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  • richardmitnick 8:47 am on April 22, 2021 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: "Materials for Quantum", , , , , The Kavli Foundation   

    From The Kavli Foundation : “Materials for Quantum” 

    KavliFoundation

    From The Kavli Foundation

    1
    Credit: KIT Karlsruhe Institute of Technology

    Apr 20, 2021
    David Steuerman

    3
    Five quantum computing hardware platforms.

    From top left: Optical image of an IBM superconducting qubit processor (inset: cartoon of a Josephson junction); SEM image of gate-defined semiconductor quantum dots (inset: cartoon depicting the confining potential); ultraviolet photoluminescence image showing emission from color centers in diamond (inset: atomistic model of defects); picture of a surface-electrode ion trap (inset: cartoon of ions confined above the surface); false-colored SEM image of a hybrid semiconductor/superconductor [inset: cartoon of an epitaxial superconducting Al shell (blue) on a faceted semiconducting InAs nanowire (orange)].
    “IBM IMAGE, CC BY-ND 2.0; SEM IMAGE COURTESY OF S. NEYENS AND M. A. ERIKSSON; PHOTOLUMINESCENCE IMAGE COURTESY OF N. P. DE LEON; FALSE-COLORED SEM IMAGE COURTESY OF C. MARCUS, P. KROGSTRUP, AND D. RAZMADZE”

    The Kavli Foundation’s interest in quantum information science and engineering is rooted in the fact this it touches on all our focus disciplines. Quantum computers are fabricated by using nanoscience principles and techniques. Quantum sensors and networks may drive the future of both astrophysical observations and brain imaging, while quantum is simply fundamental to many areas of studies within theoretical physics. It is one of the most exciting areas of science that will undoubtedly have major impacts on our society.

    The recent pace of scientific and engineering progress is nothing short of remarkable. In just the last decade quantum computers have evolved from complex artisanal laboratory experiments to complete cloud-accessible computing systems open to anyone and developed by some of the most innovative technology companies. It has been astonishing to see such rapid progress as a result of incredibly dedicated and creative researchers who are continually refining these systems. These performance improvements have come from a variety of contributors including physicists designing new qubits and methods to interact with them, computer scientists developing novel algorithms and architectures, software engineers creating languages and programs to support these machines, and electrical engineers developing new systems to control complex instruments just to name a few. An extensive ecosystem is blossoming to realize the spectacular capabilities of a large-scale quantum computer capable of solving important but select computational problems intractable for even the largest classical high-performance computers. Suspiciously under-emphasized from this group, though, are the materials scientists who could augment and transform this entire endeavor with improved or entirely new materials on which to base quantum computing platforms.

    For the last few years, The Kavli Foundation has been tracking scientific breakthroughs and their commensurate interest and investment from major funders globally. And while we have seen a great deal of focus on and support for existing quantum computing systems and bringing more computer scientists into the fold, there remains a lack of emphasis on engaging the materials science community. From my interactions with hundreds of scientists and engineers, two things became very clear; (1) materials scientists likely hold the key to unlocking the quantum computing revolution and (2) there are not enough of them exploring new materials or studying the limitations and severe constraints of the dominant quantum computing platforms of today.

    After many months of discussion and planning, it took nearly one year for 10 contributors from three continents, with various backgrounds, who are passionate about the importance of materials science, to write a review addressing the materials challenges across the most popular quantum computing platforms. We hope this manuscript, published in Science, highlights some of the thematically common problems that plague many of the existing quantum computing hardware platforms, serves as a renewed invitation to the materials science community, and encourages funders and other organizations to provide the necessary support for the ensuing fundamental materials research that is so needed and will have transformational impact.


    In the quantum future we’ll identify new drugs to fight disease, design better materials for energy harvesting, optimize the logistics that bring our world closer together, and find almost any needle in a digital haystack. That future is within our grasp, we just need a little help from our materials science friends.

    See the full article here .


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

    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    Stem Education Coalition

    The Kavli Foundation based in Oxnard, California is dedicated to the goals of advancing science for the benefit of humanity and promoting increased public understanding and support for scientists and their work.

    The Foundation’s mission is implemented through an international program of research institutes; professorships; and symposia in the fields of astrophysics; nanoscience; neuroscience; and theoretical physics as well as prizes in the fields of astrophysics; nanoscience; and neuroscience.

    The Kavli Foundation was established in December 2000 by its founder and benefactor Fred Kavli a Norwegian business leader and philanthropist who made his money by creating Kavlico- a company that made sensors; and by investing in real estate in southern California and Nevada. David Auston, a former president of Case Western Reserve University(US) and former Bell Labs scientist, was the first president of the Kavli Foundation and is largely credited with the vision of the scientific investments. Kavli died in 2013 and his foundation is currently actively involved in establishing research institutes at universities throughout the United States, in Europe, and in Asia.

    To date, the Kavli Foundation has made grants to establish Kavli Institutes on the campuses of 16 major universities. In addition to the Kavli Institutes, six Kavli professorships have been established: two at University of California, Santa Barbara(US), one each at University of California, Los Angeles (US), University of California, Irvine, Columbia University (US), Cornell University (US), and California Institute of Technology (US).

    The Kavli Institutes

    Astrophysics

    The Kavli Institute for Particle Astrophysics and Cosmology at Stanford University
    The Kavli Institute for Cosmological Physics, University of Chicago
    The Kavli Institute for Astrophysics and Space Research at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology
    The Kavli Institute for Astronomy and Astrophysics at Peking University
    The Kavli Institute for Cosmology at the University of Cambridge
    The Kavli Institute for the Physics and Mathematics of the Universe at the University of Tokyo

    Nanoscience

    The Kavli Institute for Nanoscale Science at Cornell University
    The Kavli Institute of Nanoscience at Delft University of Technology in the Netherlands
    The Kavli Nanoscience Institute at the California Institute of Technology
    The Kavli Institute for Bionano Science and Technology at Harvard University
    The Kavli Energy NanoSciences Institute at University of California, Berkeley and the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory

    Neuroscience

    The Kavli Institute for Brain Science at Columbia University
    The Kavli Institute for Brain & Mind at the University of California, San Diego
    The Kavli Institute for Neuroscience at Yale University
    The Kavli Institute for Systems Neuroscience at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology
    The Kavli Neuroscience Discovery Institute at Johns Hopkins University
    The Kavli Neural Systems Institute at The Rockefeller University
    The Kavli Institute for Fundamental Neuroscience at the University of California, San Francisco

    Theoretical physics

    Kavli Institute for Theoretical Physics at the University of California, Santa Barbara
    The Kavli Institute for Theoretical Physics China at the Chinese Academy of Sciences

     
  • richardmitnick 12:32 pm on February 25, 2021 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: "Pulsars- pulsing with astrophysics", A subset of these neutron stars soldier on as even wilder objects dubbed pulsars., , , , , , , In a universe chock-full of bizarre objects neutron stars rank near the top of the list., , The Kavli Foundation, The pulsar known as SXP 1062   

    From The Kavli Foundation: “Pulsars- pulsing with astrophysics” 

    KavliFoundation

    From The Kavli Foundation

    1
    In this composite image, X-rays from Chandra and XMM-Newton have been colored blue and optical data from the NOIRLab Cerro Tololo Inter-American Observatory in Chile are colored red and green. The pulsar known as SXP 1062, is the bright white source located on the right-hand side of the image in the middle of the diffuse blue emission inside a red shell. The diffuse X-rays and optical shell are both evidence of a supernova remnant surrounding the pulsar. The optical data also displays spectacular formations of gas and dust in a star-forming region on the left side of the image. Image Credit: NASA/CXC/Univ.of Potsdam/L. Oskinova et al.

    NASA Chandra X-ray Space Telescope.

    ESA/XMM Newton X-ray telescope (EU).

    NOIRLab CTIO Cerro Tololo Inter-American Observatory, approximately 80 km to the East of La Serena, Chile, at an altitude of 2200 meters.

    In a universe chock-full of bizarre objects neutron stars rank near the top of the list. Although merely the size of a city, pulsars still pack in about one-and-a-half times the mass of our entire Sun.

    Dame Susan Jocelyn Bell Burnell, discovered pulsars with radio astronomy. Jocelyn Bell at the Mullard Radio Astronomy Observatory, Cambridge University, taken for the Daily Herald newspaper in 1968. Denied the Nobel.

    Neutron stars manage to pull off this feat because their extreme gravity crushes atoms so tightly that the atoms’ protons and electrons fuse together, forming a hyperdense object composed almost entirely of neutrons (hence the moniker). Even the origin of neutron stars is intense—they’re forged when colossal stars cataclysmically explode as supernovae and the dying monster star’s pure iron core collapses in on itself.

    For reasons not well-understood, a subset of these neutron stars soldier on as even wilder objects dubbed pulsars. These are neutron stars that spin anywhere from once every few seconds to many hundreds of times per second, sending beams of radiation sweeping through the cosmos like hyper lighthouses.

    Measuring the characteristics of those beams is one of the main ways researchers are keying in on how neutron stars and pulsars alike work, in turn helping probe the boundaries of fundamental physics.

    “Pulsar emissions are the primary signature of neutron stars, and neutron stars represent the most extreme matter in the observable universe,” says Roger Romani, a professor of physics at Stanford University(US) and a member of the Kavli Institute for Particle Astrophysics and Cosmology (KIPAC).

    Romani and colleagues are keenly interested in the dividing line between neutron stars and the only objects made of even denser material, namely stellar black holes. (And which are not part of the “observable” universe, seeing as they do not emit light.) Stellar black holes form the same way as neutron stars, when ginormous stars go boom, though in the former’s case, the leftover stellar cinder compacts so tightly that its gravity traps light, and the object goes “dark.”

    The dividing line is one of mass, where the most massive stars yield the most massive cores that, at some threshold, generate the gravity necessary to progress past neutron-starhood and into black holiness. (Forgive the punnery.) Researchers want to better understand this boundary and reap the insights it will provide into how matter behaves in conditions completely unreplicable on Earth.

    “I’ve been chasing down where the neutron star – black hole boundary is,” says Romani. “How massive can a neutron star get before it disappears, collapsing into a black hole?”

    Pulsars are in fact paving the way to this understanding, specifically a kind of pulsar with the ominous nickname “black widow.” These are pulsars that steadily destroy companion stars with energetic outflows, oftentimes gravitationally slurping up some of the scattered matter from their victims. (The nickname derives from how female black widow spiders tend to eat their male partners, an act that gave the spiders their evocative appellation in the first place.) The rate of pulses from some black widow pulsars suggest they’ve have gobbled up so much matter that they’re at the “brink of collapse,” Romani says, and could transition into being black holes.

    Other important insights into neutron star physics will come via gravitational wave astronomy. It’s a field that sprung to life just six years ago with the announcement of the first-ever direct detection of gravitational waves by the LIGO observatory (led in part by members of the Kavli Institute for Astrophysics and Space Research at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology).

    Kavli MIT Institute For Astrophysics and Space Research.



    Caltech/MIT Advanced aLigo Hanford, WA, USA installation


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

    Cornell SXS, the Simulating eXtreme Spacetimes (SXS) project


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

    ESA/eLISA the future of gravitational wave research

    As LIGO and its ilk capture more events in the years ahead spawned by the energetic mergers of neutron stars, as well as black holes and neutron stars, astrophysicists will gain a vital new dataset. “Gravitational wave signatures can also help once we get a large sample of neutron star-containing mergers,” Romani says.

    Also helpful will be pulsar pulses not of the usual radio-wave variety measured in abundance since the discovery of pulsars in 1967. “For the radio emission, we are flooded in data,” says Romani. “But most of it is ‘weather’ and it is hard to see how we will cut through this to probe the underlying physics.”

    Instead, harder-to-corral, higher-energy light, such as gamma rays and x-rays, is now broadening our understanding of the mechanisms driving pulsars.

    “For the extreme physics questions, additional measurements of neutron star masses, radii, and surface emissions, especially in the x-ray band, offer good hope of near-future progress,” says Romani.

    The KIPAC researcher expects this wealth of data will help answer one of the biggest outstanding mystery about pulsars—how the heck do they generate their telltale radio pulses, anyway? “Some plausible models have been proposed,” Romani says. “But there is as yet no generally accepted picture.”

    It goes to show that while neutron stars and pulsars are pushing astrophysics into new frontiers, some age-old, basic questions about these extraordinary objects still need answering.

    See the full article here .


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

    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    Stem Education Coalition

    The Kavli Foundation, based in Oxnard, California, is dedicated to the goals of advancing science for the benefit of humanity and promoting increased public understanding and support for scientists and their work.

    The Foundation’s mission is implemented through an international program of research institutes, professorships, and symposia in the fields of astrophysics, nanoscience, neuroscience, and theoretical physics as well as prizes in the fields of astrophysics, nanoscience, and neuroscience.

    The Kavli Foundation, based in Los Angeles, California, is a foundation that supports the advancement of science and the increase of public understanding and support for scientists and their work.

    The Kavli Foundation was established in December 2000 by its founder and benefactor, Fred Kavli, a Norwegian business leader and philanthropist, who made his money by creating Kavlico, a company that made sensors, and by investing in real estate in southern California and Nevada. David Auston, a former president of Case Western Reserve University and former Bell Labs scientist, was the first president of the Kavli Foundation and is largely credited with the vision of the scientific investments. Kavli died in 2013, and his foundation is currently actively involved in establishing research institutes at universities throughout the United States, in Europe, and in Asia.

    To date, the Kavli Foundation has made grants to establish Kavli Institutes on the campuses of 16 major universities. In addition to the Kavli Institutes, six Kavli professorships have been established: two at University of California, Santa Barbara, one each at University of California, Los Angeles, University of California, Irvine, Columbia University, Cornell University, and California Institute of Technology.

     
  • richardmitnick 1:14 pm on November 23, 2020 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: "Transforming astrophysics with a mighty new telescope", , , , , The Kavli Foundation, The mirrors are being constructed by the University of Arizona's Steward Observatory Richard F. Caris Mirror Lab.,   

    From The Kavli Foundation: “Transforming astrophysics with a mighty new telescope” 

    KavliFoundation

    From The Kavli Foundation

    10/30/2020
    Adam Hadhazy

    GMT

    Giant Magellan Telescope, 21 meters, to be at the Carnegie Institution for Science’s Las Campanas Observatory, to be built some 115 km (71 mi) north-northeast of La Serena, Chile, over 2,500 m (8,200 ft) high.

    The Giant Magellan Telescope (GMT), an exciting next-generation observatory, recently got a big boost. In September, the National Science Foundation announced a grant of $17.5 million, the first major tranche of funds for GMT’s continued development.

    The telescope is intended to be “transformative,” according to its backers, when it begins gazing at the skies circa 2029. The facility will have a spatial resolution that is ten times sharper than the Hubble Space Telescope. Resolution at that level will turn blurry, celestial sketches into detailed, crisp pictures brimming with astrophysical information.

    “This resolution will yield transformative discoveries across all fields of astronomy and astrophysics, from studies of the faintest galaxies across the cosmos at the time of first light, through to the atmospheres of exoplanets around the nearest stars, and all scales and objects in between,” says Michael Gladders, an assistant professor of astronomy and astrophysics at the University of Chicago, a senior member of the Kavli Institute for Cosmological Physics (KICP), and part of the GMT science committee.

    To pull off this scientific feat, though, GMT will require some significant development of its optical- and infrared-observing technologies. The telescope is slated to be built at the Las Campanas Observatory in Chile which, given the local elevation (2500 meters or 8200 feet) and ultra-low humidity, features some of the clearest skies on Earth.

    Carnegie Las Campanas Observatory in the southern Atacama Desert of Chile in the Atacama Region approximately 100 kilometres (62 mi) northeast of the city of La Serena,near the southern end and over 2,500 m (8,200 ft) high.

    To take advantage of those skies and exceed the capabilities of today’s instrument, designers will have to engineer GMT to exquisitely coordinate the movements of its seven, massive, 8.4 meter- (27-foot-) diameter mirrors. The mirror movement is an integral part of what is known as an adaptive optics system. Such systems compensate for the inevitable twinkling of stars—an effect caused by Earth’s atmosphere—by measuring the distortion and then making tiny bends to the flexible mirrors on the fly. In GMT’s case, those changes will need to happen at the astonishing, yet technically feasible rate of 1,000 times per second.

    The most important advance of the GMT is that the way the mirrors are built there will be less “stiching” required for an achievement of usable images. This is not a feature included in the E-ELT or the TMT.

    Adaptive optics systems have been added onto many of the world’s largest ground-based telescopes and worked spectacularly. Yet in GMT’s case, the enhancement will not be an enhancement, but built-in from the start, leveraging the considerable know-how that has accumulated regarding the technology since its first deployments about three decades ago. “The GMT will be one of the first telescope designed from the beginning to use adaptive optics,” notes Gladders.

    GMT will be a big deal, literally and figuratively, for the astronomical community. For Gladders, his work on galaxy formation will be newly and deeply informed by the telescope’s observations, especially when paired with the natural magnifying power of so-called gravitational lenses. These phenomena are typically foreground galaxy clusters whose immense gravity warps and increase the brightness of distant, ordinarily faint, background objects. GMT plus gravitational lensing could this bring previously inaccessibly far stars into clear view.

    Gravitational Lensing

    Gravitational Lensing NASA/ESA.

    “I am most excited to couple the sharpest images from the GMT with the power of strong gravitational lensing to study individual star clusters, and even individual stars, in distant galaxies,” says Gladders. “Stars and star-clusters are the brushstrokes that paint in the picture of galaxy formation and evolution across cosmic time, and GMT will allow us to see galaxies across the universe at this key level of detail.”

    It’s not just the ultra-distant that will be brought close, so to speak, by GMT. Many researchers are keen on how GMT will enable investigations of comparatively nearby objects, such as exoplanets. Although more than four thousand exoplanets have been found in the last quarter-century, to date, only a smidgen have been even minimally characterized. Telescopes operating at their limits of detection these days can tell us a bit about exoplanets’ atmospheres and what sorts of gases they contain. Next-generation instruments will be ultimately needed to say much more, though, beyond these basics.

    The most tantalizing of the sought-after atmospheric gas signatures are those that cannot have been plausibly produced by geophysical processes, and thus are deemed far more likely to be a result of—as wild as it sounds—alien biological activity. Finding such biosignatures or biomarkers would certainly qualify as “transformative.”

    “I am excited to see what the GMT can teach us about exoplanets, their atmospheres and potentially biomarkers,” Gladders says, “as we transition from discovery to detailed study of the many exoplanets systems being discovered now.”
    ________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
    The telescope will use seven of the world’s largest mirrors as primary mirror segments, each 8.417 m (27.61 ft) in diameter. These segments will then be arranged with one mirror in the center and the other six arranged symmetrically around it. The challenge is that the outer six mirror segments will be off-axis, and although identical to each other, will not be individually radially symmetrical, necessitating a modification of the usual polishing and testing procedures.

    The mirrors are being constructed by the University of Arizona’s Steward Observatory Richard F. Caris Mirror Lab.

    U Arizona mirror lab-Where else in the world can you find an astronomical observatory mirror lab under a football stadium?

    The casting of the first mirror, in a rotating furnace, was completed on November 3, 2005, but the grinding and polishing were still going on 6½ years later when the second mirror was cast, on 14 January 2012. A third segment was cast in August 2013, and the fourth in September 2015. The casting of each mirror uses 20 tons of E6 borosilicate glass from the Ohara Corporation of Japan and takes about 12–13 weeks. After being cast, they need to cool for about six months.

    Polishing of the first mirror was completed in November 2012. As this was an off-axis segment, a wide array of new optical tests and laboratory infrastructure had to be developed to polish the mirror.

    The intention is to build seven identical off-axis mirrors, so that a spare is available to substitute for a segment being recoated, a 1–2 week (per segment) process required every 1–2 years. While the complete telescope will use seven mirrors, it is planned to begin operation with four mirrors.

    The primary mirror array as a whole will have a focal ratio (focal length divided by diameter) of f/0.71. For an individual segment – being one third that diameter – this results in a focal ratio of f/2.14. The overall focal ratio of the complete telescope will be f/8 and the optical prescription is an aplanatic Gregorian telescope. Like all modern large telescopes it will make use of adaptive optics.

    Scientists expect very high quality images due to the very large aperture and advanced adaptive optics. Image resolution should exceed that of the Hubble Space Telescope.

    See the full article here .


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

    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    Stem Education Coalition

    The Kavli Foundation, based in Oxnard, California, is dedicated to the goals of advancing science for the benefit of humanity and promoting increased public understanding and support for scientists and their work.

    The Foundation’s mission is implemented through an international program of research institutes, professorships, and symposia in the fields of astrophysics, nanoscience, neuroscience, and theoretical physics as well as prizes in the fields of astrophysics, nanoscience, and neuroscience.

     
  • richardmitnick 10:39 am on October 23, 2020 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: "Lights out!", , , , , , The Kavli Foundation,   

    From The Kavli Foundation: “Lights out!” 

    KavliFoundation

    From The Kavli Foundation

    09/15/2020
    Adam Hadhazy

    Katie McKissick
    The Kavli Foundation
    (424) 353-8800
    kmckissick@kavlifoundation.org

    1
    A coronagraph instrument being tested out on a future space telescope will help pave the way for scrutinizing Earthlike worlds for life. Pictured, the Nancy Grace Roman Space Telescope, named after NASA’s first Chief of Astronomy. Credit: NASA​.

    The Nancy Grace Roman Space Telescope won’t fly until 2025 at the soonest, but when it does, astrophysicists will be licking their chops. As its primary science objective, the telescope will scour the depths of time and space to tell us more about dark energy. Roman will additionally perform a kind of census for small-ish exoplanets like Earth, helping us to better gauge if we’re alone in the universe.

    Another key way that Roman will significantly move the science ball forward is by testing out an advanced coronagraph in space for the first time. Such a space telescope-cum-coronagraph—along with other image-boosting current technologies like deformable mirrors—would enable us to directly image Earthlike exoplanets and parse their atmospheres for signs of extraterrestrial life.

    Coronagraphs have long been used to suppress the overwhelming brightness of sunlight and starlight, the better to study otherwise-hard-to-discern, circumstellar phenomena. The goal now is to deploy powerful coronagraphs onboard space telescopes, above the blurring effects of Earth’s atmosphere that ultimately place limits on ground-based astronomy.

    But first, Roman must show us how to get the delicate coronagraph tech to perform admirably in the unforgiving environment of the final frontier. Although the astronomical community’s hope was to originally have the Roman coronagraph be a full-fledged, science-ready system, budgetary and schedule constraints have scaled back its ambition to what is known as a technology demonstration—more of a prototype to work out the kinks than to swing for the fences.

    “It’s still exciting to see a high-performance coronagraph get fielded in space,” says Bruce Macintosh, a Professor of Physics at the Kavli Institute for Particle Astrophysics and Cosmology (KIPAC) at Stanford University, who is co-leading a science investigation team for the Roman coronagraph.

    Macintosh knows a thing or two about coronagraphs. He is the Principal Investigator for the Gemini Planet Imager (GPI), an instrument mounted on the Gemini South Telescope in Chile.

    NOIRLab NOAO CTIO Gemini Planet Imager on Gemini South

    NOIRLab NOAO Gemini/South telescope, Cerro Tololo Inter-American Observatory (CTIO) campus near La Serena, Chile, at an altitude of 7200 feet on the summit of Cerro Pachon.

    GPI relies in part on a coronagraph to image young, Jupiter-like exoplanets at Jupiter-like distances from their host stars.

    The Roman coronagraph will build on what’s come before it, including the rudimentary coronagraph on the Hubble Space Telescope. There remains a good deal to prove out yet.

    “The gap between what’s been done on Hubble, or on the ground, and what we need to see Earthlike planets with a future mission is huge, and involves a lot of new tech that’s never been flown,” says Macintosh. “Getting a chance to try that out is important.”

    Coronagraphs essentially work by placing an opaque disk over a star, suppressing glare and letting the light produced by or reflected off of nearby features (such as smaller companion stars or planets) register in a telescope’s optics. The name “coronagraph” stems from the initial (and still a very common use) of the devices: for blocking out the Sun’s brightness in order to study its corona, a superhot realm of surrounding plasma.

    In the case of the Roman coronagraph—technically called CGI, for Coronagraph Instrument—researchers want to test out how vibrations, for instance, in the telescope cause the light from stars to wobble around. That wobbling makes it hard to block starlight out effectively. Researchers also want to learn how to better discern where a blocked star is in relation to any dim planets that its blocking-out reveals. That’s a necessary step for measuring the distance to the planets, which is in turn critical for gauging whether the planets reside in the star’s “habitable zone,” the temperature band where liquid water can persist on a planetary surface and thus where life as we know it is likeliest to appear.

    Cumulatively, CGI will improve our understanding across a number of planet measurement sensitivities and uncertainties. “It’ll be the first chance to play with ‘real’ coronagraph space data,” says Macintosh.

    In terms of the science returns for the tech demo mission, Macintosh says CGI might be able to see “mature” Jupiter-esque worlds, like those in our several-billion-year-old solar system. CGI will also be able to study asteroid and comet belts in other solar systems. Superficially, CGI will pick up the glow of exo-zodiacal light—the exo-version of light produced in our solar system by the dust particles released by asteroids and comets. If that exo-zodiacal light does indeed exist in mature systems like ours, if it will bear out that settled collections of asteroids and comets are common elsewhere.

    The ultimate goal for spaceborne coronagraphy remains an Earthlike planet. With Macintosh’s state-of-the-art ground-based project, GPI, it’s possible to see planets that are about a million times fainter than their star. To see to see an Earthlike planet, however, that threshold balloons to ten billion times fainter—”basically impossible for a telescope on the ground,” Macintosh says.

    But because space telescopes are very stable and still, that threshold looks achievable down the road. “Roman CGI won’t get all the way to ten billion,” says Macintosh, “but maybe ten million, which is a pretty big step forward.”

    See the full article here .


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

    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    Stem Education Coalition

    The Kavli Foundation, based in Oxnard, California, is dedicated to the goals of advancing science for the benefit of humanity and promoting increased public understanding and support for scientists and their work.

    The Foundation’s mission is implemented through an international program of research institutes, professorships, and symposia in the fields of astrophysics, nanoscience, neuroscience, and theoretical physics as well as prizes in the fields of astrophysics, nanoscience, and neuroscience.

     
  • richardmitnick 1:00 pm on August 27, 2020 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Kavli Institute for Cosmological Physics (KICP) at the University of Chicago., Kavli Institute for the Physics and Mathematics of the Universe (Kavli IPMU) at the University of Tokyo., Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s Kavli Institute for Astrophysics and Space Research (MKI)., The Kavli Foundation   

    From The Kavli Foundation: “From Quanta to Galaxies: Astrophysics Highlights” 

    KavliFoundation

    From The Kavli Foundation

    08/13/2020
    Media Contact

    Katie McKissick
    The Kavli Foundation
    (424) 353-8800
    kmckissick@kavlifoundation.org

    Adam Hadhazy

    1
    MIT physicists have observed that LIGO’s 40-kilogram mirrors can move in response to tiny quantum effects. In this photo, a LIGO optics technician inspects one of LIGO’s mirrors. Credit: Matt Heintze/Caltech/MIT/LIGO Lab​.

    Astrophysics and its related fields are the sciences of the biggest objects in existence. These objects range from planets to stars, on up to great assemblages of stars and other material into galaxies, and then galaxies into colossal clusters and filaments, and finally the whole of the universe and existence. Heady stuff. So much so that one might think that the infinitesimal goings-on of the particles that compose reality on the smallest of scales would be, well, like climatologists concerning themselves with ants. (Though of course that analogy fails to capture the true disparateness of the scales involved.) Yet the successful pursuit of understanding the universe at its absolute biggest is thoroughly intertwined with understanding of it at its absolute smallest; the parts do, across magnitudes upon magnitudes, make up the whole. This concern for the smallest scales also extends to the experimental apparatuses that astrophysicists and engineers devise to measure cosmic phenomena. As you’ll read on to find out, detecting the tiniest quantum jiggle felt within a vast machine can be key for honing our abilities to study the universe at large.

    Fluctuations on the tiniest quantum scales can move big objects

    In order to register the infinitesimal perturbations of gravitational waves passing through Earth, LIGO—the Laser Interferometer Gravitational-wave Observatory—was designed to detect displacements of laser beams as small as ten-thousandths of the diameter of a proton. Part of this incredible sensitivity is factoring in “quantum noise,” created by so-called virtual particles that flit in and out of existence at Lilliputian scales. Now researchers working on LIGO from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s Kavli Institute for Astrophysics and Space Research (MKI) have, for the first time, detected this quantum noise moving a truly macroscale object. That object is a 40-kilogram mirror in LIGO, which is a billion times heavier than the objects where the quantum effect has been previously detected. The quantum jiggle is tiny—just 10-20 meters, or the size of a proton to a proton, and only detectable because the mirror is so highly stabilized compared to an everyday object. Nevertheless, it is a remarkable demonstration of the weird-but-true nature of quantum mechanics, and points to how LIGO can be sensitized even further to grav waves.

    A quantum noise-cancelling device for even more precise experiments

    Speaking of quantum noise, MKI researchers also announced the development of a new “quantum squeezer” device that cuts the pesky noise in incoming laser beams by 15%. What’s more, the system is the first of its kind to function at room temperature. That means the device can be compact and portable, thus easing incorporation into hyper-sensitive experiments to boost their precision. Made of a mirror and a cantilever, the device is designed to absorb a minimal amount of thermal energy from a laser, which translates into less jittery, quantum-noise-induced movement. Applications include better quantum computers and enhanced gravitational wave detection by experiments such as LIGO.

    Nailing down the expansion rate of the universe is like nailing Jell-O to the wall

    One of the biggest mysteries in current cosmology is the true speed at which the universe is expanding, a figure known as the Hubble constant. The conflict arises between measurements of the local universe’s expansion versus the expansion predicted by studies of the universe’s beginnings nearly 14 billion years ago. The latest entrant in this debate is a 3D map that spans a good deal of the middle ground between these viewpoints, covering 11 billion years of cosmic history. This map agrees with the rate of the early universe, contrasting with the modern universe measurements; in short, the plot has thickened. Wendy Freedman, a member of the Kavli Institute for Cosmological Physics (KICP) at the University of Chicago, a leader of the modern universe measurements, spoke to New Scientist and commented on the possibility that some key physics are likely missing still, and will be needed to solve this conundrum.

    Universe’s age is further solidified as being right around a ripe old 13.8 billion years

    Researchers have taken a fresh look at the cosmic microwave background, which is the oldest light in the universe, with the Atacama Cosmology Telescope (ACT) in Chile. The telescope’s observations of this “afterglow” of the Big Bang estimate the universe’s age as 13.77 billion years, in remarkable agreement with prior, high-precision measurements and aligning with the prevailing cosmological model. Dating the universe is linked to knowing its expansion rate (just mentioned above), so these new results are one more piece of evidence to consider. David Spergel of the Kavli Institute for the Physics and Mathematics of the Universe (Kavli IPMU) at the University of Tokyo was involved in the findings.

    Black hole’s corona pulls off a temporary disappearing act

    Black holes are famous for being lightlessly invisible. But the hyper-dense objects do give themselves away when their intense gravity accelerates and collides matter surrounding them. Now in a first, MKI researchers have observed the light outpouring from a black hole’s surrounding, billion-degree ring—called a corona—suddenly vanish. The thinking is that a star wandered too close and disrupted the ring, causing its constituent particles to actually fall into the black hole. After a few months, the black hole reformed a corona as it dragged fresh particles into its gravitational clutches. What’s for sure is that black hole behavior continues to offer surprises.

    2
    Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech​.

    See the full article here .


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

    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    Stem Education Coalition

    The Kavli Foundation, based in Oxnard, California, is dedicated to the goals of advancing science for the benefit of humanity and promoting increased public understanding and support for scientists and their work.

    The Foundation’s mission is implemented through an international program of research institutes, professorships, and symposia in the fields of astrophysics, nanoscience, neuroscience, and theoretical physics as well as prizes in the fields of astrophysics, nanoscience, and neuroscience.

     
  • richardmitnick 9:15 am on June 25, 2020 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: "A Startling Excess of Particle Detections by the XENON1T Could Point to New Physics", , , , , Researchers confidently expected 232 triggering events—no more no less. Yet XENON1T racked up a surprising excess of 285 particle detections., The Kavli Foundation, U Chicago Kavli Institute for Cosmological Physics   

    From The Kavli Foundation: “A Startling Excess of Particle Detections by the XENON1T Could Point to New Physics” 

    KavliFoundation

    From The Kavli Foundation

    06/17/2020
    Adam Hadhazy

    1
    Experts construct the top PMT array. Image courtsey of XENON collaboration.​

    A strange thing happened while running the most sensitive dark matter detector built to date, known as XENON1T. Having painstakingly accounted for all known sources of particles that could trigger the exquisitely sensitive apparatus, researchers confidently expected 232 triggering events—no more, no less. Yet XENON1T racked up a surprising excess of 285 particle detections. Researchers are cautiously elated by the findings, announced earlier this week, which could point to brand-new physics.

    To be clear, the eyebrow-raising excess does not match the signal for Dark Matter—XENON1T’s primary quarry, a theoretical substance that constitutes as much as 85 percent of the matter in the cosmos. But on the short list of three conceivable candidates behind the excess, two would represent breakthroughs of their own in physics. The pedestrian candidate is a miniscule trace of tritium, a radioactive form of hydrogen, inside the detector. More likely, however, is a never-before-seen type of particle, called a solar axion, pumped out by the Sun. The final possibility: an undiscovered property of neutrinos, the ubiquitous and ghostly particles that pass through every square centimeter of Earth—including our bodies—by the trillions every second.

    However the excess shakes out, it’s a big moment for the XENON1T collaboration, which involves more than 160 scientists from 28 institutions in 11 countries. Six university research groups are based in the United States, including one at the University of Chicago, home to the Kavli Institute for Cosmological Physics. KICP has helped support the involvement in XENON1T of Luca Grandi, Associate Professor of Physics at UChicago, and his graduate student Evan Shockley, one of the analysis leads behind the new results.

    “We have been very cautions and paranoid and have been sitting on this data for a very long period to try to find flukes in our analysis that could have artificially produced the bump,” says Luca Grandi, a member of KICP. “We hammered down all potential sources of systematic error that we could think of, but the excess turned out to be very solid and significant.”

    XENON1T accumulated 278 days of data during runs from October 2016 to February 2018.

    XENON1T at Gran Sasso LABORATORI NAZIONALI del GRAN SASSO, located in the Abruzzo region of central Italy

    It represents the latest in an increasingly powerful line of experiments operated at the National Institute for Nuclear Physics’ Laboratori Nazionali del Gran Sasso, located in central Italy.

    Gran Sasso LABORATORI NAZIONALI del GRAN SASSO, located in the Abruzzo region of central Italy

    Shielded under 1400 meters of mountain rock to avoid contamination from cosmic rays raining down from space, the facility is a premier location for highly sensitive traps for elusive particles.

    The XENON1T experiment itself consists of a giant tank filled with 3.2 tonnes of the element xenon, kept super-chilled in a liquid form at nearly -100 degrees Celsius. The xenon is ultra-purified to be free of radioactive elements, whose decay would trigger the instrument’s sensors. When particles do enter XENON1T and undergo rare interactions with its xenon dragnet, the interaction produces tiny light signals that researchers analyze. In most cases, the blips are attributable to expected, ho-hum sources—a so-called background. Finding any excess, then, above and beyond this deeply studied background is grounds for excitement.

    The best bet for the newly announced excess, in terms of matching observed signal to theoretical predictions, is an extremely lightweight particle called an axion. These particles were put forth in the late 1970s to work out a kink in the strong force, which holds matter together at the subatomic level and is one of the four fundamental forces of nature. If the Sun does produce XENON1T-detectable versions of these particles, that would boost the case for axions having been produced during the Big Bang 13.8 billion years ago. Such primordial axions should have been cranked out in mind-bogglingly prodigious amounts—enough, in fact, to constitute the universe’s long-sought dark matter. So while the recently observed excess is not dark matter proper, it could point the way toward at last tracking down the mysterious substance.

    The other compelling candidate for the excess is neutrinos (also produced by the Sun) possessing a larger-than-expected, so-called magnetic moment. All particles have this property, though just what it is for neutrinos has yet to be pinned down (as with so much else involving these enigmatic motes of matter). Neutrinos are already the bad boys and girls in the Standard Model, the encompassing framework for particle physics and three out of nature’s four fundamental forces. Discovering an anomalous magnetic moment for the particles would only further blaze trails into new physics.

    Standard Model of Particle Physics, Quantum Diaries

    “If the excess had to come from solar axions or neutrino anomalous magnetic moment, then this would have big implication on our present understanding of particle physics,” says Grandi.

    The least heart-stopping candidate for the excess, tritium, would still be important to firmly nail down in order to advance the search for dark matter and other novel particles. The tritium background contamination within XENON1T required to yield the excess would be infinitesimal—just a single tritium atom for every 10^25 xenon atoms. (10^25 is 10 septillion, but you already knew that, of course).

    “The detector is sensitive enough to see this excess, but not enough to discriminate among the few potential sources that we have considered and that might cause it, some including exciting new physics and some foreseeing the existence of a new type of background that was not accounted for before,” says Grandi. “When you push your technology to the edge to be sensitive to these elusive particles, you sometimes bump into unexpected background sources that nobody had thought about before.”

    The jury likely won’t remain out long, thanks to the next generation of the XENON1T experiment, dubbed XENONnT.

    XENONnT experiment at the Laboratori Nazionali del Gran Sasso (LNGS) underground laboratory in Italy.

    The upgrade will deliver a xenon mass that is three times larger than XENON1T’s and have even more precise components, lowering the background still further, thus increasing events while honing their possible origins. Major progress took place with readying XENONnT earlier this year before the novel coronavirus pandemic brought much of the world to a standstill, and at present, the next-gen detector’s start-up is anticipated in late 2020.

    “Given our estimates, we expect that XENONnT will be able to distinguish among the various hypotheses in a few months of data taking,” Grandi added in a statement. “This makes even more worth the big effort made, early in the year, to seal the new detector before the lockdown kicked in.”

    ___________________________________________________

    Dark Matter Background
    Fritz Zwicky discovered Dark Matter in the 1930s when observing the movement of the Coma Cluster., Vera Rubin a Woman in STEM denied the Nobel, did most of the work on Dark Matter.

    Fritz Zwicky from http:// palomarskies.blogspot.com

    Coma cluster via NASA/ESA Hubble

    In modern times, it was astronomer Fritz Zwicky, in the 1930s, who made the first observations of what we now call dark matter. His 1933 observations of the Coma Cluster of galaxies seemed to indicated it has a mass 500 times more than that previously calculated by Edwin Hubble. Furthermore, this extra mass seemed to be completely invisible. Although Zwicky’s observations were initially met with much skepticism, they were later confirmed by other groups of astronomers.

    Thirty years later, astronomer Vera Rubin provided a huge piece of evidence for the existence of dark matter. She discovered that the centers of galaxies rotate at the same speed as their extremities, whereas, of course, they should rotate faster. Think of a vinyl LP on a record deck: its center rotates faster than its edge. That’s what logic dictates we should see in galaxies too. But we do not. The only way to explain this is if the whole galaxy is only the center of some much larger structure, as if it is only the label on the LP so to speak, causing the galaxy to have a consistent rotation speed from center to edge.

    Vera Rubin, following Zwicky, postulated that the missing structure in galaxies is dark matter. Her ideas were met with much resistance from the astronomical community, but her observations have been confirmed and are seen today as pivotal proof of the existence of dark matter.

    Astronomer Vera Rubin at the Lowell Observatory in 1965, worked on Dark Matter (The Carnegie Institution for Science)


    Vera Rubin measuring spectra, worked on Dark Matter (Emilio Segre Visual Archives AIP SPL)


    Vera Rubin, with Department of Terrestrial Magnetism (DTM) image tube spectrograph attached to the Kitt Peak 84-inch telescope, 1970. https://home.dtm.ciw.edu

    The Vera C. Rubin Observatory currently under construction on the El Peñón peak at Cerro Pachón Chile, a 2,682-meter-high mountain in Coquimbo Region, in northern Chile, alongside the existing Gemini South and Southern Astrophysical Research Telescopes.

    LSST Data Journey, Illustration by Sandbox Studio, Chicago with Ana Kova

    See the full article here .


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

    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    Stem Education Coalition

    The Kavli Foundation, based in Oxnard, California, is dedicated to the goals of advancing science for the benefit of humanity and promoting increased public understanding and support for scientists and their work.

    The Foundation’s mission is implemented through an international program of research institutes, professorships, and symposia in the fields of astrophysics, nanoscience, neuroscience, and theoretical physics as well as prizes in the fields of astrophysics, nanoscience, and neuroscience.

     
  • richardmitnick 1:04 pm on February 21, 2020 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: "Quest to Reveal the Fundamental Laws of Nature", The Kavli Foundation, Theoretical physicist Hirosi Ooguri, Working to unify general relativity with quantum mechanics   

    From The Kavli Foundation: “Quest to Reveal the Fundamental Laws of Nature” 

    KavliFoundation

    From The Kavli Foundation

    02/18/2020
    Sally Johnson

    1
    Theoretical physicist Hirosi Ooguri is working to unify general relativity with quantum mechanics.

    How did the universe begin, what is it made of down to its tiniest particles, and how has it evolved until now? These are just a few of the profound questions Hirosi Ooguri, the Fred Kavli Professor of Theoretical Physics and Mathematics and director of the Walter Burke Institute for Theoretical Physics at Caltech, as well as director of the Kavli Institute for the Physics and Mathematics of the Universe (IPMU) at the University of Tokyo, wants to answer.

    1
    Hirosi Ooguri received the Medal of Honor with Purple Ribbon from the Emperor of Japan in December 2019 for his work in elementary particle physics.

    Theoretical physicists use a combination of logic, equations, and computation to pursue a better understanding of how the universe works.

    “I work within the general area of high-energy physics to try to discover the most fundamental laws of nature, and apply it to understand the various phenomena of elementary particles and the universe,” says Ooguri.

    Gravity is playing an increasingly central role in this endeavor because it is the only force that remains unexplainable at the quantum level.

    The Standard Model of Particle Physics explains quantum phenomena using 17 elementary particles and the way they interact by exchanging three types of forces: strong, weak, and electromagnetic.

    Standard Model of Particle Physics, Quantum Diaries

    “But gravity isn’t included, even though it’s the force we feel most strongly on Earth,” Ooguri points out. “Gravity is the key to understanding how the universe began and has evolved, so we need a unified theory that includes both quantum mechanics and general relativity.”

    This is why Ooguri views the framework for superstring theory as the most promising candidate to unify quantum mechanics and general relativity.

    Superstring theory is a mindbending solution still under construction, which tries to explain the particles and fundamental forces of nature by modeling them as vibrations of tiny supersymmetric strings.

    3
    Superstring theory depiction. phys.org

    The theory unifies Albert Einstein’s theory of general relativity, which explains gravity and the dynamics of stars and galaxies within the universe, and quantum mechanics, which describes elementary particles (such as leptons and quarks, which aren’t made of other particles discovered so far).

    “I’ve been working for the past 35 years to understand many aspects of string theory and, in particular, a surprising feature called the ‘holographic principle,’ which can be used to give a precise formulation of quantum theory of gravity,” he says.

    4
    This is an image of a two-dimensional hypersurface of the quintic Calabi-Yau three-fold.
    21 November 2008. Calabi yau.jpg

    “It’s called ‘holographic’ since gravitational phenomena emerges from a non-gravitational theory defined on space with one less dimension, just like a hologram stores a three-dimensional image on a two-dimensional plate. Though we have not been able to use this formulation to describe our universe yet, we have been able to derive several important properties of quantum gravity,” Ooguri adds.

    In 2018, Ooguri and Daniel Harlow, an assistant professor at Massachusetts Institute of Technology, explored gravity at the quantum level using the holographic principle and ended up proving that the eventual theory of quantum gravity can’t have a particular type of symmetry called global. “This is a rigorous statement that we can derive by assuming gravity and quantum mechanics are unified holographically,” Ooguri says.

    The lack of global symmetry was a surprise because physicists regard symmetry as one of the measures of “beauty” in nature, and they expected that the fundamental laws of nature should be the most beautiful. Ooguri and Harlow’s theoretical proof, however, shows that nature doesn’t respect any global symmetry at the most fundamental quantum level.

    And it’s worth noting that the holographic principle has a deep intellectual connection to quantum computation. “It turns out that both how the holographic principle works in quantum gravity and how the fault-tolerant quantum computations works are based on an important concept called ‘the quantum error correction’ in quantum information theory,” Ooguri explains. “They’re closely tied to each other at a very fundamental level.”

    Ooguri and Harlow’s proof makes use of the quantum error correcting feature of the holographic principle in an essential way.

    Once physicists achieve the unification of general relativity and quantum mechanics, “in some sense, we will have reached the goal of humanity’s quest toward more fundamental laws of nature,” Ooguri says.

    See the full article here .


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

    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    Stem Education Coalition

    The Kavli Foundation, based in Oxnard, California, is dedicated to the goals of advancing science for the benefit of humanity and promoting increased public understanding and support for scientists and their work.

    The Foundation’s mission is implemented through an international program of research institutes, professorships, and symposia in the fields of astrophysics, nanoscience, neuroscience, and theoretical physics as well as prizes in the fields of astrophysics, nanoscience, and neuroscience.

     
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