Category Archives: Research Articles by Other Authors

Is Quantum Mechanics Controlling Your Thoughts?

Is Quantum Mechanics Controlling Your Thoughts?

Science’s weirdest realm may be responsible for photosynthesis, our sense of smell, and even consciousness itself.

By Mark Anderson|Tuesday, January 13, 2009
Graham Fleming sits down at an L-shaped lab bench, occupying a footprint about the size of two parking spaces. Alongside him, a couple of off-the-shelf lasers spit out pulses of light just millionths of a billionth of a second long. After snaking through a jagged path of mirrors and lenses, these minus­cule flashes disappear into a smoky black box containing proteins from green sulfur bacteria, which ordinarily obtain their energy and nourishment from the sun. Inside the black box, optics manufactured to billionths-of-a-meter precision detect something extraordinary: Within the bacterial proteins, dancing electrons make seemingly impossible leaps and appear to inhabit multiple places at once.   …more
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High and Low Pressure

High and Low Pressure

Posted: 4/15/13

by dthompson

If you are a regular viewer of weather broadcasts, chances are you’ve heard the following from your local TV meteorologist: “plenty of sunshine is in store today as high pressure is in control over the area.” Or: “expect rain to spread into the area as a low pressure system approaches.” It is well established that high pressure is generally associated with nice weather, while low pressure is generally associated with cloudy, rainy, or snowy weather. But have you ever wondered why?

In order to understand the types of weather conditions generally associated with high and low pressure systems, we must think “vertically.” The motion of air in the atmosphere above our heads plays a large part in the weather we experience here at earth’s surface. Basically, air cools as it rises, which can cause water vapor in the air to condense into liquid water droplets, sometimes forming clouds and precipitation. On the other hand, sinking air is associated with warming and drying conditions. So the first important point to keep in mind is rising air = moistening, sinking air = drying.

So what does this have to do with high and low pressure? Well, as you may have guessed, high pressure is associated with sinking air, and low pressure is associated with rising air. But why? The answer has to do with the typical air flow around high and low pressure. Physically, it seems to make sense to have air flow from high pressure to low pressure. For reasons I won’t get into in this post, the airflow (due to the Earth’s rotation and friction) is directed slightly inward toward the low pressure center, and slightly outward away from the high pressure center:   …more

 

The Outer Planets

The Outer Planets

Until Voyager reached the outer solar system we knew very little about the planets that inhabited this region of space. What we have discovered over years of exploration has both excited and mystified us. Come explore the science of the outer planets. Learn what we have already discovered, and discover what we have yet to learn.

Looking for something specific? See the site map to find it quickly.   …more

New Radiation Ring Spotted in Van Allen Belt

New Radiation Ring Spotted in Van Allen Belt

Feb 28, 2013

A previously unseen ring of radiation formed within the Earth’s Van Allen belt in September of 2012 and then vanished a month later. That is the finding of a team of researchers in the US, which analysed the first data available from the twin spacecraft of NASA’s Van Allen Probes mission. The anomalous ring – made up of high-energy electrons – stayed largely unchanged, until it was disrupted and “virtually annihilated” by a powerful interplanetary shock wave. The new findings show how we need a better understanding of the underlying mechanisms of the Van Allen belts.   …more

NASA’s Van Allen Probes Reveal Previously Undetected Radiation Belt Around Earth

NASA’s Van Allen Probes Reveal Previously Undetected Radiation Belt Around Earth

02.28.13
The Van Allen Probes, two nearly identical spacecraft, launched in August 2012 and with only six months in operation, they may well be rewriting science textbooks. The probes study the Van Allen belts, gigantic radiation belts surrounding Earth, which can swell dramatically in response to incoming energy from the sun, engulfing satellites and spacecraft and creating potential threats to manned space flight.

James Van Allen discovered the radiation belts during the 1958 launch of the first successful U.S. satellite. Subsequent missions have observed parts of the belts, but what causes the dynamic variation in the region has remained something of a mystery.   …more

A New Solution for Storing Hydrogen Fuel for Alternative Energy

A New Solution for Storing Hydrogen Fuel for Alternative Energy

Turning the “hydrogen economy” concept into a reality, even on a small scale, has been a bumpy road, but scientists are developing a novel way to store hydrogen to smooth out the long-awaited transition away from fossil fuels. Their report on a new solid, stable material that can pack in a large amount of hydrogen that can be used as a fuel appears in the ACS journal Chemistry of Materials. …more

Journal reference: Chemistry of Materials
Provided by American Chemical Society

Moon shows Earth-like tectonic activity

Moon shows Earth-like tectonic activity

Subhra Priyadarshini
Published online 25 April 2014 
South polar region of the Moon.
© MiniSAR

 

New satellite data from Indian’s moon mission Chandrayaan-1 has revealed a good amount of historic tectonic activity on the lunar surface, very similar to that on Earth . Scientists studying geological processes on the lunar surface now report faults and grabens in partially and completely shadowed crater interiors of the lunar polar regions.

Saumitra Mukherjee of the School of Environmental Sciences at Delhi’s Jawaharlal Nehru University along with colleague Priyadarshini Singh investigated data from the microwave sensor (MiniSAR) of the Chandrayan- 1 satellite using the image analysis software ENVI.

“The geological processes on the moon are marked with various tectonic features suggestive of similar geological activity occurring on the Earth,” Mukherjee told Nature India. He said the tectonic activity could have been generated by cosmic rays and solar wind flux variability coupled with some interior tectonic activity and meteorite impacts.   …more

How to Make a Quantum Random-Number Generator from a Mobile Phone

How to Make a Quantum Random-Number Generator from a Mobile Phone

5/16/14

Do you feel nervous when you make a credit-card transaction using your mobile phone? Your worries could soon be a thing of the past, thanks to a low-cost device that could bring powerful cryptography to portable devices. That’s the aim of Bruno Sanguinetti and colleagues at the University of Geneva in Switzerland, who have created a quantum random-number generator (QRNG) that uses low-cost electronic components including a mobile-phone camera.   …more

 

Is This Mind-Controlled Exoskeleton Science or Spectacle?

Is This Mind-Controlled Exoskeleton Science or Spectacle?

The exoskeleton for the planned demo. Photo: Carol Delmazo / World Cup Portal

 

Jupiter’s Famous “Great Red Spot” is Half its Former Size

Jupiter’s famous “Great Red Spot” is half its former size

ScienceAlert Staff 5/16/14

The spot has been rapidly shrinking over the past two years, and is now at its smallest size ever, NASA has reported.
Image: NASA, ESA, and A. Simon (Goddard Space Flight Centre)

 

The famous red storm on Jupiter’s surface was once more than 41,000 kilometres wide, but NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope has recently measured it at less than half that size.   …more