Thursday, September 26, 2013

The Four Fundamental Forces




Have you ever wondered what keeps our atoms from scattering all over the cosmos? What keeps our feet on the ground? What makes those wonderful gadgets and gizmos work? We as common people could only think of answers within our limits of thinking. We can easily say Gravity keeps our feet on the ground and that is correct. Electricity is making all these wonderful machines work and that too is correct. And that's it. We don't know what keep us being, well ... us! If most of the atom is entirely empty space, then why I can see you? Why I can see my monitor? Why I can touch it?

I heard it somewhere that Truth is stranger than fiction. Stranger is the fact that our entire cosmos is "governed" by these invisible forces. Right now there are four fundamental forces that shape us and the Universe as a whole. A force is a push or pull upon an object resulting from the object's interaction with another object. Newton defined a force as anything that caused an object to accelerate -- F = ma, where F is force, m is mass and a is acceleration.What are these so called fundamental forces of nature?

An article from HowStuffworks.com explains it clearly. Here is the link to the article:

http://science.howstuffworks.com/environmental/earth/geophysics/fundamental-forces-of-nature.htm

Currently, there are 4 fundamental forces that have been identified.*

1. Electromagnetic Force
2. Gravitational Force
3. Strong Nuclear Force
4. Weak Nuclear Force

The strong interaction is very strong, but very short-ranged. It acts only over ranges of order 10-13 centimeters and is responsible for holding the nuclei of atoms together. It is basically attractive, but can be effectively repulsive in some circumstances.

The electromagnetic force causes electric and magnetic effects such as the repulsion between like electrical charges or the interaction of bar magnets. It is long-ranged, but much weaker than the strong force. It can be attractive or repulsive, and acts only between pieces of matter carrying electrical charge.

The weak force is responsible for radioactive decay and neutrino interactions. It has a very short range and, as its name indicates, it is very weak.

The gravitational force is weak, but very long ranged. Furthermore, it is always attractive, and acts between any two pieces of matter in the Universe since mass is its source.


Sources:

http://csep10.phys.utk.edu/astr162/lect/cosmology/forces.html

Further reading:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fundamental_interaction

http://imagine.gsfc.nasa.gov/docs/ask_astro/answers/980127c.html

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Science and my seeking spirituality

Courtesy of: http://www.mi2g.com/cgi/mi2g/press/images/h_consciousness.jpg



As a young boy, I was fascinated with so many things. My experience though is mainly appreciation of all things visual, things that I can see. I was fascinated with the image of Earth, pictured from outer space, I was fascinated by the Mona Lisa, that timeless painting of Leornardo da Vinci, a picture of a polar bear living the life in the Arctic. I also appreciate the natural landscape, as well as skylines of the urban jungle which is the Metropolis. Though this appreciation is not really spiritual in a sense. I find them beautiful and majestic, but that's it. I don't find anything spiritual in them. It is just late in my life that I wonder why? Then I asked myself, what is spiritual? How do I define a spiritual experience?

My teenage years brought me to a different level of appreciation, the Auditory kind. Like most teenagers living in the early 90's, I was introduced to music. The kind that you would hear on the radio. I don't have any explanation then, until now, as to why in the first 12 years of my life I don't have any liking to any music. I hear sounds and notes and melodies, but I have no liking. The Filipino band Eraserheads changed all of that. Though I am not thanking them for making me a music lover. It just happened that they have the right stuff for my ears. Maybe it's something else, or maybe it's really normal for teenagers to be introduced to music in their teenage years.

When I listen to music, with its different genres, I appreciate those that makes my brain shiver with delight. My friend called it an "eargasm" which I only heard late in my life. Rock music was the first of my attempts to find appreciation in music. As the years passed, it evolved to include appreciation in other genres like R&B, Trance, New Wave, 70's Disco and other styles of music such as Classical music and Eastern styles of music like Sufi and Japanese Zen style which is for the meditating kind. But I am not meditative in nature. I don't reflect and I don't meditate. But when I hear something for the first time, and I shiver and experience this kind of electric surge into my brain, then I start to cherish the melodies and close my eyes satisfied with what I am hearing.

This same appreciation in my Visual and Hearing faculties, helped me in appreciating Science more. Looking at a picture of a Galaxy, listening to a Science lecture, watching Carl Sagan's Cosmos, reading a 900 page Science book. All of these information gathering helped me gather more insights on what really is spiritual for me. I don't know why of all disciplines, Science is the one that earned my respect and liking. Is it because it answers my questions about life and its origins? Is it because of the sheer greatness of the technologies it brings to help man prosper?

As a kid, all information that I get is based on "Authority figures" like my parents, the teacher, the priest and mass media like television. At school, memorizing things could be a hard task, but I guess that is the only way we could get information permanently into our heads. At church, hearing sermons and interacting with your community's lay people helped you get their view of reality though the word of God. For my parents, well, their upbrining, their values, their beliefs, are also passed down to me. For mass media, anything goes (as far as I am concerned) good or bad information, misinformation they are all there, we just don't know how to filter the vast source of information we are getting there.

But as I grow older, as I experience the life outside of the Academe (that more than a decade of school), as I experience the "real world", I realize that living is not just about doing your best of your abilities to earn a living. I realize that living is not just about having friends and having a good time like it is your last,  I realize that living is not just about loving and taking care of your family and working a job to survive. Life is really an extension of your learning years, a continuous learning experience. And part of this experience is to seek your inner peace. Seeking something that would make your life and that of your loved ones easy and satisfying to live with. Sure, money will solve most of that, but I think that this desire to learn more about the Universe is the most important thing that we have.

Many would ask me, why learn if that could not be used in our everyday lives. Sure they have a point, but I am not talking about Math and Chemistry or Engineering. I am talking about seeking to answer the questions you have and learn more from it. Seeking to understand why we are here? What is our purpose? And having a Scientific outlook in life would answer that for you. Learning the answers about the cosmos, or even thinking what the answer would be, is a profound experience. Staring at the night sky, seeing the Milky way, is a spiritual experience for me, just by looking at the grand scale of things, realizing that the photons of a star 2,000 light years away, reached my eye after leaving that very star and travelled the vast dark space between that star and my eye for 2 thousand years. How exciting that thought would be. Looking at an image of an atom, thinking that you are actually made of trillions of that one atom you are looking at, is an exciting thought.

Carl Sagan says best when he described what Spirituality in a Scientific outlook would be:

“Science is not only compatible with spirituality; it is a profound source of spirituality. When we recognize our place in an immensity of light‐years and in the passage of ages, when we grasp the intricacy, beauty, and subtlety of life, then that soaring feeling, that sense of elation and humility combined, is surely spiritual. So are our emotions in the presence of great art or music or literature, or acts of exemplary selfless courage such as those of Mohandas Gandhi or Martin Luther King, Jr. The notion that science and spirituality are somehow mutually exclusive does a disservice to both.”

― Carl Sagan, The Demon-Haunted World: Science as a Candle in the Dark

My quest for this inner peace. This spirituality is not yet over. Nevertheless, I am confident that our search for who we are and our place in the cosmos can be answered. These are valid questions Science could answer, but until that answers are questioned, I am comfortable that having a Scientific worldview would make that search less fearful.

Friday, July 5, 2013

20th post and something I have found along the way...... Strings!


Reference: http://digitalblasphemy.com/graphics/previews/stringtheory2_preview.jpg

Good day! It has been 5 months since I first started this Blog. I know this is not an amazing blog, compared to the most popular ones. But this is my own little attempt to reach out and help people see some of the things that I see. Put here some of the exciting things that I've learned and known. And there is no turning back!

This is also for my kids. When they grow up, I will show them this blog and hopefully they would be inspired by the awesome reality that science has shown me and the wonderful future it will bring to us. I might not be around when the time comes that we could fully feel the true scope of what science and technology has to offer, but they will. I will continue to put here links, books, articles, websites, pictures and videos from different sources. 

For those who have viewed and read this page and supported my blog by showing it to others...MY SINCEREST THANKS. 

Here is the link I viewed yesterday. This is about a known but mysterious hypothesis about String Theory. I am new to this and I will try to fully understand what this is and how it affects us as humans. 

The video is a lecture between two prominent scientists. Brian Greene (Theoretical Physicist and String Theorist)  and cosmologist Lawrence Strauss.






The link below covers the basics of what String Theory is and covers more websites about the Topic:

http://www.nucleares.unam.mx/~alberto/physics/string.html

You can also try complex terms by reading the Wikipedia article here.

This beautifully constructed article by Alberto Güijosa gives us some basic understanding behind the principles of String Theory. 

 We live in a wonderfully complex universe, and we are curious about it by nature. Time and again we have wondered--- why are we here? Where did we and the world come from? What is the world made of? It is our privilege to live in a time when enormous progress has been made towards finding some of the answers. String theory is our most recent attempt to answer the last (and part of the second) question.

So, what is the world made of? Ordinary matter is made of atoms, which are in turn made of just three basic components: electrons whirling around a nucleus composed of neutrons and protons. The electron is a truly fundamental particle (it is one of a family of particles known as leptons), but neutrons and protons are made of smaller particles, known as quarks. Quarks are, as far as we know, truly elementary.

Our current knowledge about the subatomic composition of the universe is summarized in what is known as the Standard Model of particle physics. It describes both the fundamental building blocks out of which the world is made, and the forces through which these blocks interact. There are twelve basic building blocks. Six of these are quarks--- they go by the interesting names of up, down, charm, strange, bottom and top. (A proton, for instance, is made of two up quarks and one down quark.) The other six are leptons--- these include the electron and its two heavier siblings, the muon and the tauon, as well as three neutrinos.

There are four fundamental forces in the universe: gravity, electromagnetism, and the weak and strong nuclear forces. Each of these is produced by fundamental particles that act as carriers of the force. The most familiar of these is the photon, a particle of light, which is the mediator of electromagnetic forces. (This means that, for instance, a magnet attracts a nail because both objects exchange photons.) The graviton is the particle associated with gravity. The strong force is carried by eight particles known as gluons. Finally, the weak force is transmitted by three particles, the W+, the W- , and the Z.The behavior of all of these particles and forces is described with impeccable precision by the Standard Model, with one notable exception: gravity. For technical reasons, the gravitational force, the most familiar in our every day lives, has proven very difficult to describe microscopically. This has been for many years one of the most important problems in theoretical physics-- to formulate a quantum theory of gravity.
In the last few decades, string theory has emerged as the most promising candidate for a 
microscopic theory of gravity. And it is infinitely more ambitious than that: it attempts to provide a complete, unified, and consistent description of the fundamental structure of our universe. (For this reason it is sometimes, quite arrogantly, called a 'Theory of Everything').

The essential idea behind string theory is this: all of the different 'fundamental ' 
particles of the Standard Model are really just different manifestations of one basic 
object: a string. How can that be? Well, we would ordinarily picture an electron, for 
instance, as a point with no internal structure. A point cannot do anything but move. But, if string theory is correct, then under an extremely powerful 'microscope' we would realize that the electron is not really a point, but a tiny loop of string. A string can do 
something aside from moving--- it can oscillate in different ways. If it oscillates a 
certain way, then from a distance, unable to tell it is really a string, we see an electron. But if it oscillates some other way, well, then we call it a photon, or a quark, or a ... you get the idea. So, if string theory is correct, the entire world is made of strings!

Perhaps the most remarkable thing about string theory is that such a simple idea works--- it is possible to derive (an extension of) the Standard Model (which has been verified 
experimentally with incredible precision) from a theory of strings. But it should also be 
said that, to date, there is no direct experimental evidence that string theory itself is 
the correct description of Nature. This is mostly due to the fact that string theory is 
still under development. We know bits and pieces of it, but we do not yet see the whole 
picture, and we are therefore unable to make definite predictions. In recent years many 
exciting developments have taken place, radically improving our understanding of what the theory is.

Reference:

http://www.nucleares.unam.mx/~alberto/physics/string.html

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/String_theory

Saturday, June 8, 2013

Hubble Ultra Deep Field : Humbling experience





This image you can see below is that of the Hubble Ultra Deep Field, taken over a period of 11 days in 2003. This image has around 10,000 galaxies in it. All points, smears and dots in this image is a galaxy. A galaxy has an average of a hundred billion stars in it. And it's impossible that not one of these billions of stars has a planet - with some form of life in it, Intelligent or not.

Makes you wonder about the real place of our planet in this vast and gigantic Universe that we live in.




It all started from this image taken 18 years ago. In 1995, the Hubble Deep Field was taken in a span of 10 days, targeting a very small patch of seemingly empty space in the night sky. Only to found out that small patch has 3,000 galaxies in it. Taken from that point when the Universe is still very young.

Here is the video I found on Youtube.



Contemplate that for a few minutes. Stare at this image of Ten thousand Galaxies. One trillion trillion stars. And an unimaginable number of planets. The human mind with all its power, could be humbled by the sheer vastness and endless spectacle.

I would strongly recommend to watch these videos.



Monday, June 3, 2013

Our Atomic Snapshots




It would be I should say, a dream of every Chemist or Science buff in general, maybe humanity's, to live in a world and in a century, where it seems, many unthinkable things in the past are now part of our real physical lives. This century saw the changes the way we communicate with the rise of the Cellular phone and the Internet. The rapid accelerating achievements in the world of Computing that made way for faster and more powerful Computers. Advances in Medicine is seeking to eliminate even the most vilest of all diseases. Engineering feats that helps in human progress. Human societies coming together for the first time, to talk, gather information, to plan for the future. 

But for me, no achievement would equal to that what happened a few days ago. When for the first time, humans were able to take an actual photo of an atom. Yes, you heard me right! The atom now has his own portrait. And what a glorious portrait that would be!

Here is a jpeg you can easily see online. 

From the website:


How cool is that!

I am cosidering myself very lucky to have live in this age of wonder. 


Photo referrence:

Here is another interesting article. Molecules too are being photographed for the first time!



Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Nanotechnology: Industry of the very small


First time I heard of this term, well that was only around a few years ago. Just around during the time I re-ignited my interest in Science and Technology. Sci-fi films also gave me some idea on how this works. It's like building a machine so small that you cannot see it with the naked eye, yet so powerful that it is still able to do its task. For newbies like me, this might seem impossible, but in reality lots of scientists are already engaging in a promising technology, that would shape this century.


Theoretical model of a Nanotech machine


So what excatly is Nanotechnology? *Wikipedia has a simple definition of that " is the manipulation of matter on an atomic and molecular scale. ". The Center for Responsible Nanotechnology (http://www.crnano.org/) defines Nanotechnology as the "engineering of functional systems at a molecular scale". The National Nanotechnology Initiative of the United States, gave a clearer view on what Nanotech should be. For NNI, it is the manipulation of matter with at least one dimension sized from 1 to 100 nanometers.

A nanometer is a unit of length in the metric system, equal to one billionth of a metre. Imagine that! A billionth of a metre. It is like slicing a metre of wood in a billion equal parts. That is tremendously small. 

HISTORY OF NANOTECHNOLOGY


It is not well known but the concept of nanotechnology was first proposed by the Nobel laureate Richard P. Feynman in 1959 at the Annual Meeting of the American Physical Society.


Richard Feynman


 **Richard P. Feynman said that:

“Now, the name of this talk is ``There is Plenty of Room at the Bottom''---not just ``There is Room at the Bottom.'' What I have demonstrated is that there is room---that you can decrease the size of things in a practical way. I, now want to show that there is plenty of room. I will not now discuss how we are going to do it, but only what is possible in principle---in other words, what is possible according to the laws of physics. I am not inventing anti-gravity, which is possible someday only if the laws are not what we think. I am telling you what could be done if the laws are what we think; we are not doing it simply because we haven't yet gotten around to it…..

 I want to build a billion tiny factories, models of each other, which are manufacturing simultaneously. . . The principles of physics, as far as I can see, do not speak against the possibility of manoeuvring things atom by atom. It is not an attempt to violate any laws; it is something, in principle, that can be done; but in practice, it has not been done because we are too big…”

 He talked about the problem of manipulating and controlling things on a small scale. Extrapolating from known physical laws, Feynman envisioned a technology using the ultimate toolbox of nature, building nanoobjects atom by atom or molecule by molecule.


Norio Taniguchi



The term nanotechnology created by Norio Taniguchi in 1974 at the University of Tokyo. His definition was; "Nano-technology" mainly consists of the processing of separation, consolidation, and deformation of materials by one atom or one molecule." After years Eric Drexler published a paper in 1981 about the basic concepts of nanotechnology. By 1992, Drexler was using "molecular nanotechnology" or "molecular manufacturing" to distinguish his manufacturing ideas from the simpler product-focused research that was borrowing the word. This research, producing shorter-term results, came to define the field for many observers, and has continued to claim the term "nanotechnology."


Eric Drexler


Cylindrical nanotubes consisting of carbon atoms which were first suggested by Richard P. Feynman (the possibility of manipulating atoms to create objects new nanomaterials) were developed in 1991 by a researcher, Dr. Sumio Iijima, at the electronics maker NEC Corp and are now in use in applications such as sports stadium flood lights.

By concerning the reality of nanotechnology, the National Science and technology Council (NSTC) of the White House created the Interagency working Group on Nanoscience Engineering and Technology (IWGN) in 1998.

In January 2000 at the same institute President Bill Clinton announced $500 million worth of funding in support of the U.S. government's investment in nanotechnology research and development.

Opinions differ about whether Clinton was influenced by Drexler's descriptions of advanced manufacturing. Instead of focusing on molecular manufacturing, the National Nanotechnology Initiative (NNI) chose to fund nanoscale technology, which it defined as anything with a size between 1 and 100 nanometers with novel properties. This broad definition encompassed cutting-edge semiconductor research, several developing families of chemistry, and advances in materials.

NANOTECH MATERIALS***

Nanotechnology fascinated scientists in the search of materials that we know that shows quite different properties when they are reduced to nano size. Like inert materials such as platinum catalysts become, stable materials such as aluminum becomes combustible, rigid material such as gold at room temperatures in nano size it turns into a liquid state, and insulators becomes conductors as with the case of silicone. These new features allow the discovery of new materials, hence offering humanity overwhelming possibilities in the Advancement of Science. 


NANOTECHNOLOGY IN REAL LIFE APPLIANCE

Techno enthusiasts most often mentioned example of manipulation at the nano level, the manufacturing process means that the processor in nanometers, and indicates the size of the transistor array. Smaller transistors mean more of them on a wafer, which entails a lower cost processors or more processors. Only two years ago the current processors were produced in 90nm process, and today begins production of 45nm processors, enabling a drastic increase in CPU power, but also reduce production costs. World GPU graphics processor chips that are almost always Kaskai for Intel and AMD CPUs in terms of miniaturization technology of production is now also in the 65nm process. We assume that development will continue in that direction because manufacturers still complain that they are not stuck, and somewhat slower progress of the processed volume of information dealt with parallel processing (more than one core per processor).

Visit this site for more real-life applications of Nanotechnology:

http://weburbanist.com/2008/08/17/15-astonishing-real-life-applications-of-nanotechnology/

Nanotechnology initiatives can take more than 20 to maybe 50 years to become commercial, however the development process may cause the next industrial revolution.


Moreover the development of nanotechnology will probably change the manufacturing process of almost every product. Whatever happens nanotechnology is likely to be the human race's greatest scientific achievement to date and will completely change all our lives.



References:

*Wikipedia

www.nano.gov (National Nanotechnology Initiative)

www.nano.org.uk (Institute of Nanotechnology)


**Richard P. Feynman, There's Plenty of Room at the Bottom, Engineering and Science (February 1960), California Institute of Technology.


***http://motionperpetual.info/nanotechnology-real-life/





Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Exoplanets: Too interesting, though too far away



It's been a while since my last post. Been busy like everybody else. But that does not mean I will stop posting. 

During the past decade we have been hearing news about new planets being discovered. And these are newly discovered planets OUTSIDE of our own Solar System.  


Simply put, an Exoplanet or Extrasolar planet is any planet outside the solar system. Wikipedia states that " A total of 871 such planets (in 682 planetary systems, including 130 multiple planetary systems) have been identified as of April 20, 2013". Since the first discovery of the first exoplanet in 1992 by Radio astronomers Aleksander Wolszczan (Polish) and Dale Frail (Canadian), we as humans, specially the ones aware of this, has been reflecting about the possibility of alien life, our place in the cosmos, and where's God in this picture. It gives us this wonderful insight in the world of Astronomy and would make any amateur science supporter to pursue such a career path. 

The most famous extrasolar planet is probably Gliese 581c, because of its relative proximity (20 light years), Earth-like mass, and its location within the "habitable zone" of its star, a zone which could theoretically sustain life.



Gliese 581 c or Gl 581 c is a planet orbiting the red dwarf star Gliese 581. Second planet discovered in the system and third in order from the star. It has a mass at least 5.6 times that of the Earth. Known as a super-Earth (a planet of 1 to 10 Earth masses). It was the smallest known extrasolar planet around a main-sequence star. On April 21, 2009, another planet orbiting Gliese 581, Gliese 581 e, was announced with an approximate mass of 1.9 Earth masses.

Here are some facts about Exoplanets:



Most Massive: HD 43848

Discovered in 2008, this exoplanet has a mass that is 25 times the mass of Jupiter. Orbiting around a star that is a just a bit smaller than our sun, HD43848 is nearly 8000 times as massive as Earth.



The Smallest: CoRoT-7b

This planet is less than twice the size of Earth, and its density is similar to Earth's. Discovered in February 2009, CoRoT-7b takes 20.4 hours to orbit a star that is slightly smaller, cooler and younger than our sun.



The Most likely to Have Life: Gl 581 e

Of the four planets that orbit the star called Gliese 581, two are near the edges of what astronomers called the habitable zone, where liquid water may exist. One of these planets is near the cool edge of the zone, but Gl 581 e, spotted in April 2009, is in a warmer spot.



The Biggest Radius: CT Cha b

This gas giant has a radius that is more than twice as large as our largest planet, Jupiter, and 17 times as massive.



The Hottest: WASP-18b

Although the data is still preliminary, this 2009 discovery may be the hottest, says University of Central Florida professor Joseph Harrington, stealing the title from another planet that Harrington calculated to be the hottest in 2007. This speedy planet, which is 10 times the size of Jupiter, hauls its mass around its star in less than an Earth day. But title of "hottest" may still be under contention—because it is so close to its star, WASP-18b is likely to spiral into it within the next million years.



The Most Eccentric Orbit: VB 10 b

A planet that orbits its star in a perfect circle would have an eccentricity designated as 0. The eccentricity of Earth's orbit is 0.0167—a very slight oval. The orbit of VB 10 b is the most elliptical orbit known—with an eccentricity of nearly 0.98, it is even more stretched out than the orbit of Haley's comet.



The Baby: Fomalhaut b

Only 25 light-years away, Fomalhaut is a neighbor of our sun. In 2005, astronomers discovered the exoplanet Fomalhaut b hiding amid the interstellar dust surrounding Fomalhaut. The presence of the dust means that the system is still very young and is likely to have more planets form within it—Fomalhaut b may be just the first-born. And just like a baby, this planet is crawling; it takes about 876 years to orbit its star.



The Farthest from its Star: UScoCTIO 108 b

This planet, which has 14 times the mass of Jupiter, spends its days at about 670 astronomical units—about 64 billion miles—away from its star. That's about 17 times farther away than dwarf planet Pluto is from our sun.



The Farthest from Earth: OGLE-05-390L b

At 21,450 light-years away, this is the farthest exoplanet scientists have found. It is five times the mass of the Earth and twice the distance from its star and it trundles slowly around, taking 3500 days to orbit.







Referrences:


http://groovychk.deviantart.com/art/Gliese-581c-133733307

http://www.wisegeek.com/what-was-the-first-extrasolar-planet-discovered.htm

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Extrasolar_planet

http://www.popularmechanics.com/science/space/deep/4335269

Saturday, March 30, 2013

26 Awe-Inspiring Reminders Of Just How Insignificant We Are

Prepare to feel tiny:
Source: nasa.gov
Furthest ever image of the universe





Source: Mike Read (WFAU), UKIDSS/GPS and VVV / via: ph.ed.ac.uk
One Billion Stars in just one galaxy



Source: eso.org
The View 50 Million Light Years Away





Source: eos.unh.edu
A rocket launch over an aurora





Source: nasa.gov
A Not so dark Dark core





Source: nasa.gov
Coronal Hole on the Sun





Source: spaceflight.nasa.gov
European Panorama at night from the international space station





Source: nasa.gov
Enterprise flying over NYC







Source: nasa.gov
Groundhog day on Mars





Source: nasa.gov
Janus, one of Saturns creepy moons





Source: eso.org
Moon and the Milky Way





Source: Michael Shainblum
Milky way in all its Splendor





Source: nasa.gov
New view of the blue marble





Source: Stéphane Guisard / via: astrosurf.com
Orion over the Temple of Kukulkan







Source: nasa.gov
Overlapping galaxies





Source: 360cities.net
Panorama of Mars





Source: apod.nasa.gov
Saturn's Storms





Source: eso.org
The Pencil Nebula





Source: Adam Block / via: skycenter.arizona.edu
9 Billion Pixels of the Milky Way Galaxy





Source: sci.esa.int
The remains of supernova W44






Source: eso.org
The slow death of R Sculptoris




Source: eso.org
Thors helmet revisited




Source: Greg Scheiderer / via: seattleastronomy.com
Transit of Venus




Source: nasa.gov
Transit of Venus up close













Source: nasa.gov
UFO Galaxy





Source: nasa.gov
Twister on Mars





Reposted with permission from myscienceacademy.com

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

The Rockstar Scientist


A Science Lecture - Can you imagine one speaker speaking to thousands of  attendees?


I would like to imagine that we live in a world where:

1. Science documentaries are shown regularly in Movie theatres.
2. Science TV shows have more ratings than reality shows and other shows on national television. 
3. Schools and Universities concentrate in teaching Science and Math than any other school subject. 
4. Where the majority of people appreciate and wonder with awe about the Cosmos. 
5. Where Scientists are regarded as heroes and receives more popularity, wealth and recognition just like Movie persons and athletes. 

The last one is quite interesting. Do you remember any time in history that lectures are sold out and has lots of people attending? To be honest, I don't know one, maybe you know. 

Scientists, most of the time depends on money from the government or from research grants from private individuals or private companies (aside from savings in their salaries from their respective Universities and Research facilities) in providing that boost in their research in terms of equipment, hiring staffs, and building infrastructure. As far as I can tell, most of these intelligent minds are not rich, some are struggling, and some does not even care about the money. Nikola Tesla, one of the geniuses of the 20th century, even died a poor man.

Yuri Milner (right) with Mark Zuckerberg. Yuri is also a stock holder of  Facebook.


But that changed in 2012, when Yuri Milner, a former physicist and Internet enterpreneur, created the Milner Prize, formally known as the Fundamental Physics Prize in which winners gets a lucrative $3 million, more than the Nobel and Templeton Prizes combined. This would be a great boost for physicists in terms of using the money for further scientific research or for projects in popularizing physics, specially science. 

Based on the Michael Brooks article "Can millionaire physicists draw masses to science?" for the website www.newscientist.com:


"As he told New Scientist recently, Milner plans to use his wealth to paint scientists as heroes, turning them into household names and stimulating an increase in research funding and in the number of young people wanting to become scientists. "The more attention you attract to science, the better off everybody will be," he said."

"The three-million-dollar question is: will it work? Probably not. Rewarding scientists financially is easy. Turning them into household names is not so simple. As became clear during the ceremony (latest Fundamental Physics Prize ceremony), theoretical physicists make terrible celebrities."

The article also cited that physicists are "very human". They interact with students, pupils, co-workers, spectators - ordinary people. And for me, that seems to be the most noble of all traits - humility, which fame and fortune couldn't buy. 

So I guess, my perceived world where Science is pouplar and the people pursuing it are also popular might be impossible here or maybe in some other Universe, but we'll never know what's next for our dear intellectuals. 


Referrences:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fundamental_Physics_Prize

http://www.newscientist.com/article/dn23319-can-millionaire-physicists-draw-the-masses-to-science.html