From out there on the Moon, international politics look so petty. You want to grab a politician by the scruff of the neck and drag him a quarter of a million miles out and say, ‘Look at that, you son of a bitch.’
—  Edgar Mitchell, Apollo 14 astronaut, speaking in People magazine on 8 April 1974.
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Wormholes

Also known as Einstein-Rosen Bridges are theoretically possible going by Einstein’s theory, and equations of general relativity. Basically wormholes take advantage of our 3 dimensional space and are able to “bend” it. Picture a sheet of paper; now put two circular holes on each end of that sheet of paper. Normally the quickest way to join one point to the other would be to draw a straight line between them. Now instead, you could fold the piece of paper so each hole is touching meaning that there is no longer any distance between them. This is an analogy of how a wormhole works except instead of a circular hole on a 2D plane, the entry and exit points of an Einstein-Rosen bridge can be visualised as spheres in a 3D space.

While the theory of general relativity allows the existence of wormholes, we have not yet found physical evidence. The first wormhole solution discovered was the Schwarzschild wormhole presented in the Schwarzschild metric describing an eternal black hole. However this is not stable enough and would collapse before anything could cross from one end to the other. Traversable wormholes could exist of there was a form of exotic matter with a negative energy to stabilise them.

The Casmir effect shows that quantum field theory allows the energy density in some space to be relatively lower than the ordinary vacuum of space. A lot of physicists (like Stephen Hawking) use this to argue that it is possible to stabilise a traversable wormhole. However there are no known natural processes that would cause a traversable wormhole to stabilise.

The quantum foam hypothesis can be used to suggest the spontaneous appearance of tiny black holes at the Planck scale. Stable versions of these tiny wormholes have been suggested as dark matter candidates. It is also possible that one of these wormholes opened into a previously empty space from another universe, held open by a cosmic string (1D string) with a negative mass then it could be inflated to a macroscopic size by cosmic inflation. Is it possible this happened at the start of the Big Bang?

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For anyone who has not heard of or seen Interstellar yet: WATCH IT.

This came out in 2014 and I have only heard of it this week, I just finished watching it and it is now my favorite movie. I had shivers the entire time.

This movie is brilliant, I was so delighted to find it revolved so much around quantum mechanics and general relativity, so if you are interested in that stuff you might love this. But It seemed to have a sort of spiritual twist to it as well.     ( or perhaps that is just how I perceived it ) It is also a love story but not in the usual way. Love for humanity and the universe, love between a father and daughter that stretches between all dimensions of space and time. Infinite Love.

Just as is my love for this movie that I can not seem to find any more words to describe it. Go watch it!

Frosted Glass

Thanks to a post I’ve seen going around many of you know that if you place tape on top of frosted glass we can see through it. I’m gonna explain this in a bit more detail.

Here we can see how light behaves when incident on a flat surface vs on an angles surface. You can see that on a flat surface it just goes straight through, but when angled the light bends a certain amount with respect to the angle of the surface. Frosted glass is essentially many small angles on one side of the glass causing the light that comes through to be diffracted in all sorts of crazy ways.

Refraction of light is what this phenomenon is called and it Obey’s Snell’s Law of Refraction.

WARNING MATH AHEAD

So here we can see the exact math behind this phenomenon. So we can see if our indices of refraction are the same then the angle must be the same. So if the refraction index of tape is the same as that of glass then the light just goes right through

OKAY MATH IS GONE.

Here we can see that happen. The little bumps cause the light to bend around and make the frosty image we normally see. 

So to counter that we add a piece of tape, its sticky side takes up the space between the bumps letting the light come on through.

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We need to make science popular. 

We need to make it accessible, comprehensible and fun. Because we do understand how amazing it is, but majority of people doesn’t. 

This weekend, I’ve had an opportunity to visit academic film festival afolomouc and attend lectures of Richard Dawkins (on evolutionary arms races) and Lawrence Krauss (on physics of Star Trek and how many things could be/and maybe will be possible) and their classic origins dialogue. I’ve had a great time and I think this is the way how to make people interested. Science doesn’t have to be difficult and boring. 

If you have an opportunity I highly recommend watching those on youtube. Even though it’s more fun in person :P. 

Vegas Baby!

If you have ever been to Vegas and have seen to the Luxor Sky Beam, then you have witnessed one of modern day physics marvels. If you have plans on going to Vegas this summer, don’t miss it. 

At 42.3 billion candela, the Luxor Sky Beam is the strongest beam of light in the world. Using computer designed, curved mirrors to collect the light from 39 xenon lamps and focus them into one intense, narrow beam. 

On a clear night, the Sky Beam is visible up to 275 miles (443 km) away by aircraft at cruising altitude, such as over Los Angeles.

Each of the 39 lamps is a 7,000 watt Xenotech fixture costing about $1,200. When at full power, the system costs $51 an hour to operate, with $20 per hour of that just for its 315,000 watts of electricity.

The beam has operated reliably since first enabled on October 15, 1993, and is an FAA designated navigational landmark for aviators.

The lamp room is about 50 feet (15 m) below the top of the building and serviced by a staff of two workers during the day.The room’s temperature is about 300 °F (149 °C) while the lights are operating. 

Since 2008, only half the lamps are lit as a cost and energy saving measure. The light might be the world’s best bug attractor, establishing a new ecosystem of moths, bats, and owls.

Fun Fact.

Strobe Lights are used before the beam starts in order to warn the helicopters and other planes in the vicinity. The beam has the potency to temporarily blind pilots and the strobe lights effectively avoid this catastrophe.

Comments of the Week #56: From dark energy’s existence to fine-tuning

“I was wondering, what is it about this galaxy allows it to have so many stars? As it is much smaller than the Milky Way, I would imagine it to have less stars, and also less matter available to form stars.”

Ever wonder how smaller galaxies than ours can have so many more stars?
Why dark energy can’t be something blocking the light?
Whether dark matter interacts with itself?
How we measure the 3-D distribution of galaxies when we only see 2-D?
Or whether philosophy and religion can fill in the gaps that science doesn’t answer?

We got some amazing comments from the science we explored this week; come see the responses here!

Sea level is—and has always been—in equilibrium with the planet’s gravity, which pulls the water toward the earth’s center of mass, and the outward centrifugal force, which results from the earth’s rotation. After a few billion years of spinning, the earth has taken on the shape of an ellipsoid (which can be thought of as a flattened sphere). Consequently, the distance to the earth’s center of mass is the longest around the equator and shortest beyond the polar circles. The current difference between the average sea level as observed along the equator and the distance to the earth’s center of mass from the sea level at the poles is about 21.4 kilometers (km).

If earth ceased rotating about its axis but continued revolving around the sun and its axis of rotation maintained the same inclination, the length of a year would remain the same, but a day would last as long as a year. In this fictitious scenario, the sequential disappearance of centrifugal force would cause a catastrophic change in climate and disastrous geologic adjustments (expressed as devastating earthquakes) to the transforming equipotential gravitational state (esri.com)