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  • richardmitnick 5:44 pm on April 17, 2019 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , Einstein’s Unfinished Revolution: The Search for What Lies Beyond the Quantum, , Perimeter Institute of Theoretical Physics, ,   

    From Scientific American: “Cosmologist Lee Smolin says that at certain key points, the scientific worldview is based on fallacious reasoning” 

    Scientific American

    From Scientific American

    April 17, 2019
    Jim Daley

    Lee Smolin, author of six books about the philosophical issues raised by contemporary physics, says every time he writes a new one, the experience completely changes the direction his own research is taking. In his latest book, Einstein’s Unfinished Revolution: The Search for What Lies Beyond the Quantum, Smolin, a cosmologist and quantum theorist at the Perimeter Institute for Theoretical Physics in Ontario, tackles what he sees as the limitations in quantum theory.

    1
    Credit: Perimeter Institute

    “I want to say the scientific worldview is based on fallacious reasoning at certain key points,” Smolin says. In Einstein’s Unfinished Revolution, he argues one of those key points was the assumption that quantum physics is a complete theory. This incompleteness, Smolin argues, is the reason quantum physics has not been able to solve certain questions about the universe.

    “Most of what we do [in science] is take the laws that have been discovered by experiments to apply to parts of the universe, and just assume that they can be scaled up to apply to the whole universe,” Smolin says. “I’m going to be suggesting that’s wrong.”

    Join Smolin at the Perimeter Institute as he discusses his book and takes the audience on a journey through the basics of quantum physics and the experiments and scientists who have changed our understanding of the universe. The discussion, “Einstein’s Unfinished Revolution,” is part of Perimeter’s public lecture series and will take place on Wednesday, April 17, at 7 P.M. Eastern time. Online viewers can participate in the discussion by tweeting to @Perimeter using the #piLIVE hashtag.

    See the full article here .


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    Scientific American, the oldest continuously published magazine in the U.S., has been bringing its readers unique insights about developments in science and technology for more than 160 years.

     
  • richardmitnick 4:47 pm on February 28, 2019 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Perimeter Institute of Theoretical Physics, Robert Myers an internationally recognized Canadian theoretical physicist has been named the Institute’s new Director after an exhaustive international search, The appointment of Myers as Director follows the 10-year directorship of Neil Turok who remains at Perimeter as Director Emeritus and a full-time researcher leading the Institute’s new cosmology res   

    From Perimeter Institute: “New Perimeter Institute Director among world’s most influential scientists” 

    Perimeter Institute
    From Perimeter Institute

    February 28, 2019

    Colin Hunter
    Director of Communications & Media
    chunter@perimeterinstitute.ca
    519-569-7600 x4474

    1
    Taking the reins: String theorist Robert Myers becomes the third director of the Perimeter Institute for Theoretical Physics. (Courtesy: Perimeter Institute)

    Robert Myers, an internationally recognized Canadian theoretical physicist, has been named the Institute’s new Director after an exhaustive international search.

    Robert Myers a theoretical physicist consistently ranked among the world’s most influential scientists, has been appointed the new Director of Perimeter Institute.

    The appointment follows an exhaustive global search and was made with the unanimous approval of a search committee of top international scientists and Perimeter’s Board of Directors.

    “We are thrilled to move into the next exciting phase of Perimeter’s evolution under Rob Myers’ leadership,” said Perimeter Founder and Board Chair Mike Lazaridis. “Rob’s contributions as a scientist are second to none. He is highly respected throughout the global physics community, and he possesses the drive and vision to advance Perimeter at a particularly exciting time in the history of the Institute and of physics more generally.”

    Along with the directorship, Myers will hold the BMO Financial Group Isaac Newton Chair in Theoretical Physics, a prestigious position supported by a $4 million gift made to the Institute by BMO Financial Group in 2010.

    Myers has been recognized as one of the world’s most influential scientists: in 2014, 2015, 2016, and 2017, he appeared on the Thomson Reuters/Clarivate Analytics list of “Highly Cited Researchers,” highlighting researchers whose citations rank in the top one percent of their fields.

    Myers’ research focuses on foundational questions in quantum theory and gravity. His contributions span a broad range, from quantum field theory to gravitational physics, black holes, and cosmology. Several of his discoveries, such as the “Myers effect” and “linear dilaton cosmology” have been influential in seeding new lines of research. His current research focuses on the interplay of quantum entanglement and spacetime geometry, and on applying new tools from quantum information science to the study of quantum gravity.

    “It’s an honour and a privilege for me to be chosen as Perimeter’s new Director,” said Myers. “I’m really excited about the opportunity to lead Perimeter into the future, to build on the legacy of Perimeter’s first 20 years, and to continue to fulfill the founding vision of Perimeter as a world-leading centre in research, training, and outreach.”

    Originally from Deep River, Ontario, Myers received his PhD from Princeton and held positions at the University of California and McGill University before joining Perimeter in 2001 as a founding faculty member. His arrival at Perimeter caught the attention of other leading physicists, many of whom have ultimately followed his lead. Perimeter is now, in the words of the late Stephen Hawking, “one of the world’s leading centres for theoretical physics, if not the leading centre.”

    2
    Neil Turok at the Perimeter Institute for Theoretical Physics. (Courtesy: Gabriela Secara)

    The appointment of Myers as Director follows the 10-year directorship of Neil Turok, who remains at Perimeter as Director Emeritus and a full-time researcher leading the Institute’s new cosmology research hub, the Centre for the Universe at Perimeter Institute.

    “It has been the privilege of a lifetime to serve as Perimeter’s Director for the past decade and to work with so many wonderful colleagues to build a unique centre for basic research, training, and public engagement,” said Turok. “Although I’m stepping down from that role, I’m not going anywhere. Cosmology has provided us with some amazing puzzles and clues about how the universe works. I’m greatly looking forward to focusing full time on understanding them. I could not imagine a better place to do so.”

    Turok added his full enthusiastic support to his successor: “Rob is the perfect choice to lead Perimeter into the future. He has been my closest advisor throughout my time as Director, and I am delighted to remain at Perimeter as a researcher with him charting the course for the Institute.”

    Julie Barker-Merz, Senior Vice-President for the South Western Ontario Division of BMO Financial Group, said: “We are absolutely thrilled that the BMO Financial Group Isaac Newton Chair will now be held by Dr. Rob Myers. We know he is a scientist befitting the Chair’s namesake and will lead Perimeter into a very bright future.”

    Myers’ appointment as Perimeter’s Director comes at a time of exciting progress in many crucial areas of fundamental physics, from quantum to cosmos. The LIGO collaboration detected gravitational waves a full century after Einstein predicted their existence; the CHIME telescope in British Columbia is detecting fast radio bursts at an unprecedented rate; the Event Horizon Telescope is expected to capture humanity’s first image of a black hole; and quantum information research is bridging theory and experiment on the path to revolutionary new technologies. Perimeter researchers and partners in Ontario’s Quantum Valley ecosystem are central to these and many other fast-developing areas of fundamental physics.

    CHIME Canadian Hydrogen Intensity Mapping Experiment -A partnership between the University of British Columbia, the University of Toronto, McGill University, Yale and the National Research Council in British Columbia, at the Dominion Radio Astrophysical Observatory in Penticton, British Columbia, CA

    EHT map

    “Perimeter is an environment unlike any other in which researchers from around the globe collaborate across disciplines in search of profound new truths,” said Myers. “Breakthroughs await where brilliant people, bold ideas, and diverse cultures intersect.”

    Myers said he hopes to inspire his colleagues every day to embrace the ideals on which Perimeter was founded. “Be bold, be adventurous, be audacious in our aspirations to advance humanity through exceptional science,” said Myers.

    “I’d like us all to take on that quality which helped Perimeter’s previous Directors bring the Institute so far in such a short time: namely, to not be intimidated by the impossible, but rather be determined to make it a reality.”

    COMMENTS OF WELCOME AND SUPPORT:

    “On behalf of the Government of Canada, allow me to congratulate Dr. Neil Turok on the past decade of leadership, and to welcome the appointment of Dr. Rob Myers as the new Director of Perimeter Institute. I know Rob Myers will maintain Perimeter’s high standard of research excellence, and provide stellar training experiences for the next generation of critical thinkers in an environment of equality and opportunity. So to Rob, keep up the amazing work. The team you now lead and the discoveries they pursue can help transform research and technology – and ultimately our collective future.” – The Hon. Kirsty Duncan, Canadian Minister of Science and Sport

    “I am pleased to welcome Rob Myers as the Institute’s new Director. Perimeter and Quantum Valley are helping create the technology of tomorrow, while helping Ontario remain competitive in advanced research, new knowledge and innovations that will shape the future. On behalf of the Government of Ontario, my congratulations to Rob and Perimeter on this important appointment.” – The Hon. Todd Smith, Minister of Economic Development, Job Creation, and Trade

    “Rob Myers has been an extremely influential voice in theoretical physics and I believe he will be a great leader of the Perimeter Institute.” – Edward Witten, 2012 Breakthrough Prize laureate and professor at the Institute for Advanced Study

    “Perimeter is fortunate to have a respected, dedicated scientist and likable person like Rob Myers as its new Director. What an excellent choice.” – Donna Strickland, 2018 Nobel laureate and professor at the University of Waterloo

    “Perimeter contributes immensely to discovery and training of tomorrow’s leaders and innovators. It has shone a light on Canada’s scientific excellence worldwide. I am delighted to welcome Rob Myers, a leading scientist, as Perimeter’s new Director, and I wish him all the best in continuing the Institute’s tradition of excellence.” – Dr. Mona Nemer, Chief Science Advisor of Canada

    “I can think of no greater ambassador for Perimeter – Rob is personable, articulate, and, of course, brilliant.” – Vicky Kaspi, professor at McGill University and member of the CHIME Telescope collaboration

    “I know Rob will make a great Director for Perimeter. His innovative ideas coupled with his collaborative approach will forge new directions in physics and help make physics a more inclusive endeavour. There will be many exciting things on the horizon at Perimeter.” – Rowan Thomson, former Perimeter PhD student and Canada Research Chair at Carleton University

    “Rob’s support and encouragement when I arrived to Perimeter as a young postdoc had an enormous positive impact on my career. I was always impressed that, despite his many responsibilities, whenever we sat down to chat, be it about physics or about career choices, I never felt rushed. Rob is one the best mentors I have ever had.” – David Julián Mateos Solé, former Perimeter postdoctoral researcher and ICREA Research Professor at the University of Barcelona

    “Congratulations to Rob Myers on his appointment as Director of Perimeter Institute. I know he will lead Perimeter to many great accomplishments in the coming years.” – Art McDonald, 2015 Nobel laureate and Director of the Sudbury Neutrino Observatory Collaboration

    “Perimeter Institute is a jewel of theoretical physics which has thrived thanks in large part to outstanding leadership. I’m very glad to see that PI will remain in capable hands after Neil Turok steps down as Director. Rob Myers is a visionary physicist, a natural leader, and a great guy. I’m confident that with Rob’s guidance, PI will soar to even greater heights.” – John Preskill, Richard P. Feynman Professor of Theoretical Physics at the California Institute of Technology

    “Rob Myers will be a fantastic Director of Perimeter Institute. His contributions to gravity and quantum theory are of lasting import. His deep expertise and broad view of the field will no doubt serve him, PI, and the community at large very well in his new role.” – Eva Silverstein, professor at Stanford University

    “I was very pleased to see the appointment of Rob Myers as the next Director of PI. The Institute will be headed by a distinguished scientist with a strong record of achievement. A very good choice.” – James Hartle, professor at the University of California, Santa Barbara

    “The National Research Council of Canada congratulates Perimeter Institute on the appointment of its new Director Rob Myers. Partnerships between PI and NRC involve radio astronomy and quantum machine learning. We look forward to further partnerships with Perimeter under the leadership of its exceptional new Director.” – Iain Stewart, President of the National Research Council of Canada

    “On behalf of the University of Waterloo, I am excited to welcome Dr. Rob Myers as the next Director of the Perimeter Institute. Dr. Myers is a world-renowned researcher, a Distinguished Alumni Award recipient from the University of Waterloo, and will be an excellent leader for the Institute. I look forward to continuing and further growing our excellent scientific collaboration with PI under his leadership.” – Feridun Hamdullahpur, President and Vice-Chancellor at the University of Waterloo

    “Perimeter Institute is a key player in basic research and valued member of the Canadian Association for Physicists. CAP colleagues look forward to working with Rob – an enormously talented scientist and smart leader – to further physics research, training and outreach across the country. Congratulations to Rob and the Perimeter team on this special appointment.” – Bruce D. Gaulin, President, Canadian Association of Physicists

    See the full article here .

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    About Perimeter

    Perimeter Institute is a leading centre for scientific research, training and educational outreach in foundational theoretical physics. Founded in 1999 in Waterloo, Ontario, Canada, its mission is to advance our understanding of the universe at the most fundamental level, stimulating the breakthroughs that could transform our future. Perimeter also trains the next generation of physicists through innovative programs, and shares the excitement and wonder of science with students, teachers and the general public.

     
  • richardmitnick 11:31 am on January 8, 2019 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , Antiuniverse, , , CPT symmetry, , Our universe has antimatter partner on the other side of the Big Bang say physicists, Perimeter Institute of Theoretical Physics, , , The entity that respects the symmetry is a universe–antiuniverse pair   

    From physicsworld.com: “Our universe has antimatter partner on the other side of the Big Bang, say physicists” 

    physicsworld
    From physicsworld.com

    03 Jan 2019

    1
    (Courtesy: shutterstock/tomertu)

    Our universe could be the mirror image of an antimatter universe extending backwards in time before the Big Bang. So claim physicists in Canada, who have devised a new cosmological model positing the existence of an “antiuniverse” [Physical Review Letters] which, paired to our own, preserves a fundamental rule of physics called CPT symmetry. The researchers still need to work out many details of their theory, but they say it naturally explains the existence of dark matter.

    Standard cosmological models tell us that the universe – space, time and mass/energy – exploded into existence some 14 billion years ago and has since expanded and cooled, leading to the progressive formation of subatomic particles, atoms, stars and planets.

    However, Neil Turok of the Perimeter Institute for Theoretical Physics in Ontario reckons that these models’ reliance on ad-hoc parameters means they increasingly resemble Ptolemy’s description of the solar system. One such parameter, he says, is the brief period of rapid expansion known as inflation that can account for the universe’s large-scale uniformity. “There is this frame of mind that you explain a new phenomenon by inventing a new particle or field,” he says. “I think that may turn out to be misguided.”

    Instead, Turok and his Perimeter Institute colleague Latham Boyle set out to develop a model of the universe that can explain all observable phenomena based only on the known particles and fields. They asked themselves whether there is a natural way to extend the universe beyond the Big Bang – a singularity where general relativity breaks down – and then out the other side. “We found that there was,” he says.

    The answer was to assume that the universe as a whole obeys CPT symmetry. This fundamental principle requires that any physical process remains the same if time is reversed, space inverted and particles replaced by antiparticles. Turok says that this is not the case for the universe that we see around us, where time runs forward as space expands, and there’s more matter than antimatter.

    2
    In a CPT-symmetric universe, time would run backwards from the Big Bang and antimatter would dominate (L Boyle/Perimeter Institute of Theoretical Physics)

    Instead, says Turok, the entity that respects the symmetry is a universe–antiuniverse pair. The antiuniverse would stretch back in time from the Big Bang, getting bigger as it does so, and would be dominated by antimatter as well as having its spatial properties inverted compared to those in our universe – a situation analogous to the creation of electron–positron pairs in a vacuum, says Turok.

    Turok, who also collaborated with Kieran Finn of Manchester University in the UK, acknowledges that the model still needs plenty of work and is likely to have many detractors. Indeed, he says that he and his colleagues “had a protracted discussion” with the referees reviewing the paper for Physical Review Letters [link is above] – where it was eventually published – over the temperature fluctuations in the cosmic microwave background. “They said you have to explain the fluctuations and we said that is a work in progress. Eventually they gave in,” he says.

    In very broad terms, Turok says, the fluctuations are due to the quantum-mechanical nature of space–time near the Big Bang singularity. While the far future of our universe and the distant past of the antiuniverse would provide fixed (classical) points, all possible quantum-based permutations would exist in the middle. He and his colleagues counted the instances of each possible configuration of the CPT pair, and from that worked out which is most likely to exist. “It turns out that the most likely universe is one that looks similar to ours,” he says.

    Turok adds that quantum uncertainty means that universe and antiuniverse are not exact mirror images of one another – which sidesteps thorny problems such as free will.

    But problems aside, Turok says that the new model provides a natural candidate for dark matter. This candidate is an ultra-elusive, very massive particle called a “sterile” neutrino hypothesized to account for the finite (very small) mass of more common left-handed neutrinos. According to Turok, CPT symmetry can be used to work out the abundance of right-handed neutrinos in our universe from first principles. By factoring in the observed density of dark matter, he says that quantity yields a mass for the right-handed neutrino of about 5×108 GeV – some 500 million times the mass of the proton.

    Turok describes that mass as “tantalizingly” similar to the one derived from a couple of anomalous radio signals spotted by the Antarctic Impulsive Transient Antenna (ANITA). The balloon-borne experiment, which flies high over Antarctica, generally observes cosmic rays travelling down through the atmosphere. However, on two occasions ANITA appears to have detected particles travelling up through the Earth with masses between 2 and 10×108 GeV. Given that ordinary neutrinos would almost certainly interact before getting that far, Thomas Weiler of Vanderbilt University and colleagues recently proposed that the culprits were instead decaying right-handed neutrinos [Letters in High Energy Physics].

    Turok, however, points out a fly in the ointment – which is that the CPT symmetric model requires these neutrinos to be completely stable. But he remains cautiously optimistic. “It is possible to make these particles decay over the age of the universe but that takes a little adjustment of our model,” he says. “So we are still intrigued but I certainly wouldn’t say we are convinced at this stage.”

    See the full article here .


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    Perimeter Institute is the world’s largest research hub devoted to theoretical physics. The independent Institute was founded in 1999 to foster breakthroughs in the fundamental understanding of our universe, from the smallest particles to the entire cosmos. Research at Perimeter is motivated by the understanding that fundamental science advances human knowledge and catalyzes innovation, and that today’s theoretical physics is tomorrow’s technology. Located in the Region of Waterloo, the not-for-profit Institute is a unique public-private endeavour, including the Governments of Ontario and Canada, that enables cutting-edge research, trains the next generation of scientific pioneers, and shares the power of physics through award-winning educational outreach and public engagement.

    PhysicsWorld is a publication of the Institute of Physics. The Institute of Physics is a leading scientific society. We are a charitable organisation with a worldwide membership of more than 50,000, working together to advance physics education, research and application.

    We engage with policymakers and the general public to develop awareness and understanding of the value of physics and, through IOP Publishing, we are world leaders in professional scientific communications.
    IOP Institute of Physics

     
  • richardmitnick 12:15 pm on December 23, 2018 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , , , , New fellowships, Perimeter Institute of Theoretical Physics,   

    From Perimeter Institute: “New fellowships to fuel fundamental physics with radio telescopes in Canada” 

    Perimeter Institute

    From Perimeter Institute

    December 20, 2018

    Perimeter Institute and Canada’s National Research Council have created a pair of postdoctoral fellowships for exceptional emerging radio astronomers.

    As radio astronomy enters a transformative new era, Perimeter Institute and Canada’s National Research Council (NRC) have launched two new fellowships to accelerate the research of young scientists conducting theory, data analysis, or instrument development.

    The new initiative is a collaboration between Perimeter and NRC’s Dominion Radio Astrophysical Observatory (DRAO), the site of Canada’s revolutionary Canadian Hydrogen Intensity Mapping Experiment (CHIME) Telescope.

    CHIME Canadian Hydrogen Intensity Mapping Experiment -A partnership between the University of British Columbia, the University of Toronto, McGill University, Yale and the National Research Council in British Columbia, at the Dominion Radio Astrophysical Observatory in Penticton,British Columbia

    Instruments like CHIME and forthcoming experiments possess unprecedented statistical power, promising to open new windows into fundamental physics questions, including dark matter, gravity, and neutrinos. These instruments will be used to tackle new challenges in data analysis and high-performance computing, and will help scientists resolve deep astronomical puzzles, such as the origin of fast radio bursts (FRBs).

    The Perimeter-DRAO partnership will bring together theorists, data analysts, and instrumentalists at the leading edge of this very exciting field.

    One of the postdoctoral fellows will be based at the DRAO, with the other at Perimeter Institute; each will be encouraged to spend time at the other institution to deepen the partnership and strengthen the connections between the institutions.

    Perimeter Institute is part of a number of radio astronomy collaborations, including CHIME/FRB, HIRAX (Hydrogen Intensity and Real-time Analysis Experiment), and the EHT (Event Horizon Telescope), among others.

    SKA HIRAX prototype dishes at Hartebeesthoek Astronomy Observatory near Johannesburg.

    EHT map

    EHT APEX, IRAM, G. Narayanan, J. McMahon, JCMT/JAC, S. Hostler, D. Harvey, ESO/C. Malin

    Perimeter researchers associated with these initiatives include Avery Broderick, Ue-Li Pen, Will Percival, Daniel Siegel, Kendrick Smith, and Neil Turok.

    In addition to hosting CHIME in British Columbia and several other radio telescopes, DRAO features laboratories and specialized equipment for the design and construction of all aspects of radio-frequency instrumentation, from highly sensitive antennae and receiver systems to high-speed digital signal processing hardware and software. This national facility is home to astronomers, astrophysicists, engineers, and technologists, as well as visiting researchers and students from universities and astronomical observatories around the world.

    The deadline to apply for the fellowships is January 31, 2019. Find more information and apply here.

    See the full article here .


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    About Perimeter
    Perimeter Institute is the world’s largest research hub devoted to theoretical physics. The independent Institute was founded in 1999 to foster breakthroughs in the fundamental understanding of our universe, from the smallest particles to the entire cosmos. Research at Perimeter is motivated by the understanding that fundamental science advances human knowledge and catalyzes innovation, and that today’s theoretical physics is tomorrow’s technology. Located in the Region of Waterloo, the not-for-profit Institute is a unique public-private endeavour, including the Governments of Ontario and Canada, that enables cutting-edge research, trains the next generation of scientific pioneers, and shares the power of physics through award-winning educational outreach and public engagement.

     
  • richardmitnick 2:32 pm on August 29, 2018 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , Here’s what physics did over the summer (and how you can brush up on it), Perimeter Institute of Theoretical Physics   

    From Perimeter Institute: “Here’s what physics did over the summer (and how you can brush up on it)” 

    Perimeter Institute

    From Perimeter Institute

    It is an indisputable fact that the Earth hurtles around our Sun at 30 kilometres per second, but it sure seems to speed up during the summer. School is out, friends and family gather for bonfires and barbecues… time flies when you’re having fun.

    Of course, the cosmos ticks along at its usual pace regardless of season, and the science of decoding the universe never truly takes a holiday, either.

    As students and teachers in the Northern hemisphere prepare to head back to school, we decided to take a look at some of the biggest physics stories of the summer — and provide some handy primers to help you brush up on what you may have missed while you were dozing in a hammock.

    The heat is on

    What happened? The summer of 2018 has been one of the top-four hottest on record (along with 2017, 2016, and 2015 — notice a trend?). This scorcher of a summer has seen unprecedented heat waves, floods, wildfires, and droughts. New research published this summer in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences suggests we may be at the cusp of a tipping point in climate change that would create a disastrous “hothouse” climate on Earth.

    So what? The increasingly steamy summers are no mere happenstance. They are the result of climate change, and “the impacts of climate change are no longer subtle,” Michael Mann, a climate scientist and director of the Earth System Science Center at Penn State University, told CNN. That means our turbulent climate is poised to spark more disasters, disrupt more lives, and drive climate refugees to mass relocation — among many other crises both known and not-yet-foreseen.

    What’s the deal, scientifically? Climate change is fuelled by greenhouse gases, such as carbon dioxide, trapped in the Earth’s atmosphere. Accelerated by human industrialization, this process traps in heat and raises average temperatures around the whole planet (no matter how chilly you might feel on a given day in February). This video, from Perimeter’s “Evidence for Climate Change” teaching resource for Grade 10 classes, provides an overview of the physics behind our warming atmosphere and some potential ways science can find solutions.

    Download the “Evidence for Climate Change” and “Temperature Rising” resources for free.

    Martian waters

    What happened? The Italian Space Agency announced in June that researchers had found signs suggesting the presence of a large body of liquid water deep beneath the south pole of Mars.

    So what? The notion that Mars might contain stores of liquid water — as it did in the past, evidenced by dried-up river basins — has tantalized researchers for decades. Water is the lifeblood of our planet, so its presence on our nearest planetary neighbour could mean we are not (or have not always been) alone in the universe, and would bolster the case for making Mars a second home for humanity.

    What’s the deal, scientifically? The Italian team’s findings, published in the journal Science, are based on observations recorded by the Mars Advanced Radar for Subsurface and Ionosphere Sounding instrument (Marsis). Hitching a ride on the European Space Agency’s Mars Express spacecraft, Marsis bounced low-frequency waves off the red planet, gleaning geological data from the returning signal. Although no one can say with certainty that Marsis glimpsed wet water under the south pole, the 12-mile-wide “well-defined anomaly” sure looks lake-like.

    For humans looking beyond our planet for hospitable future homes in the cosmos, Mars is top of the list. The presence of liquid water would certainly strengthen the case for habitability, but getting to Mars — and staying there — presents an enormous list of scientific and technological challenges.

    This video, excerpted from Perimeter’s “Mission Possible” educational resource, examines what it will take to make humanity’s next giant leap.

    TESS glimpses “first light”

    NASA/MIT TESS

    What happened? In the search for planets beyond our solar system, last spring NASA launched the Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite, affectionately known as TESS. After orbiting Earth for a while, it used the moon’s gravity to slingshot itself into a new orbit, where it is scanning the cosmos for other worlds. In late May, it beamed its first image back to Earth, and it is breathtaking:

    2
    The inaugural image of TESS, showing an area of space around Beta Centauri (the bright star near the bottom). Credit: NASA / MIT / TESS

    So what? The image above is just a test — making sure the lens cap is off, and so forth — and it reveals hundreds of thousands of celestial bodies. And that’s just a tiny sliver of the night sky. Over the next two years, TESS will survey the rest of the sky, piecing together an image 400 times larger. In the process, TESS is expected to detect thousands of new exoplanets in our galactic neighbourhood, roughly 300 of which are expected to be Earth-like. Ultimately, the search for exoplanets may answer one of humanity’s oldest and most profound questions: are we Earthlings alone in the universe?

    What’s the deal, scientifically? TESS uses the transit method of sleuthing out exoplanets, which involves measuring how the light emitted by stars changes when a planet crosses its orbit. Regular dips in the brightness of a star can indicate one or more planets zooming around it — and the intensity and duration of those dips can tell scientists about the size and shape of a planet passing by.

    Perimeter’s educational resource for Grade 9 classes, “Figuring Outer Space,” includes hands-on activities that simulate the search for alien worlds.

    Einstein was right! (Again!)

    What happened? In June, an international team of scientists announced they had measured the motion of a star passing close to a supermassive black hole.

    So what? The result confirmed a prediction of Albert Einstein’s general theory of relativity. That is a pretty huge deal for a few reasons. First, it verifies another aspect of Einstein’s century-old masterwork, which is our best model of how the universe works on large scales. It also demonstrates the incredible progress humanity has made in experimental astrophysics, making measurements that Einstein would likely have declared technologically impossible. Einstein “could not think or dream of what we are showing today,” said Frank Eisenhauer, senior astronomer at the Max Planck Institute for Extraterrestrial Physics. What’s more, the result is “the first step on a long road” to examining other facets of black holes, said team lead Reinhard Genzel.

    What’s the deal, scientifically? Einstein’s general theory of relativity, published a century ago, predicted that the extreme gravity of a black hole would stretch light from nearby stars, causing it to appear redder (a phenomenon called gravitational red shift). The scientist focused their gaze on one star, called S2, which has a 16-year orbit. When it made its scheduled pass near a black hole, it sped up just as predicted by Einstein’s theory — reaching more than 25 million km/h, its wavelength shifting from blue to red.

    This video from the European Southern Observatory beautifully explains the discovery:

    As part of its suite of educational resources for classrooms, Perimeter Institute has created lessons and activities to help students and teachers delve into the universe’s gravitational dynamos, black holes. In the video below, Perimeter researchers Avery Broderick, Niayesh Afshordi, and Bianca Dittrich explain some of the remarkable characteristics of these powerful phenomena.

    Quick hits

    Science as cool as ice: In July, the IceCube Neutrino Observatory, Fermi Gamma-ray Space Telescope, and other telescopes around the world announced they had pinpointed a source of high-energy cosmic rays for the first time. The detection of a single high-energy neutrino called a “blazar” represented another leap in the fast-moving enterprise of multimessenger astronomy. Download Perimeter’s free educational resource about neutrinos, “Where Did All the Neutrinos from the Sun Go?”
    Galileo, onward and upward: Riding on a rocket launched July 25 from the European Space Agency’s Spaceport in French Guiana, four more Galileo satellites joined two-dozen of their peers in orbit around Earth. The Galileo satellites are the workhorses of Europe’s global navigation satellite system. The Galileo system is essentially Europe’s version of GPS, compatible with American GPS and Russian Glonass systems. While such technology is commonplace today, ubiquitous in smartphones and cars, it is only possible thanks to breakthroughs in theoretical physics made by Albert Einstein years ago. Download Perimeter’s free educational resource, “Everyday Einstein: GPS and Relativity.”

    See the full article here .


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    About Perimeter

    Perimeter Institute is the world’s largest research hub devoted to theoretical physics. The independent Institute was founded in 1999 to foster breakthroughs in the fundamental understanding of our universe, from the smallest particles to the entire cosmos. Research at Perimeter is motivated by the understanding that fundamental science advances human knowledge and catalyzes innovation, and that today’s theoretical physics is tomorrow’s technology. Located in the Region of Waterloo, the not-for-profit Institute is a unique public-private endeavour, including the Governments of Ontario and Canada, that enables cutting-edge research, trains the next generation of scientific pioneers, and shares the power of physics through award-winning educational outreach and public engagement.

     
  • richardmitnick 5:44 pm on July 23, 2018 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: A theorem that launched abstract algebra and linked two fundamental concepts in physics: symmetry and conservation laws, Emmy Noether, From Perimeter Director Neil Turok"We Are Innovators", Perimeter Institute of Theoretical Physics, What does Noether’s theorem actually tell us? The answer is both intuitive and complicated,   

    From Perimeter Institute: Women in STEM- “Emmy Noether’s revolutionary theorem explained, from kindergarten to PhD” 

    Perimeter Institute

    From Perimeter Institute

    July 23, 2018
    Colin Hunter

    1

    One hundred years ago, on July 23, 1918, Emmy Noether published a paper that would change science.

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    Born Amalie Emmy Noether
    23 March 1882
    Erlangen, Bavaria, German Empire
    Died 14 April 1935 (aged 53)
    Bryn Mawr, Pennsylvania, U.S

    6
    Emmy Noether. No image caption or credit

    She was 36 at the time, working as an unpaid “assistant” under a male colleague because the University of Göttingen did not allow women to become professors. The paper, titled Invariante Variationsprobleme, contained a theorem that launched abstract algebra and linked two fundamental concepts in physics: symmetry and conservation laws.

    Her insight was so profound that physicists are still unpacking its implications. “It’s hard to overestimate the importance of Noether’s work in modern physics,” says theoretical physicist Ruth Gregory, a professor at Durham University and a Visiting Fellow at Perimeter.

    But what does Noether’s theorem actually tell us? The answer is both intuitive and complicated.

    Kindergarten: So, what is Noether’s big idea?

    We could think of no one more capable than Chris Ferrie to give an entry-level intro to Noether’s theorem. Ferrie is a quantum physicist with a side-project authoring science books for babies, including Quantum Physics for Babies, General Relativity for Babies, Optical Physics for Babies, and more.

    With the help of his sons Max and Wes, he turned Noether’s groundbreaking idea into child’s play — and came up with possibly the most intelligent use of a fidget spinner to date.

    High school: How does that link to science?

    When Perimeter Director Neil Turok set out on a cross-Canada tour as part of the country’s 150th centenary in 2017, his goal was to inspire young people about the power and joy of science. In his talk, called We Are Innovators, Turok described Noether as a “hero” of both science and humanity, whose brilliance was all the more remarkable given the barriers she had to overcome. In this excerpt, Turok demonstrates concepts of Noether’s theorem with a frisbee and a mug, and explains why Noether herself remains an inspiration.

    Undergrad I: What, exactly, is a symmetry?

    Noether’s theorem holds implications for many areas of science, including astrophysics and particle physics. Mathematician and cosmologist Ruth Gregory delivered a talk about Noether at Perimeter during the 2015 Convergence conference. First, Gregory takes a closer look at symmetries.

    Undergrad II: How does that relate to conservation?

    Okay, so there are all different kinds of symmetries in science. What does it mean to say symmetries are inextricably linked to conservation laws? Below, Gregory explores the connection.

    Post-graduate: A clue to new science

    Noether’s theorem also helps researchers find what cannot be seen. These “hidden symmetries” might not have been found without Noether’s theorem. Below, Gregory explains how Noether’s insights were vital to the development of modern particle theory.

    Watch Ruth Gregory’s full talk.

    PhD: Bring in the field equations.

    Feeling well-versed in the concepts underlying Noether’s theorem? Dive in a little deeper with this clip from University of Minnesota math professor Peter Olver, who also spoke about Noether’s influence during the 2015 Convergence conference. Here’s a taste:

    Watch Peter Olver’s full talk

    A Force of Nature

    Given her incredible contributions to science — particularly amid the obstacles in her way — Emmy Noether was truly a force of nature. Celebrate the accomplishments of Noether and other pioneering women of science by downloading our free “Forces of Nature” poster series.

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    4
    https://insidetheperimeter.ca/donate/women-in-physics.html

    See the full article here .

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

    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    Stem Education Coalition

    About Perimeter

    Perimeter Institute is the world’s largest research hub devoted to theoretical physics. The independent Institute was founded in 1999 to foster breakthroughs in the fundamental understanding of our universe, from the smallest particles to the entire cosmos. Research at Perimeter is motivated by the understanding that fundamental science advances human knowledge and catalyzes innovation, and that today’s theoretical physics is tomorrow’s technology. Located in the Region of Waterloo, the not-for-profit Institute is a unique public-private endeavour, including the Governments of Ontario and Canada, that enables cutting-edge research, trains the next generation of scientific pioneers, and shares the power of physics through award-winning educational outreach and public engagement.

     
  • richardmitnick 2:31 pm on May 11, 2018 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Arthur B. McDonald Canadian Astroparticle Physics Research Institute, , , , , , Perimeter Institute of Theoretical Physics, ,   

    From Perimeter Institute: “New centre for astroparticle physics launches in Canada” 

    Perimeter Institute

    From Perimeter Institute

    May 10, 2018

    Perimeter Institute is among 13 partner organizations contributing to a new national hub of astroparticle physics at Queen’s University in Kingston, Ontario.

    Queen’s University has officially launched the Arthur B. McDonald Canadian Astroparticle Physics Research Institute, a national research network dedicated to understanding some of the universe’s deepest mysteries.

    The namesake of the institute, Arthur B. McDonald, is the 2015 Nobel laureate in physics for his pioneering neutrino work at SNOLAB, and is a member of Perimeter Institute’s Board of Directors.

    SNOLAB, a Canadian underground physics laboratory at a depth of 2 km in Vale’s Creighton nickel mine in Sudbury, Ontario

    SNOLAB, Sudbury, Ontario, Canada.

    The newly announced institute is the result of a $63.7 million investment from the Government of Canada’s Canada First Research Excellence Fund given to Queen’s University in 2016.

    Perimeter Institute is among the five affiliated research organizations and eight universities in partnership with the McDonald Institute. Together, the partners aim to facilitate the exchange of research and ideas at the intersections of cosmology and particle physics.

    “Although the dimensions of the particles we are studying are minute, the implications of these discoveries are monumental and fundamental to the very properties of science and our understanding of the formation and evolution of the universe,” said McDonald Institute Scientific Director Tony Noble at the May 8 launch in Kingston.

    Perimeter Faculty Chair Luis Lehner said partnering with the McDonald Institute will facilitate “collaborative research in pursuit of answers to some of the deepest mysteries in science, and mutually strengthen the training and educational outreach activities of both institutes.”

    Over the past year and a half, the McDonald Institute has appointed a scientific director and recruited 13 new faculty members (out of 15 designated positions) from around the world.

    In addition to advancing research into areas such as the mysteries surrounding dark matter and neutrino science, the McDonald Institute has a mandate for scientific outreach and to develop unique undergraduate and graduate student programming and opportunities.

    Visit http://www.mcdonaldinstitute.ca for more information.

    See the full article here .

    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    STEM Icon

    Stem Education Coalition

    About Perimeter

    Perimeter Institute is the world’s largest research hub devoted to theoretical physics. The independent Institute was founded in 1999 to foster breakthroughs in the fundamental understanding of our universe, from the smallest particles to the entire cosmos. Research at Perimeter is motivated by the understanding that fundamental science advances human knowledge and catalyzes innovation, and that today’s theoretical physics is tomorrow’s technology. Located in the Region of Waterloo, the not-for-profit Institute is a unique public-private endeavour, including the Governments of Ontario and Canada, that enables cutting-edge research, trains the next generation of scientific pioneers, and shares the power of physics through award-winning educational outreach and public engagement.

     
  • richardmitnick 2:20 pm on October 8, 2017 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , , , , , Perimeter Institute of Theoretical Physics, , ,   

    From Quanta: Women in STEM: “Mining Black Hole Collisions for New Physics” Asimina Arvanitaki 

    Quanta Magazine
    Quanta Magazine

    July 21, 2016
    Joshua Sokol

    The physicist Asimina Arvanitaki is thinking up ways to search gravitational wave data for evidence of dark matter particles orbiting black holes.

    1
    Asimina Arvanitaki during a July visit to the CERN particle physics laboratory in Geneva, Switzerland.
    Samuel Rubio for Quanta Magazine

    When physicists announced in February that they had detected gravitational waves firsthand, the foundations of physics scarcely rattled.


    VIRGO Gravitational Wave interferometer, near Pisa, Italy

    Caltech/MIT Advanced aLigo Hanford, WA, USA installation


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

    Cornell SXS, the Simulating eXtreme Spacetimes (SXS) project

    Gravitational waves. Credit: MPI for Gravitational Physics/W.Benger-Zib

    ESA/eLISA the future of gravitational wave research

    1
    Skymap showing how adding Virgo to LIGO helps in reducing the size of the source-likely region in the sky. (Credit: Giuseppe Greco (Virgo Urbino group)

    The signal exactly matched the expectations physicists had arrived at after a century of tinkering with Einstein’s theory of general relativity. “There is a question: Can you do fundamental physics with it? Can you do things beyond the standard model with it?” said Savas Dimopoulos, a theoretical physicist at Stanford University. “And most people think the answer to that is no.”

    Asimina Arvanitaki is not one of those people. A theoretical physicist at Ontario’s Perimeter Institute of Theoretical Physics,


    Perimeter Institute in Waterloo, Canada

    Arvanitaki has been dreaming up ways to use black holes to explore nature’s fundamental particles and forces since 2010, when she published a paper with Dimopoulos, her mentor from graduate school, and others. Together, they sketched out a “string axiverse,” a pantheon of as yet undiscovered, weakly interacting particles. Axions such as these have long been a favored candidate to explain dark matter and other mysteries.

    In the intervening years, Arvanitaki and her colleagues have developed the idea through successive papers. But February’s announcement marked a turning point, where it all started to seem possible to test these ideas. Studying gravitational waves from the newfound population of merging black holes would allow physicists to search for those axions, since the axions would bind to black holes in what Arvanitaki describes as a “black hole atom.”

    “When it came up, we were like, ‘Oh my god, we’re going to do it now, we’re going to look for this,’” she said. “It’s a whole different ball game if you actually have data.”

    That’s Arvanitaki’s knack: matching what she calls “well-motivated,” field-hopping theoretical ideas with the precise experiment that could probe them. “By thinking away from what people are used to thinking about, you see that there is low-hanging fruit that lie in the interfaces,” she said. At the end of April, she was named the Stavros Niarchos Foundation’s Aristarchus Chair at the Perimeter Institute, the first woman to hold a research chair there.

    It’s a long way to come for someone raised in the small Grecian village of Koklas, where the graduating class at her high school — at which both of her parents taught — consisted of nine students. Quanta Magazine spoke with Arvanitaki about her plan to use black holes as particle detectors. An edited and condensed version of those discussions follows.

    QUANTA MAGZINE: When did you start to think that black holes might be good places to look for axions?

    ASIMINA ARVANITAKI: When we were writing the axiverse paper, Nemanja Kaloper, a physicist who is very good in general relativity, came and told us, “Hey, did you know there is this effect in general relativity called superradiance?” And we’re like, “No, this cannot be, I don’t think this happens. This cannot happen for a realistic system. You must be wrong.” And then he eventually convinced us that this could be possible, and then we spent like a year figuring out the dynamics.
    What is superradiance, and how does it work?

    An astrophysical black hole can rotate. There is a region around it called the “ergo region” where even light has to rotate. Imagine I take a piece of matter and throw it in a trajectory that goes through the ergo region. Now imagine you have some explosives in the matter, and it breaks apart into pieces. Part of it falls into the black hole and part escapes into infinity. The piece that is coming out has more total energy than the piece that went in the black hole.

    You can perform the same experiment by scattering radiation from a black hole. Take an electromagnetic wave pulse, scatter it from the black hole, and you see that the pulse you got back has a higher amplitude.

    So you can send a pulse of light near a black hole in such a way that it would take some energy and angular momentum from the black hole’s spin?

    This is old news, by the way, this is very old news. In ’72 Press and Teukolsky wrote a Nature paper that suggested the following cute thing. Let’s imagine you performed the same experiment as the light, but now imagine that you have the black hole surrounded by a giant mirror. What will happen in that case is the light will bounce on the mirror many times, the amplitude [of the light] grows exponentially, and the mirror eventually explodes due to radiation pressure. They called it the black hole bomb.

    The property that allows light to do this is that light is made of photons, and photons are bosons — particles that can sit in the same space at the same time with the same wave function. Now imagine that you have another boson that has a mass. It can [orbit] the black hole. The particle’s mass acts like a mirror, because it confines the particle in the vicinity of the black hole.

    In this way, axions might get stuck around a black hole?

    This process requires that the size of the particle is comparable to the black hole size. Turns out that [axion] mass can be anywhere from Hubble scale — with a quantum wavelength as big as the universe — or you could have a particle that’s tiny in size.

    So if they exist, axions can bind to black holes with a similar size and mass. What’s next?

    What happens is the number of particles in this bound orbit starts growing exponentially. At the same time the black hole spins down. If you solve for the wave functions of the bound orbits, what you find is that they look like hydrogen wave functions. Instead of electromagnetism binding your atom, what’s binding it is gravity. There are three quantum numbers you can describe, just the same. You can use the exact terminology that you can use in the hydrogen atom.

    How could we check to see if any of the black holes LIGO finds have axion clouds orbiting around black hole nuclei?

    This is a process that extracts energy and angular momentum from the black hole. If you were to measure spin versus mass of black holes, you should see that in a certain mass range for black holes you see no quickly rotating black holes.

    This is where Advanced LIGO comes in. You saw the event they saw. [Their measurements] allowed them to measure the masses of the merging objects, the mass of the final object, the spin of the final object, and to have some information about the spins of the initial objects.

    If I were to take the spins of the black holes before they merged, they could have been affected by superradiance. Now imagine a graph of black hole spin versus mass. Advanced LIGO could maybe get, if the things that we hear are correct, a thousand events per year. Now you have a thousand data points on this plot. So you may trace out the region that is affected by this particle just by those measurements.

    That would be supercool.

    That’s of course indirect. So the other cool thing is that it turns out there are signatures that have to do with the cloud of particles themselves. And essentially what they do is turn the black hole into a gravitational wave laser.

    Awesome. OK, what does that mean?

    2
    Samuel Rubio for Quanta Magazine

    Yeah, what that means is important. Just like you have transitions of electrons in an excited atom, you can have transitions of particles in the gravitational wave atom. The rate of emission of gravitational waves from these transitions is enhanced by the 1080 particles that you have. It would look like a very monochromatic line. It wouldn’t look like a transient. Imagine something now that emits a signal at a very fixed frequency.

    Where could LIGO expect to see signals like this?

    In Advanced LIGO, you actually see the birth of a black hole. You know when and where a black hole was born with a certain mass and a certain spin. So if you know the particle masses that you’re looking for, you can predict when the black hole will start growing the [axion] cloud around it. It could be that you see a merger in that day, and one or 10 years down the line, they go back to the same position and they see this laser turning on, they see this monochromatic line coming out from the cloud.

    You can also do a blind search. Because you have black holes that are roaming the universe by themselves, and they could still have some leftover cloud around them, you can do a blind search for monochromatic gravitational waves.

    Were you surprised to find out that axions and black holes could combine to produce such a dramatic effect?

    Oh my god yes. What are you talking about? We had panic attacks. You know how many panic attacks we had saying that this effect, no, this cannot be true, this is too good to be true? So yes, it was a surprise.

    The experiments you suggest draw from a lot of different theoretical ideas — like how we could look for high-frequency gravitational waves with tabletop sensors, or test whether dark matter oscillates using atomic clocks. When you’re thinking about making risky bets on physics beyond the standard model, what sorts of theories seem worth the effort?

    What is well motivated? Things that are not: “What if you had this?” People imagine: “What if dark matter was this thing? What if dark matter was the other thing?” For example, supersymmetry makes predictions about what types of dark matter should be there. String theory makes predictions about what types of particles you should have. There is always an underlying reason why these particles are there; it’s not just the endless theoretical possibilities that we have.

    And axions fit that definition?

    This is a particle that was proposed 30 years ago to explain the smallness of the observed electric dipole moment of the neutron. There are several experiments around the world looking for it already, at different wavelengths. So this particle, we’ve been looking for it for 30 years. This can be the dark matter. That particle solves an outstanding problem of the standard model, so that makes it a good particle to look for.

    Now, whether or not the particle is there I cannot answer for nature. Nature will have to answer.

    See the full article here .

    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    STEM Icon

    Stem Education Coalition

    Formerly known as Simons Science News, Quanta Magazine is an editorially independent online publication launched by the Simons Foundation to enhance public understanding of science. Why Quanta? Albert Einstein called photons “quanta of light.” Our goal is to “illuminate science.” At Quanta Magazine, scientific accuracy is every bit as important as telling a good story. All of our articles are meticulously researched, reported, edited, copy-edited and fact-checked.

     
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