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  • richardmitnick 10:13 pm on January 22, 2022 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: "This New Record in Laser Beam Stability Could Help Answer Physics' Biggest Questions", , , , , , Science Alert (AU),   

    From The University of Western Australia (AU) via Science Alert (AU) : “This New Record in Laser Beam Stability Could Help Answer Physics’ Biggest Questions” 

    U Western Australia bloc

    From The University of Western Australia (AU)


    Science Alert (AU)

    The laser setup at the University of Western Australia. Credit: D. Gozzard/UWA.

    22 JANUARY 2022

    Scientists are on a mission to create a global network of atomic clocks that will enable us to, among other things, better understand the fundamental laws of physics, investigate dark matter, and navigate across Earth and space more precisely.

    However, to be at their most effective, these clocks will need to be reliably and speedily linked together through layers of the atmosphere, which is far from easy. New research outlines a successful experiment with a laser beam that has been kept stable across a distance of 2.4 kilometers (1.5 miles).

    For comparison, the new link is around 100 times more stable than anything that’s been put together before. It also demonstrates stability that’s around 1,000 times better than the atomic clocks these lasers could be used to monitor.

    “The result shows that the phase and amplitude stabilization technologies presented in this paper can provide the basis for ultra-precise timescale comparison of optical atomic clocks through the turbulent atmosphere,” write the researchers in their published paper [Physical Review Letters].

    The system builds on research carried out last year in which scientists developed a laser link capable of holding its own through the atmosphere with unprecedented stability.

    In the new study, researchers shot a laser beam from a fifth-floor window to a reflector 1.2 kilometers (0.74 miles) away. The beam was then bounced back to the source to achieve the total distance for a period of five minutes.

    Using noise reduction techniques, temperature controls, and tiny adjustments to the reflector, the team was able to keep the laser stable through the pockets of fluctuating air. The atmospheric turbulence at ground level here is likely to equate to ground-to-satellite turbulence (the air is calmer and less dense higher in the atmosphere) of several hundred kilometers.

    While laser accuracy has remained fairly constant for a decade or so, we’ve seen some significant improvements recently, including a laser setup operated by the Boulder Atomic Clock Optical Network (BACON) Collaboration and tested last March [Nature].

    That setup involved a pulse laser rather than the continuous wave laser tested in this new study. Both have their advantages in different scenarios, but continuous wave lasers offer better stability and can transfer more data in a set period of time.

    “Both systems beat the current best atomic clock, so we’re splitting hairs here, but our ultimate precision is better,” says astrophysicist David Gozzard from the University of Western Australia.

    Once an atomic clock network is put together, among the tests scientists will be able to perform is Albert Einstein’s Theory of General Relativity, and how its incompatibility with what we know about quantum physics could be resolved.

    By very precisely comparing the time-keeping of two atomic clocks – one on Earth and one in space – scientists are eventually hoping to be able to work out where General Relativity does and doesn’t hold up. If Einstein’s ideas are correct, the clock further away from Earth’s gravity should tick ever-so-slightly faster.

    But its usefulness doesn’t stop there. Lasers like this could eventually be used for managing the launching of objects into orbit, for communications between Earth and space, or for connecting two points in space.

    “Of course, you can’t run fiber optic cable to a satellite,” says Gozzard.

    See the full article here .


    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    Stem Education Coalition

    The University of Western Australia is a public research university in the Australian state of Western Australia. The university’s main campus is in Perth, the state capital, with a secondary campus in Albany and various other facilities elsewhere.

    UWA was established in 1911 by an act of the Parliament of Western Australia and began teaching students two years later. It is the sixth-oldest university in Australia and was Western Australia’s only university until the establishment of Murdoch University (AU) in 1973. Because of its age and reputation, UWA is classed one of the “sandstone universities”, an informal designation given to the oldest university in each state. The university also belongs to several more formal groupings, including The Group of Eight (AU) and The Matariki Network of Universities. In recent years, UWA has generally been ranked either in the bottom half or just outside the world’s top 100 universities, depending on the system used.

    Alumni of UWA include one Prime Minister of Australia (Bob Hawke), five Justices of the High Court of Australia (including one Chief Justice, Robert French, now Chancellor), one Governor of the Reserve Bank (H. C. Coombs), various federal cabinet ministers, and seven of Western Australia’s eight most recent premiers. In 2018 alumnus mathematician Akshay Venkatesh was a recipient of the Fields Medal. As at 2021, the university had produced 106 Rhodes Scholars. Two members of the UWA faculty, Barry Marshall and Robin Warren won Nobel Prizes as a result of research at the university.


    The university was established in 1911 following the tabling of proposals by a royal commission in September 1910. The original campus, which received its first students in March 1913, was located on Irwin Street in the centre of Perth, and consisted of several buildings situated between Hay Street and St Georges Terrace. Irwin Street was also known as “Tin Pan Alley” as many buildings featured corrugated iron roofs. These buildings served as the university campus until 1932, when the campus relocated to its present-day site in Crawley.

    The founding chancellor, Sir John Winthrop Hackett, died in 1916, and bequeathed property which, after being carefully managed for ten years, yielded £425,000 to the university, a far larger sum than expected. This allowed the construction of the main buildings. Many buildings and landmarks within the university bear his name, including Winthrop Hall and Hackett Hall. In addition, his bequest funded many scholarships, because he did not wish eager students to be deterred from studying because they could not afford to do so.

    During UWA’s first decade there was controversy about whether the policy of free education was compatible with high expenditure on professorial chairs and faculties. An “old student” publicised his concern in 1921 that there were 13 faculties serving only 280 students.

    A remnant of the original buildings survives to this day in the form of the “Irwin Street Building”, so called after its former location. In the 1930s it was transported to the new campus and served a number of uses till its 1987 restoration, after which it was moved across campus to James Oval. Recently, the building has served as the Senate meeting room and is currently in use as a cricket pavilion and office of the university archives. The building has been heritage-listed by both the National Trust and the Australian Heritage Council.

    The university introduced the Doctorate of Philosophy degree in 1946 and made its first award in October 1950 to Warwick Bottomley for his research of the chemistry of native plants in Western Australia.

  • richardmitnick 4:17 pm on January 14, 2022 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: "We May Have Just Detected a Supermoon Outside The Solar System", At the very least follow-up observations will be needed to see if another instrument can also detect the signal., , Finding exomoons is challenging said astronomer David Kipping of Columbia University who led the discovery of Kepler-1625 b-i with his colleague Alex Teachey also at Columbia University., In the data from Kepler and later from Hubble Kipping and Teachey identified a faint signal. Then they went back to the data looking for more such signals., Kepler-1708 b-i is yet to be confirmed as is its predecessor Kepler-1625 b-i., One tentative exomoon detection was made in 2017; now we finally have a second candidate to add to the mix., Perhaps the exomoons accumulated gas from their host exoplanets; or perhaps they started as exoplanets in their own right and were captured in the gravitational fields of larger exoplanets., Science Alert (AU), Some astronomers have disputed whether Kepler-1625 b-i is an exomoon signature at all-instead suggesting that the signal was an artefact of data reduction., The new exomoon candidate has been named Kepler-1708 b-i., The new exomoon candidate was revealed in a search of data collected by the now retired Kepler space telescope., The researchers have calculated the possibility that the Kepler-1708 b-i signal is an artifact; it is they said just 1 percent., The Solar System has 8 official planets yet at least 25 times as many moons., Then-of course-the next challenge will be to find that rare and elusive beast-the moonmoon., This is similar to the first exomoon candidate Kepler-1625 b-i., While we've confirmed nearly 5000 exoplanets (that's planets outside the Solar System) to date exomoons are scant.   

    From Columbia University (US) via Science Alert (AU): “We May Have Just Detected a Supermoon Outside The Solar System” 

    Columbia U bloc

    From Columbia University (US)



    Science Alert (AU)

    13 JANUARY 2022

    The Milky Way should be absolutely riddled with moons, when you think about it. The Solar System has 8 official planets yet at least 25 times as many moons.

    However, while we’ve confirmed nearly 5000 exoplanets (that’s planets outside the Solar System) to date exomoons are scant, to say the least. One tentative detection was made in 2017; now we finally have a second candidate to add to the mix.

    Illustration of exomoon candidate Kepler-1708 b-i. Credit: Helena Valenzuela Widerström.

    The exomoon candidate has been named Kepler-1708 b-i, orbiting an exoplanet orbiting a star some 5,500 light-years away. Evidence so far suggests that it’s quite large – around 2.6 times the size of Earth, probably gaseous like a baby Neptune. Its host planet is just a little smaller than Jupiter.

    This is similar to the first exomoon candidate Kepler-1625 b-i, which is located some 8,000 light-years away, about the size and mass of Neptune (also likely gaseous), and orbiting an exoplanet up to several times the mass of Jupiter. Both exomoon candidates and their exoplanets are also orbiting their respective stars at quite large distances.

    Both are very different from the moons we have here at home in the Solar System; but that only stands to reason.

    “Astronomers have found more than 10,000 exoplanet candidates so far, but exomoons are far more challenging,” said astronomer David Kipping of Columbia University, who also led the discovery of Kepler-1625 b-i with his colleague Alex Teachey of Columbia.

    “The first detections in any survey will generally be the weirdo. The big ones that are simply easiest to detect with our limited sensitivity.”

    The exomoon candidate was revealed in a search of data collected by the Kepler space telescope (now retired; rest in space). Kepler’s mission was to search for exoplanets. This is tricky, since exoplanets are too small and too dim to see directly most of the time; we have to look for them by trying to see the very small effects they have on their host stars.

    In Kepler’s case, this involved staring at stars, looking for very faint, regular dips in brightness that indicate something is moving between us and the star at regular intervals – in other words, an orbiting exoplanet. These very faint dips are known as a transit light curve.

    In the data from Kepler and later from Hubble Kipping and Teachey identified a faint signal in addition to the exoplanet transit curve for Kepler-1625 b-i. Then they went back to the data looking for more such signals.

    They studied the Kepler data for 70 exoplanets. Only an exoplanet called Kepler-1625 b was a match for an exomoon signal; but, the researchers said, a very strong one.

    “It’s a stubborn signal,” Kipping said. “We threw the kitchen sink at this thing but it just won’t go away.”

    Kepler-1708 b-i is yet to be confirmed as is its predecessor; in fact, some astronomers have disputed whether Kepler-1625 b-i is an exomoon signature at all, instead suggesting that the signal was an artefact of data reduction.

    Pre-empting such critique again, this time the researchers have calculated the possibility that the Kepler-1708 b-i signal is an artifact; it is they said just 1 percent.

    Nevertheless, questions remain. We’re not sure how a gas giant exoplanet and a gas exomoon system can form; since there’s nothing like them in the Solar System, that suggests the formation mechanism is different from ones that formed the moons here. Perhaps the moons accumulated gas from their host exoplanets; or perhaps they started as exoplanets in their own right and were captured in the gravitational fields of larger exoplanets.

    Figuring it out will require more work; as will confirming whether or not the detection is indeed an exomoon. At the very least follow-up observations will be needed to see if another instrument can also detect the signal. But it’s entirely possible that the only way we will confirm the detection of exomoons is by… just continuing to find so many, that their existence can no longer be disputed.

    Then-of course-the next challenge will be to find that rare and elusive beast-the moonmoon. For now, however, the chase for exomoons continues.

    The team’s research has been published in Nature Astronomy.

    See the full article here .


    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    Stem Education Coalition

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

    University Mission Statement

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

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

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

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

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

  • richardmitnick 4:19 pm on January 7, 2022 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: "Scientists Spot Eerily Sophisticated Patterns in 'Simple' Bacteria Colonies", , As the biofilms grew outward and gobbled up nutrients a 'wave' of nutrient depletion moved across the bacterial cells 'freezing' each cell in place., “Bacillus subtilis” a bacterium found in soil creates concentric rings as it grows., Bacterial biofilms employ a developmental patterning mechanism hitherto believed to be exclusive to vertebrates and plant systems., Bacterial cells band together acting strangely like multicellular organisms., Bacterial cells band together in clumps to form tightly packed colonies called biofilms., Bacterial colonies can organize themselves into complex ring-like patterns., , , Biofilms also seem to be capable of recruiting other bacterial species to join their communities using long-range electrical signals., Science Alert (AU), , This is not the first time that scientists have spied bacterial communities mimicking multicellular organisms.   

    From The University of California-San Diego (US) via Science Alert (AU) : “Scientists Spot Eerily Sophisticated Patterns in ‘Simple’ Bacteria Colonies” 

    From The University of California-San Diego (US)



    Science Alert (AU)

    7 JANUARY 2022

    Bacillus subtilis, a bacterium found in soil, creates concentric rings as it grows. Credit:Kwang-Tao Chou/The University of California-San Diego (US).

    Bacterial colonies can organize themselves into complex ring-like patterns which have an “intriguing similarity” to developing embryos and were thought to be unique to plants and animals, new research suggests.

    Bacterial cells band together in clumps to form tightly packed colonies called biofilms that have a growing reputation [Nature Reviews Microbiology] for acting strangely like multicellular organisms. These biofilms can be found almost anywhere, from boat hulls, crops and hot springs, to the sticky, stubborn plaque that builds up on our teeth.

    But as we’ve come to learn, biofilms should not be mistaken for slimy globs of cells – they can form sophisticated patterns that resemble how plants and animals develop segments as they grow, as this new research shows.

    “We are seeing that biofilms are much more sophisticated than we thought,” says molecular biologist and study author Gürol Süel of The University of California-San Diego (US) whose previous research suggested biofilms share a collective memory similar to neurons in the brain (though not all scientists were convinced).

    What’s more, biofilms also seem to be capable of recruiting other bacterial species to join their communities using long-range electrical signals.

    In this latest study, Süel and colleagues have observed bacterial biofilms grown in the lab forming ring-like structures that are reminiscent of developmental ‘stripes’ seen in plants and animals.

    In multicellular organisms, this cellular patterning known as segmentation gives rise to different types of tissues and complex body forms, whereas biofilm communities, which are essentially clumps of single-cell bacterium, were thought to form only the most primitive structures.

    “Our discovery demonstrates that bacterial biofilms employ a developmental patterning mechanism hitherto believed to be exclusive to vertebrates and plant systems,” the researchers write.

    In the lab, the team grew Bacillus subtilis, a rod-shaped bacterium that is found in soil and humans and forms wrinkly biofilms.

    When starved of nitrogen, the growing biofilms organized themselves into clear circular bands, resembling tree rings and the sort of segmentation seen in developing embryos. Take a look at the video below, which captures one colony growing over two days.

    Bacterial segmentation

    This ring-like patterning, the researchers think, is generated by an underlying genetic circuitry in the bacterial cells which responds to extreme stress when nutrients such as vital nitrogen are in short supply.

    Mathematical modelling and experiments revealed that as the biofilms grew outward and gobbled up nutrients, a ‘wave’ of nutrient depletion moved across the bacterial cells, essentially ‘freezing’ each cell in place with the stress-mitigating genes they were using at the time.

    This pulsing, on-again off-again stress response created repeating segments of different cell types in the circular biofilm, the researchers found and is consistent with a ‘clock and waveform’ mechanism, which has only been seen in highly evolved organisms before this.

    “In an expanding biofilm,” the researchers write, “this ‘freezing’ mechanism might naturally occur during development: replicating cells at the leading edge of biofilm grow, leaving behind daughter cells that become embedded within the biofilm and thus have less nutrient access.”

    Süel and colleagues go on to speculate that this patterning mechanism might be another way biofilms cope with unpredictable conditions, hedging their bets so to speak, “as not all spores are formed at the same time and the same region of the biofilm.”

    This is not the first time that scientists have spied bacterial communities mimicking multicellular organisms, and there are undoubtedly marked differences between the two, as the researchers note.

    In 2020, scientists showed how biofilm growth mirrors embryonic development, with expanding colonies following a tightly orchestrated sequence of gene expression over several months [Molecular Biology and Evolution].

    At the time that study was published, geneticist Tomislav Domazet-Lošo from The Catholic University of Croatia [Hrvatsko katoličko sveučilište](HRV) said: “Considering that the oldest known fossils are bacterial biofilms, it is quite likely that the first life was also multicellular, and not a single-celled creature as considered so far.”

    Süel and colleagues also point out that biofilms don’t exhibit clear-cut boundaries between cell types in the same way that embryos develop distinct cell layers so any apparent similarities are just conceptual at this stage.

    Still, these recent observations are reigniting some big questions about what defines a multicellular organism when ‘simple’ single-celled organisms appear to be far more advanced than we first thought.

    “That debate will be rekindled by this [latest] study,” The University of Oxford (UK) cell biologist Tanmay Bharat told New Scientist. “From an evolutionary cell biology perspective, it would be interesting to study where the differences lie.”

    The study was published in Cell.

    See the full article here .


    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    Stem Education Coalition

    The University of California- San Diego (US), is a public research university located in the La Jolla area of San Diego, California, in the United States. The university occupies 2,141 acres (866 ha) near the coast of the Pacific Ocean with the main campus resting on approximately 1,152 acres (466 ha). Established in 1960 near the pre-existing Scripps Institution of Oceanography, University of California, San Diego is the seventh oldest of the 10 University of California campuses and offers over 200 undergraduate and graduate degree programs, enrolling about 22,700 undergraduate and 6,300 graduate students. The University of California-San Diego is one of America’s “Public Ivy” universities, which recognizes top public research universities in the United States. The University of California-San Diego was ranked 8th among public universities and 37th among all universities in the United States, and rated the 18th Top World University by U.S. News & World Report’s 2015 rankings.

    The University of California-San Diego is organized into seven undergraduate residential colleges (Revelle; John Muir; Thurgood Marshall; Earl Warren; Eleanor Roosevelt; Sixth; and Seventh), four academic divisions (Arts and Humanities; Biological Sciences; Physical Sciences; and Social Sciences), and seven graduate and professional schools (Jacobs School of Engineering; Rady School of Management; Scripps Institution of Oceanography; School of Global Policy and Strategy; School of Medicine; Skaggs School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences; and the newly established Wertheim School of Public Health and Human Longevity Science). University of California-San Diego Health, the region’s only academic health system, provides patient care; conducts medical research; and educates future health care professionals at the University of California-San Diego Medical Center, Hillcrest; Jacobs Medical Center; Moores Cancer Center; Sulpizio Cardiovascular Center; Shiley Eye Institute; Institute for Genomic Medicine; Koman Family Outpatient Pavilion and various express care and urgent care clinics throughout San Diego.

    The university operates 19 organized research units (ORUs), including the Center for Energy Research; Qualcomm Institute (a branch of the California Institute for Telecommunications and Information Technology); San Diego Supercomputer Center; and the Kavli Institute for Brain and Mind, as well as eight School of Medicine research units, six research centers at Scripps Institution of Oceanography and two multi-campus initiatives, including the Institute on Global Conflict and Cooperation. The University of California-San Diego is also closely affiliated with several regional research centers, such as the Salk Institute; the Sanford Burnham Prebys Medical Discovery Institute; the Sanford Consortium for Regenerative Medicine; and the Scripps Research Institute. It is classified among “R1: Doctoral Universities – Very high research activity”. According to the National Science Foundation(US), UC San Diego spent $1.265 billion on research and development in fiscal year 2018, ranking it 7th in the nation.

    The University of California-San Diego is considered one of the country’s “Public Ivies”. As of February 2021, The University of California-San Diego faculty, researchers and alumni have won 27 Nobel Prizes and three Fields Medals, eight National Medals of Science, eight MacArthur Fellowships, and three Pulitzer Prizes. Additionally, of the current faculty, 29 have been elected to the National Academy of Engineering, 70 to the National Academy of Sciences(US), 45 to the National Academy of Medicine(US) and 110 to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.


    When the Regents of the University of California originally authorized the San Diego campus in 1956, it was planned to be a graduate and research institution, providing instruction in the sciences, mathematics, and engineering. Local citizens supported the idea, voting the same year to transfer to the university 59 acres (24 ha) of mesa land on the coast near the preexisting Scripps Institution of Oceanography(US). The Regents requested an additional gift of 550 acres (220 ha) of undeveloped mesa land northeast of Scripps, as well as 500 acres (200 ha) on the former site of Camp Matthews from the federal government, but Roger Revelle, then director of Scripps Institution and main advocate for establishing the new campus, jeopardized the site selection by exposing the La Jolla community’s exclusive real estate business practices, which were antagonistic to minority racial and religious groups. This outraged local conservatives, as well as Regent Edwin W. Pauley.

    University of California President Clark Kerr satisfied San Diego city donors by changing the proposed name from University of California, La Jolla, to University of California-San Diego. The city voted in agreement to its part in 1958, and the University of California approved construction of the new campus in 1960. Because of the clash with Pauley, Revelle was not made chancellor. Herbert York, first director of DOE’s Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, was designated instead. York planned the main campus according to the “Oxbridge” model, relying on many of Revelle’s ideas.

    According to Kerr, “San Diego always asked for the best,” though this created much friction throughout the University of California system, including with Kerr himself, because University of California-San Diego often seemed to be “asking for too much and too fast.” Kerr attributed University of California-San Diego’s “special personality” to Scripps, which for over five decades had been the most isolated University of California unit in every sense: geographically, financially, and institutionally. It was a great shock to the Scripps community to learn that Scripps was now expected to become the nucleus of a new University of California campus and would now be the object of far more attention from both the university administration in Berkeley and the state government in Sacramento.

    The University of California-San Diego was the first general campus of the University of California to be designed “from the top down” in terms of research emphasis. Local leaders disagreed on whether the new school should be a technical research institute or a more broadly based school that included undergraduates as well. John Jay Hopkins of General Dynamics Corporation pledged one million dollars for the former while the City Council offered free land for the latter. The original authorization for the University of California-San Diego campus given by the University of California Regents in 1956 approved a “graduate program in science and technology” that included undergraduate programs, a compromise that won both the support of General Dynamics and the city voters’ approval.

    Nobel laureate Harold Urey, a physicist from the University of Chicago(US), and Hans Suess, who had published the first paper on the greenhouse effect with Revelle in the previous year, were early recruits to the faculty in 1958. Maria Goeppert-Mayer, later the second female Nobel laureate in physics, was appointed professor of physics in 1960. The graduate division of the school opened in 1960 with 20 faculty in residence, with instruction offered in the fields of physics, biology, chemistry, and earth science. Before the main campus completed construction, classes were held in the Scripps Institution of Oceanography.

    By 1963, new facilities on the mesa had been finished for the School of Science and Engineering, and new buildings were under construction for Social Sciences and Humanities. Ten additional faculty in those disciplines were hired, and the whole site was designated the First College, later renamed after Roger Revelle, of the new campus. York resigned as chancellor that year and was replaced by John Semple Galbraith. The undergraduate program accepted its first class of 181 freshman at Revelle College in 1964. Second College was founded in 1964, on the land deeded by the federal government, and named after environmentalist John Muir two years later. The University of California-San Diego School of Medicine also accepted its first students in 1966.

    Political theorist Herbert Marcuse joined the faculty in 1965. A champion of the New Left, he reportedly was the first protester to occupy the administration building in a demonstration organized by his student, political activist Angela Davis. The American Legion offered to buy out the remainder of Marcuse’s contract for $20,000; the Regents censured Chancellor William J. McGill for defending Marcuse on the basis of academic freedom, but further action was averted after local leaders expressed support for Marcuse. Further student unrest was felt at the university, as the United States increased its involvement in the Vietnam War during the mid-1960s, when a student raised a Viet Minh flag over the campus. Protests escalated as the war continued and were only exacerbated after the National Guard fired on student protesters at Kent State University in 1970. Over 200 students occupied Urey Hall, with one student setting himself on fire in protest of the war.

    Early research activity and faculty quality, notably in the sciences, was integral to shaping the focus and culture of the university. Even before The University of California-San Diego had its own campus, faculty recruits had already made significant research breakthroughs, such as the Keeling Curve, a graph that plots rapidly increasing carbon dioxide levels in the atmosphere and was the first significant evidence for global climate change; the Kohn–Sham equations, used to investigate particular atoms and molecules in quantum chemistry; and the Miller–Urey experiment, which gave birth to the field of prebiotic chemistry.

    Engineering, particularly computer science, became an important part of the university’s academics as it matured. University researchers helped develop University of California-San Diego Pascal, an early machine-independent programming language that later heavily influenced Java; the National Science Foundation Network, a precursor to the Internet; and the Network News Transfer Protocol during the late 1970s to 1980s. In economics, the methods for analyzing economic time series with time-varying volatility (ARCH), and with common trends (cointegration) were developed. The University of California-San Diego maintained its research intense character after its founding, racking up 25 Nobel Laureates affiliated within 50 years of history; a rate of five per decade.

    Under Richard C. Atkinson’s leadership as chancellor from 1980 to 1995, the university strengthened its ties with the city of San Diego by encouraging technology transfer with developing companies, transforming San Diego into a world leader in technology-based industries. He oversaw a rapid expansion of the School of Engineering, later renamed after Qualcomm founder Irwin M. Jacobs, with the construction of the San Diego Supercomputer Center(US) and establishment of the computer science, electrical engineering, and bioengineering departments. Private donations increased from $15 million to nearly $50 million annually, faculty expanded by nearly 50%, and enrollment doubled to about 18,000 students during his administration. By the end of his chancellorship, the quality of The University of California-San Diego graduate programs was ranked 10th in the nation by the National Research Council.

    The university continued to undergo further expansion during the first decade of the new millennium with the establishment and construction of two new professional schools — the Skaggs School of Pharmacy and Rady School of Management—and the California Institute for Telecommunications and Information Technology, a research institute run jointly with University of California Irvine(US). The University of California-San Diego also reached two financial milestones during this time, becoming the first university in the western region to raise over $1 billion in its eight-year fundraising campaign in 2007 and also obtaining an additional $1 billion through research contracts and grants in a single fiscal year for the first time in 2010. Despite this, due to the California budget crisis, the university loaned $40 million against its own assets in 2009 to offset a significant reduction in state educational appropriations. The salary of Pradeep Khosla, who became chancellor in 2012, has been the subject of controversy amidst continued budget cuts and tuition increases.

    On November 27, 2017, the university announced it would leave its longtime athletic home of the California Collegiate Athletic Association, an NCAA Division II league, to begin a transition to Division I in 2020. At that time, it will join the Big West Conference, already home to four other UC campuses (Davis, Irvine, Riverside, Santa Barbara). The transition period will run through the 2023–24 school year. The university prepares to transition to NCAA Division I competition on July 1, 2020.


    Applied Physics and Mathematics

    The Nature Index lists The University of California-San Diego as 6th in the United States for research output by article count in 2019. In 2017, The University of California-San Diego spent $1.13 billion on research, the 7th highest expenditure among academic institutions in the U.S. The university operates several organized research units, including the Center for Astrophysics and Space Sciences (CASS), the Center for Drug Discovery Innovation, and the Institute for Neural Computation. The University of California-San Diego also maintains close ties to the nearby Scripps Research Institute(US) and Salk Institute for Biological Studies(US). In 1977, The University of California-San Diego developed and released the The University of California-San Diego Pascal programming language. The university was designated as one of the original national Alzheimer’s disease research centers in 1984 by the National Institute on Aging. In 2018, The University of California-San Diego received $10.5 million from the DOE National Nuclear Security Administration(US) to establish the Center for Matters under Extreme Pressure (CMEC).

    The university founded the San Diego Supercomputer Center (SDSC) in 1985, which provides high performance computing for research in various scientific disciplines. In 2000, The University of California-San Diego partnered with The University of California-Irvine (US) to create the Qualcomm Institute – University of California-San Diego, which integrates research in photonics, nanotechnology, and wireless telecommunication to develop solutions to problems in energy, health, and the environment.

    The University of California-San Diegoalso operates the Scripps Institution of Oceanography (SIO)(US), one of the largest centers of research in earth science in the world, which predates the university itself. Together, SDSC and SIO, along with funding partner universities California Institute of Technology(US), San Diego State University(US), and The University of California-Santa Barbara (US), manage the High Performance Wireless Research and Education Network.

  • richardmitnick 11:14 am on January 3, 2022 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: "What if Math Is a Fundamental Part of Nature and Not Something Humans Came Up With?", Everywhere you look the natural world is laced with stunning patterns that can be described with mathematics., Fibonacci numbers, It is unlikely that mathematics is something we've created, Math is an essential component of nature that gives structure to the physical world., Math is often described this way-as a language or a tool that humans created to describe the world around them with precision., Nature follows the same simple rules time and time again because mathematics underpins the fundamental laws of the physical world., Recent discoveries suggest the connection between math and nature runs deeper still., , Science Alert (AU), Scientists are still going to great lengths to uncover where and how mathematical patterns emerge in nature., There is another school of thought which suggests math is actually of what the world is made.   

    From Science Alert (AU) : “What if Math Is a Fundamental Part of Nature and Not Something Humans Came Up With?” 


    From Science Alert (AU)

    2 JANUARY 2022

    Credit: UrsaHoogle/Getty Images.

    Nature is an unstoppable force, and a beautiful one at that. Everywhere you look the natural world is laced with stunning patterns that can be described with mathematics. From bees to blood vessels, ferns to fangs, math can explain how such beauty emerges.

    Math is often described this way-as a language or a tool that humans created to describe the world around them with precision.

    But there is another school of thought which suggests math is actually of what the world is made; that nature follows the same simple rules, time and time again, because mathematics underpins the fundamental laws of the physical world.

    This would mean math existed in nature long before humans invented it, according to philosopher Sam Baron of The Australian Catholic University (AU).

    “If mathematics explains so many things we see around us, then it is unlikely that mathematics is something we’ve created,” Baron writes [The British Journal for the Philosophy of Science].

    Instead, if we think of math as an essential component of nature that gives structure to the physical world, as Baron and others suggest, it might prompt us to reconsider our place in it rather than reveling in our own creativity.

    Credit: Westend61/Getty Images.

    A world made of math

    This thinking dates back to Greek philosopher Pythagoras (around 575-475 BCE), who was the first to identify mathematics [WIT Press]as one of two languages that can explain the architecture of nature; the other being music. He thought all things were made of numbers; that the Universe was ‘made’ of mathematics, as Baron puts it.

    More than two millennia later, scientists are still going to great lengths to uncover where and how mathematical patterns emerge in nature, to answer some big questions – like why cauliflowers look oddly perfect.

    “We spent many hours frantically dismantling [cauliflower] florets, counting them, measuring angles between them,” writes [Science] The University of Nottingham (UK) mathematician Etienne Farcot, who studied cauliflower growth in an effort to understand these “mysterious cabbages.”

    Fractals are exquisite, self-repeating patterns which, besides some cauliflowers, are also found in fern fronds, branching blood vessels, and the rings of Saturn. Fractals are geometrical shapes made up of smaller and smaller copies of themselves, creating a mesmerizing ‘self-similarity’ that is infinitely deep.

    Mandelbrot set (black) in a continuously colored environment. Credit: Wolfgang Beyer/Wikimedia, CC BY-SA 3.0.

    Although only mathematical or computer-generated fractals are truly perfect fractals, nature comes pretty close.

    “These repeating patterns are everywhere in nature,” says mathematician Thomas Britz of The University of New South Wales(AU). “In snowflakes, river networks, flowers, trees, lightning strikes – even in our blood vessels.”

    Credit: VerboseDreamer/Wikimedia Commons.

    Part of the charm of fractals is that they help to explain how complexity is born out of simplicity. As Benoît Mandelbröt, the Polish-born mathematician who coined the term fractal, said in 2010: “Bottomless wonders spring from simple rules which are repeated without end.”

    Branching river systems also carve near-perfect fractal patterns [Water Resources Research] in the landscape.

    So persistent are these patterns that in one instance, archaeologists looked for missing fractals to deduce ancient Egyptians might have modified river channels when building pyramids nearby.

    Lake Erepecu and Trombetas River in Brazil. (The NASA Earth Observatory (US).)

    Insects appear to follow mathematical principles, too.

    Whether they know it or not, bees build hexagonal honeycomb in a way that produces the most storage space using the least materials – a theory known as the ‘honeycomb conjecture’ which was finally demonstrated by American mathematician Thomas Hales in 1999.

    Some species of cicadas also have a life cycle geared towards prime numbers. Swarms of two North American species emerge from their subterranean burrows every 13 or 17 years, a trick which scientists think helps cicadas avoid predators with more regular rhythms.

    Credit: Meggyn Pomerleau/Unsplash.

    Let’s not forget nature’s ‘favorite’ numbers, Fibonacci numbers, where each number in the sequence is the sum of the previous two. Fibonacci numbers are seen in sunflower seeds, pine cones and pineapples [Science].

    Spiral galaxies and nautilus shells [Springer]also mimic so-called golden spirals by growing in a logarithmic ratio with every quarter turn.

    But even though mathematical patterns are everywhere to be seen in nature, recent discoveries suggest the connection between math and nature runs deeper still, in ways we’re only just beginning to appreciate.

    Credit: James L. Amos/Getty Images.

    Earlier this year, researchers discovered what they described as a previously unknown law of nature [BMC Biology]: a growth pattern which describes how pointed shapes form again and again in nature – from shark teeth and spider fangs to bird beaks and dinosaur horns.

    “The diversity of animals, and even plants, that follow this rule is staggering,” evolutionary biologist Alistair Evans from The Monash University(AU) said [BMC Biology] [above] at the time they discovered the mathematical formula, dubbed the ‘power cascade’.

    “We found it almost everywhere we looked across the kingdoms of life – in living animals, and those extinct for millions of years.”

    Back in 2015, scientists were also delighted to find a classic formula for Pi – the ever-constant ratio between a circle’s circumference and its diameter – lurking in hydrogen atoms [Journal of Mathematical Physics].

    In a roundabout way, that discovery leads us back to the idea that mathematics provides a structural framework for the physical world. It’s an interesting idea to entertain – so long as your head doesn’t explode.

    See the full article here .


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  • richardmitnick 8:29 am on June 28, 2021 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: "Devastating 'Heat Dome' Keeps Shattering Extreme Temp Records in North America", , , , , Science Alert (AU)   

    From Science Alert (US) : “Devastating ‘Heat Dome’ Keeps Shattering Extreme Temp Records in North America” 


    From Science Alert (US)

    28 JUNE 2021

    Credit: Jeff Berardelli/Twitter.

    A “heat dome” over western Canada and the US Pacific northwest sent temperatures soaring to new highs, triggering heat warnings from Oregon to Canada’s Arctic territories on Sunday.

    More than 40 new temperature highs were recorded in British Columbia over the weekend, including in the ski resort town of Whistler. And the high pressure ridge trapping warm air in the region is expected to continue breaking records throughout the week.

    Environment Canada issued alerts for British Columbia, Alberta, and parts of Saskatchewan, Yukon and the Northwest Territories.

    “A prolonged, dangerous, and historic heat wave will persist through this week,” it said in the warnings.

    “Afternoon high temperatures will climb to the mid 30’s today (Sunday), and will peak near 40 degrees Celsius (104 Fahrenheit) in some regions by midweek.”

    These temperatures are 10-15 degrees Celsius hotter than normal.

    The US National Weather Service issued a similar warning about a “dangerous heat wave” that could see record temperatures rise to more than 30 degrees Fahrenheit above normal in parts of Washington and Oregon states.

    “The historic Northwest heat wave will continue through much of the upcoming week, with numerous daily, monthly and even all time records likely to be set,” it said in a statement.

    Monday is expected to be the hottest day in big cities such as Seattle and Portland with all time record highs likely in both cities.

    The highest temperature ever recorded in Canada was 45 °C (113 °F) in two towns in southeastern Saskatchewan on July 5, 1937. And it was broken on 27 June as current hotspot Lytton, British Columbia – about 250 kilometers (155 miles) northeast of Vancouver – reached 46.1 °C (114.98 °F).

    “I like to break a record, but this is like shattering and pulverizing them,” Environment Canada senior climatologist David Phillips told broadcaster CTV.

    “It’s warmer in parts of western Canada than in Dubai.”

    Wildfire risks are elevated, and water levels in lakes and rivers are lower.

    Stores reportedly sold out of portable air conditioners and fans, while cities opened emergency cooling centers and several COVID-19 vaccination clinics were cancelled.

    The British Columbia power utility, meanwhile, said electricity demand has soared to record levels as residents sought to keep cool.

    See the full article here .


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  • richardmitnick 11:17 am on June 25, 2021 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: "Earth's Atmosphere Could Be a Truly Rare Thing Thanks to One Chemical Process", , As we expand our library of known worlds it's possible we'll uncover better candidates for biospheres like ours., , Evolution continues to shock us on our own planet so we can only imagine the diverse kinds of ecosystems possible out in the cosmos., Growing even the simplest of gardens – at least by Earth's standards – demands ample sunlight., Learning we're unusual doesn't mean we're necessarily alone., Oxygenic photosynthesis, , Science Alert (AU)   

    From Science Alert (AU) : “Earth’s Atmosphere Could Be a Truly Rare Thing Thanks to One Chemical Process” 


    From Science Alert (AU)

    25 JUNE 2021

    Kepler-442b could have an atmosphere like ours (Ph03nix1986/Wikimedia Commons/CC-BY-04)

    Life currently has a sample size of just one. Without an alien or two to expand the boundaries of biology, Earth’s evolutionary history sets the limits on whether we can expect other planets to spawn complex critters like, well, us.

    Given many life forms owe a great debt to the oxygen in our atmosphere, it’s natural to look to other planets surrounded by a similar mix of gases in our search for aliens. But a new study suggests we’re going to need a lot of patience.

    Researchers from the University of Naples Federico II [Università degli Studi di Napoli Federico II] (IT) and Astronomical Observatory of Capodimonte [Osservatorio Astronomico di Capodimonte] (IT) in Italy studied levels of light received by 10 potentially habitable exoplanets around different kinds of star, and failed to find a single match for Earth’s atmosphere.

    Based on what we’ve observed of the thousands of planets found orbiting other stars, Earth is already a member of a relatively exclusive club. Once you’ve excluded numerous gas giants, roasted balls of rock, and frozen super-Earths, there aren’t many candidates that might have the kind of biochemistry we’re familiar with.

    Still, if even a small fraction of billions of stars have a few large bodies circling close enough to allow liquid water to pool on their surfaces, we could be looking up at hundreds of millions of Gardens of Eden in our galaxy.

    Growing even the simplest of gardens – at least by Earth’s standards – demands ample sunlight. Not just any kind of solar radiation will do, either. Rearranging carbon dioxide and water into glucose and those oh-so-handy oxygen molecules requires a quality of light energetic enough to generate reactions, without blasting apart proteins.

    Given exoplanets in habitable zones generally receive plenty of sunlight, and the fact oxygenic photosynthesis arose so early in Earth’s history, it’d be fair to assume it to be quite a common process among the stars.

    To test that assumption, the researchers took measures of light falling across different planetary surfaces and the spread of wavelengths making up the radiation, and calculated the level of ‘exergy’, or amount of work that could be squeezed out of the sunshine.

    If only more of those stars were as nice as ours.

    Most happen to be red dwarfs – temperamental suns capable of scouring their inner planets with furious winds that would quickly strip away their atmosphere.

    Assuming there were planets capable of weathering such outbursts, the researchers found a red dwarf’s cooler temperatures would still be unlikely to provide an intensity of the right wavelengths to activate photosynthesis.

    “Since red dwarfs are by far the most common type of star in our galaxy, this result indicates that Earth-like conditions on other planets may be much less common than we might hope,” says Covone.

    Brighter stars would be better, churning out plenty of energy, but aren’t likely to live the billions of years required to pump out the oxygen complex life on Earth needed to get going.

    In all, a star half as bright as our Sun could see photosynthesis get started, but would have a hard time generating a complex biosphere.

    Among the planets used as case studies, precisely zero would be capable of fueling enough photosynthesis to tip an atmosphere flush with carbon dioxide into an Earth-like direction.

    “This study puts strong constraints on the parameter space for complex life, so unfortunately it appears that the “sweet spot” for hosting a rich Earth-like biosphere is not so wide,” says Covone.

    One planet we know of comes fairly close to that sweet spot.

    Kepler-442b orbits an orange dwarf with roughly 60 percent the mass of the Sun’s, some 1,200 light years away. At around double the mass of Earth, and a rotation that allows it to shed heat, it’s looking like a potential paradise so far.

    Most photosynthesizing reactions on Earth top out at wavelengths of around 700 nanometers. But if some kind of alien moss on Kepler-442b evolved a way to soak up slightly longer wavelengths, of around 800 nanometers, it would gain the benefits of 20 percent more photons.

    As we expand our library of known worlds it’s possible we’ll uncover better candidates for biospheres like ours.

    Evolution continues to shock us on our own planet so we can only imagine the diverse kinds of ecosystems possible out in the cosmos. Chemosynthetic ice moons might be in the majority, for all we know. Perhaps there are variations on photosynthesis we just can’t comprehend, given the limits of our experience on Earth.

    Learning we’re unusual doesn’t mean we’re necessarily alone. But based on what we’re discovering, we can take a moment to appreciate our flavor of life is pretty special.

    This study was published in MNRAS.

    See the full article here .


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  • richardmitnick 10:56 am on June 20, 2021 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: "Over 50% of Earth's 'Rivers' Actually Stand Still or Run Dry Every Year", , , Ecohydrology, , Science Alert (AU)   

    From McGill University (CA) via Science Alert (AU) : “Over 50% of Earth’s ‘Rivers’ Actually Stand Still or Run Dry Every Year” 

    From McGill University (CA)



    Science Alert (AU)

    20 JUNE 2021

    Credit: Anton Petrus/Getty Images.

    Our traditional idea of a river, an endlessly flowing stream of water, needs a rethink, scientists argue in a new study.

    Even when a river runs dry, they say, it’s still a river. These winding watercourses shouldn’t have to flow all year round to receive our attention and protection. In fact, most of them don’t.

    In new research, scientists found at least 51 percent of all rivers worldwide stop running for at least one day per year.

    In colder climates, rivers may temporarily freeze up, and in warmer climates, water may evaporate to stall flow. In Australia, for instance, 70 percent of the rivers are thought to be non-perennial.

    It’s the first time researchers have attempted to map all the non-perennial waterways in the world, and as it turns out they’re ubiquitous.

    Almost every river network on our planet hosts a channel that periodically stops flowing, from Himalayan snow-fed creeks to occasionally water-filled Saharan wadis [Nature]. The nearest river or stream for more than half the world’s population stops flowing at some point in the year.

    Global distribution of non-perennial rivers and streams. Credit: Messager et al., Nature, 2021.

    “Non-perennial rivers and streams are very valuable ecosystems as they are home to many distinct species that are adapted to cycles of water presence and absence,” says ecohydrologist Mathis Messager from McGill University in Canada.

    “These rivers can provide critical water and food sources for people and they play an important role in controlling water quality. But more often than not they are mismanaged or altogether excluded from management actions and conservation laws as they are simply overlooked.”

    Previous studies have found non-perennial rivers are generally considered less valuable and less worthy of conservation. Today, many are unnamed and missing from maps [EPA], but that doesn’t mean they aren’t important.

    Intermittent rivers and ephemeral streams combine to create much larger waterways, which are a major source of freshwater around the world. Headwaters help trap floodwaters, refill groundwater, reduce pollution, and provide important habitats for flora and fauna, making the timing of their flow an important factor in a variety of environmental activities.

    Ignoring them, researchers say, is a mistake, especially in a time of rapid climate changes.

    Over the past 50 years, global warming and land use changes have stopped the flow of more and more rivers and streams. Even parts of the Nile in Egypt, the Indus in Asia, the Yellow in China, and the Colorado River in North America have started to experience stops and starts of flow.

    “Given continued global change, an increasingly large proportion of the global river network is expected to seasonally cease to flow over the coming decades,” the authors warn.

    Places where aridity is increasing are particularly at risk of seeing reduced river flow. In hot and dry regions like India, northern Australia, and equatorial Africa, researchers found 95 percent of rivers and streams are already intermittent.

    Even the main stem of major rivers like the Niger River in West Africa and the Godavari in India can dry out under the right conditions.

    Given these results, the authors are calling for a paradigm shift in river research and conservation. They say we need to incorporate non-perennial rivers and streams into our studies and afford them the same protections as constantly flowing rivers.

    Many ephemeral streams are currently excluded from management and conservation laws, as well as scientific studies. As a result, we know very little about how these waterways are coping in a changing world. Very few people are monitoring their health.

    “The foundational concepts of river hydrology, ecology, and biogeochemistry have been developed from and for perennial waterways, and as a result, have all traditionally assumed year-round surface channel flow,” the authors write.

    “Here we show that this assumption is invalid for most rivers on Earth, which bolsters previous appeals for bringing together aquatic and terrestrial disciplines into river science.”

    See the full article here .


    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    Stem Education Coalition

    All about
    McGill Unversity (CA)

    With some 300 buildings, more than 38,500 students and 250,000 living alumni, and a reputation for excellence that reaches around the globe, McGill has carved out a spot among the world’s greatest universities.

    Founded in Montreal, Quebec, in 1821, McGill (CA) is a leading Canadian post-secondary institution. It has two campuses, 11 faculties, 11 professional schools, 300 programs of study and some 39,000 students, including more than 9,300 graduate students. McGill attracts students from over 150 countries around the world, its 8,200 international students making up 21 per cent of the student body.

    McGill University (CA) is a public research university in Montreal, Quebec, Canada. Founded in 1821 by royal charter granted by King George IV, the university bears the name of James McGill, a Scottish merchant whose bequest in 1813 formed the university’s precursor, University of McGill College (or simply, McGill College); the name was officially changed to McGill University in 1885.

    McGill’s (CA) main campus is on the slope of Mount Royal in downtown Montreal, with a second campus situated in Sainte-Anne-de-Bellevue, also on Montreal Island, 30 kilometres (19 mi) west of the main campus. The university is one of two universities outside the United States which are members of the Association of American Universities (US), alongside the University of Toronto (CA), and it is the only Canadian member of the Global University Leaders Forum (GULF) within the World Economic Forum.

    McGill (CA) offers degrees and diplomas in over 300 fields of study, with the highest average entering grades of any Canadian university. Most students are enrolled in the five largest faculties, namely Arts, Science, Medicine, Engineering, and Management. With a 32.2% international student body coming to McGill from over 150 countries, its student body is the most internationally diverse of any medical-doctoral research university in the country. Additionally, over 41% of students are born outside of Canada. In all major rankings, McGill consistently ranks in the top 50 universities in the world and among the top 3 universities in Canada. It has held the top position for the past 16 years in the annual Maclean’s Canadian University Rankings for medical-doctoral universities.

    McGill counts among its alumni and faculty 12 Nobel laureates and 147 Rhodes Scholars, both the most of any university in Canada, as well as 13 billionaires, the current prime minister and two former prime ministers of Canada, a former Governor General of Canada, at least eight foreign leaders, 28 foreign ambassadors and more than 100 members of national legislatures. McGill alumni also include eight Academy Award winners, 10 Grammy Award winners, at least 13 Emmy Award winners, four Pulitzer Prize winners, and 121 Olympians with over 35 Olympic medals. The inventors of the game of basketball, modern organized ice hockey, and the pioneers of gridiron football, as well as the founders of several major universities and colleges are also graduates of the university.

    Notable researchers include Ernest Rutherford, who discovered the atomic nucleus and conducted his Nobel Prize-winning research on the nature of radioactivity while working as Professor of Experimental Physics at the university. Other notable inventions by McGillians include the world’s first artificial cell, web search engine, and charge-couple device, among others.

    McGill has the largest endowment per student in Canada. In 2019, it was the recipient of the largest single philanthropic gift in Canadian history, a $200 million donation to fund the creation of the McCall MacBain Scholarships programme.


    Research plays a critical role at McGill. McGill is affiliated with 12 Nobel Laureates and professors have won major teaching prizes. According to the Association of Universities and Colleges of Canada, “researchers at McGill are affiliated with about 75 major research centres and networks, and are engaged in an extensive array of research partnerships with other universities, government and industry in Quebec and Canada, throughout North America and in dozens of other countries.” In 2016, McGill had over $547 million of sponsored research income, the second highest in Canada, and a research intensity per faculty of $317,600, the third highest among full-service universities in Canada. McGill has one of the largest patent portfolios among Canadian universities. McGill’s researchers are supported by the McGill University Library, which comprises 13 branch libraries and holds over six million items.

    Since 1926, McGill has been a member of the Association of American Universities (AAU), an organization of leading research universities in North America. McGill is a founding member of Universitas 21, an international network of leading research-intensive universities that work together to expand their global reach and advance their plans for internationalization. McGill is one of 26 members of the prestigious Global University Leaders Forum (GULF), which acts as an intellectual community within the World Economic Forum to advise its leadership on matters relating to higher education and research. It is the only Canadian university member of GULF. McGill is also a member of the U15, a group of prominent research universities within Canada.

    McGill-Queen’s University Press began as McGill in 1963 and amalgamated with Queen’s in 1969. McGill-Queen’s University Press focuses on Canadian studies and publishes the Canadian Public Administration Series.

    McGill is perhaps best recognized for its research and discoveries in the health sciences. Sir William Osler, Wilder Penfield, Donald Hebb, Brenda Milner, and others made significant discoveries in medicine, neuroscience and psychology while working at McGill, many at the University’s Montreal Neurological Institute. The first hormone governing the Immune System (later christened the Cytokine ‘Interleukin-2’) was discovered at McGill in 1965 by Gordon & McLean.

    The invention of the world’s first artificial cell was made by Thomas Chang while an undergraduate student at the university. While chair of physics at McGill, nuclear physicist Ernest Rutherford performed the experiment that led to the discovery of the alpha particle and its function in radioactive decay, which won him the Nobel Prize in Chemistry in 1908. Alumnus Jack W. Szostak was awarded the 2009 Nobel Prize in medicine for discovering a key mechanism in the genetic operations of cells, an insight that has inspired new lines of research into cancer.

    William Chalmers invented Plexiglas while a graduate student at McGill. In computing, MUSIC/SP, software for mainframes once popular among universities and colleges around the world, was developed at McGill. A team also contributed to the development of Archie, a pre-WWW search engine. A 3270 terminal emulator developed at McGill was commercialized and later sold to Hummingbird Software. A team has developed digital musical instruments in the form of prosthesis, called Musical Prostheses.

    Since 2017, McGill has partnered with the University of Montréal [Université de Montréal] (CA) on Mila (research institute), a community of professors, students, industrial partners and startups working in AI, with over 500 researchers making the institute the world’s largest academic research center in deep learning.

  • richardmitnick 9:20 am on June 18, 2021 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: "Physicists Nearly Reach Elusive Quantum Ground State on The Largest 'Object' Yet", Achieving the quantum ground state of a cloud of atoms isn't easy. You need to cool the atom by applying just the right amount of force to stop its vibrations., , , , , , , , , , Science Alert (AU), The work represents a new way to probe the quantum realm.   

    From Massachusetts Institute of Technology (US) via Science Alert (AU) : “Physicists Nearly Reach Elusive Quantum Ground State on The Largest ‘Object’ Yet” 

    MIT News

    From Massachusetts Institute of Technology (US)


    http://www.sciencealert.com/”> Science Alert (AU)

    17 JUNE 2021

    One of LIGO’s mirrors. Credit: Caltech/ MIT Advanced aLIGO (US).

    Very rarely is anything completely still. All normal matter in the Universe is made of humming particles, minding their own business and vibrating at their own frequencies.

    If we can get them to slow down as much as possible, the material enters what is known as the motional ground state. In this state, physicists can perform tests of quantum mechanics and quantum gravity, probing the boundary with classical physics to search for a way to unify the two.

    Previously, this has been performed in the nanoscale; but now, for the first time, it’s been done on a massive ‘object’ – the collective motions of the four mirrors of the LIGO gravitational wave interferometer, known as an optomechanical oscillator, with an effective mass of 10 kilograms (22 pounds).

    Caltech /MIT Advanced aLigo .

    The work represents a new way to probe the quantum realm.

    “Nobody has ever observed how gravity acts on massive quantum states,” said mechanical engineer Vivishek Sudhir of MIT.

    “We’ve demonstrated how to prepare kilogram-scale objects in quantum states. This finally opens the door to an experimental study of how gravity might affect large quantum objects, something hitherto only dreamed of.”

    Achieving the quantum ground state of a cloud of atoms isn’t easy. You need to cool the atom by applying just the right amount of force to stop its vibrations. If you don’t cool it enough, it merely slows; so you need to know the exact energy level and direction of the atom’s vibrations in order to apply the appropriate force to stop it.

    This is called ‘feedback cooling’, and on the nanoscale it’s simpler to do, because it’s easier to isolate the smaller groups of atoms and minimize interference. The larger you go, though, the harder it becomes to handle that interference.

    LIGO is one of the most precise instruments for measuring fine motion. It’s designed to detect tiny ripples in space-time generated by collisions between massive objects up to billions of light-years away.

    It consists of an L-shaped vacuum chamber, with laser lights beamed along its two 4-kilometer (2.5-mile) tunnels, and sent to a beam splitter to four mirrors, one at each end of each tunnel. When space-time ripples, the mirrors distort the light, producing an interference pattern that scientists can decode to determine the cause. And it’s so sensitive that it can detect a change just one ten-thousandth the width of a proton, or 10-19 meters.

    Each of LIGO’s four 40-kilogram mirrors is suspended, and it’s their collective motion that makes up the oscillator. The balance of the mirrors effectively reduces 160 kilograms of total weight to a single object of just 10 kilograms.

    “LIGO is designed to measure the joint motion of the four 40-kilogram mirrors,” Sudhir said. “It turns out you can map the joint motion of these masses mathematically, and think of them as the motion of a single 10-kilogram object.”

    By precisely measuring the motion of this oscillator, the team hoped to work out exactly the rate of feedback cooling required to induce the motional ground state… and then, obviously, apply it.

    Unfortunately the very act of measuring throws a degree of randomness into the equation, making it difficult to predict the kinds of nudges needed to sap the energy out of the mirror’s atoms.

    To correct for this, the team cleverly studied each photon to estimate the activity of previous collisions, continuously building a more accurate map of how to apply the correct forces and achieve cooling.

    Then, they applied the calculated force using electromagnets attached to the backs of the mirrors.

    It worked. The oscillator stopped moving, almost completely. Its remaining energy was equivalent to a temperature of 77 nanokelvin (-273.15 degrees Celsius, or -459.67 degrees Fahrenheit).

    Its motional ground state, 10 nanokelvin, is extremely close, especially considering the room temperature starting point. And 77 nanokelvin is also very close to the temperatures used in motional ground state studies on the nanoscale.

    Moreover, it opens the door to some exciting possibilities. Macro-scale demonstrations and measurements of quantum phenomena – and maybe even applications for the same.

    But quantum gravity is the big kicker. Kilogram-mass objects are more susceptible to gravity; the team’s work raises hope to use this mass regime to study the quantum realm.

    “Preparing something in the ground state is often the first step to putting it into exciting or exotic quantum states,” said physicist Chris Whittle of MIT and the LIGO collaboration.

    “So this work is exciting because it might let us study some of these other states, on a mass scale that’s never been done before.”

    The research has been published in Science.

    See the full article here .

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    MIT Seal

    USPS “Forever” postage stamps celebrating Innovation at MIT.

    MIT Campus

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

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

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

    Foundation and vision

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

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

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

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

    Early developments

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

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

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

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

    Curricular reforms

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Recent history

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

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

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

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

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

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

    MIT/Caltech Advanced aLigo .

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

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

  • richardmitnick 11:16 am on June 15, 2021 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: "We Have The First-Ever 3D Map of Our Solar System's Heliosphere And It's Amazing", , , , , , NASA IBEX - Interstellar Boundary Explorer (US), NASA Interstellar Mapping and Acceleration Probe (IMAP) spacecraft due to launch in 2025., Science Alert (AU)   

    From DOE’s Los Alamos National Laboratory (US) via Science Alert (AU) : “We Have The First-Ever 3D Map of Our Solar System’s Heliosphere And It’s Amazing” 

    LANL bloc

    From DOE’s Los Alamos National Laboratory (US)



    Science Alert (AU)

    15 JUNE 2021

    Diagram of the heliosphere. (National Aeronautics Space Agency (US)/NASA IBEX – Interstellar Boundary Explorer (US)/Adler Planetarium (US))

    We now have a three-dimensional map of one of the boundaries of the Solar System.

    For the first time, astronomers have been able to determine the shape of the heliosphere, the boundary that marks the end of the influence of our star’s solar wind. This discovery could help us better understand the environment of the Solar System, and how it interacts with interstellar space.

    “Physics models have theorized this boundary for years,” said astronomer Dan Reisenfeld of Los Alamos National Laboratory. “But this is the first time we’ve actually been able to measure it and make a three-dimensional map of it.”

    Actually, we have had encounters with the edge of the heliosphere, a boundary known as the heliopause [above]. Both Voyager probes, launched over 40 years ago, have encountered it and traveled past into interstellar space.

    The heliopause is a fascinating place. The Sun is constantly gusting a stream of charged particles – a supersonic wind of ionized plasma – out into space. Eventually, the solar wind loses strength over distance, so that it is no longer sufficient to push against the pressure of interstellar space. The point at which that happens is the heliopause.

    Interstellar space doesn’t have a great deal of material in it, but there’s enough that it does have a low density of atoms, and a cosmic wind blowing between the stars.

    The shape of the boundary between the two has been a matter of some debate. Is it a rounded bubble? A comet-shaped structure, with a tail streaming behind the Solar System as it moves around the Milky Way galaxy? Or something a bit more like a strange croissant?

    We can’t exactly just nip over and take a survey – Voyagers 1 and 2 were 121 and 119 astronomical units from the Sun respectively when they encountered the heliopause, and had taken decades to get there.

    But that doesn’t mean we can’t take a look. Reisenfeld and his team used data from NASA’s Earth-orbiting Interstellar Boundary Explorer (IBEX) satellite [above], an observatory that measures particles flung from the heliosheath, the very outer region of the heliosphere.

    Some of those particles are what scientists call energetic neutral atoms, or ENAs. These are generated by collisions between particles from the solar wind and particles from the interstellar wind, and the strength of their signal depends on the strength of the solar wind at the time of the collision – just like the wind on Earth, the solar wind doesn’t always blow at the same intensity.

    Decoding this signal to map the heliopause is a bit like the way a bat uses sonar to map its physical surroundings. The strength of the signal and the time lag between sending and receiving can reveal the shape and distance of obstacles.

    “The solar wind ‘signal’ sent out by the Sun varies in strength, forming a unique pattern,” explained Reisenfeld.

    “IBEX will see that same pattern in the returning ENA signal, two to six years later, depending on ENA energy and the direction IBEX is looking through the heliosphere. This time difference is how we found the distance to the ENA-source region in a particular direction.”

    The team used data from a full solar cycle, from 2009 to 2019. The map thus generated is still a little approximate, but it’s already revealing interesting things about the heliopause.

    We now know, for example, that the shape of it appears to be a bit comet-like after all, with a tail that’s at least 350 astronomical units long (that’s the current limit of IBEX’s reach), although the length of the tail is impossible to gauge. It could be short and stumpy. On the other hand, the minimum radial distance to the ‘nose’ of the heliopause seems to be around 110 to 120 astronomical units, consistent with the Voyager crossings.

    At high latitudes, the heliopause extends to 150 to 175 astronomical units. This shows that the shape is more bullet-like, not at all consistent with the weird croissant model.

    The IBEX mission is still going, and will continue until at least 2025. The Interstellar Mapping and Acceleration Probe is due to commence in 2025, picking up where IBEX leaves off.

    NASA Interstellar Mapping and Acceleration Probe (IMAP). Credit: Princeton University.

    The team hopes that both these missions will provide more data to help refine the heliopause’s shape.

    The research has been published in The Astrophysical Journal Supplement Series.

    See the full article here .


    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    Stem Education Coalition

    DOE’s Los Alamos National Laboratory (US) mission is to solve national security challenges through scientific excellence.

    LANL campus
    DOE’s Los Alamos National Laboratory (US), a multidisciplinary research institution engaged in strategic science on behalf of national security, is operated by Los Alamos National Security, LLC, a team composed of Bechtel National, the University of California, The Babcock & Wilcox Company, and URS for the
    Department of Energy’s National Nuclear Security Administration.
    Los Alamos enhances national security by ensuring the safety and reliability of the U.S. nuclear stockpile, developing technologies to reduce threats from weapons of mass destruction, and solving problems related to energy, environment, infrastructure, health, and global security concerns.

    Operated by Los Alamos National Security, LLC for the DOE National Nuclear Security Administration (US)

  • richardmitnick 7:41 am on June 13, 2021 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: "Rogue Exoplanets Lurking in Space Could Have Habitable Moons Scientists Say", , , , , , , Science Alert (AU), University of Concepción [Universidad de Concepción] (CL)   

    From University of Concepción [Universidad de Concepción] (CL) via Science Alert (AU) : “Rogue Exoplanets Lurking in Space Could Have Habitable Moons Scientists Say” 

    From University of Concepción [Universidad de Concepción] (CL)



    Science Alert (AU)

    12 JUNE 2021

    Artist’s impression of a potentially habitable exomoon. (Tommaso Grassi/LMU)

    It’s hard to tell what’s lurking out there, in the dark voids between the stars.

    Evidence, however, suggests the existence of a vast population of rogue exoplanets, set adrift and tethered to no star. Far from the live-giving warmth a star provides, these lonely exoplanets are unlikely to be habitable.

    Their moons might be another story.

    According to new mathematical modeling, some of those moons – at least, those with very specific conditions – could potentially harbor both atmospheres and liquid water, thanks to a combination of cosmic radiation and the tidal forces exerted on the moon by the gravitational interaction with its planet.

    While it’s difficult to catalog exoplanets in general, never mind exoplanets unattached to a star, surveys have identified candidates by studying the gravitational effect these exoplanets should have on distant starlight.

    Estimates from these surveys suggest there may be at least one rogue Jupiter-sized gas giant exoplanet for every star in the Milky Way.

    If so, that’s at least 100 billion rogue exoplanets – and previous research found that at least some of these rogue exoplanets could have been yeeted out of their home system along with an exomoon. (We’ve not yet conclusively detected an exomoon, but given the preponderance of moons within the Solar System, the existence of exomoons is all but certain.)

    Here on Earth, most life relies upon a food web resting on a foundation of photosynthesis – that is, it absolutely requires the light and heat of the Sun. This heat is also what helps keep the water on Earth’s surface liquid – a prerequisite for life as we know it.

    Yet, out beyond the Solar System’s frost line, where liquid water is expected to freeze, there are places where it can still be found. These are the ice moons Ganymede and Europa, in orbit around Jupiter, and Enceladus, in Saturnian orbit.

    Although encased in thick shells of ice, these moons harbor liquid oceans below their surfaces, thought to be kept from freezing by internal heat generated by the stretching and squeezing exerted by the planets’ gravitational field as the moons orbit.

    Thus, it’s thought that Europa and Enceladus might harbor life. Although shielded from sunlight, there is a type of ecosystem here on Earth that doesn’t rely on the photosynthetic food web – the hydrothermal vents, where heat and chemicals escape from Earth’s interior, into the bottom of the ocean.

    Around these vents, bacteria that harness energy from chemical reactions thrive; on those bacteria, other organisms can feed, building a whole new food web that doesn’t involve sunlight at all.

    So, a team of scientists led by astronomer Patricio Javier Ávila of the University of Concepción in Chile sought to model the possibility of such exomoons existing around rogue gas giant exoplanets.

    Specifically, an exoplanet the mass of Jupiter, hosting an exomoon the mass of Earth with an atmosphere that’s 90 percent carbon dioxide and 10 percent hydrogen, over the system’s evolutionary history.

    Their findings suggest that a significant amount of water can be formed in the exomoon’s atmosphere, and retained in liquid form.

    Cosmic radiation would be the main driver of chemical kinematics to convert hydrogen and carbon dioxide into water. This would produce 10,000 times less water than Earth’s oceans, but 100 times more than the atmosphere – that, the researchers said, would be sufficient for life.

    Tidal forces from the exoplanet’s gravity would then generate much of the heat required to keep the water liquid. Even more heat could be contributed by carbon dioxide in the exomoon’s atmosphere, which could create a greenhouse effect to also help keep the world temperate.

    “The presence of water on the surface of the exomoon, affected by the capability of the atmosphere to keep a temperature above the melting point, might favor the development of prebiotic chemistry,” the researchers wrote in their paper [International Journal of Astrobiology].

    “Under these conditions, if the orbital parameters are stable to guarantee a constant tidal heating, once water is formed, it remains liquid over the entire system evolution, and therefore providing favorable conditions for the emergence of life.”

    See the full article here.


    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    Stem Education Coalition

    University of Concepción [Universidad de Concepción] (CL) is a traditional Chilean private university, the work of the Penquista community, one of the most traditional and prestigious in its country, considered complex due to its extensive research in the various areas of knowledge. Founded on May 14, 1919, it is the third oldest university in Chile, and one of the 25 universities belonging to the Council of Rectors of Chilean Universities [Universidad Católica del Norte] (CL).

    Its headquarters are located in the city of Concepción, and also has two other campuses in Chillán and Los Ángeles. In a citizen survey carried out in 2012, it was chosen as the symbol that most identifies Penquists.

    It was the first University created in the center-south zone of the country, besides being the 1st to be constituted as a private law corporation and belong to the Cruz del Sur University Network; it also belongs to the G9 University Network. The University of Concepción also had a pioneering role in the reform movement of Chilean universities that took place at the end of the 1960s. It was the first Chilean university that approved the University Reform in that period (1968), giving greater participation to students in university management.

    Its main promoter was Chilean educator and lawyer Enrique Molina Garmendia, who sought to create the 1st secular university in Chile. As part of its educational line, the University of Concepción devotes a large part of its budget to academic research. It has in its facilities the most complete museum of Chilean art in the country, several sports centers and a network of 11 libraries, the main one occupying an area of 10,000 m² with a total of 100,000 volumes.

    By 2012, the total number of graduates of this house of studies amounted to 57,000. It also teaches 23,700 students, 2,166 of them graduate programs; 72% of its professors have doctorates or master’s degrees and its infrastructure, with 243,556 m² built, is one of the largest in Chile.

    It is currently accredited by the National Accreditation Commission (CNA-Chile) for the maximum period of 7 years (of a maximum of 7), from November 2016 to November 2023. Figure in the third position within the Chilean universities according to the webometric classification of the CSIC (July 2017) and in the third position according to the AméricaEconomía 2017 ranking as well as national and international rankings. Within the Chilean universities, it is also among the 11 that figure in the QS 2017 world university ranking, among the 10 that appear in the Times Higher Education 2017 ranking, and among the 25 that appear in the ranking of Scimago Institution Rankings (SIR) 2017, with the 3rd position nationally and 572th worldwide.

    Its Concepción campus was declared a National Heritage in 2016 by the Council of National Monuments of Chile; what makes it the 1st and only University in Chile to have this recognition due to the design and architectural style of its environment that has been implemented in its buildings and campus-level environment since its foundation; the proclamation grants the university special protection and conservation of the campus and its space by the state; therefore, any intervention to the same has to be reported to the Council of Monuments, while any damage and type of vandalism that jeopardizes the integrity and security of the campus will be seriously penalized according to the law that regulates and covers the National Monuments, as well as the prompt construction of the 1st and only Bío Bío Technological Science Park (PACYT) in all of Chile located in the Bío-Bío Region, near the campus of the Universidad de Concepción; which at the same time will be in charge of the administration, organization, and projection of new ideas with a view to the future of it together with the Government of Chile; this initiative is going to be projected as a productive space of the future and a relevant pole of the development of the country, the place where all the creative potential will be housed, knowledge and innovations of high impact will be generated.

    Schools and Departments

    The University of Concepción is made up of 19 schools and departments:

    Department of Agronomy.
    Department of Architecture, Urban Planning and Geography.
    Department of Biological Sciences.
    School of Economics and Business Administration.
    Department of Physical Sciences and Mathematics.
    Department of Forestry.
    School of Law and Social Sciences.
    Department of Natural and Oceanographic Sciences.
    Department of Chemical Sciences.
    Department of Nursing.
    Department of Social Sciences.
    School of Veterinary Science.
    School of Education.
    Department of Pharmaceutical Chemistry.
    School of Humanities and Arts.
    Department of Engineering.
    Department of Agricultural Engineering.
    School of Medicine.
    School of Dentistry.
    School of Pharmacy.
    School of Environmental Sciences

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