“On its own, it is a wonder, but viewed in isolation its complexity and very existence is inexplicable. Darwin’s genius was to see that the existence of something as magnificent as a blade of grass can be understood, but only in the context of its interaction with other living things and, crucially, its evolutionary history. A physicist might say it is a four-dimensional structure, with both spatial and temporal extent, and it is simply impossible to comprehend the existence of such a structure in a universe governed by the simple laws of physics if its history is ignored. And whilst you are contemplating the humble majesty of a blade of grass, with a spatial extent of a few centimeters but stretching back in the temporal direction for almost a third of the age of the Universe, pause for a moment to consider the viewer, because what is true of the blade of grass is also true fro you. You share the same basic biochemistry, all the way down to the detail of proton waterfalls, and ATP, and much of the same genetic history, carefully documented in your DNA. This is because you share the same common ancestor. You are all related. You were once the same.”—
Brian Cox channels Richard Feynman in this reminder that viewing science through any single lens is an incomplete view of its magnificence. In other words, physics is beautiful, but it’s a periscope view of life’s majesty.
From his new book to accompany the BBC series, Wonders of Life.
via Brain Pickings
3D Simulations Clarify Moon-Solar Wind Interaction
A research team at Lab of Solar System Exploration, National Space Science Center, part of the Chinese Academy of Sciences has recently presented a three-dimensional magnetohydrodynamic (MHD) simulation of the lunar wake to further our understanding of the Moon-solar wind interaction.
By establishing a 3D MHD model with high spatial resolution, PHD candidate Xie Lianghai, with his supervisor Li Lei and colleague Zhang Yiteng studied three cases in which the interplanetary magnetic field lies at 90°, 180° and 135° to the solar wind flow. Some basic features of the interaction were revealed, including the plasma density decrease in the wake and the central wake magnetic field increase.
Read more: http://www.laboratoryequipment.com/news/2013/05/3d-simulations-clarifies-moon-solar-wind-interaction