Infinity has haunted human minds for thousands of years. It challenges theologians and scientists alike to understand it, cut it down to size, find out if it comes in different shapes or sizes, and decide whether we want to outlaw it or welcome it with open arms into our human descriptions of the universe. It is also a live issue. Physicistsβ quests for a theory of everything has been primarily guided by an attitude toward infinities. When asking a question of particle physics, for example, the appearance of an infinite answer was always taken as a warning that you had made a wrong turn in your search for a theory of everything.
A temperature of 2 to 3 billion degrees Kelvin — hotter than the interior of any known star — has been achieved in a lab in New Mexico.Β The temperature record was set recently in a test shot at the Z Pinch device at Sandia National Laboratory, where an immense amount of electrical charge is stored in a device called a Marx generator. Many capacitors in parallel are charged up and then suddenly switched into a series configuration, generating a voltage of 8 million volts.
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Physicists have built the world’s thinnest gold necklaces, at just one atom wide.Β The smallest wire width in mass produced electronic devices is about 50 nm, or about 500 atoms across. The ultimate limit of thinness would be wires only one atom wide. Such wires can be made now, although not for any working electronic device, and it is useful to know their properties for future reference.
Site – http://www.aip.org
In 1912, Bertrand Russell wrote a letter to his mistress, Lady Ottoline Morrell, in which he revealed, βI like mathematics because it is not human and has nothing particular to do with this planet.β? Besides suggesting theirs was a cerebral affair, the quote captures a certain fundamental tenet of mathematics that some mathematicians are now questioning.
Site – http://www.seedmagazine.com
The cover story for this month’s Discover magazine tells of a recently discovered gigantic virus, Mimivirus, that has blurred the lines between viruses and bacteria, and spurred speculation that viruses could be the reason life evolved past single-celled organisms.” From the article: “This is striking news, especially at a moment when the basic facts of origins and evolution seem to have fallen under a shroud. In the discussions of intelligent design, one hears a yearning for an old-fashioned creation story, in which some singular, inchoate entity stepped in to give rise to complex life-forms–humans in particular.
Site – http://www.discover.com
The most detailed image ever made of a spiral galaxy has been compiled from 51 Hubble Space Telescope images. It may shed light on the cause of mysteriously bright X-ray emissions in the galaxy and has already revealed a stellar nursery where no stars were expected to form.
Entanglement could occur at any temperature and not just in systems cooled to near zero according to new calculations by a team of physicists in the UK, Austria and Portugal. Vlatko Vedral of the University of Leeds and colleagues at the universities of Porto and Vienna have found that the photons in ordinary laser light can be quantum mechanically entangled with the vibrations of a macroscopic mirror, no matter how hot the mirror is. The result is unexpected because hot objects are usually thought of being classical. The finding suggests that macroscopic entanglement is not as difficult to create as previously believed and could have implications for making room-temperature quantum computers in the future.
Site – http://physicsweb.org