Wednesday, December 23, 2009
Saturday, November 21, 2009
I guess many of you have witnessed via any source of network communication, media, or newspaper that yesterday, Friday the 20th of 2009 the CERN started to operate the LHC, the world's largest and higher-energy particle accelerator.Physicist really hope that this outstanding machine will help answer fundamental questions about physics today, like moments after the Big Bang, supersymmentry, the famous Higgs boson called the "God Particle" and any evidence of other dimensions. Now, the experiment which constitutes of many other experiments such as ATLAS, CMS, LHCb and ALICE is successful.... this means according to the Wikipidia.... :0)
Sunday, November 8, 2009
This principle reflects a mechanical behavior of nature, which until the twentieth century had been accepted and performed in a deterministic sense. However, early this century introduced its Heisenberg uncertainty principle, that profoundly altered the classical principle of causality.
Wednesday, October 14, 2009
I have to admit that this past few days I have been having some interesting discussions about what is going on in bold science today.
Saturday, October 3, 2009
Article from||Articulo de: Ian Sample
Hawking's successor as Lucasian professor of mathematics at Cambridge University will be decided by committee this month, but as he moves on, leading physicists warn that Britain risks losing the next generation of great minds.
Government pressure on universities is diverting researchers away from purely intellectual problems and on to sure-fire money-making projects, physicists say. The university's role of pulling in and nurturing deep thinkers will be sidelined in favour of people who can turn profits by making better widgets.
The shift from "blue skies research" to more practical problems will turn gifted students with the potential to be the next Hawking or Sir Isaac Newton off science for good, physicists claim.
The Lucasian chair has been held by some of Britain's finest scientific minds. The tradition began in 1630 with Isaac Barrow, who founded the mathematical tools of calculus. Newton took over in 1669, and was followed by names such as Charles Babbage, the father of the computer, and Paul Dirac, recipient of a Nobel prize awarded for discovering antimatter.
Neil Turok, a leading theoretical physicist who worked with Hawking at Cambridge before leaving for Canada last year, said focusing on industrial applications of science and commercialisation risked ending Britain's history of world-class thinkers.
"Giving up on that tradition of deep intellectual discovery in favour of immediate economic benefit is a huge mistake. You lose the gem of creative, insightful, long-term thinking. That is what Britain has done so spectacularly in the past, and to give that up is a tragedy," Turok said.
The science minister, Lord Drayson, led calls this year for the research budget to be spent on projects most likely to bring money into Britain. The main funding body for physics, the Science and Technology Facilities Council (STFC), is reviewing research it supports with a view to giving priority to projects most likely to benefit the economy.
"The government is putting a lot of emphasis on applied research and that sends a message to young people that they don't value the big questions in science," said Brian Foster, head of particle physics at the University of Oxford. "But it's the big questions that get those people excited and into science in the first place. There is a real danger of killing the goose that lays the golden egg."
In May, an Institute of Physics survey of 800 students found that 90% had been inspired into science because they wanted to do pure knowledge and curiosity-driven work in quantum theory, nuclear physics and astrophysics.
"Most students want to be the next Newton, Dirac or Hawking," Turok said. "They want to think for themselves on really foundational problems. Physicists are paid barely sustenance wages for working their socks off on really hard problems. You can't then go and tell them what they should be working on. You mustn't confine the best minds."
Earlier this week, physicists learned that the STFC will give grants for projects for only one year, not the usual five, and that a £30m black hole in budgets will hit basic research hardest.
A principios de esta semana, los físicos se enteraron de que el STFC dará subvenciones para proyectos para un solo año, pero no los cinco habituales, y que un agujero negro de 30 millones de libras en los presupuestos golpearan a la investigación básica bastante duro.
"The legacy of great British physicists is at risk. If these cuts go ahead, it will cause carnage inside the major research universities and Oxford is one of them. We will very likely see physics departments close, and the prospect is bound to make good students go elsewhere," said Foster.
Monday, September 28, 2009
This essay will try to briefly explain the source and essence of religion. Before we start our analysis a few concepts on the different forms and characteristics of religions must be introduced. Monotheism is the belief in only one god and polytheism the belief of more than one god as the being(s) superior to the soul or spirit. The only god or the most important one is believed to have created and control the universe.
Polytheistic and monotheistic ideas are considered an evolved form of animism.
The opposition to monotheism or polytheism is pantheism. Pantheism is the idea that god is the universe itself and not a separated entity. Meanwhile deism is the idea that god as a separated entity created the universe but does not communicate to people or spirits. This in theism is the idea that god (or gods) as separated entities communicate with people and spirits.
By atheism we refer to the idea that god (or gods) does not exist and there are only the laws of physics.
On the other hand agnosticism is the idea that nothing can be said about the existence of god (or gods).
Unlike atheists or pantheists, agnostics do not deny the existence of god (or gods) they just avoid making any theories about it. Finally spiritualism is the belief that life after death does exist and materialism is the belief that life after death does not exist.
After this brief review of the main concepts we will start analyzing how religion has evolved. The most ancient form of religion developed by humanity is called animism. This was based on the idea that not only people, but also animals, plants and nature objects have soul or spirit which survives death. The worship of these spirits is the most basic form of religion. Old animism did not include the concept of god (or gods) but most modern animism contains either pantheistic or deist ideas. The idea of a human spirit started as an explanation for dreaming (temporal death) and death (eternal dreaming). It was reinforced lately by the idea of life after death. Nevertheless animist ideas started as a human explanation for diseases and nature phenomena.
Later on time we could see the development of a more advanced form of religion called shamanism. This is the name of the practices of a shaman as a healer and magician. It is based on animism, being the shaman the connection with the spiritual world. Nomadic people (hunters, gatherers and pastoral) practiced shamanism. As people become sedentary (agricultural) religion evolves to create an organized priesthood and separates itself from medicine and other practices. After that the figure of the shaman disappears or loses its importance. This is the time when religions start becoming more organized institutions and set of ideas. The more ancient of the modern world religions are the so called Indian and Chinese religions. Later on arrived the so called Abrahamic religions.
The so called Indian or Dharmic religions are the religions originated in India, i.e. Hinduism and Buddhism. Hinduism has always been polytheistic and Buddhism is agnostic, however both believed in the concepts of rebirth and karma. The idea of rebirth originated in the Indus Valley civilization (ancient Dravidians) before the arrival of the Aryans. However both the ancient Dravidians and the Aryans were polytheistic. Hinduism is the mixture of the Ancient Dravidian and the Aryan religious beliefs. Karma is a concept developed within Hinduism. However karma is a concept common both to Hinduism and Buddhism. This is that the effect of past thoughts and actions continues during subsequent lives. Hence Karma has a moral approach. Another way to call the law of karma is the law of cause and effect, i.e. it essentially means that what goes around comes around.
Buddhism originated when Buddha wanted to “purify” Hinduism by making it more like the original Dravidian religion (i.e. no caste system and more social equality) and by incorporating a solution for the continuous process of death and rebirth by achieving Nirvana. Nirvana or more correctly said the search for Nirvana or enlightenment in Buddhism attempts to break the life-death cycle (rebirth) and becoming one with the universe, this is to be absorbed or become part of the outer universe. Moreover according to Buddhists, Nirvana means to stop the rebirth cycle by reaching perfection. However in a more pragmatic approach, Nirvana is just life auto realization and is always perfectible. Hence it is indeed basically a continuous process of self-improvement and evolution. Nirvana is attained through the practice of the Buddhist law. The path to Nirvana is based on practice of compassion and no attachment. The last goal is self-realization and happiness.
We can see how strongly related to the idea of karma is the concept of Reincarnation, also known as rebirth. According to this idea although rebirth is always a choice for any spirit, the opportunity is not easy to get and is always based on karmic conditions. As a matter of fact many spirits might need to rebirth in more primitive planets or dimensions than earth because of karmic conditions. They might eventually rebirth on earth again and after that in more advanced planets or dimensions if they qualify.
Another aspect of Buddhism concerns the idea of Cosmic Realms, i.e. the mental states in human life according to Buddhism. Most Buddhist texts simplify them into nine basic mental states, though they recognize many more. These states are a reminder of how we should not think or behave if we want to enter the path to Nirvana, and of course to avoid all the negative responses that we will get from these actions and thoughts, i.e. karma. Traditional Buddhism also portraits these states as dimensions where people can rebirth.
The so called Chinese religions are the religions originated in China, i.e. Taoism and Confucianism. In the past like today people in China were polytheistic and believed in afterlife. Taoism started as a philosophy based on the Lao Tze philosophical writings -Tao Te Ching-. Combine with local beliefs it evolved into religion and Chinese medicine. On the other hand Confucianism originated in the writings of a bureaucrat called Confucius. He wrote extensively about the ideal form of government and society. Like Lao Tze, he did not intend to create a religion. The incorporation of his beliefs into laws and customs combined with local beliefs evolved into religion. Although both religions are currently polytheistic, the original Taoism is still considered pantheistic and orthodox Confucianism remains agnostic. Neither religion deals with the idea of life after death.
Hence the original Taoism is the no polytheistic but the pantheistic one. The basis of Taoism is the idea of Tao (also known as the Way), which is difficult to explain. A near explanation would that Tao is the cosmic or universal order. However Taoists mention how difficult is to try to describe the Tao and just try to experience it. Another important concept is the idea of Ying and Yang as the only forces shaping the universe. In the universe there are always neutral or mixed forces or energy along with pure positive and negative forces or energy (i.e., Ying and Yang). Furthermore it is important to emphasize the idea of universal change since no matter, force or energy -be it positive, negative or mixed- remains like that forever. The only permanent thing in the universe is change. Also the idea of passivity and acceptance of the Tao is not exclusive to Taoism. It happens in all religions, i.e. passivity and acceptance of god’s wishes or people’s destiny. However the main difference with Taoism is that acceptance of the will of the universe is not a moral concept, but a natural and more philosophical concept. This makes it very different from other religions, like the ones with human-created laws of morality (supposedly given to the “prophets” by God) implying that therefore these are god’s wishes or people’s destiny.
The Tao or Way is attained through the belief and practice of the fundamentals of Taoism. The last goal is self-realization and happiness. It is simply to be in harmony with the universe or cosmic order and to improve our energy (Chi). The Way looks for the joy of life and “active inaction”. This means to take control of your life through accepting things just as they are and trying to do the best out of them. The idea is that if things must be changed, they will be eventually, but first we must accept them as they are. The so called Abrahamic religions are Christianity, Islam and Judaism, the three only major monotheistic religions. They all believe in the existence of a personal human-like God. The name comes from Abraham, the first known monotheistic religious leader and considered the founder of Judaism, from which Christianity and Islam originated. Before him the Jews were polytheistic, like everybody else in that time. Abrahamics believe in the idea of life after death, but not in rebirth or karma.
In Christianity the goal is the search for salvation. Salvation is attained through the practice of the Gospel. This is essentially to imitate Jesus life and behavior as describe in the Gospel. This includes the practice of compassion, unselfishness, humbleness and especially an unconditional love for God, also known as the Lord or the Father. The final goal is self-realization and happiness. Christians believe that the only god judges all sins and has the right to absolve them. They also believe that the only God is the creator of the universe and the father of Jesus. Hence Jesus is not just another prophet but Gods own son. In addition God is the only that can forgive sins and judge people, especially on weather they will go to heaven or hell after death. Judaism and Islam are similar to Christianity in many aspects and beliefs but strongly disagree with it in the rejection to the idea of Jesus as Gods son, as according to them God cannot have any sons or children whatsoever. In addition both the Torah and the Koran include rules and norms for almost anything in life while the Gospel does not and leaves more gaps open to self discretion. This is due to Jesus disdain for everything “earthly” and a major emphasis on the “heavenly”. As a result Christianity has evolved as a more tolerant religion that the other two.
Finally we must consider the beliefs of the atheists. They claim the nonexistence of God. Their argument is that if you blink to the idea of the nonexistence of God, then look at the way humanity has approached the idea of God throughout the times. The concept and characteristics of God in primitive times is not the same as the later Jewish God, and even the Jewish God characteristics differ from the later Christian God, which also differs from the Muslim God. According to atheists every man or religion creates its own God (or gods). Hence people decide what kind of God they want and then the concept of him will change as people change and evolve. Atheists believe that the idea of God we have today is different than the idea of God we have say one thousand years ago, and will be different one thousand years from now. Furthermore in closer analysis every person has her own concept of God. Every person’s concept of God is not only different but usually reflects individual characteristics and personal ideas that keep changing throughout the person’s life. Hence this is strong evidence, atheists say, that somehow we all create our own God (or gods). In other words our idea of God is only the reflection of in what level of psychological and sociological evolution we stand–which are changing. So they claim why should anybody accept the characteristics of God that someone else has created? Who was Abraham, Jesus, Mohammed or anybody to decide how God was? It was their God. But for example Buddha never mentioned God explicitly, only Nirvana. Here atheists attack again by questioning who is to say that Nirvana is the only way to self-improvement? In the same order of ideas atheists question other beliefs. For example Hindus say we are condemned to reincarnation. But who is to say that we are condemned to reincarnation? Their final conclusion is that men has created and create religions and after all since they were just men, all religions are faulty. They claim that the idea that man created God and not the other way around is proved by the many different and always changing psychological and sociological definitions of God. That is why our God changes and evolves as our personality evolves and as society evolution affects our own conceptions and personal evolution. However the more open minded atheists acknowledge that all main religions show a way to self development and self improvement, but it is important to find the path to happiness and self realization that really fits our interests and goals in life. It can be in the Christian, Jewish, Muslim, Buddhist, Hindu, Taoist or any other path, but we must be happy and fully satisfied with it, otherwise there is no purpose in having such religion unless we just want to be victims of absurd fanaticism and superstition.
Another idea of the atheists is the concept of survival instinct sublimation (SIS). SIS is based on the concept of the need of humans to believe that there is life after death, even though there is no scientific proof of that. They claim this is supposed to happen because human beings as rational creatures have sublimated the survival instinct that is actually present in all irrational creatures. Since we normally are not exposed to life threatening problems as animals do, forcing them to develop certain physical evolutionary mechanisms for survival, we have canalized this instinct into a desire for living permanently. Hence the idea of life after death or “eternal life”, and also the equivalent idea of reincarnation or “rebirth”.
Finally, although not the goal of this essay is to explain the difference between philosophy and religion. Philosophyis simply a framework of ideas - too often an intellectual exercise that contains no motivation to cause the observer to act. This is not to detract from the fine efforts of my favorite philosophers. I personally enjoy serious philosophy (Wittgenstein, Russell and others). But there is a clear distinction between the philosophical endeavor and religion. Religion is the transformation of philosophy into behavior. It is the adherence to a framework of ideas so strongly that we cannot look upon the world without consideration of them.
Cesar Ramos, ph.D in Economics
Thursday, September 24, 2009
Tuesday, September 22, 2009
Saturday, September 19, 2009
Mice! who doesn't hate them?
Friday, September 18, 2009
We all know that scary music is scary when our brains associates the music with a terrible image, but recent studies says that listening scary music with your eyes shut can actually be scarier. This discovery might have the answer for some brain diseases like Alzheimer or Parkinson as strange as it sounds.
Thursday, September 17, 2009
Wednesday, September 16, 2009
Creating or destroying entropy in a small system | Creando o destruyendo la entropia de pequeños sistemas
The second law of thermodynamics forbids a decrease in entropy of an isolated system. However, in statistical mechanics this strict prohibition is softened to a probabilistic statement, which allows transient decreases in entropy to occur with a small probability. The likelihood of such fluctuations is vanishingly small in macroscopic bodies, but in smaller systems, such as a stretched DNA molecule, they can actually be observed.
La segunda ley de la termodinamica prohíbe una disminución en entropia en un sistema aislado. Sin embargo, en mecánica estadística esta prohibición estricta se ablanda con una declaración probabilistica, en el cual permite un disminución trascendente en la entropia para que ocurra en una pequeña probabilidad. La probabilidad de tal fluctacion es evanecentemente pequeño en cuerpos macroscopicos, pero en sistemas pequeños, tal y como una molécula de ADN estirada, ellas en realidad se pueden observar.
This possibility has motivated recent work on fluctuation theorems, which compare the probability of a system reducing its entropy (over short times) in out-of-equilibrium processes to those in which the entropy increases. In a paper appearing in Physical Review E, Arnab Saha of the S. N. Bose National Center For Basic Sciences in Kolkata, India, and Sourabh Lahiri and Arun Jayannavar, of the Institute of Physics, in Bhubaneswar, India, build on this work and study the total entropy produced in a simple system that is driven out of equilibrium. They model a Brownian particle in a harmonic trap and consider the change in entropy when a time-dependent external force is applied to the particle, or the trap itself is moved in an arbitrary manner.
In nonequilibrium steady states, the detailed fluctuation theorem relates the probabilities of observing entropy changes of equal magnitude but opposite sign. Saha et al. show, somewhat surprisingly, that the Brownian particles also obey this theorem even in the nonstationary, transient regime, provided the system is prepared in equilibrium.
En estados constantes de no equilibrio, la detallada teoría de fluctacion relaciona las probabilidades de observar los cambios de entropia que misma magnitud pero de signo opuesto. Saha et al. muestra, de alguna manera sorprendente , las partículas Brownianas también obedecen este teorema aun en estado no estacionario, régimen transigente, siempre que el sistema este preparado en el equilibrio.
These and other advances given in this paper should stimulate the analysis of thermal fluctuations in small systems, and their application in determining free energy differences. – Ron Dickman
Este y otros avances dados en este papel el análisis en fluctuaciones termales en pequeños sistemas, y su aplicación en determinar diferencias en energía libre.- Ron Dickman
Tuesday, September 15, 2009
We know that an electron is impossible to see it in its exact position and its exact velocity,but unlike electrons, Atoms are much more easy to detect, they are made from sub atomic particles such as electrons, protons and neutrons. Scientist have been struggling to see an atom's internal structure directly from many years,and of course, the only way that scientist could see it were to map out a material's atomic structure in a mathematical sense, using imaging techniques.
Monday, September 14, 2009
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License.