4 posts tagged science
“In AD 1119, fiery arrows or spears appeared in the sky, everywhere in the whole sky. And stars fell from the sky and when water was poured over them, they made a sound or screamed.”
It doesn’t exactly have the militaristic crispness of a Patrick Moore, but in these words (or, at least, their High German equivalent) we can see the modern science of astronomy emerging from under a shroud of superstition and folklore. The words are taken from an unparalleled Wunderzeichenbuch – or “book of miracles” – recently sold by James Faber, of Bond Street fine-art dealers Day & Faber. The miracles in question, all 167 of them, are hand-painted in gouache and watercolor and arranged in chronological order, from Old Testament scenes (the Flood, the parting of the Red Sea) to the Last Judgement. The main body of the work, however, is given over to events from recorded history, apocalyptic scenes such as a rain of meat in Liguria or a plague of vipers in Hungary; it’s a Renaissance equivalent of cranks’ newsletter The Fortean Times, albeit with a distinct focus on the astronomical. Some 60 or so of the folios depict cosmic events, particularly comets, painted with inventive élan and highlighted with gold leaf.
as read on fromquarkstoquasars.com
Given all of the recent coverage on the radical idea that the universe is one massive hologram, we thought we would take a few minutes to delve into what that really means for us. Basically, the holographic universe principle suggests that we’re living in a simulated reality (different from the hypothesis that states we live in a computer simulation), where our physical world is nothing more than a detailed illusion. This illusion is actually projected by our brains, as energy fields are being decoded into the seemingly 3 dimensional universe we see around us. In a more speculative sense, the theory suggests that the entire universe can be seen as a two-dimensional information structure, which is “painted” on the cosmological horizon, such that the three dimensions (four, if you include time) we observe are only an effective description at macroscopic scales and at low energies.
Higgs-like particle suggests it might
If the “Higgs-like particle” discovered last year is really the long-sought Higgs boson, the bad news is that its mass suggests the universe will end in a fast-spreading bubble of doom. The good news? It’ll probably be tens of billions of years before that particular doomsday arrives.
That’s one of the weirder twists coming out of the continuing analysis of results from Europe’s Large Hadron Collider, which produced the first solid evidence for the existence of the Higgs boson last year. Current theory holds that the Higgs boson plays a role in imparting mass to other fundamental particles. Confirming the discovery of the Higgs would fill in the last blank spot in that theory, known as the Standard Model.
Physicists discussed the state of the Higgs quest in Boston on Monday during the annual meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science.
As a double-winner of the Nobel Prize, Marie Curie brought global prestige to the Nobel institution in the early part of the Twentieth Century. But few names of Women scientists have been noticed, leave alone, celebrated in the annals of Nobel Prize history ever since. For instance, how many have heard of Dorothy Hodgkin who won the Chemistry Nobel in 1964 for determining the structures of important biochemical substances using X-ray techniques, and was a key figure in the famous Pugwash Conferences on Science and World Affairs? And, how many have cared to know who Maria Goeppert-Mayer was? (She was a co-laureate of the Physics Nobel in 1963 tor findings related to nuclear shell structure, and remains the only woman after Marie curie, to have won the Nobel Prize in this category.)
Similar fundamental, anxious questions could be raised about Gerty Cori, the first Nobel Prize winning woman of America and the first female medical scientist to be inducted into the Nobel hall of fame (for identifying the course of catalytic conversion of glycogen), as well as Rita Levi-Montalcini, the Italian neurologist who co-win the Nobel Prize for Medicine in 1986 (for discovery of the Nerve Growth Factor) and is the oldest living, longest-lived Nobel laureate today. (She completed 102 Years in April 2011).