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diwitdhar tripathi
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As time goes on, science fiction becomes more and more real. One of the most startling aspects of science has been the study of brain-to-brain communication
As time goes on, science fiction becomes more and more real. One of the most startling aspects of science has been the study of brain-to-brain communication
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Blue Mars

We’ve known for a while that Mars was a wet planet about 4 billion years ago, but less clear was where that water went. Did it freeze into the surface, or evaporate into the planet’s thin atmosphere? Now a new paper in Science answers a bit of that question, and shows that Mars once had even more water than we’ve thought.

The work looks at water evaporating from the polar ice caps of Mars. In particular, the authors measured the level of deuterium water in the atmosphere compared to regular water. Deuterium is an isotope of hydrogen that has a proton and neutron in its nucleus, rather than just a proton. Since deuterium is almost twice as heavy as regular hydrogen, deuterium water (HDO) is a bit heavier than regular water (H2O). This means that when water evaporates, HDO is a bit more likely to be left behind. In Earth’s oceans deuterium isn’t very common compared to hydrogen, and exists at about 26 parts per million.

What they found was that the deuterium levels in Martian water is about seven times greater than that of Earth. Since the water of Earth and Mars would likely have had similar origins, the higher deuterium level on Mars means that much of the planet’s water must have evaporated into the atmosphere, and eventually into space. From the deuterium levels it was calculated that Mars must have had about 20 million cubic kilometers of water on its surface. Given the terrain of Mars, that would be an ocean covering most of the planet’s northern plains.

Of course that amount of water is calculated just from the evaporation of water. Mars could have had even more water that froze below the planet’s surface, which wouldn’t have changed the ratio of deuterium to hydrogen. So the level calculated is a lower bound on the amount of water Mars once had. It’s clear then that Mars, like Earth, was once a blue ocean world.

Paper: G. L. Villanueva, et al. Strong water isotopic anomalies in the martian atmosphere: Probing current and ancient reservoirs. Science DOI: 10.1126/science.aaa3630 (2015)
A new study of the water isotopes on Mars show that Mars was an ocean world 4 billion years ago.
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"Of course, there either could be a completely different solution to the hierarchy problem, or there may not be a solution at all; this could just be the way nature is, and there may be no explanation for it. But science will never progress unless we try, and that’s what these ideas and searches are: our attempt to move our knowledge of the Universe forward."

When it comes to our Universe, you might think we understand it pretty well. We have a full list of particles we know to exist, we understand the forces that describe their behavior, and we’ve been able to detect and measure each and every interaction between them. But not everything is known. Perhaps the most disturbing puzzle out there is why the force of gravity — the most easily observable force in the Universe and the first to be understood at all — is so much mind-bogglingly weaker in magnitude than all the others. If you took two protons, for example, and held them a meter apart, the electromagnetic repulsion between them would be 10^40 times stronger than their gravitational attraction! Why is this? There are four proposed solutions that Run II of the LHC will put to the test. If we get lucky, the greatest unsolved problem in theoretical physics will finally be solved.
Why is gravity so different from the other forces? On the hierarchy problem.
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Mapping Neuron Clusters

Our brain is expected to have thousands of neurons contributing to our behavioural response. Years of research have been trying to study them one by one. But studying them separately would be like thinking the forest network would respond like a tree. They do not tell us how the whole brain responds to things. How do we respond to an upcoming choice without comparing it to the past choice ? A team of scientists from the Stanford University’s Department of Neurobiology and Palo Alto Medical Foundation’s Department of Neurosurgery. has developed a method using clustering algorithms for identifying clusters of neurons from a larger topography that work in concert to guide behavior. Their findings published recently in the Journal Neuron addresses a long-standing mystery about the organization of the prefrontal cortex-one of the most recently evolved parts of the primate brain that underlies complex cognitive functions.

Original Study: Neuron http://www.cell.com/neuron/abstract/S0896-6273(15)00128-2
Source: Neuroscience News - http://ow.ly/3xfxHP

‪#‎neuronclustermapping‬ ‪#‎neurons‬ ‪#‎behavioralresponse‬ ‪#‎neuronplasticiity‬
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Leonard Nimoy, the man best known for his role as Mr. Spock, the logical half-Vulcan, half-human in the original "Star Trek," has died at his home in Los Angeles. Thank you for the years of going boldly. http://buff.ly/17DOwtW
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UTokyo’s MOOC “Quantum Mechanics of Molecular Structures” starts from 4/14 on edX.

This course introduces the two primary methods used to determine the geometrical structure of molecules: molecular spectroscopy and gas electron diffraction. The course instructor is Kaoru Yamanouchi, Professor of Chemistry. He is one of the world-leading scientists in the new interdisciplinary research field called ultrafast intense laser science. Anyone can register for the course at #edX for free.
https://www.edx.org/course/quantum-mechanics-molecular-structures-utokyox-utokyo003x
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Terence Tao

Here's a nice write-up about G+ participant Terence Tao, the Mozart of Maths.

[...]
Tao has pages of awards, fellowships, prizes and medals to his name - most notably, the Fields Medal, the maths world's equivalent of the Nobel Prize, which he received in 2006 when he was 31 "for his contributions to partial differential equations, combinatorics, harmonic analysis and additive number theory". Around about then, people started to describe him as "the Mozart of math".

[...]

Terry Tao recalls the day his aunt found him rolling around her living room floor in Melbourne with his eyes closed. He was about 23. He was trying to visualise a "mathematical transform". "I was pretending I was the thing being transformed; it did work actually, I got some intuition from doing that." His aunt is likely still puzzled. "Sometimes to understand something you just use whatever tools you have available."
[...]
While the clichéd maths genius is a socially awkward recluse, Adelaide-born Terry Tao is refreshingly normal.
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The Four Horsemen

In physics it’s often said that there are four fundamental forces: gravity, electromagnetism, strong, and weak.  The reason we list them as four forces has a bit to do with the history of our understanding of them. In the 1700s, the forces of electricity and magnetism were considered to be separate, but by the mid 1800s James Clerk Maxwell unified them into a general theory of electromagnetism. Soon general relativity was first validated, a unified theory of electromagnetism and gravity known as the Kaluza-Klein model was developed. This classical model ran into difficulties integrating with quantum theory, so the model fell out of favor. Later, electromagnetism was unified with the weak to form the electroweak model, but since their unified behavior only appears at high energies we continue to treat them as distinct forces. 

Most people are familiar with gravity and electromagnetism in their daily lives, while the strong force holds atomic nuclei together, and the weak … something something … radioactivity. Even many physics majors aren’t given more than a cursory overview of the strong and weak forces, so while we all know the list, we’re less clear in describing them. While some fields of study can get away with focusing on one or two of these forces, all four of them are central to astrophysics.

So this week I’ll look at these four forces, specifically within the context of astrophysics:

Gravity: forge of the universe

Electromagnetism: forge of planets and stars

Strong: forge of atoms

Weak: forge of life

We’ll start with gravity first. It’s the force everyone knows, but no one fully understands. It all starts tomorrow.
There are four fundamental forces in the universe, and each of them plays a crucial role in astrophysics.
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"The provocative art of Ai Weiwei"

"A man admires Ai Weiwei's "Cube light" at 'Haus der Kunst' in October 2009 in Munich, Germany."

Miguel Villagran/Getty Images

http://www.globalpost.com/photo-galleries/5649112/the-provocative-art-ai-weiwei#4

#art   #cube  
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After completing three spacewalks in eight days, astronaut Terry Virts commemorated 50 years of spacewalking mentioning the Soviet Union's first spacewalker Alexey Leonov and NASA's first spacewalker Ed White. Leonov conducted the first spacewalk March 18, 1965. White exited a spacecraft for the first time during Gemini 4 on June 3, 1965. This was NASA's first use of Mission Control Center in Houston when Johnson Space Center was named the Manned Spacecraft Center.

Listen to Virts' commemorative words... http://go.nasa.gov/1DGDbEM

View images of Ed White on his first spacewalk… http://go.nasa.gov/1GDjtuz

Read more about Ed White... http://go.nasa.gov/PUvswA

Read more about the Gemini 4 mission... http://go.nasa.gov/1n8mZUL
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diwitdhar tripathi

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The Four Horsemen

In physics it’s often said that there are four fundamental forces: gravity, electromagnetism, strong, and weak.  The reason we list them as four forces has a bit to do with the history of our understanding of them. In the 1700s, the forces of electricity and magnetism were considered to be separate, but by the mid 1800s James Clerk Maxwell unified them into a general theory of electromagnetism. Soon general relativity was first validated, a unified theory of electromagnetism and gravity known as the Kaluza-Klein model was developed. This classical model ran into difficulties integrating with quantum theory, so the model fell out of favor. Later, electromagnetism was unified with the weak to form the electroweak model, but since their unified behavior only appears at high energies we continue to treat them as distinct forces. 

Most people are familiar with gravity and electromagnetism in their daily lives, while the strong force holds atomic nuclei together, and the weak … something something … radioactivity. Even many physics majors aren’t given more than a cursory overview of the strong and weak forces, so while we all know the list, we’re less clear in describing them. While some fields of study can get away with focusing on one or two of these forces, all four of them are central to astrophysics.

So this week I’ll look at these four forces, specifically within the context of astrophysics:

Gravity: forge of the universe

Electromagnetism: forge of planets and stars

Strong: forge of atoms

Weak: forge of life

We’ll start with gravity first. It’s the force everyone knows, but no one fully understands. It all starts tomorrow.
There are four fundamental forces in the universe, and each of them plays a crucial role in astrophysics.
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