The New Cosmos

What did you guys think of the last Cosmos episode? It was my favorite so far. The Hooke vs Newton story was pretty satisfying to see in animation. Now that the show has got three solid episodes premiered, what are your opinions? It is still early but do you think it lives up to its predecessor? What are your thoughts?

jtotheizzoe

jtotheizzoe:

You know it’s spring when, just after sunset, the refrigerator constellation rises in the western sky.

(But seriously, remember that our perspective on the stars is at the same time wonderfully unique but not at all special, and the stellar stories that we write are products not only of our imaginations, but also our brain’s relentless desire to recognize patterns in random assortments of far away dots)

sci-universe
jtotheizzoe:

It’s a big day for physics.
A team of astrophysicists reported today that they have directly confirmed the existence of gravitational waves, first predicted by Einstein and whose fingerprints tell tales of the first trillionth of a trillionth of a trillionth of a second after our universe came into being. This discovery, one of the most significant of the past 50 years, could explain a few more mysteries of just why things are the way they are in the universe today.
Using a beefy-sounding telescope near the South Pole called “Bicep”, the scientists peered almost 14 billion years into the past, studying the Cosmic Microwave Background, that distant radiation left over from the beginning of the universe itself, its wavelength stretched from unthinkably hot plasma to chilly microwaves as our universe expanded from a subatomic scale to the vastness of today.

(Cosmic microwave background temperature fluctuations, via ESA)
The Bicep team detected peculiar fluctuations in that radiation, not in its temperature, but in its polarization. Like visible light waves, this early radiation can be polarized, wiggling and oscillating in a given direction, or even in a spiral. By analyzing the particular pattern of that polarization, we can then walk backwards and figure out what gave rise to those patterns in the very, very early universe.
This discovery is especially important to deciphering those earliest universal events because in its first 380,000 years the universe was dense enough to be opaque to light, meaning we have no distant radiation fingerprints older than the CMB to tell the early tale. These gravity waves may just decode that story. In essence, it’s the earliest look at the universe we’ve ever gotten.
Long story short, this confirmation of gravitational waves gives the strongest support yet to the idea of “cosmological inflation”, the real “Bang” of the Big Bang, where our universe expanded faster than the speed of light itself, growing so many orders of magnitude in so short an amount of time that it truly boggles the mind. Aatish Bhatia put it like so:

This has implications for everything from multiverse theory to the long search for dark energy and dark matter (and its origins) to why our universe is so flat and even at its observable edges to the quantum scale blips and fluctuations that gave rise to everything from stardust to galaxies. Like any science, this monumental result needs to be confirmed by other groups (which should happen later this year), but this is champagne-worthy science.
Confused? There’s a lot of awesome science to take in. For more in depth explanations, check out the following links (because this has pushed my biologist’s brain to its mushy limit):
Ethan Siegel has a great explanation at Starts With A Bang
Dennis Overbye was there with the scientists and got their reactions, along with a great coffee analogy
Sean Carroll goes into a few of the more technical aspects and what it means for physics at large
Also check out great summaries and interpretations from Phil Plait and Matt Francis
I think my favorite part of this is this little tidbit of scientific history from physicist Alan Guth, one of the first to propose the concept of inflation: Back in 1978, when he had just gotten his Ph.D., he scribbled a “spectacular realization” in his lab notebook that predicted the results reported today:

It was a long time coming, but that “eureka!” moment has arrived.


Awesome!

jtotheizzoe:

It’s a big day for physics.

A team of astrophysicists reported today that they have directly confirmed the existence of gravitational waves, first predicted by Einstein and whose fingerprints tell tales of the first trillionth of a trillionth of a trillionth of a second after our universe came into being. This discovery, one of the most significant of the past 50 years, could explain a few more mysteries of just why things are the way they are in the universe today.

Using a beefy-sounding telescope near the South Pole called “Bicep”, the scientists peered almost 14 billion years into the past, studying the Cosmic Microwave Background, that distant radiation left over from the beginning of the universe itself, its wavelength stretched from unthinkably hot plasma to chilly microwaves as our universe expanded from a subatomic scale to the vastness of today.

(Cosmic microwave background temperature fluctuations, via ESA)

The Bicep team detected peculiar fluctuations in that radiation, not in its temperature, but in its polarization. Like visible light waves, this early radiation can be polarized, wiggling and oscillating in a given direction, or even in a spiral. By analyzing the particular pattern of that polarization, we can then walk backwards and figure out what gave rise to those patterns in the very, very early universe.

This discovery is especially important to deciphering those earliest universal events because in its first 380,000 years the universe was dense enough to be opaque to light, meaning we have no distant radiation fingerprints older than the CMB to tell the early tale. These gravity waves may just decode that story. In essence, it’s the earliest look at the universe we’ve ever gotten.

Long story short, this confirmation of gravitational waves gives the strongest support yet to the idea of “cosmological inflation”, the real “Bang” of the Big Bang, where our universe expanded faster than the speed of light itself, growing so many orders of magnitude in so short an amount of time that it truly boggles the mind. Aatish Bhatia put it like so:

This has implications for everything from multiverse theory to the long search for dark energy and dark matter (and its origins) to why our universe is so flat and even at its observable edges to the quantum scale blips and fluctuations that gave rise to everything from stardust to galaxies. Like any science, this monumental result needs to be confirmed by other groups (which should happen later this year), but this is champagne-worthy science.

Confused? There’s a lot of awesome science to take in. For more in depth explanations, check out the following links (because this has pushed my biologist’s brain to its mushy limit):

I think my favorite part of this is this little tidbit of scientific history from physicist Alan Guth, one of the first to propose the concept of inflation: Back in 1978, when he had just gotten his Ph.D., he scribbled a “spectacular realization” in his lab notebook that predicted the results reported today:

It was a long time coming, but that “eureka!” moment has arrived.

Awesome!

cosmosontv

cosmosontv:

Cosmos @ SXSW

Neil was the keynote speaker at the festival, taking part in a Q&A for a packed ballroom (overflow rooms had to be set up). He talked about the state of science literacy and science education and even performed some live experiments.

"The goal of ‘Cosmos’ is to empower people to take ownership of science," he said.

Neil and Ann also took questions in the Samsung Blogger Lounge.

E.O.N - Evolutive Organic iNterface

When you chose E.O.N, Evolution Chooses You

Conceived at the British Higher School of Art and Design in Moscow, E.O.N, an organic interface that blurs the line between technical processes and human nature. 

The project investigated future possibles for integrating technology into the body, and the resulting bio-application device responds to neural impulses of the brain. the design makes mind reading possible by connecting to an information field that analyses streams of thought. a set of customized functions are envisioned that each person could install and integrate into their skin after choosing from a complete list of specifications.

Mind Call

Stay connected with people throughout the world seamlessly.

Core

A hand widget that digs into your memory and stores thoughts and information.

Weather Report

See weather updates instantly and not just on earth, but all over the solar system.

Watch the Video 

sagansense

astronautfilm:

GVSU alum David Ruck’s film ‘I Want to Be an Astronaut’ requested by astronauts aboard International Space Station

A documentary produced by Grand Valley State University alumnus David Ruck is out of this world … literally.

The 33-year-old Whitehall native produced the film, "I Want to Be an Astronaut," which will soon be playing in orbit for astronauts aboard the International Space Station. The 38-minute documentary tells the story of Blair Mason, a 17-year-old high school student from Chantilly, Va., who’s striving to become an astronaut at a time when space exploration has moved out of the national spotlight.

Once filming wrapped up a few weeks ago, Ruck posted the film’s trailer on Space Station Flight Engineer Rick Mastracchio’s Facebook page.

He didn’t think he’d hear anything back.

"I thought he was going to go on a space walk and never contact me."

But then the Johnson Space Center in Houston, Texas, reached out to Ruck and asked if it was possible for astronauts aboard the artificial satellite to view the film in its entirety.

"I was pretty much in orbit, too," Ruck said of his reaction. "It was awesome."

Ruck said the idea behind the film came about when he started thinking about today’s generation of kids and if, in a post-space shuttle era without manned explorations, they still dream of being astronauts.

In the film, he delves into the specifics of what it takes to be an astronaut and what is being done to keep such dreams alive. A glimpse into current NASA efforts is provided through interviews with Charles Bolden, a NASA administrator, and John Glenn, a Mercury 7 astronaut, the first American to orbit the Earth and a retired U.S. senator.

"It’s an all-around quick look at the various parameters and things that the space program has done and what it has given us and how do we still get kids interested in this," Ruck said.

The film hasn’t premiered to the public yet, but Ruck hopes to host screenings across the country so aerospace engineering companies and others that have a strong focus in the STEM fields — science, technology, engineering and math — inspire young people like Mason to pursue careers in those fields.

"We want to have companies talk about technologies they’re creating, the innovations they’re working on and use that to dovetail into discussion to inspire young people to be a part of that."

While Ruck said he’s not sure when the astronauts will watch his film, he said it’s "in the queue and ready to go — kinda like their Netflix."

For more information or to learn more about sponsorship or screenings opportunities, visit theastronautfilm.com or email astronautmovie@gmail.com.

— Follow this reporter on Twitter @SentinelLisa.