Diagram · General · Media

Celebrating 20 Years of Human Presence on the ISS

Lots of media news this week, as the ISS celebrates 20 years [on November 2] of continuous human presence aboard the orbiting laboratory. • Overview of operations [PDF] The ISS is approximately 260 miles above the surface of the Earth, just a bit farther than the distance between Washington, D.C. and New York City. The… Continue reading Celebrating 20 Years of Human Presence on the ISS

General · Media · Story

Yes, Virginia, there is a black hole in the center of our Milky Way

Yes, Virginia, there is a black hole in the center of our Milky Way [1]. What might be expected if you asked, à la a Jay Leno “Jaywalking” segment, some random people this question: “Where’s the nearest black hole?” Well, tallying those that know what a black hole is [5] … those that know what… Continue reading Yes, Virginia, there is a black hole in the center of our Milky Way

General · Language · Media

Connecting everyday experience with quantum effects

NASA’s outreach efforts over the decades have touted the benefits of space science in our (macroscopic) everyday lives. Technology. How about quantum physics? A recent YouTube video by Sabine Hossenfelder (below) is a useful start in answering the question: How does our “big and warm” everyday experience evince quantum effects? (from transcript) … the weird… Continue reading Connecting everyday experience with quantum effects

General · Language

Universal symmetries – what really is broken?

An article from Quanta Magazine (below) recaps the history of space-time symmetries in physics and how those symmetries have, in a sense, been simplified: Galilean (Newtonian) static, separate space and time. Relativistic “flat” space-time – Minkowski / Poincaré / Einstein. de Sitter spherical space-time: “… in the same way that the finite speed of light… Continue reading Universal symmetries – what really is broken?

General · Language

When conservation of energy goes out the window?

This post was inspired by Don Lincoln’s YouTube video “Subatomic Stories: Is the Planck length really the smallest?” In his Q&A (where he responds to questions from prior videos), he notes a caveat about the law of conservation of energy. Energy may not be conserved … because space-time can change. He offers some links for… Continue reading When conservation of energy goes out the window?

Language · Media

Making matter from light – ultra energies and unification of forces

E = mc² The Holy Grail of modern physics is a so-called theory of everything, a unified field theory, a theory which unifies all known “forces.” That is, unifies all the fundamental interactions of nature. The three “quantum” interactions (electromagnetism, weak, strong) and gravitation. A conventional sequence of theories depicts final unification as occurring at… Continue reading Making matter from light – ultra energies and unification of forces

General · Language · Media · Site

Sightseeing near the speed of light – realistic simulation

Paraphrasing: Just a note before you go,A vision to be learnedTraveling near the speed of lightIt’s easy to get … Imagining how things would look when traveling near the speed of light is an interesting exercise. Using a freeware video game developed by MIT Game Lab (2012), this visualization (below) by The Action Lab is… Continue reading Sightseeing near the speed of light – realistic simulation

General · Language · Media

Quantum mechanics math basics – tasting the notation

[Communicating science series] All hail vector spaces! Imagine walking into an elementary school classroom and finding kids talking about quantum states. Depicting quantum interactions using diagrams and bra-ket manipulatives, for wave functions. Someday, eh. While we may never achieve Ernest Rutherford‘s notion of a quantum theory so simple that we can explain it to an… Continue reading Quantum mechanics math basics – tasting the notation