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  • richardmitnick 11:26 pm on February 10, 2022 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: "Future gravitational wave detector in space could uncover secrets of the Universe", , , , , Multimessenger astrophysics, The University of Nottingham (UK)   

    From The University of Nottingham (UK): “Future gravitational wave detector in space could uncover secrets of the Universe” 


    From The University of Nottingham (UK)

    10 February 2022

    Professor Thomas Sotiriou

    Jane Icke
    Media Relations Manager Science
    Phone: 0115 7486462

    New research has shown that future gravitational wave detections from space will be capable of finding new fundamental fields and potentially shed new light on unexplained aspects of the Universe.

    Professor Thomas Sotiriou from the University of Nottingham’s Centre of Gravity and Andrea Maselli, researcher at INFN LNGS – Gran Sasso National Laboratory [Laboratori Nazionali del Gran Sasso](IT), together with researchers from The International School for Advanced Studies [Scuola Internazionale Superiore di Studi Avanzati] (IT), and La Sapienza University of Rome [Sapienza Università di Roma](IT), showed the unprecedented accuracy with which gravitational wave observations by the space interferometer LISA (Laser Interferometer Space Antenna), will be able to detect new fundamental fields.

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

    The European Space Agency [La Agencia Espacial Europea] [Agence spatiale européenne][Europäische Weltraumorganisation](EU)National Aeronautics and Space Administration (US) eLISA space based, the future of gravitational wave research, due to launch in 2037.

    The research has been published in Nature Astronomy.

    In this new study researchers suggest that eLISA, the space-based gravitational-wave (GW) detector which is expected to be launched by The European Space Agency [La Agencia Espacial Europea] [Agence spatiale européenne][Europäische Weltraumorganisation](EU) in 2037 will open up new possibilities for the exploration of the Universe.

    Professor Thomas Sotiriou, Director of the Nottingham Centre of Gravity explains: “New fundamental fields, and in particular scalars, have been suggested in a variety of scenarios: as explanations for Dark Matter, as the cause for the accelerated expansion of the Universe, or as low-energy manifestations of a consistent and complete description of gravity and elementary particles. We have now shown that eLISA will offer unprecedented capabilities in detecting scalar fields and this offers exciting opportunities for testing these scenarios.”

    Observations of astrophysical objects with weak gravitational fields and small spacetime curvature have provided no evidence of such fields so far. However, there is reason to expect that deviations from General Relativity, or interactions between gravity and new fields, will be more prominent at large curvatures. For this reason, the detection of GWs – which opened a novel window on the strong-field regime of gravity – represents an unique opportunity to detect these fields.

    Extreme Mass Ratio Inspirals (EMRI) in which a stellar-mass compact object, either a black hole or a neutron star, inspirals into black hole up to millions of times the mass of the Sun, are among the target sources of eLISA, and provide a golden arena to probe the strong-field regime of gravity. The smaller body performs tens of thousands of orbital cycles before it plunges into the supermassive black hole and this leads to long signals that can allow us to detect even the smallest deviations from the predictions of Einstein’s theory and the Standard Model of Particle Physics.

    The researchers have developed a new approach for modelling the signal and performed for the first time a rigorous estimate of eLISA’s capability to detect the existence of scalar fields coupled with the gravitational interaction, and to measure how much scalar field is carried by the small body of the EMRI. Remarkably, this approach is theory-agnostic, since it does not depend on the origin of the charge itself, or on the nature of the small body. The analysis also shows that such measurement can be mapped to strong bounds on the theoretical parameters that mark deviations from General Relativity or the Standard Model.

    LISA will be devoted to detect gravitational waves by astrophysical sources, will operate in a constellation of three satellites,orbiting around the Sun millions of kilometers far away each other. LISA will observe gravitational waves emitted at low frequency, within a band not available to terrestrial interferometers due to environmental noise. The visible spectrum for LISA will allow to study new families of astrophysical sources, different from those observed by Virgo and LIGO, as the EMRIs, opening a new window on the evolution of compact objects in a large variety of environments of our Universe.

    See the full article here .


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    The University of Nottingham (UK) is a public research university in Nottingham, United Kingdom. It was founded as University College Nottingham in 1881, and was granted a royal charter in 1948. The University of Nottingham belongs to the elite research intensive The Russell Group Association .

    Nottingham’s main campus (University Park) with Jubilee Campus and teaching hospital (Queen’s Medical Centre) are located within the City of Nottingham, with a number of smaller campuses and sites elsewhere in Nottinghamshire and Derbyshire. Outside the UK, the university has campuses in Semenyih, Malaysia, and Ningbo, China. Nottingham is organised into five constituent faculties, within which there are more than 50 schools, departments, institutes and research centres. Nottingham has about 45,500 students and 7,000 staff, and had an income of £703.6 million in 2019/20, of which £105.0 million was from research grants and contracts. The institution’s alumni have been awarded a variety of prestigious accolades, including 3 Nobel Prizes, a Fields Medal, a Turner Prize, and a Gabor Medal and Prize. The university is a member of the Association of Commonwealth Universities (UK), The European University Association, the The Russell Group Association, Universitas 21, Universities UK, The Virgo Consortium, and participates in the Sutton Trust Summer School programme as a member of the Sutton 30.

  • richardmitnick 3:13 pm on January 26, 2022 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: "International research network welcomes new partners", BRIdge the Disciplines related to the Galactic Chemical Evolution-or BRIDGCE, Chemical Elements as Tracers of the Evolution of the Cosmos- Infrastructures for Nuclear Astrophysics-ChETEC-INFRA, , , Michigan State University-led International Research Network for Nuclear Astrophysics expands to include three new partners in global quest to answer science’s most important questions., Multimessenger astrophysics, The Canadian Nuclear Physics for Astrophysics Network-or CaNPAN,   

    From The Michigan State University (US): “International research network welcomes new partners” 

    Michigan State Bloc

    From The Michigan State University (US)

    Jan. 20, 2022
    Karen King

    The Michigan State University-led International Research Network for Nuclear Astrophysics has expanded to include three new partners in its global quest to answer science’s most important questions.
    Credit: FRIB at The Michigan State University (US)

    Michigan State University-led International Research Network for Nuclear Astrophysics expands to include three new partners in global quest to answer science’s most important questions.

    Science is a team sport. Searching for answers to science’s fundamental questions requires not only team effort, but the effort of multiple teams across multiple countries.

    In its quest to answer questions about the evolution and properties of cosmic matter and the origin of the world’s chemical elements, the International Research Network for Nuclear Astrophysics, or IReNA, supported by the National Science Foundation (US) and headquartered at Michigan State University, is expanding to include three new crucial research partners.

    IReNA’s new member networks are:

    BRIdge the Disciplines related to the Galactic Chemical Evolution-or BRIDGCE, is a United Kingdom-wide network supported by the Science and Technology Facilities Council, part of UK Research and Innovation. The goal of this network is to facilitate connections across the different disciplines involved in the study of the origin of the elements and using chemical elements as tracers of the universe’s evolution.

    The Canadian Nuclear Physics for Astrophysics Network-or CaNPAN, in Canada is a collaboration of astrophysicists and nuclear physicists. Its goal is to use Canadian nuclear physics facilities, expertise and equipment — in conjunction with Canadian computing resources — to provide education and advances in the understanding of the creation of the chemical elements and the role of stars in the universe.

    Chemical Elements as Tracers of the Evolution of the Cosmos- Infrastructures for Nuclear Astrophysics-ChETEC-INFRA, in Europe has partner institutions in 17 countries. It provides them access to the infrastructures necessary for nuclear astrophysics research: astronuclear laboratories, supercomputers and telescopes.

    They join six other networks that comprise IReNA: Joint Institute for Nuclear Astrophysics – Center for the Evolution of the Elements, or JINA-CEE; Chemical Elements as Tracers of the Evolution of the Cosmos, or ChETEC; ExtreMe Matter Institute, or EMMI; Nucleosynthesis Grid collaboration, or NuGRID; Collaborative Research Center “The Milky Way System,” or SFB 881; and Japan Forum of Nuclear Astrophysics/UKAKUREN.

    “We are very excited about the ‘bridge over the Atlantic Ocean’ joining the UK BRIDGCE research network and U.S.-based IReNA,” said Chiaki Kobayashi, chair of BRIDGCE’s steering committee and professor of astrophysics at The University of Hertfordshire (UK). “This bridge opens up excellent opportunities to exchange multidisciplinary knowledge and expertise, establish international connections and enhance training of the next generation of researchers. Our goal is to understand the origin of elements such as gold and platinum in the universe.”

    Since its founding in 2019, IReNA has improved communication across countries and disciplines to take advantage of developments in astronomy, nuclear experiments and theory. It is enabled by NSF’s AccelNet program dedicated to support strategic linkages among U.S. research networks and complementary networks abroad. IReNA employs a novel mechanism of connecting regional research networks across the world into a global network of networks.

    IReNA allows its new member networks to expand their access to laboratories and telescopes. IReNA benefits from the expanded pool of expertise and resources provided by the new member networks.

    “For CaNPAN to be able to join the IReNA network is a great opportunity to further collaboration between Canadian nuclear astrophysics researchers and their colleagues in the U.S. and around the world,” said Chris Ruiz, senior scientist at TRIUMF- Canada’s particle accelerator centre [Centre canadien d’accélération des particules](CA) and CaNPAN representative. “Also importantly, it connects students to their peers in the field and really fosters community among the future leaders of the field.”

    “We are excited to partner with IReNA to accelerate progress in our field,” said Daniel Bemmerer, ChETEC-INFRA representative and nuclear astrophysics group leader at The Helmholtz Center Dresden-Rossendorf [Helmholtz-Zentrum Dresden-Rossendorf](DE). “For example, we plan to offer complimentary access to ChETEC-INFRA infrastructures, partner in organizing meetings and improve the worldwide visibility of smaller European research institutions.”

    Nuclear astrophysics is a multidisciplinary field that addresses scientific questions at the intersection of nuclear physics and astrophysics. Research networks connecting nuclear physicists, astronomers and modelers are key to making progress.

    For example, when the observatories known as LIGO and Virgo announced the detection of gravitational waves from the collision of two neutron stars — neutron star merger GW170817 — in August 2017, the event was followed up by detection of electromagnetic emission by a coordinated network of ground and space-based telescopes.

    Caltech/MIT Advanced aLigo at Hanford, WA(US), Livingston, LA(US) and VIRGO Gravitational Wave interferometer, near Pisa(IT).

    This was the first cosmic event observed in both gravitational waves and light. Astronomy and nuclear astrophysics have since entered the multimessenger era. These multimessengers inform modelers about key nuclear physics input needed to understand how chemical elements are synthesized in such energetic cosmic events.

    More powerful accelerators and more sophisticated detectors at both radioactive and stable beam facilities allow for the measurements of short-lived nuclear species never before accessible. The Facility for Rare Isotope Beams, or FRIB, in the United States, for example, will soon produce some of these ephemeral rare isotopes.

    “There hasn’t been a more exciting time to be a researcher in this field,” said Hendrik Schatz, University Distinguished Professor with faculty appointments at FRIB and in MSU’s Department of Physics and Astronomy and director of IReNA and JINA-CEE. Schatz conducts nuclear research at FRIB. “We are at the crossroads of unprecedented scientific opportunities. By building networks of networks like IReNA, we are well-equipped to fully exploit these opportunities and to really accelerate science. We are also able to train the new generation of nuclear astrophysicists in a global and multidisciplinary environment.”

    IReNA is a National Science Foundation AccelNet Network of Networks. AccelNet is designed to accelerate the process of scientific discovery and prepare the next generation of U.S. researchers for multiteam international collaborations. The AccelNet program supports strategic linkages among U.S. research networks and complementary networks abroad that will leverage research and educational resources to tackle grand scientific challenges that require significant coordinated international efforts. Learn more at http://www.irenaweb.org.

    Michigan State University operates FRIB as a user facility for the Office of Nuclear Physics in the U.S. Department of Energy Office of Science.

    Hosting the most powerful heavy-ion accelerator, 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.

    The U.S. Department of Energy Office of Science is the single largest supporter of basic research in the physical sciences in the United States and is working to address some of today’s most pressing challenges. For more information, visit http://www.energy.gov/science.

    See the full article here .


    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

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    Michigan State Campus

    The Michigan State University (US) is a public research university located in East Lansing, Michigan, United States. Michigan State University (US) 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.

    The university was founded as the Agricultural College of the State of Michigan, one of the country’s first institutions of higher education to teach scientific agriculture. After the introduction of the Morrill Act, the college became coeducational and expanded its curriculum beyond agriculture. Today, Michigan State University (US) is one of the largest universities in the United States (in terms of enrollment) and has approximately 634,300 living alumni worldwide.

    U.S. News & World Report ranks its graduate programs the best in the U.S. in elementary teacher’s education, secondary teacher’s education, industrial and organizational psychology, rehabilitation counseling, African history (tied), supply chain logistics and nuclear physics in 2019. Michigan State University (US) pioneered the studies of packaging, hospitality business, supply chain management, and communication sciences. Michigan State University (US) is a member of the Association of American Universities and is classified among “R1: Doctoral Universities – Very high research activity”. The university’s campus houses the National Superconducting Cyclotron Laboratory, the W. J. Beal Botanical Garden, the Abrams Planetarium, the Wharton Center for Performing Arts, the Eli and Edythe Broad Art Museum, the Facility for Rare Isotope Beams, and the country’s largest residence hall system.


    The university has a long history of academic research and innovation. In 1877, botany professor William J. Beal performed the first documented genetic crosses to produce hybrid corn, which led to increased yields. Michigan State University (US) dairy professor G. Malcolm Trout improved the process for the homogenization of milk in the 1930s, making it more commercially viable. In the 1960s, Michigan State University (US) scientists developed cisplatin, a leading cancer fighting drug, and followed that work with the derivative, carboplatin. Albert Fert, an Adjunct professor at MSU, was awarded the 2007 Nobel Prize in Physics together with Peter Grünberg.

    Today Michigan State University (US) continues its research with facilities such as the Department of Energy (US)-sponsored Plant Research Laboratory and a particle accelerator called the National Superconducting Cyclotron Laboratory [below]. The Department of Energy (US) Office of Science named Michigan State University as the site for the Facility for Rare Isotope Beams (FRIB). The $730 million facility will attract top researchers from around the world to conduct experiments in basic nuclear science, astrophysics, and applications of isotopes to other fields.

    In 2004, scientists at the Cyclotron produced and observed a new isotope of the element germanium, called Ge-60 In that same year, Michigan State University (US), in consortium with the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (US) and the government of Brazil, broke ground on the 4.1-meter Southern Astrophysical Research Telescope (SOAR) in the Andes Mountains of Chile.

    NSF NOIRLab NOAO Southern Astrophysical Research [SOAR ] telescope situated on Cerro Pachón, just to the southeast of Cerro Tololo on the NOIRLab NOAO AURA site at an altitude of 2,700 meters (8,775 feet) above sea level.
    The consortium telescope will allow the Physics & Astronomy department to study galaxy formation and origins. Since 1999, MSU has been part of a consortium called the Michigan Life Sciences Corridor, which aims to develop biotechnology research in the State of Michigan. Finally, the College of Communication Arts and Sciences’ Quello Center researches issues of information and communication management.

    The Michigan State University (US) Spartans compete in the NCAA Division I Big Ten Conference. Michigan State Spartans football won the Rose Bowl Game in 1954, 1956, 1988 and 2014, and the university claims a total of six national football championships. Spartans men’s basketball won the NCAA National Championship in 1979 and 2000 and has attained the Final Four eight times since the 1998–1999 season. Spartans ice hockey won NCAA national titles in 1966, 1986 and 2007. The women’s cross country team was named Big Ten champions in 2019. In the fall of 2019, MSU student-athletes posted all-time highs for graduation success rates and federal graduation rates, according to NCAA statistics.

  • richardmitnick 1:05 pm on January 25, 2022 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: "The quantum squeeze", A new quantum sensor: the first practical superconducting transition-edge sensor., , , , In the 1960s researchers at the science lab of the Ford Motor Company developed the superconducting quantum interference device also known as a “SQUID.”, LIGO VIRGO KAGRA: Gravitational Wave Multimessenger Astrophysics Interferometry, Multimessenger astrophysics, Quantum Squeezing: a way to circumvent quantum limitations that even quantum sensors have faced in the past., SQUIDs have played a key role in the development of ultrasensitive electric and magnetic measurement systems and are still in use., , , The Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle, The transition-edge sensor: It’s very much old-school quantum 1.0   

    From Symmetry: “The quantum squeeze” 

    Symmetry Mag

    From Symmetry

    Evelyn Lamb

    Illustration by Sandbox Studio, Chicago with Ana Kova.

    A technique from the newest generation of quantum sensors is helping scientists to use the limitations of the Heisenberg uncertainty principle to their advantage.

    In the 1960s researchers at the science lab of the Ford Motor Company developed the superconducting quantum interference device also known as a “SQUID.” It was the first usable sensor to take advantage of a quantum mechanical property—in this case, superconductivity.

    That made the SQUID one of the first generation of quantum sensors: devices that use a quantum system, quantum properties or quantum phenomena to make a physical measurement. Physicists took the idea and ran with it, coming up with new types of sensors they continue to use and improve today.

    SQUIDs have played a key role in the development of ultrasensitive electric and magnetic measurement systems and are still in use. For example, they amplify the detector signals for the Super Cryogenic Dark Matter Search. “As particle physicists, we’ve been using quantum sensing techniques for decades,” says SuperCDMS physicist Lauren Hsu of DOE’s Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory (US).

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

    But SQUIDs are no longer the only quantum sensors around. One important recent development in quantum sensing is known as quantum squeezing—a way to circumvent quantum limitations that even quantum sensors have faced in the past.

    The first quantum sensors

    Ford’s SQUIDs, which needed to be cooled to a few degrees above absolute zero, used superconducting loops to measure minuscule magnetic fields.

    SQUIDs didn’t turn out to be of much use in an automobile. But not all Ford researchers were beholden to expectations that their creations would wind up in a car. “This shows you how different the world was back in the 1960s,” says Kent Irwin, a physicist at Stanford University (US) and DOE’s SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory (US). “These days Ford is not doing basic physics.”

    A few decades later, while in graduate school, Irwin built on the idea of the Ford Company’s SQUID to develop a new quantum sensor: the first practical superconducting transition-edge sensor.

    Irwin took advantage of the fact that superconducting material loses its superconductivity when it heats up, regaining its resistance at a precise temperature. By keeping a superconducting material as close as possible to this temperature limit, he could create a sensor that would undergo a significant change at the introduction of even a small amount of energy. Just a single photon hitting one of Irwin’s transition-edge sensors would cause it to shift to a different state.

    The transition-edge sensor is well-known and has been adopted widely in X-ray astronomy, dark matter detection, and measurements of the cosmic microwave background radiation. “It’s very much old-school quantum 1.0,” Irwin says.

    Quantum sensing for gravitational waves

    A new generation of quantum sensors goes beyond quantum 1.0. Some of today’s sensors make use of more than just superconductivity: They’ve managed to use the Heisenberg uncertainty principle—usually thought of as a limitation to how well physicists can make measurements—to their advantage.

    The Heisenberg uncertainty principle puts a cap on how accurately you can measure a pair of related properties. For example, the more you know about the position of a particle, the less you can know about its momentum.

    Quantum squeezing takes advantage of these relationships by purposefully tipping the balance: moving all the uncertainty of a measurement to one side or the other.

    Gravitational-wave detectors, such as LIGO in the US, and Virgo and GEO in Europe, have used quantum squeezing to great effect.

    Caltech /MIT Advanced aLigo.

    Caltech/MIT Advanced aLigo detector installation Livingston, LA, USA.

    Caltech/MIT Advanced aLigo Hanford, WA, USA installation.

    VIRGO Gravitational Wave interferometer, near Pisa, Italy.

    KAGRA Large-scale Cryogenic Gravitational Wave Telescope Project (JP).

    LIGO Virgo Kagra Masses in the Stellar Graveyard. Credit: Frank Elavsky and Aaron Geller at Northwestern University(US).

    In 2015, LIGO—the Laser-Interferometer Gravitational-wave Observatory—detected the first gravitational waves, undulations of spacetime first predicted by Albert Einstein. Once it got going, it was picking up new signs of gravitational-wave events every month.

    LIGO detects gravitational waves using an interferometer, an L-shaped device in which two beams of light are set up to bounce off identical mirrors and return [see above]. Under normal conditions, the beams will arrive at the same time and cancel one another out. No signal will hit the detector.

    But if a subtle outside force knocks them out of sync with one another, they won’t cancel each other out, and photons will hit the detector. If a gravitational wave passes through the two beams, it will hit one and then the other, interrupting their pattern.

    LIGO’s measurements are limited by the quantum properties of the photons that make up their beams of light. At the quantum level, photons are affected by fluctuations, virtual particles popping in and out of existence in the vacuum. Those fluctuations could cause a false signal in the detector. How could LIGO researchers tell the difference?

    “LIGO is using the most powerful lasers they can build, and the best mirrors they can build, and their back is against the wall,” Irwin says. “The only way to do better is to start beating quantum mechanics.”

    Scientists at LIGO and other gravitational-wave detectors looked to quantum squeezing to help them with their virtual photon problem.

    To generate squeezed light, researchers used a technology called an optical parametric oscillator, within which an input wave of laser light is converted to two output waves with smaller frequencies. This process entangles pairs of photons, and the resultant correlations of their properties serve to reduce uncertainty in one aspect of the arriving photons, allowing LIGO scientists to better measure another aspect, helping them sort the signal from the noise.

    Since April 2019, when LIGO began running with the quantum squeezers, the observatory has been able to detect new gravitational-wave signals—signs of collisions between massive objects such as black holes and neutron stars—more frequently, going from about one detection per month to about one per week.

    Quantum sensing for dark matter detection

    Quantum squeezing has also recently found an application in the search for Dark Matter.

    Dark Matter has never been observed directly, but clues in cosmology point to it making up approximately 85% of the matter in the universe. There are several different theories that describe what a Dark Matter particle could be.

    “The mass can be anywhere from a billionth the size of an electron up to a supermassive black hole,” Hsu says. “There are over 100 orders of magnitude that it can span.”

    The most promising small Dark Matter candidates are axions. In the presence of a strong magnetic field, axions occasionally convert into photons, which can then be detected by an experiment’s sensors.

    Like someone trying to find a radio station on a road trip in the middle of nowhere, they scan for a while at one frequency, to see if they detect a signal. If not, they turn the dial a little and try the next size up.

    It takes time to listen to each “station” once the detector is tuned to a particular possible axion signal; the more noise there is, the longer it takes to determine whether there might be a signal at all.

    The HAYSTAC experiment—for Haloscope at Yale Sensitive to Axion Cold Dark Matter—searches for axions by measuring two different components of electromagnetic field oscillations.

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

    Like LIGO, it is limited by the uncertainty principle; HAYSTAC researchers are unable to precisely measure both oscillations at once.

    But they didn’t need to. Like LIGO scientists, HAYSTAC scientists realized that if they could squeeze all the accuracy into just one side of the equation, it would improve the speed of their search. In early 2021, researchers announced that at HAYSTAC, they had also succeeded at using quantum squeezing to reduce noise levels in their experiment.

    Multiple groups have demonstrated promising new applications of superconducting circuit technology for axion detection.

    The “RF quantum upconverter” uses devices similar to Ford’s SQUIDs to evade the Heisenberg uncertainty principle in dark-matter searches at frequencies below HAYSTAC’s searches. Another uses a technology borrowed from quantum computing—qubits—as a sensor to evade Heisenberg’s limits at frequencies higher than HAYSTAC. Although neither technology has been used in dark matter searches yet, scientists believe that they could speed searches up by several orders of magnitude.

    At the current rate, it will still take axion experiments thousands of years to scan through every possible axion “station.” They may get lucky and find what they’re looking for early in the search, but it’s more likely that they’ll still need to find other ways to speed up their progress, perhaps with advances in quantum sensing, says Daniel Bowring, a Fermilab physicist who is involved in another axion search, the Axion Dark Matter Experiment.

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

    “It’s going to take a lot of people with really good imaginations,” Bowring says.

    See the full article here .


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    Symmetry is a joint Fermilab/SLAC publication.

  • richardmitnick 12:03 pm on September 29, 2021 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: "Extending LIGO's Reach Into the Cosmos", As more and more upgrades are made to the LIGO observatories the facilities are expected to detect increasingly large numbers of these extreme cosmic events., , , , Multimessenger astrophysics, New mirror coatings will increase the volume of space LIGO can probe in its next run., There is a catch: The coatings that make the mirrors reflective also can lead to background noise in the instrument—noise that masks gravitational-wave signals of interest.,   

    From California Institute of Technology (US) : “Extending LIGO’s Reach Into the Cosmos” 

    Caltech Logo

    From California Institute of Technology (US)

    September 29, 2021

    Whitney Clavin
    (626) 395‑1944

    New mirror coatings will increase the volume of space LIGO can probe in its next run.

    Since LIGO’s groundbreaking detection, in 2015, of gravitational waves produced by a pair of colliding black holes, the observatory, together with its European partner facility Virgo, has detected dozens of similar cosmic rumblings that send ripples through space and time.


    Caltech/MIT Advanced aLigo detector installation Livingston, LA, USA.

    Caltech/MIT Advanced aLigo Hanford, WA, USA installation.

    VIRGO Gravitational Wave interferometer, near Pisa, Italy

    In the future, as more and more upgrades are made to the LIGO observatories—one in Hanford, Washington, and the other in Livingston, Louisiana—the facilities are expected to detect increasingly large numbers of these extreme cosmic events. These observations will help solve fundamental mysteries about our universe, such as how black holes form and how the ingredients of our universe are manufactured.

    One important factor in increasing the sensitivity of the observatories involves the coatings on the glass mirrors that lie at the heart of the instruments. Each 40-kilogram (88-pound) mirror (there are four in each detector at the two LIGO observatories) is coated with reflective materials that essentially turn the glass into mirrors. The mirrors reflect laser beams that are sensitive to passing gravitational waves.

    Generally, the more reflective the mirrors the more sensitive the instrument, but there is a catch: The coatings that make the mirrors reflective also can lead to background noise in the instrument—noise that masks gravitational-wave signals of interest.

    Now, a new study by the LIGO team describes a new type of mirror coating made of titanium oxide and germanium oxide and outlines how it can reduce background noise in LIGO’s mirrors by a factor of two, thereby increasing the volume of space that LIGO can probe by a factor of eight.

    Researchers test coatings for the LIGO mirrors by depositing them on glass disks that are smaller than the real mirrors, and therefore easier to handle. One of those test disks is shown here being taken out of its storage container. Credit: Caltech.

    “We wanted to find a material at the edge of what is possible today,” says Gabriele Vajente, a LIGO senior research scientist at Caltech and lead author of a paper about the work that appears in the journal Physical Review Letters. “Our ability to study the astronomically large scale of the universe is limited by what happens in this very tiny microscopic space.”

    “With these new coatings, we expect to be able to increase the detection rate of gravitational waves from once a week to once a day or more,” says David Reitze, executive director of LIGO Laboratory at Caltech.

    The research, which may have future applications in the fields of telecommunications and semiconductors, was a collaboration between Caltech; Colorado State University (US); The University of Montréal [Université de Montréal] (CA); and Stanford University (US), whose synchrotron at the DOE’s SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory (US) was used in the characterization of the coatings.

    LIGO detects ripples in space-time using detectors called interferometers. In this setup, a powerful laser beam is split into two: each beam travels down one arm of a large L-shaped vacuum enclosure toward mirrors 4 kilometers away. The mirrors reflect the laser beams back to the source from which they originated. When gravitational waves pass by, they will stretch and squeezes space by nearly imperceptible and yet detectable amounts (much less than the width of a proton). The perturbations change the timing of the arrival of the two laser beams back at the source.

    Any jiggling in the mirrors themselves—even the microscopic thermal vibrations of the atoms in the mirrors’ coatings—can affect the timing of the laser beams’ arrival and make it hard to isolate the gravitational-wave signals.

    “Every time light passes between two different materials, a fraction of that light is reflected,” says Vajente. “This is the same thing that happens in your windows: you can see your faint reflection in the glass. By adding multiple layers of different materials, we can reinforce each reflection and make our mirrors up to 99.999 percent reflective.”

    “What’s important about this work is that we developed a new way to better test the materials,” says Vajente. “We can now test the properties of a new material in about eight hours, completely automated, when before it took almost a week. This allowed us to explore the periodic table by trying a lot of different materials and a lot of combinations. Some of the materials we tried didn’t work, but this gave us insights into what properties might be important.”

    In the end, the scientists discovered that a coating material made from a combination of titanium oxide and germanium oxide dissipated the least energy (the equivalent of reducing thermal vibrations).

    “We tailored the fabrication process to meet the stringent demands in optical quality and reduced thermal noise of the mirror coatings,” says Carmen Menoni, professor at Colorado State University and member of the LIGO Scientific Collaboration. Menoni and her colleagues at Colorado State used a method called ion beam sputtering to coat the mirrors. In this process, atoms of titanium and germanium are peeled away from a source, combined with oxygen, and then deposited onto the glass to create thin layers of atoms.

    The new coating may be used for LIGO’s fifth observing run, which will begin in the middle of the decade as part of the Advanced LIGO Plus program. Meanwhile, LIGO’s fourth observing run, the last in the Advanced LIGO campaign, is expected to commence in the summer of 2022.

    “This is a game changer for Advanced LIGO Plus,” says Reitze. “And this is a great example of how LIGO relies heavily on cutting-edge optics and materials science research and development. This is the biggest advance in precision optical coating development for LIGO in the past 20 years.”

    See the full article here .

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    Stem Education Coalition

    Caltech campus

    The California Institute of Technology (US) is a private research university in Pasadena, California. The university is known for its strength in science and engineering, and is one among a small group of institutes of technology in the United States which is primarily devoted to the instruction of pure and applied sciences.

    Caltech was founded as a preparatory and vocational school by Amos G. Throop in 1891 and began attracting influential scientists such as George Ellery Hale, Arthur Amos Noyes, and Robert Andrews Millikan in the early 20th century. The vocational and preparatory schools were disbanded and spun off in 1910 and the college assumed its present name in 1920. In 1934, Caltech was elected to the Association of American Universities, and the antecedents of National Aeronautics and Space Administration (US)’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, which Caltech continues to manage and operate, were established between 1936 and 1943 under Theodore von Kármán.

    Caltech has six academic divisions with strong emphasis on science and engineering. Its 124-acre (50 ha) primary campus is located approximately 11 mi (18 km) northeast of downtown Los Angeles. First-year students are required to live on campus, and 95% of undergraduates remain in the on-campus House System at Caltech. Although Caltech has a strong tradition of practical jokes and pranks, student life is governed by an honor code which allows faculty to assign take-home examinations. The Caltech Beavers compete in 13 intercollegiate sports in the NCAA Division III’s Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (SCIAC).

    As of October 2020, there are 76 Nobel laureates who have been affiliated with Caltech, including 40 alumni and faculty members (41 prizes, with chemist Linus Pauling being the only individual in history to win two unshared prizes). In addition, 4 Fields Medalists and 6 Turing Award winners have been affiliated with Caltech. There are 8 Crafoord Laureates and 56 non-emeritus faculty members (as well as many emeritus faculty members) who have been elected to one of the United States National Academies. Four Chief Scientists of the U.S. Air Force and 71 have won the United States National Medal of Science or Technology. Numerous faculty members are associated with the Howard Hughes Medical Institute(US) as well as National Aeronautics and Space Administration(US). According to a 2015 Pomona College(US) study, Caltech ranked number one in the U.S. for the percentage of its graduates who go on to earn a PhD.


    Caltech is classified among “R1: Doctoral Universities – Very High Research Activity”. Caltech was elected to the Association of American Universities in 1934 and remains a research university with “very high” research activity, primarily in STEM fields. The largest federal agencies contributing to research are National Aeronautics and Space Administration(US); National Science Foundation(US); Department of Health and Human Services(US); Department of Defense(US), and Department of Energy(US).

    In 2005, Caltech had 739,000 square feet (68,700 m^2) dedicated to research: 330,000 square feet (30,700 m^2) to physical sciences, 163,000 square feet (15,100 m^2) to engineering, and 160,000 square feet (14,900 m^2) to biological sciences.

    In addition to managing JPL, Caltech also operates the Caltech Palomar Observatory(US); the Owens Valley Radio Observatory(US);the Caltech Submillimeter Observatory(US); the W. M. Keck Observatory at the Mauna Kea Observatory(US); the Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory at Livingston, Louisiana and Richland, Washington; and Kerckhoff Marine Laboratory(US) in Corona del Mar, California. The Institute launched the Kavli Nanoscience Institute at Caltech in 2006; the Keck Institute for Space Studies in 2008; and is also the current home for the Einstein Papers Project. The Spitzer Science Center(US), part of the Infrared Processing and Analysis Center(US) located on the Caltech campus, is the data analysis and community support center for NASA’s Spitzer Infrared Space Telescope [no longer in service].

    Caltech partnered with University of California at Los Angeles(US) to establish a Joint Center for Translational Medicine (UCLA-Caltech JCTM), which conducts experimental research into clinical applications, including the diagnosis and treatment of diseases such as cancer.

    Caltech operates several Total Carbon Column Observing Network(US) stations as part of an international collaborative effort of measuring greenhouse gases globally. One station is on campus.

  • richardmitnick 1:35 pm on August 28, 2021 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: "Collaborations sets new constraints on cosmic strings", , , , KAGRA Collaboration, Multimessenger astrophysics,   

    From Caltech/MIT aLIGO, VIRGO and KAGRA via Phys.org: “Collaborations sets new constraints on cosmic strings” 

    From Caltech/MIT aLIGO, VIRGO Collaboration and KAGRA Collaboration



    From phys.org

    August 27, 2021

    Credit: Unsplash/CC0 Public Domain

    The LIGO/Virgo/KAGRA Collaboration, a large group of researchers at different institutes worldwide, has recently set the strongest constraints on cosmic strings to date, using the Advanced LIGO/Virgo full O3 dataset. This dataset contains the latest gravitational waves data detected by a network of three interferometers located in United States and in Italy.

    “We wanted to use the most current data of the third observing run (O3 dataset) to put constraints on cosmic strings,” Prof. Mairi Sakellariadou of King’s College London (UK), who is part of the LIGO-Virgo Collaboration, told Phys.org.

    Field theories predict that as the Universe expands and its temperature drops, it undergoes a series of phase transitions followed by spontaneously broken symmetries, which may leave behind topological defects, relics of the previous, more symmetrical phase of the Universe.

    “Just to give you an example, if you take water in its liquid form and you decrease the temperature below zero degrees Celcius, it will solidify,” Sakellariadou said. “Inside an ice cube, you can see filaments where the water is in the liquid form. This phenomenon may also happen in the Universe.” One-dimensional topological defects are referred to as cosmic strings. While particle physics models predict the existence of cosmic strings, there is currently no observational confirmation of their existence.

    “The heavier cosmic strings are, the stronger their gravitational effects will be,” Sakellariadou said. By analyzing observational data, we can put constraints on the parameter that tells us how heavy these objects are, in other words the epoch of cosmic string formation.”

    Setting constraints on cosmic strings also allows researchers to constraint particle physics models and cosmological scenarios. Using gravitational wave data, researchers are able to test particle physics models at energy scales that cannot be reached by accelerators like the Large Hadron Collider at CERN.

    “Constraints also depend on which model of cosmic strings we are using for the string loop distribution, which is dictated by involved numerical simulations” Sakellariadou said.

    So far, researchers have developed two possible numerical simulations. The first one was put forward several years ago by Bouchet, Lorenz, Ringeval and Sakellariadou, while the second was developed by Blanco-Pillado, Olum and Shlaer.

    Recently, Auclair, Ringeval, Sakellariadou and Steer developed a new analytic string loop model that interpolates between the two developed in the past with numerical simulations. This new model has been used for the first time in putting constraints on cosmic strings using gravitational wave data from the last observing run of the LIGO/Virgo/KAGRA collaboration.

    Remarkably, the recent constraints set by the LIGO/Virgo/KAGRA collaboration are stronger than the ones put by Big Bang nucleosynthesis, pulsar-timing array, or cosmic microwave background data. They have also improved on previous constraints set by LIGO/Virgo by 1 to 2 orders of magnitude.

    “As more data becomes available, we will be able to put even stronger constraints. From a theoretical point of view, however, it is also important to build and investigate new cosmic string models, and examine the implications of our work for particle physics beyond the Standard Model and cosmological scenarios”, Sakellariadou said.

    The research was published in Physical Review Letters.

    See the full article here .


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    Stem Education Coalition

  • richardmitnick 12:41 pm on August 21, 2021 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: "Addressing a Gap in Our Knowledge of Black Holes", , , , , Multimessenger astrophysics,   

    From AAS NOVA : “Addressing a Gap in Our Knowledge of Black Holes” 


    From AAS NOVA

    Artist’s by now iconic conception of two merging black holes similar to those detected by LIGO. Credit: Aurore Simonnet /Caltech MIT Advanced aLIGO(US)/Sonoma State University (US).

    One way for black holes to form is in supernovae, or the deaths of massive stars. However, our current knowledge of stellar evolution and supernovae suggests that black holes with masses between 55 and 120 solar masses can’t be produced via supernovae. Gravitational-wave signals from black hole mergers offer us an observational test of this “gap” in black hole masses.

    Black Hole Boundaries

    You need a massive star to go supernova to produce a black hole. Unfortunately, extremely massive stars explode so violently they leave nothing behind! This scenario can occur with pair-instability supernovae, which happens in stars with core masses between 40 and 135 solar masses. The “pair” in “pair-instability” refers to the electron–positron pairs that are produced by gamma rays interacting with nuclei in the star’s core. Energy is lost in this process, meaning that there’s less resistance to gravitational collapse.

    As the star collapses further, two things can happen. If the star is sufficiently massive, its core ignites in an explosion that tears the star apart, leaving no remnant. If the star is less massive, the core ignition causes the star to pulse and shed mass till it leaves the pair-production stage and its core collapses normally into black hole. The most massive black hole that can be produced in this scenario is roughly 55 solar masses, forming the lower end of the black hole mass gap.

    On the other side of the mass gap, it’s theoretically possible for certain massive stars to collapse normally without entering the pair-production state, thus evolving into black holes with masses greater than 120 solar masses. The unique thing about these massive stars is that they are low metallicity, containing practically no elements that are heavier than helium.

    So the bottom line is that we’re unlikely to observe any black holes with masses between 55 and 120 solar masses. But how can we test this prediction? Gravitational-wave signals are an option! Properties of merging black holes are coded into the gravitational waves produced by the merger, including the black hole masses. So, a recent study led by Bruce Edelman (University of Oregon (US)) looked at our current catalog of black hole merger signals to see if the mass gap would emerge from the data.

    Mind the Gap, If There Is a Gap

    Edelman and collaborators used two established model distributions of black hole masses to approach the problem. They also altered the models so the gap was explicitly allowed and so higher black hole masses could be explored without artificially inflating the rate of mergers above the gap. Edelman and collaborators then fit their models to data from 46 binary black hole mergers observed by the Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory and the Virgo interferometer.

    Masses in the Stellar Graveyard GWTC-2 plot v1.0 BY LIGO-Virgo. Credit: Frank Elavsky and Aaron Geller at Northwestern University(US)

    Caltech/MIT Advanced aLigo at Hanford, WA(US), Livingston, LA(US) and VIRGO Gravitational Wave interferometer, near Pisa(IT).

    Interestingly, the existence of the gap is rather ambiguous! One factor is the inclusion of the merger associated with the signal GW190521, which was likely a high mass merger whose component black holes straddle the mass gap. If the gap doesn’t exist, it’s possible that the unexpected black holes are formed by the merging of smaller black holes. On the whole, this result points to many avenues of study when it comes to pair-instability supernovae and black hole formation!


    “Poking Holes: Looking for Gaps in LIGO/Virgo’s Black Hole Population,” Bruce Edelman et al 2021 ApJL 913 L23.

    See the full article here .


    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    Stem Education Coalition


    AAS Mission and Vision Statement

    The mission of the American Astronomical Society is to enhance and share humanity’s scientific understanding of the Universe.

    The Society, through its publications, disseminates and archives the results of astronomical research. The Society also communicates and explains our understanding of the universe to the public.
    The Society facilitates and strengthens the interactions among members through professional meetings and other means. The Society supports member divisions representing specialized research and astronomical interests.
    The Society represents the goals of its community of members to the nation and the world. The Society also works with other scientific and educational societies to promote the advancement of science.
    The Society, through its members, trains, mentors and supports the next generation of astronomers. The Society supports and promotes increased participation of historically underrepresented groups in astronomy.
    The Society assists its members to develop their skills in the fields of education and public outreach at all levels. The Society promotes broad interest in astronomy, which enhances science literacy and leads many to careers in science and engineering.

    Adopted June 7, 2009

    The society was founded in 1899 through the efforts of George Ellery Hale. The constitution of the group was written by Hale, George Comstock, Edward Morley, Simon Newcomb and Edward Charles Pickering. These men, plus four others, were the first Executive Council of the society; Newcomb was the first president. The initial membership was 114. The AAS name of the society was not finally decided until 1915, previously it was the “Astronomical and Astrophysical Society of America”. One proposed name that preceded this interim name was “American Astrophysical Society”.

    The AAS today has over 7,000 members and six divisions – the Division for Planetary Sciences (1968); the Division on Dynamical Astronomy (1969); the High Energy Astrophysics Division (1969); the Solar Physics Division (1969); the Historical Astronomy Division (1980); and the Laboratory Astrophysics Division (2012). The membership includes physicists, mathematicians, geologists, engineers and others whose research interests lie within the broad spectrum of subjects now comprising contemporary astronomy.

    In 2019 three AAS members were selected into the tenth anniversary class of TED Fellows.

    The AAS established the AAS Fellows program in 2019 to “confer recognition upon AAS members for achievement and extraordinary service to the field of astronomy and the American Astronomical Society.” The inaugural class was designated by the AAS Board of Trustees and includes an initial group of 232 Legacy Fellows.

  • richardmitnick 10:01 am on August 13, 2021 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: "$3.4 million NSF grant aims to make LIGO multimessenger discoveries commonplace", , Multimessenger astrophysics,   

    From Pennsylvania State University (US) : “$3.4 million NSF grant aims to make LIGO multimessenger discoveries commonplace” 

    Penn State Bloc

    From Pennsylvania State University (US)

    August 12, 2021
    Matt Swayne

    A $3.4 million grant from the National Science Foundation (US) will help develop software and services to discover gravitational waves from black holes and neutron stars in real-time in order to facilitate the detection of prompt electromagnetic counterparts.

    The investment is aimed at the NSF-funded Laser Interferometer Gravitational-wave Observatory — or LIGO, a critical tool that has powered a flurry of recent scientific discoveries and enriched our knowledge of the universe through gravitational waves detected from merging neutron stars and black holes, according to Chad Hanna, an associate professor of physics & astronomy and astrophysics in Penn State’s Eberly College of Science and an Institute for Computational and Data Sciences co-hire.


    Specifically, the funds will be used to develop robust signal processing software and the creation of a suite of cyberinfrastructure services that will allow scientists to analyze LIGO data in real time. The goal is to allow scientists to make more discoveries, as well as be able to easily share those discoveries with the scientific community, which ultimately, will improve our understanding of the universe, Hanna added.

    “We hope that this grant will benefit the entire scientific community and that, with it, we’ll make robust detections of increasingly more gravitational waves from neutron star mergers, and other signals that might have electromagnetic or neutrino counterparts,” said Hanna.

    In 2017, LIGO kicked off a new era in astronomical observation, providing astronomers and astrophysicists with evidence of the first detection of gravitational waves from colliding neutron stars, as well as helping researchers settle the origin of mysterious gamma ray bursts, a phenomenon that has been debated by scientists for decades.

    However, Hanna said that these impressive discoveries may be just the initial set of breakthroughs that LIGO can enable.

    “We want more — we want to enable as many discoveries as possible because we learned so much from each one,” said Hanna. “And this grant is really trying to support the cyberinfrastructure that can help to make those discoveries more commonplace.”

    Hanna’s group leads efforts to detect gravitational waves in real-time to support multi-messenger astrophysics. The group is also involved with developing detection algorithms and software to identify the neutron star mergers in the gravitational wave data and using machine learning to cut through noisy data gathered during the gravitational wave observations. Both are integral to the real-time infrastructure and improvements will help facilitate future LIGO research, added Hanna.

    Hanna credited the support he receives from the ICDS team in both helping his own research, as well as the hardware and software that is helping a large part of the astronomical community involved in research boosted by LIGO.

    ICDS also provided initial funding through a seed grant for Hanna’s team to begin research on using machine learning to manage noise in data collected by LIGO.

    The LIGO era

    Astronomers have relied on LIGO, which has been termed a “marvel of precision engineering,” to peer into the universe in ways that were once impossible. LIGO is two detectors spread nearly 1,900 miles apart. One detector is in Hanford, Washington, and the other in Livingston, Louisiana [above].

    Scientists using LIGO have produced some of the biggest astronomical breakthroughs of the 21st century and, arguably, of all time. In 2016, astronomers used LIGO data, along with other scientific instruments and equipment, to identify evidence of gravitational waves, the ripples of spacetime predicted more than a century ago by Albert Einstein. These findings also led to the 2017 Nobel Prize for Physics.

    LIGO also detected the merger of two neutron stars that created a black hole and an explosion of light in 2017. Even more recently, researchers used LIGO to confirm the detection collisions between a black hole and a neutron star, not once but twice within 10 days.

    The award was part of NSF’s Physics at the Information Frontier program, which supports the enablement of advanced computational technologies to address important scientific goals.

    See the full article here .


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    Penn State Campus

    The Pennsylvania State University (US) is a public state-related land-grant research university with campuses and facilities throughout Pennsylvania. Founded in 1855 as the Farmers’ High School of Pennsylvania, Penn State became the state’s only land-grant university in 1863. Today, Penn State is a major research university which conducts teaching, research, and public service. Its instructional mission includes undergraduate, graduate, professional and continuing education offered through resident instruction and online delivery. In addition to its land-grant designation, it also participates in the sea-grant, space-grant, and sun-grant research consortia; it is one of only four such universities (along with Cornell University(US), Oregon State University(US), and University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa(US)). Its University Park campus, which is the largest and serves as the administrative hub, lies within the Borough of State College and College Township. It has two law schools: Penn State Law, on the school’s University Park campus, and Dickinson Law, in Carlisle. The College of Medicine is in Hershey. Penn State is one university that is geographically distributed throughout Pennsylvania. There are 19 commonwealth campuses and 5 special mission campuses located across the state. The University Park campus 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.

    Annual enrollment at the University Park campus totals more than 46,800 graduate and undergraduate students, making it one of the largest universities in the United States. It has the world’s largest dues-paying alumni association. The university offers more than 160 majors among all its campuses.

    Annually, the university hosts the Penn State IFC/Panhellenic Dance Marathon (THON), which is the world’s largest student-run philanthropy. This event is held at the Bryce Jordan Center on the University Park campus. The university’s athletics teams compete in Division I of the NCAA and are collectively known as the Penn State Nittany Lions, competing in the Big Ten Conference for most sports. Penn State students, alumni, faculty and coaches have received a total of 54 Olympic medals.

    Early years

    The school was sponsored by the Pennsylvania State Agricultural Society and founded as a degree-granting institution on February 22, 1855, by Pennsylvania’s state legislature as the Farmers’ High School of Pennsylvania. The use of “college” or “university” was avoided because of local prejudice against such institutions as being impractical in their courses of study. Centre County, Pennsylvania, became the home of the new school when James Irvin of Bellefonte, Pennsylvania, donated 200 acres (0.8 km2) of land – the first of 10,101 acres (41 km^2) the school would eventually acquire. In 1862, the school’s name was changed to the Agricultural College of Pennsylvania, and with the passage of the Morrill Land-Grant Acts, Pennsylvania selected the school in 1863 to be the state’s sole land-grant college. The school’s name changed to the Pennsylvania State College in 1874; enrollment fell to 64 undergraduates the following year as the school tried to balance purely agricultural studies with a more classic education.

    George W. Atherton became president of the school in 1882, and broadened the curriculum. Shortly after he introduced engineering studies, Penn State became one of the ten largest engineering schools in the nation. Atherton also expanded the liberal arts and agriculture programs, for which the school began receiving regular appropriations from the state in 1887. A major road in State College has been named in Atherton’s honor. Additionally, Penn State’s Atherton Hall, a well-furnished and centrally located residence hall, is named not after George Atherton himself, but after his wife, Frances Washburn Atherton. His grave is in front of Schwab Auditorium near Old Main, marked by an engraved marble block in front of his statue.

    Early 20th century

    In the years that followed, Penn State grew significantly, becoming the state’s largest grantor of baccalaureate degrees and reaching an enrollment of 5,000 in 1936. Around that time, a system of commonwealth campuses was started by President Ralph Dorn Hetzel to provide an alternative for Depression-era students who were economically unable to leave home to attend college.

    In 1953, President Milton S. Eisenhower, brother of then-U.S. President Dwight D. Eisenhower, sought and won permission to elevate the school to university status as The Pennsylvania State University. Under his successor Eric A. Walker (1956–1970), the university acquired hundreds of acres of surrounding land, and enrollment nearly tripled. In addition, in 1967, the Penn State Milton S. Hershey Medical Center, a college of medicine and hospital, was established in Hershey with a $50 million gift from the Hershey Trust Company.

    Modern era

    In the 1970s, the university became a state-related institution. As such, it now belongs to the Commonwealth System of Higher Education. In 1975, the lyrics in Penn State’s alma mater song were revised to be gender-neutral in honor of International Women’s Year; the revised lyrics were taken from the posthumously-published autobiography of the writer of the original lyrics, Fred Lewis Pattee, and Professor Patricia Farrell acted as a spokesperson for those who wanted the change.

    In 1989, the Pennsylvania College of Technology in Williamsport joined ranks with the university, and in 2000, so did the Dickinson School of Law. The university is now the largest in Pennsylvania. To offset the lack of funding due to the limited growth in state appropriations to Penn State, the university has concentrated its efforts on philanthropy.

  • richardmitnick 11:41 am on August 5, 2021 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: "A bounty of potential gravitational wave events hints at exciting possibilities", , , Multimessenger astrophysics   

    From “Science News (US) : “A bounty of potential gravitational wave events hints at exciting possibilities” 

    From “Science News (US)

    August 4, 2021
    Emily Conover

    One way that gravitational waves (shown in this illustration) are stirred up is when two black holes spiral around one another and collide. Credit: MARK GARLICK/

    A new crew of potential ripples in spacetime has just debuted — emphasis on the word “potential.”

    By loosening the criteria for what qualifies as evidence for gravitational waves, physicists identified 1,201 possible tremors. Most are probably fakes, spurious jitters in the data that can mimic the cosmic vibrations, the team reports August 2 at arXiv.org. But by allowing in more false alarms, the new tally may also include some weak but genuine signals that would otherwise be missed, potentially revealing exciting new information about the sources of gravitational waves.

    Scientists can now look for signs that may corroborate some of the uncertain detections, such as flashes of light in the sky that flared from the cosmic smashups that set off the ripples. Gravitational waves are typically spawned by collisions of dense, massive objects, such as black holes or neutron stars, the remnants of dead stars (SN: 1/21/21).

    To come up with the new census, physicists reanalyzed six months of data from the Advanced Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory, or LIGO, and Virgo gravitational wave observatories. Scientists had already identified 39 of the events as likely gravitational waves in earlier analyses.

    Eight events that hadn’t been previously identified stand a solid chance of being legitimate — with greater than a 50 percent probability of coming from an actual collision.

    The physicists analyzed the data from those eight events to see how they might have occurred. In one, two black holes may have slammed together, melding into a whopper black hole with about 180 times the mass of the sun, which would make it the biggest black hole merger seen yet (SN: 9/2/20). Another event could be a rare sighting of a black hole swallowing a neutron star (SN: 6/29/21).

    See the full article here .


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  • richardmitnick 4:12 pm on July 28, 2021 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: "On the hunt for 'hierarchical' black holes", Black holes-detected by their gravitational wave signal as they collide with other black holes-could be the product of much earlier parent collisions., , , Multimessenger astrophysics, , ,   

    From University of Birmingham (UK) : “On the hunt for ‘hierarchical’ black holes” 

    From University of Birmingham (UK)

    27 July 2021

    Beck Lockwood,
    Press Office, University of Birmingham,
    Tel: +44 (0)781 3343348.

    Black holes-detected by their gravitational wave signal as they collide with other black holes-could be the product of much earlier parent collisions.

    Credit: Riccardo Buscicchio.

    Credit: CC0 Public Domain.

    Such an event has only been hinted at so far, but scientists at the University of Birmingham in the UK, and Northwestern University (US), believe we are getting close to tracking down the first of these so-called ‘hierarchical’ black holes.

    In a review paper, published in Nature Astronomy, Dr Davide Gerosa, of the University of Birmingham, and Dr Maya Fishbach of Northwestern University (US), suggest that recent theoretical findings together with astrophysical modelling and recorded gravitational wave data will enable scientists to accurately interpret gravitational wave signals from these events.

    Since the first gravitational wave was detected by the LIGO and Virgo detectors in September 2015, scientists have produced increasingly nuanced and sophisticated interpretations of these signals.

    There is now fervent activity to prove the existence of so-called ‘hierarchical mergers’ although the detection of GW190521 in 2019 – the most massive black hole merger yet detected – is thought to be the most promising candidate so far.

    “We believe that most of the gravitational waves so far detected are the result of first generation black holes colliding,” says Dr Gerosa. “But we think there’s a good chance that others will contain the remnants of previous mergers. These events will have distinctive gravitational wave signatures suggesting higher masses, and an unusual spin caused by the parent collision.”

    Understanding the characteristics of the environment in which such objects might be produced will also help narrow the search. This must be an environment with a large number of black holes, and one that is sufficiently dense to retain the black holes after they have merged, so they can go on and merge again.

    These could be, for example, nuclear star clusters, or accretion disks – containing a flow of gas, plasma and other particles – surrounding the compact regions at the centre of galaxies.

    “The LIGO and Virgo collaboration has already discovered more than 50 gravitational wave events,” says Dr Fishbach. “This will expand to thousands over the next few years, giving us so many more opportunities to discover and confirm unusual objects like hierarchical black holes in the universe.”

    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 8:00 pm on July 22, 2021 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: "Research Snapshot- Astrophysicist outlines ambitious plans for the first gravitational wave observatory on the moon", , , , , , Multimessenger astrophysics,   

    From Vanderbilt University (US) : “Research Snapshot- Astrophysicist outlines ambitious plans for the first gravitational wave observatory on the moon” 

    Vanderbilt U Bloc

    From Vanderbilt University (US)

    Jul. 21, 2021
    Marissa Shapiro

    Vanderbilt Astrophysicist outlines plans for the first gravitational wave observatory on the moon.

    Vanderbilt astrophysicist Karan Jani has led a series of studies that make the first case for a gravitational wave infrastructure on the surface of the moon. The experiment, dubbed Gravitational-Wave Lunar Observatory for Cosmology [GLOC}, uses the moon’s environment and geocentric orbit to analyze mergers of black holes, neuron stars and dark matter candidates within almost 70 percent of the entire observable volume of the universe, he said.

    “By tapping into the natural conditions on the moon, we showed that one of the most challenging spectrum of gravitational waves can be measured better from the lunar surface, which so far seems impossible from Earth or space,” Jani said.

    Karan Jani (Vanderbilt University.)


    “The moon offers an ideal backdrop for the ultimate gravitational wave observatory, since it lacks an atmosphere and noticeable seismic noise, which we must mitigate at great cost for laser interferometers on Earth,” said Avi Loeb, professor of science at Harvard University (US) and bestselling author of books about black holes, the first stars, the search for extraterrestrial life and the future of the universe. “A lunar observatory would provide unprecedented sensitivity for discovering sources that we do not anticipate and that could inform us of new physics. GLOC could be the jewel in the crown of science on the surface of the moon.”

    This work comes as NASA revives its Artemis program, which aims to send the first woman and the next man to the moon as early as 2024. Ongoing commercial work by aerospace companies, including SpaceX and BlueOrigin, also has added to the momentum behind planning for ambitious scientific infrastructure on the surface of the moon.

    Conceptual design of Gravitational-wave Lunar Observatory for Cosmology [GLOC} on the surface of the moon. Credit: Karan Jani.


    “In the coming years, we hope to develop a pathfinder mission on the moon to test the technologies of GLOC,” Jani said. “Unlike space missions that last only a few years, the great investment benefit of GLOC is it establishes a permanent base on the moon from where we can study the universe for generations, quite literally the entirety of this century.” Currently the observatory is theoretical, with Jani and Loeb receiving a strong endorsement from the international gravitational-wave community.

    “It was a great privilege to collaborate with an innovative young thinker like Karan Jani,” Loeb said. “He may live long enough to witness the project come to fruition.”

    The work was funded by the Stevenson Chair endowment funds at Vanderbilt University and the Black Hole Initiative at Harvard University, which is funded by grants from the John Templeton Foundation and the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation.

    Science paper:
    Journal of Cosmology and Astroparticle Physics

    See the full article here .


    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    Stem Education Coalition

    Commodore Cornelius Vanderbilt was in his 79th year when he decided to make the gift that founded Vanderbilt University (US) in the spring of 1873.
    The $1 million that he gave to endow and build the university was the commodore’s only major philanthropy. Methodist Bishop Holland N. McTyeire of Nashville, husband of Amelia Townsend who was a cousin of the commodore’s young second wife Frank Crawford, went to New York for medical treatment early in 1873 and spent time recovering in the Vanderbilt mansion. He won the commodore’s admiration and support for the project of building a university in the South that would “contribute to strengthening the ties which should exist between all sections of our common country.”

    McTyeire chose the site for the campus, supervised the construction of buildings and personally planted many of the trees that today make Vanderbilt a national arboretum. At the outset, the university consisted of one Main Building (now Kirkland Hall), an astronomical observatory and houses for professors. Landon C. Garland was Vanderbilt’s first chancellor, serving from 1875 to 1893. He advised McTyeire in selecting the faculty, arranged the curriculum and set the policies of the university.

    For the first 40 years of its existence, Vanderbilt was under the auspices of the Methodist Episcopal Church, South. The Vanderbilt Board of Trust severed its ties with the church in June 1914 as a result of a dispute with the bishops over who would appoint university trustees.

    From the outset, Vanderbilt met two definitions of a university: It offered work in the liberal arts and sciences beyond the baccalaureate degree and it embraced several professional schools in addition to its college. James H. Kirkland, the longest serving chancellor in university history (1893-1937), followed Chancellor Garland. He guided Vanderbilt to rebuild after a fire in 1905 that consumed the main building, which was renamed in Kirkland’s honor, and all its contents. He also navigated the university through the separation from the Methodist Church. Notable advances in graduate studies were made under the third chancellor, Oliver Cromwell Carmichael (1937-46). He also created the Joint University Library, brought about by a coalition of Vanderbilt, Peabody College and Scarritt College.

    Remarkable continuity has characterized the government of Vanderbilt. The original charter, issued in 1872, was amended in 1873 to make the legal name of the corporation “The Vanderbilt University.” The charter has not been altered since.

    The university is self-governing under a Board of Trust that, since the beginning, has elected its own members and officers. The university’s general government is vested in the Board of Trust. The immediate government of the university is committed to the chancellor, who is elected by the Board of Trust.

    The original Vanderbilt campus consisted of 75 acres. By 1960, the campus had spread to about 260 acres of land. When George Peabody College for Teachers merged with Vanderbilt in 1979, about 53 acres were added.

    Vanderbilt’s student enrollment tended to double itself each 25 years during the first century of the university’s history: 307 in the fall of 1875; 754 in 1900; 1,377 in 1925; 3,529 in 1950; 7,034 in 1975. In the fall of 1999 the enrollment was 10,127.

    In the planning of Vanderbilt, the assumption seemed to be that it would be an all-male institution. Yet the board never enacted rules prohibiting women. At least one woman attended Vanderbilt classes every year from 1875 on. Most came to classes by courtesy of professors or as special or irregular (non-degree) students. From 1892 to 1901 women at Vanderbilt gained full legal equality except in one respect — access to dorms. In 1894 the faculty and board allowed women to compete for academic prizes. By 1897, four or five women entered with each freshman class. By 1913 the student body contained 78 women, or just more than 20 percent of the academic enrollment.

    National recognition of the university’s status came in 1949 with election of Vanderbilt to membership in the select Association of American Universities (US). In the 1950s Vanderbilt began to outgrow its provincial roots and to measure its achievements by national standards under the leadership of Chancellor Harvie Branscomb. By its 90th anniversary in 1963, Vanderbilt for the first time ranked in the top 20 private universities in the United States.

    Vanderbilt continued to excel in research, and the number of university buildings more than doubled under the leadership of Chancellors Alexander Heard (1963-1982) and Joe B. Wyatt (1982-2000), only the fifth and sixth chancellors in Vanderbilt’s long and distinguished history. Heard added three schools (Blair, the Owen Graduate School of Management and Peabody College) to the seven already existing and constructed three dozen buildings. During Wyatt’s tenure, Vanderbilt acquired or built one-third of the campus buildings and made great strides in diversity, volunteerism and technology.

    The university grew and changed significantly under its seventh chancellor, Gordon Gee, who served from 2000 to 2007. Vanderbilt led the country in the rate of growth for academic research funding, which increased to more than $450 million and became one of the most selective undergraduate institutions in the country.

    On March 1, 2008, Nicholas S. Zeppos was named Vanderbilt’s eighth chancellor after serving as interim chancellor beginning Aug. 1, 2007. Prior to that, he spent 2002-2008 as Vanderbilt’s provost, overseeing undergraduate, graduate and professional education programs as well as development, alumni relations and research efforts in liberal arts and sciences, engineering, music, education, business, law and divinity. He first came to Vanderbilt in 1987 as an assistant professor in the law school. In his first five years, Zeppos led the university through the most challenging economic times since the Great Depression, while continuing to attract the best students and faculty from across the country and around the world. Vanderbilt got through the economic crisis notably less scathed than many of its peers and began and remained committed to its much-praised enhanced financial aid policy for all undergraduates during the same timespan. The Martha Rivers Ingram Commons for first-year students opened in 2008 and College Halls, the next phase in the residential education system at Vanderbilt, is on track to open in the fall of 2014. During Zeppos’ first five years, Vanderbilt has drawn robust support from federal funding agencies, and the Medical Center entered into agreements with regional hospitals and health care systems in middle and east Tennessee that will bring Vanderbilt care to patients across the state.

    Today, Vanderbilt University is a private research university of about 6,500 undergraduates and 5,300 graduate and professional students. The university comprises 10 schools, a public policy center and The Freedom Forum First Amendment Center. Vanderbilt offers undergraduate programs in the liberal arts and sciences, engineering, music, education and human development as well as a full range of graduate and professional degrees. The university is consistently ranked as one of the nation’s top 20 universities by publications such as U.S. News & World Report, with several programs and disciplines ranking in the top 10.

    Cutting-edge research and liberal arts, combined with strong ties to a distinguished medical center, creates an invigorating atmosphere where students tailor their education to meet their goals and researchers collaborate to solve complex questions affecting our health, culture and society.

    Vanderbilt, an independent, privately supported university, and the separate, non-profit Vanderbilt University Medical Center share a respected name and enjoy close collaboration through education and research. Together, the number of people employed by these two organizations exceeds that of the largest private employer in the Middle Tennessee region.

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