    When the research team found these black hole formation sites in the simulation they were at first stumped, said John Regan, research fellow in the Centre for Astrophysics and Relativity in Dublin City University. The previously accepted paradigm was that massive black holes could only form when exposed to high levels of nearby radiation.

    “Previous theories suggested this should only happen when the sites were exposed to high levels of star-formation killing radiation,” he said. “As we delved deeper, we saw that these sites were undergoing a period of extremely rapid growth. That was the key. The violent and turbulent nature of the rapid assembly, the violent crashing together of the galaxy’s foundations during the galaxy’s birth prevented normal star formation and led to perfect conditions for black hole formation instead. This research shifts the previous paradigm and opens up a whole new area of research.”

    The earlier theory relied on intense ultraviolet radiation from a nearby galaxy to inhibit the formation of stars in the black hole-forming halo, said Michael Norman, director of the San Diego Supercomputer Center at UC San Diego and one of the work’s authors. “While UV radiation is still a factor, our work has shown that it is not the dominant factor, at least in our simulations,” he explained.

    The research was based on the Renaissance Simulation suite, a 70-terabyte data set created on the Blue Waters supercomputer between 2011 and 2014 to help scientists understand how the universe evolved during its early years. To learn more about specific regions where massive black holes were likely to develop, the researchers examined the simulation data and found ten specific dark matter halos that should have formed stars given their masses but only contained a dense gas cloud. Using the Stampede2 supercomputer, they then re-simulated two of those halos – each about 2,400 light-years across – at much higher resolution to understand details of what was happening in them 270 million years after the Big Bang.

    “It was only in these overly-dense regions of the universe that we saw these black holes forming,” Wise said. “The dark matter creates most of the gravity, and then the gas falls into that gravitational potential, where it can form stars or a massive black hole.”

    The Renaissance Simulations are the most comprehensive simulations of the earliest stages of the gravitational assembly of the pristine gas composed of hydrogen and helium and cold dark matter leading to the formation of the first stars and galaxies. They use a technique known as adaptive mesh refinement to zoom in on dense clumps forming stars or black holes. In addition, they cover a large enough region of the early universe to form thousands of objects—a requirement if one is interested in rare objects, as is the case here. “The high resolution, rich physics and large sample of collapsing halos were all needed to achieve this result,” Norman said.

    The improved resolution of the simulation done for two candidate regions allowed the scientists to see turbulence and the inflow of gas and clumps of matter forming as the black hole precursors began to condense and spin. Their growth rate was dramatic.

    “Astronomers observe supermassive black holes that have grown to a billion solar masses in 800 million years,” Wise said. “Doing that required an intense convergence of mass in that region. You would expect that in regions where galaxies were forming at very early times.”

    Another aspect of the research is that the halos that give birth to black holes may be more common than previously believed.

    “An exciting component of this work is the discovery that these types of halos, though rare, may be common enough,” said Brian O’Shea, MSU astronomer. “We predict that this scenario would happen enough to be the origin of the most massive black holes that are observed, both early in the universe and in galaxies at the present day.”

    Future work with these simulations will look at the lifecycle of these massive black hole formation galaxies, studying the formation, growth and evolution of the first massive black holes across time. “Our next goal is to probe the further evolution of these exotic objects. Where are these black holes today? Can we detect evidence of them in the local Universe or with gravitational waves?” Regan asked.

    For these new answers, the research team – and others – may return to the simulations.

    “The Renaissance Simulations are sufficiently rich that other discoveries can be made using data already computed,” said Norman. “For this reason we have created a public archive at SDSC containing called the Renaissance Simulations Laboratory where others can pursue questions of their own.”

    This research was supported by the National Science Foundation and Hubble theory grants.

    See the full article here .


    five-ways-keep-your-child-safe-school-shootings

    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    Stem Education Coalition

    Michigan State Campus

    Michigan State University (MSU) is a public research university located in East Lansing, Michigan, United States. MSU was founded in 1855 and became the nation’s first land-grant institution under the Morrill Act of 1862, serving as a model for future land-grant universities.

    MSU pioneered the studies of packaging, hospitality business, plant biology, supply chain management, and telecommunication. U.S. News & World Report ranks several MSU graduate programs in the nation’s top 10, including industrial and organizational psychology, osteopathic medicine, and veterinary medicine, and identifies its graduate programs in elementary education, secondary education, and nuclear physics as the best in the country. MSU has been labeled one of the “Public Ivies,” a publicly funded university considered as providing a quality of education comparable to those of the Ivy League.

    Following the introduction of the Morrill Act, the college became coeducational and expanded its curriculum beyond agriculture. Today, MSU is the seventh-largest university in the United States (in terms of enrollment), with over 49,000 students and 2,950 faculty members. There are approximately 532,000 living MSU alumni worldwide.

     
  • richardmitnick 2:53 pm on August 3, 2018 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , MSU-Michigan State University, , ,   

    Michigan State University: “Upending astrophysics” 

    Michigan State Bloc

    Michigan State University

    Aug. 3, 2018
    Artemis Spyrou
    National Superconducting Cyclotron Laboratory office
    (517) 908-7141
    spyrou@nscl.msu.edu

    Hendrik Schatz
    National Superconducting Cyclotron Laboratory office
    (517) 908-7397
    schatz@nscl.msu.edu

    1
    New heavy nuclei are constantly generated in stars and other astronomical bodies. Erin O’Donnell, CC BY-ND Artemis Spyrou, Michigan State University and Hendrik Schatz, Michigan State University

    Nearly 70 years ago, astronomer Paul Merrill was watching the sky through a telescope at Mount Wilson Observatory in Pasadena, California. As he observed the light coming from a distant star, he saw signatures of the element technetium.


    Mt Wilson 100 inch Hooker Telescope, Mount Wilson, California, US, Altitude 1,742 m (5,715 ft)

    This was completely unexpected. Technetium has no stable forms – it’s what physicists call an “artificial” element. As Merrill himself put it with a bit of understatement, “It is surprising to find an unstable element in the stars.”

    Any technetium present when the star formed should have transformed itself into a different element, such as ruthenium or molybdenum, a very long time ago. As an artificial element, someone must have recently created the technetium Merrill spotted. But who or what could have done that in this star?

    On May 2, 1952, Merrill reported his discovery in the journal Science. Among the three interpretations offered by Merrill was the answer: Stars create heavy elements! Not only had Merrill explained a puzzling observation, he had also opened the door to understand our cosmic origins. Not many discoveries in science completely change our view of the world – but this one did. The newly revealed picture of the universe was simply mind-blowing, and the repercussions of this discovery are still driving nuclear science research today.

    2
    Technetium nuclei are transformed into Ruthenium or Molybdenum within a few million years – so if you spot them now, they can’t be left from the Big Bang billions of years ago. Erin O’Donnell, Michigan State University, CC BY-ND

    Where do elements come from?

    In the early 1950s, it was still unclear how the elements that make up our universe, our solar system, even our human bodies, were created. Initially, the most popular scenario was that they were all made in the Big Bang.

    First alternative scenarios were developed by renowned scientists of the time, like Hans Bethe (Nobel Prize in Physics, 1967), Carl Friedrich von Weizsäcker (Max-Plank Medal, 1957), and Fred Hoyle (Royal Medal, 1974). But no one really had come up with a convincing theory for the origin of the elements – until Paul Merrill’s observation.

    Merrill’s discovery marked the birth of a completely new field: stellar nucleosynthesis. It’s the study of how the elements, or more accurately their atomic nuclei, are synthesized in stars. It didn’t take long for scientists to start trying to figure out exactly what the process of element synthesis in stars entailed. This is where nuclear physics had to come into play, to help explain Merrill’s amazing observation.

    Fusing nuclei in the heart of a star

    Brick by brick, element by element, nuclear processes in stars take the abundant hydrogen atoms and build heavier elements, from helium and carbon all the way to technetium and beyond.

    Four prominent nuclear (astro)physicists of the time worked together, and in 1957 published the “Synthesis of the Elements in Stars”: Margaret Burbidge (Albert Einstein World Award of Science, 1988), Geoffrey Burbidge (Bruce Medal, 1999), William Fowler (Nobel Prize in Physics, 1983), and Fred Hoyle (Royal Medal, 1974). The publication, known as B2FH, still remains a reference for describing astrophysical processes in stars. Al Cameron (Hans Bethe Prize, 2006) in the same year independently arrived at the same theory in his paper “Nuclear Reactions in Stars and Nucleogenesis [PASP].”

    Here’s the story they put together.

    Stars are heavy. You’d think they would completely collapse in upon themselves because of their own gravity – but they don’t. What prevents this collapse is nuclear fusion reactions happening at the star’s center.

    4
    When atomic nuclei collide, they sometimes fuse, forming new elements. Borb, CC BY-SA

    Within a star are billions and billions of atoms. They’re zooming all around, sometimes colliding with one another. Initially the star is too cold, and when atoms’ nuclei collide they simply bounce off each other. As the star compresses because of its gravity, though, the temperature at its center increases. In such hot conditions, now when nuclei run into each other they have enough energy to merge together. This is what physicists call a nuclear fusion reaction.

    5
    Fusion reactions happen in different parts of a star. Technetium is created in the shell. ESO, CC BY-ND

    These nuclear reactions serve two purposes.

    First, they release energy that heats the star, providing the outward pressure that prevents its gravitational collapse and keeps the star in balance for billions of years. Second, they fuse light elements into heavier ones. And slowly, starting with hydrogen and helium, stars will make the technetium that Merrill observed, the calcium in our bones and the gold in our jewelry.

    Many different nuclear reactions are responsible for making all this happen. And they’re extremely difficult to study in the laboratory because nuclei are hard to fuse. That’s why, for more than six decades, nuclear physicists have continued to work to get a handle on the nuclear reactions that drive the stars.

    Astrophysicists still untangling element origins

    Today there are many more ways to observe the signatures of element creation throughout the universe.

    Very old stars record the composition of the universe way back at the time of their formation. As more and more stars of varying ages are found, their compositions begin to tell the story of element synthesis in our galaxy, from its formation shortly after the Big Bang to today.

    And the more researchers learn, the more complex the picture gets. In the last decade, observations provided evidence for a much broader range of element-creating processes than anticipated. For some of these processes, we do not even know yet in what kind of stars or stellar explosions they occur. But astrophysicists think all these stellar events have contributed their characteristic mix of elements into the swirling dust cloud that ultimately became our solar system.

    The most recent example comes from a neutron-star merger event tracked by gravitational and electromagnetic observatories around the world. This observation demonstrates that even merging neutron stars make a large contribution to the production of heavy elements in the universe – in this case the so-called Lanthanides that include elements such as Terbium, Neodynium and the Dysprosium used in cellphones. And just like at the time of Merrill’s discovery, nuclear scientists around the world are scrambling, working overtime at their accelerators, to figure out what nuclear reactions could possibly explain all these new observations.

    6
    Modern nucleosynthesis experiments, like those of the authors, are run on nuclear physics equipment including particle accelerators. National Superconducting Cyclotron Laboratory, CC BY-ND

    Discoveries that change our view of the world don’t happen every day. But when they do, they can provide more questions than answers. It takes a lot of additional work to find all the pieces of the new scientific jigsaw puzzle, put them together step by step and eventually arrive at a new understanding. Advanced astronomical observations with modern telescopes continue to reveal more and more secrets hidden in distant stars. State-of-the-art accelerator facilities study the nuclear reactions that create elements in stars. And sophisticated computer models put it all together, trying to recreate the parts of the universe we see, while reaching out toward the ones that are still hiding until the next major discovery.

    See the full article here .

    five-ways-keep-your-child-safe-school-shootings

    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    Stem Education Coalition

    Michigan State Campus

    Michigan State University (MSU) is a public research university located in East Lansing, Michigan, United States. MSU was founded in 1855 and became the nation’s first land-grant institution under the Morrill Act of 1862, serving as a model for future land-grant universities.

    MSU pioneered the studies of packaging, hospitality business, plant biology, supply chain management, and telecommunication. U.S. News & World Report ranks several MSU graduate programs in the nation’s top 10, including industrial and organizational psychology, osteopathic medicine, and veterinary medicine, and identifies its graduate programs in elementary education, secondary education, and nuclear physics as the best in the country. MSU has been labeled one of the “Public Ivies,” a publicly funded university considered as providing a quality of education comparable to those of the Ivy League.

    Following the introduction of the Morrill Act, the college became coeducational and expanded its curriculum beyond agriculture. Today, MSU is the seventh-largest university in the United States (in terms of enrollment), with over 49,000 students and 2,950 faculty members. There are approximately 532,000 living MSU alumni worldwide.

     
  • richardmitnick 9:24 am on July 12, 2018 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Calcium-59 and Calcium-60, , Heaviest known calcium atom discovered by MSU-led team, MSU-Michigan State University, , Riken Nishina Center   

    From Michigan State University: “Heaviest known calcium atom discovered by MSU-led team” 

    Michigan State Bloc

    4

    From Michigan State University

    July 11, 2018
    Karen King
    Facility for Rare Isotope Beams office
    517-908-7262
    kingk@frib.msu.edu

    Oleg Tarasov
    National Superconducting Cyclotron Laboratory office
    (517) 908-7320
    tarasov@nscl.msu.edu

    Researchers from Michigan State University and the RIKEN Nishina Center
    in Japan discovered eight new rare isotopes of the elements phosphorus, sulfur, chlorine, argon, potassium, scandium and, most importantly, calcium. These are the heaviest isotopes of these elements ever found.

    Isotopes are different forms of elements found in nature. Isotopes of each element contain the same number of protons, but a different number of neutrons. The more neutrons that are added to an element, the “heavier” it is. The heaviest isotope of an element represents the limit of how many neutrons the nucleus can hold.

    Also, isotopes of the same element have different physical properties. “Stable” isotopes live forever, while some heavy isotopes might only live for a few seconds. Some even heavier ones might barely exist fractions of a second before disintegrating.

    The most interesting short-lived isotopes synthesized during a recent experiment at RIKEN’s Radioactive Isotope Beam Factory were calcium-59 and calcium-60, which are now the most neutron-laden calcium isotopes known to science.

    3
    The superconducting ring cyclotron at the Riken Radioactive Isotope Beam Factory (RIBF)—the largest accelerator of its kind in the world.

    The nucleus of calcium-60 has 20 protons and twice as many neutrons. That’s 12 more neutrons than the heaviest of the stable calcium isotopes, calcium-48. This stable isotope disintegrates after living for hundreds of quintillion years, or 40 trillion times the age of the universe. In contrast, calcium-60 lives for a few thousandths of a second.

    Proving the existence of a certain isotope of an element can advance scientists’ understanding of the nuclear force – a longstanding quest in nuclear science.

    “At the heart of an atom, protons and neutrons are held together by the nuclear force, forming the atomic nucleus,” said Oleg Tarasov, a staff physicist at MSU’s National Superconducting Cyclotron Laboratory.

    2
    SeGA, a machine used to study rare isotopes, sits inside of the National Superconducting Cyclotron Laboratory

    “Scientists continue to research what combinations of protons and neutrons can exist in nature even if it is only for fleeting fractions of a second.”

    Alexandra Gade, professor of physics at MSU and NSCL chief scientist, is interested in the comparison of the new discoveries to nuclear models. In a way, these models paint a picture of the nucleus at different resolutions.

    “Some of these models that describe nuclei at the highest resolution scale predict that 20 protons and 40 neutrons will not hold together to form Ca-60,” Gade said. “The discovery of calcium-60 will prompt theorists to identify missing ingredients in their models.”

    Two of the other new isotopes of sulfur and chlorine, S-49 and Cl-52, were not predicted to exist by a number of models that paint a lower resolution picture of nuclei. Their ingredients can now be refined as well.

    Creating and identifying rare isotopes is the nuclear-physics version of a formidable needle-in-a-haystack problem. To synthesize these new isotopes, researchers accelerated an intense beam of heavy zinc particles onto a block of beryllium. In the resulting debris of the collision, with a minuscule chance, a rare isotope such as calcium-60 is formed. The intense zinc beam that enabled the discovery of calcium-59 and calcium-60 was provided by the RIBF, which is presently home to the world’s most powerful accelerator facility in the field. The isotopes calcium-57 and 58 were discovered in 2009 at NSCL.

    In the future, MSU’s Facility for Rare Isotope Beams will allow scientists to potentially make calcium-68 or even calcium-70, which may be the heaviest calcium isotopes.

    The research was supported by the National Science Foundation and MSU.

    This research was featured on the cover in the July 11 edition Physical Review Letters and was selected for an Editors’ Suggestion.

    The National Science Foundation’s National Superconducting Cyclotron Laboratory is a center for nuclear and accelerator science research and education. It is the nation’s premier scientific user facility dedicated to the production and study of rare isotopes.

    MSU is establishing FRIB as a new scientific user facility for the Office of Nuclear Physics in the U.S. Department of Energy Office of Science. Under construction on campus and operated by MSU, FRIB will enable scientists to make discoveries about the properties of rare isotopes in order to better understand the physics of nuclei, nuclear astrophysics, fundamental interactions, and applications for society, including in medicine, homeland security and industry.

    See the full article here .


    five-ways-keep-your-child-safe-school-shootings

    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    Stem Education Coalition

    Michigan State Campus

    Michigan State University (MSU) is a public research university located in East Lansing, Michigan, United States. MSU was founded in 1855 and became the nation’s first land-grant institution under the Morrill Act of 1862, serving as a model for future land-grant universities.

    MSU pioneered the studies of packaging, hospitality business, plant biology, supply chain management, and telecommunication. U.S. News & World Report ranks several MSU graduate programs in the nation’s top 10, including industrial and organizational psychology, osteopathic medicine, and veterinary medicine, and identifies its graduate programs in elementary education, secondary education, and nuclear physics as the best in the country. MSU has been labeled one of the “Public Ivies,” a publicly funded university considered as providing a quality of education comparable to those of the Ivy League.

    Following the introduction of the Morrill Act, the college became coeducational and expanded its curriculum beyond agriculture. Today, MSU is the seventh-largest university in the United States (in terms of enrollment), with over 49,000 students and 2,950 faculty members. There are approximately 532,000 living MSU alumni worldwide.

     
  • richardmitnick 4:54 pm on June 13, 2018 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , In 2016 four new elements were added: nihonium [113] moscovium [115] tennessine [117] and oganesson [118], Is there an end to the periodic table?, MSU-Michigan State University   

    From Michigan State University: “Is there an end to the periodic table?” This is For All The Chemists OUT There 

    Michigan State Bloc

    From Michigan State University

    Karen King
    Facility for Rare Isotope Beams office:
    517-908-7262
    kingk@frib.msu.edu

    Witold Nazarewicz
    Facility for Rare Isotope Beams office:
    (517) 908-7326
    witek@frib.msu.edu

    1

    2
    Witold Nazarewicz is the chief scientist at the Facility for Rare Isotope Beams and an MSU Hannah Distinguished Professor in physics. He is part of an international team of researchers that is unlocking the mysteries of atomic nuclei. Photo courtesy of the Facility for Rare Isotope Beams.

    As the 150th anniversary of the formulation of the Periodic Table of Chemical Elements looms, a Michigan State University professor probes the table’s limits in a recent Nature Physics Perspective.

    Next year will mark the 150th anniversary of the formulation of the periodic table created by Dmitry Mendeleev. Accordingly, the United Nations proclaimed 2019 as the International Year of the Periodic Table of Chemical Elements. At 150 years old, the table is still growing. In 2016, four new elements were added: nihonium, moscovium, tennessine and oganesson. Their atomic numbers – the number of protons in the nucleus that determines their chemical properties and place in the periodic table – are 113, 115, 117 and 118, respectively.

    It took a decade and worldwide effort to confirm these last four elements. And now scientists wonder: how far can this table go? Some answers can be found in a recent Nature Physics Perspective by Witek Nazarewicz [link is above], Hannah Distinguished Professor of Physics at MSU and chief scientist at the Facility for Rare Isotope Beams.

    All elements with more than 104 protons are labeled as “superheavy,” and are part of a vast, totally unknown land that scientists are trying to uncover. It is predicted that atoms with up to 172 protons can physically form a nucleus that is bound together by the nuclear force. That force is what prevents its disintegration, but only for a few fractions of a second.

    These lab-made nuclei are unstable and spontaneously decay soon after they are formed. For the ones heavier than oganesson, this might be so quick that it prevents them from having enough time to attract and capture an electron to form an atom. They will spend their entire lifetime as congregations of protons and neutrons.

    If that is the case, this would challenge the way scientists today define and understand atoms. They can no longer be described as a central nucleus with electrons orbiting it much like planets orbit the sun.

    And as to whether these nuclei can form at all, it is still a mystery.

    Scientists are slowly but surely crawling into that region, synthesizing element by element, not knowing what they will look like, or where the end is going to be. The search for element 119 continues at several labs, mainly at the Joint Institute for Nuclear Research in Russia, at GSI in Germany and RIKEN in Japan.

    “Nuclear theory lacks the ability to reliably predict the optimal conditions needed to synthesize them, so you have to make guesses and run fusion experiments until you find something. In this way, you could run for years,” said Nazarewicz.

    Although the new Facility for Rare Isotope Beams at MSU is not going to produce these superheavy systems, at least within its current design, it might shed light on what reactions could be used, pushing the boundaries of current experimental methods. If element 119 is confirmed, it will add an eighth period to the periodic table.

    This was captured by the Elemental haiku by Mary Soon Lee:

    Will the curtain rise?

    Will you open the eighth act?

    Claim the center stage?

    The discovery might not be too far off. Soon could be now or in two to three years, Nazarewicz said.

    Another exciting question remains. Can superheavy nuclei be produced in space? It is thought that these can be made in neutron star mergers, a stellar collision so powerful that it literally shakes the very fabric of the universe. In stellar environments like this where neutrons are abundant, a nucleus can fuse with more and more neutrons to form a heavier isotope. It would have the same proton number and therefore is the same element but heavier. The challenge here is that heavy nuclei are so unstable that they break down long before adding more neutrons and forming these superheavy nuclei. This hinders their production in stars. The hope is that through advanced simulations, scientists will be able to “see” these elusive nuclei through the observed patterns of the synthesized elements.

    As experimental capabilities progress, scientists will pursue these heavier elements to add to the remodeled table. In the meantime, they can only wonder what fascinating applications these exotic systems will have.

    “We don’t know what they look like, and that’s the challenge,” Nazarewicz said. “But what we have learned so far could possibly mean the end of the periodic table as we know it.”

    MSU is establishing FRIB as a new scientific user facility for the Office of Nuclear Physics in the U.S. Department of Energy Office of Science. Under construction on campus and operated by MSU, FRIB will enable scientists to make discoveries about the properties of rare isotopes in order to better understand the physics of nuclei, nuclear astrophysics, fundamental interactions, and applications for society, including in medicine, homeland security and industry.

    See the full article here .


    five-ways-keep-your-child-safe-school-shootings

    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    Stem Education Coalition

    Michigan State Campus

    Michigan State University (MSU) is a public research university located in East Lansing, Michigan, United States. MSU was founded in 1855 and became the nation’s first land-grant institution under the Morrill Act of 1862, serving as a model for future land-grant universities.

    MSU pioneered the studies of packaging, hospitality business, plant biology, supply chain management, and telecommunication. U.S. News & World Report ranks several MSU graduate programs in the nation’s top 10, including industrial and organizational psychology, osteopathic medicine, and veterinary medicine, and identifies its graduate programs in elementary education, secondary education, and nuclear physics as the best in the country. MSU has been labeled one of the “Public Ivies,” a publicly funded university considered as providing a quality of education comparable to those of the Ivy League.

    Following the introduction of the Morrill Act, the college became coeducational and expanded its curriculum beyond agriculture. Today, MSU is the seventh-largest university in the United States (in terms of enrollment), with over 49,000 students and 2,950 faculty members. There are approximately 532,000 living MSU alumni worldwide.

     
  • richardmitnick 1:03 am on May 13, 2018 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , MSU-Michigan State University,   

    From Michigan State University: “Black holes aren’t totally black, and other insights from Stephen Hawking’s groundbreaking work” 

    Michigan State Bloc

    From Michigan State University

    May 8, 2018
    Chris Adami Microbiology and Molecular Genetics; Physics and Astronomy office
    (517) 884-5068
    adami@msu.edu

    1
    No image caption or credit.

    1
    What goes in doesn’t go out? NASA Goddard, CC BY Christoph Adami, Michigan State University

    Mathematical physicist and cosmologist Stephen Hawking was best known for his work exploring the relationship between black holes and quantum physics. A black hole is the remnant of a dying supermassive star that’s fallen into itself; these remnants contract to such a small size that gravity is so strong even light cannot escape from them. Black holes loom large in the popular imagination – schoolchildren ponder why the whole universe doesn’t collapse into one. But Hawking’s careful theoretical work filled in some of the holes in physicists’ knowledge about black holes.

    Why do black holes exist?

    The short answer is: Because gravity exists, and the speed of light is not infinite.

    Imagine you stand on Earth’s surface, and fire a bullet into the air at an angle. Your standard bullet will come back down, someplace farther away. Suppose you have a very powerful rifle. Then you may be able to shoot the bullet at such a speed that, rather than coming down far away, it will instead “miss” the Earth. Continually falling, and continually missing the surface, the bullet will actually be in an orbit around Earth. If your rifle is even stronger, the bullet may be so fast that it leaves Earth’s gravity altogether. This is essentially what happens when we send rockets to Mars, for example.

    Now imagine that gravity is much, much stronger. No rifle could accelerate bullets enough to leave that planet, so instead you decide to shoot light. While photons (the particles of light) do not have mass, they are still influenced by gravity, bending their path just as a bullet’s trajectory is bent by gravity. Even the heaviest of planets won’t have gravity strong enough to bend the photon’s path enough to prevent it from escaping.

    But black holes are not like planets or stars, they are the remnants of stars, packed into the smallest of spheres, say, just a few kilometers in radius. Imagine you could stand on the surface of a black hole, armed with your ray gun. You shoot upwards at an angle and notice that the light ray instead curves, comes down and misses the surface! Now the ray is in an “orbit” around the black hole, at a distance roughly what cosmologists call the Schwarzschild radius, the “point of no return.”

    Thus, as not even light can escape from where you stand, the object you inhabit (if you could) would look completely black to someone looking at it from far away: a black hole.

    3
    Hawking worked to popularize his cosmological insights. AP Photo/Keystone, Salvatore Di Nolfi

    But Hawking discovered that black holes aren’t completely black?

    The short answer is: Yes.

    My previous description of black holes used the language of classical physics – basically, Newton’s theory applied to light. But the laws of physics are actually more complicated because the universe is more complicated.

    In classical physics, the word “vacuum” means the total and complete absence of any form of matter or radiation. But in quantum physics, the vacuum is much more interesting, in particular when it is near a black hole. Rather than being empty, the vacuum is teeming with particle-antiparticle pairs that are created fleetingly by the vacuum’s energy, but must annihilate each other shortly thereafter and return their energy to the vacuum.

    You will find all kinds of particle-antiparticle pairs produced, but the heavier ones occur much more rarely. It’s easiest to produce photon pairs because they have no mass. The photons must always be produced in pairs so they’re moving away from each other and don’t violate the law of momentum conservation.

    3
    No light can be seen coming from a black hole outside the Schwarzschild radius. SubstituteR, CC BY-SA

    Now imagine that a pair is created just at that distance from the center of the black hole where the “last light ray” is circulating: the Schwarzschild radius. This distance could be far from the surface or close, depending on how much mass the black hole has. And imagine that the photon pair is created so that one of the two is pointing inward – toward you, at the center of the black hole, holding your ray gun. The other photon is pointing outward. (By the way, you’d likely be crushed by gravity if you tried this maneuver, but let’s assume you’re superhuman.)

    4
    A pair of photons that annihilate each other is labeled A. In a second pair of photons, labeled B, one enters the black hole while the other heads outward, setting up an energy debt that is paid by the black hole. Christoph Adami, CC BY-ND

    Now there’s a problem: The one photon that moved inside the black hole cannot come back out, because it’s already moving at the speed of light. The photon pair cannot annihilate each other again and pay back their energy to the vacuum that surrounds the black hole. But somebody must pay the piper and this will have to be the black hole itself. After it has welcomed the photon into its land of no return, the black hole must return some of its mass back to the universe: the exact same amount of mass as the energy the pair of photons “borrowed,” according to Einstein’s famous equality E=mc².

    This is essentially what Hawking showed mathematically. The photon that is leaving the black hole horizon will make it look as if the black hole had a faint glow: the Hawking radiation named after him. At the same time he reasoned that if this happens a lot, for a long time, the black hole might lose so much mass that it could disappear altogether (or more precisely, become visible again).

    Do black holes make information disappear forever?

    Short answer: No, that would be against the law.

    Many physicists began worrying about this question shortly after Hawking’s discovery of the glow. The concern is this: The fundamental laws of physics guarantee that every process that happens “forward in time,” can also happen “backwards in time.”

    This seems counter to our intuition, where a melon that splattered on the floor would never magically reassemble itself. But what happens to big objects like melons is really dictated by the laws of statistics. For the melon to reassemble itself, many gazillions of atomic particles would have to do the same thing backwards, and the likelihood of that is essentially zero. But for a single particle this is no problem at all. So for atomic things, everything you observe forwards could just as likely occur backwards.

    Now imagine that you shoot one of two photons into the black hole. They only differ by a marker that we can measure, but that does not affect the energy of the photon (this is called a “polarization”). Let’s call these “left photons” or “right photons.” After the left or right photon crosses the horizon, the black hole changes (it now has more energy), but it changes in the same way whether the left or right photon was absorbed.

    Two different histories now have become one future, and such a future cannot be reversed: How would the laws of physics know which of the two pasts to choose? Left or right? That is the violation of time-reversal invariance. The law requires that every past must have exactly one future, and every future exactly one past.

    Some physicists thought that maybe the Hawking radiation carries an imprint of left/right so as to give an outside observer a hint at what the past was, but no. The Hawking radiation comes from that flickering vacuum surrounding the black hole, and has nothing to do with what you throw in. All seems lost, but not so fast.

    In 1917, Albert Einstein showed that matter (even the vacuum next to matter) actually does react to incoming stuff, in a very peculiar way. The vacuum next to that matter is “tickled” to produce a particle-antiparticle pair that looks like an exact copy of what just came in. In a very real sense, the incoming particle stimulates the matter to create a pair of copies of itself – actually a copy and an anti-copy. Remember, random pairs of particle and antiparticle are created in the vacuum all the time, but the tickled-pairs are not random at all: They look just like the tickler.

    This copy process is known as the “stimulated emission” effect and is at the origin of all lasers. The Hawking glow of black holes, on the other hand, is just what Einstein called the “spontaneous emission” effect, taking place near a black hole.

    Now imagine that the tickling creates this copy, so that the left photon tickles a left photon pair, and a right photon gives a right photon pair. Since one partner of the tickled pairs must stay outside the black hole (again from momentum conservation), that particle creates the “memory” that is needed so that information is preserved: One past has only one future, time can be reversed, and the laws of physics are safe.

    In a cosmic accident, Hawking died on Einstein’s birthday, whose theory of light – it just so happens – saves Hawking’s theory of black holes.

    See the full article here .

    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    stem

    Stem Education Coalition

    Michigan State Campus

    Michigan State University (MSU) is a public research university located in East Lansing, Michigan, United States. MSU was founded in 1855 and became the nation’s first land-grant institution under the Morrill Act of 1862, serving as a model for future land-grant universities.

    MSU pioneered the studies of packaging, hospitality business, plant biology, supply chain management, and telecommunication. U.S. News & World Report ranks several MSU graduate programs in the nation’s top 10, including industrial and organizational psychology, osteopathic medicine, and veterinary medicine, and identifies its graduate programs in elementary education, secondary education, and nuclear physics as the best in the country. MSU has been labeled one of the “Public Ivies,” a publicly funded university considered as providing a quality of education comparable to those of the Ivy League.

    Following the introduction of the Morrill Act, the college became coeducational and expanded its curriculum beyond agriculture. Today, MSU is the seventh-largest university in the United States (in terms of enrollment), with over 49,000 students and 2,950 faculty members. There are approximately 532,000 living MSU alumni worldwide.

     
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