The Standard Model of particle physics, which explains most of the known behaviors and interactions of fundamental subatomic particles, has held up remarkably well over several decades. This far-reaching theory does have a few shortcomings, however—most notably that it doesn't account for gravity. In hopes of revealing new, non-standard particles and forces, physicists have been on the hunt for conditions and behaviors that directly violate the Standard Model.
Many know the phrase "the big bang theory." There's even a top television comedy series with that as its title. According to scientists, the universe began with the "big bang" and expanded to the size it is today.
Gary Bamford's insight:
Ringermacher (and Mead) propose the 'ringing' universe - who would have put money on that?
This paper outlines a thermodynamic theory of biological evolution. Beginning with a brief summary of the parallel histories of the modern evolutionary synthesis and thermodynamics, we use four physical laws and processes (the first and second laws of thermodynamics, diffusion and the maximum entropy production principle) to frame the theory. Given that open systems such as ecosystems will move towards maximizing dispersal of energy, we expect biological diversity to increase towards a level, Dmax, representing maximum entropic production (Smax). Based on this theory, we develop a mathematical model to predict diversity over the last 500 million years. This model combines diversification, post-extinction recovery and likelihood of discovery of the fossil record. We compare the output of this model with that of the observed fossil record. The model predicts that life diffuses into available energetic space (ecospace) towards a dynamic equilibrium, driven by increasing entropy within the genetic material. This dynamic equilibrium is punctured by extinction events, which are followed by restoration of Dmax through diffusion into available ecospace. Finally we compare and contrast our thermodynamic theory with the MES in relation to a number of important characteristics of evolution (progress, evolutionary tempo, form versus function, biosphere architecture, competition and fitness).
Life’s a Gas: A Thermodynamic Theory of Biological Evolution Keith R. Skene
Is it possible to predict how individuals will perform before the teamwork begins? Research by former cyclist Hugh Trenchard and others suggests that the mathematics of pelotons– the groups and bunches that cyclists form during a race – could be key to understanding how cyclists behave as a collective entity. While these collective dynamics may not tell us who will win the Tour de France, they do have broader applications to a variety of other biological systems. Here, Trenchard tells us more about his research, and how it might even provide some clues to the origin of life.
Sebastian Huber and his colleagues show that the road from abstract theory to practical applications needn't always be very long. Their mechanical implementation of a quantum mechanical phenomenon could soon be used for soundproofing purposes.
Big data—and big processing power—is a big deal for science. By crunching massive amounts of data billions of times faster than could be done by hand, computers have allowed scientists to discover faraway planets, unravel our genetic code, and even find the subatomic particle responsible for gravity. But imagine a future in which computers don't just use their awesome power to help scientists. Imagine a future in which computer can come up with useful scientific ideas and hypotheses all on their own.
Well, that just happened. As they report in the science journal PLOS, Michael Levin and Daniel Lobo, two computer scientists/biologists at Tufts University, have programed a computer that independently created its own scientific theory. It's one that may solve a 120-year-old mystery in biology that has eluded even our best explanations: exactly how the genes of a sliced-up flatworm conduct its symphony of cells when they regenerate into new organisms.
Australian scientists have recreated a famous experiment and confirmed quantum physics's bizarre predictions about the nature of reality, by proving that reality doesn't actually exist until we measure it - at least, not on the very small scale....
Gary Bamford's insight:
I can't but think we just don't understand this stuff properly yet. Yes we have the smoke and mirrors - sorry - particles and waves, but there is a nagging doubt still. This post doesn't exist until you read it - but it does doesn't it!
Scientists have long sought to improve human life through lasers—otherwise known as "light amplification by stimulated emission of radiation"—since Albert Einstein first established the theoretical foundation for them in 1917.
Gary Bamford's insight:
Need some of that on my van! Tip - if you do quote the technique make sure your spellchecker doesn't lose the 'n'.
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