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Wednesday, October 4, 2017

Nobel Prize in Chemistry Announced this morning!

The Nobel Prize for chemistry was given to three scientists this morning, for their work and creation of cryo-electron microscopy. They are an American, Joachim Frank; a Swiss, Jacques Dubochet; and a Brit, Richard Henderson. Their work and revolutionary imaging has helped make high-resolution images of biomolecules in action.These images are also 3-D, moving away from old 2-D imaging techniques. Researchers can freeze molecules in mid-movement, providing snapshots of complex processes so they can be understood with entirely new levels of precision. This should help in drug treatment development, studying aging, addictions, cancer development, and so on. Very cool, literally and figuratively! :-)

Tuesday, October 3, 2017

Are we going to be able to see black holes? Perhaps soon!

While black holes cannot be directly seen, since light cannot be emitted through the event horizon of the black hole, it may be possible to see the so-called accretion disk, a hot, rotating region of hot gas and plasma that is trapped by the gravity of a black hole, and which could come from the immediate environment as well as a companion binary star near the black hole. There is some new telescope technology that should be able to see accretion disks, and this new experiment is called the Event Horizon Telescope. This tool, along with the rapidly growing field of gravitational wave detectors like LIGO and others that are being built, could be opening the door to a new branch of astronomy that complements astronomy with electromagnetic radiation.

Nobel Prize in Physics - LIGO and Gravitational Waves!!

Congratulations to three Americans who won the Nobel Prize in Physics, 2017, for their pioneering work in testing and confirming Einstein's general relativity prediction of gravitational radiation! The Nobel committee recognized Kip Thorne, Rainer Weiss, and Barry Barish for their efforts in creating the LIGO experiment. BTW, a key senior scientist on this experiment is NU professor Vicky Kalogera.

2017 Nobel Prize in Medicine & Physiology

Congratulations to three Americans, who were recognized by the Nobel committee for their work in understanding our biological clock, and what makes our circadian rhythms so vital to our lives! They are Jeffrey Hall, Michael Rosbash, and Michael Young.

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Understanding Matter and Forces: Standard Model

The Standard Model is the name of the theory we use to help us understand what makes up the universe (i.e. particles of matter) and how matter interacts (fundamental forces of nature). It breaks down the hundreds of particles in nature down to 6 quarks, 6 leptons, and a few force carrying bosons, along with the Higgs boson that provides mass to particles in the first place. Check out a summary video!

Big Bang - Start of our Universe

What is the Big Bang theory for the creation of the universe? In principle it is as easy as saying there was a large explosion of unimaginably hot energy, which 'cooled' to form the fundamental particles and forces that we see in the universe today. This happened about 13.7 billion years ago, according to present-day best measurements and calculations.

As with any scientific theory, no one should put any belief into it until there are predictions made from the theory that are then tested experimentally and through physical observations. Over the past 100 years, the theories of Einstein and the eventual Big Bang models have gone through this slow process, and confirmation of the key ideas have occurred, making this the best understanding we have for the universe's creation.

Check out this video that explains the gist of the Big Bang theory, and a couple reasons why scientists believe it is a valid theory. Check here for a quick example of the Doppler effect.

Wednesday, September 6, 2017

Projectile Review

As we get back into motion, projectiles are a classic case of 2-D motion from sophomore year. Let's bring it back! Check out one video that focuses on the basic properties and concepts of projectiles, a video with a couple examples of how to set up these problems (and they are all pretty much the same!), and if interested, one that goes into the reason why projectiles move on a parabolic path, as well as the effect of air friction on that parabola.

Check these out as needed as you bring back the problem solving skills with the homework set of problems.