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About the Absurdity of Detecting Gravitational Waves

LIGO Scientific Collaboration (LSC) seeks to detect gravitational waves and use them for exploration of fundamentals of science.

 

The LIGO Scientific Collaboration and the Virgo Collaboration have released the results of their search for stellar-mass coalescing compact binaries during the first and second observing runs using an advanced gravitational-wave detector network. This includes the confident detection of ten binary black hole mergers and one binary neutron star merger. Four of the ten black hole mergers are being reported for the first time and include the most distant and massive gravitational-wave source ever observed (GW170729).

For more information see the press release and the ligo.org detection page for the O1/O2 Catalog.

 

18 Oct 2018 -- Three LSC scientists were awarded the 2019 New Horizons in Physics prize. Rana Adhikari (Caltech), Lisa Barsotti (MIT), and Matthew Evans (MIT) were recognized “for research on present and future ground-based detectors of gravitational waves.” The New Horizons prize is awarded by the Breakthrough Prize Foundation. The LSC congratulates their colleagues on this major recognition. For more information see the Breakthrough Prize press release and the LIGO Lab news item.

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Megastructures: The INTERNATIONAL SPACE STATION (ISS)

The International Space Station is an orbiting laboratory and construction site that synthesizes the scientific expertise of 16 nations to maintain a permanent human outpost in space. While floating some 240 miles (390 kilometers) above Earth's surface, the space station has hosted a rotating international crew since November 2000. Astronauts and supplies are ferried by the U.S. space shuttles and the Russian Soyuz and Progress spacecraft.

 

Astronauts who reach the facility aboard one of these missions typically live and work in orbit for about six months. Simply by spending time in orbit, astronauts reveal much more about how humans can live and work in space. Crews have learned the difficulties of diet, in a world in which their sense of taste is decreased, and of getting a good night's sleep while secured to a non-floating object. But the crew is also occupied with a full suite of scientific experiments, the ongoing improvement and construction of the station, and a rigorous regime of physical training. Astronauts must exercise for two hours each day to counteract the detrimental effects of low gravity on the body's skeleton and circulatory system.

 

Ongoing Construction: The station has been under construction since November of 1998. In that year the first piece of its structure, the Zarya Control Module, was launched into orbit with a Russian Proton rocket. In 2008, the two-billion-dollar science lab Columbus was added to the station, increasing the structure to eight rooms. The floating facility's design features a series of cylinder modules attached to a larger truss of a dozen segments. The Zarya Module is mainly used for storage and external fuel tanks, while the Zvezda Service Module houses the crew's living quarters and the station's many life-supporting systems. The space station is powered by solar panels and cooled by loops that radiate heat away from the modules. The station's Destiny laboratory functions as a unique floating facility for tests of materials, technologies, and much more.

 

The Columbus lab was designed to house experiments in life sciences, fluid physics, and other fields. Docking ports allow the station to be visited by a growing variety of spacecraft, and the Quest Airlock enables access for the frequent spacewalks essential to the facility's continuing construction. Canadarm2 is another important feature of the space station. This Canadian-built apparatus is a large, remote-controlled space arm that functions as a crane and can be utilized for a wide variety of tasks. The International Space Station may be completed by the end of this decade. When construction is finished, six crew members will be able to live and work in a space larger than a typical five-bedroom house.

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David Gross: The Coming Revolutions in Theoretical Physics

The Berkeley Center for Theoretical Physics presents a lecture by Nobel Laureate and Berkeley grad, David Gross, of UC Santa Barbara's Kavli Institute for Theoretical Physics. He is discussing "The Coming Revolutions in Fundamental Physics."

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Brown Dwarf Variability and implications for Exoplanets - Tyler Robinson (SETI Talks)

Brown dwarfs are sub-stellar objects that occupy the region of parameter space between gas giant planets, like Jupiter, and the smallest bona fide stars. Since brown dwarfs never achieve sustained core hydrogen fusion, they are destined to cool over cosmic timescales from thousands to hundreds of degrees Kelvin.

 

Observations and models of these strange worlds reveal hydrogen-dominated atmospheres with a variety of trace molecular species, as well as metal, dust, and salt condensates.

 

Recent surveys and targeted observations have revealed that a substantial fraction of brown dwarfs have a brightness that varies in time, with some variations as large as 30% at certain wavelengths. In this presentation, Dr. Robinson will review the atmospheric physics of brown dwarfs and the current state of variability observations, and he will discuss the various processes that likely cause brown dwarf variability, which include dynamical effects, temporally- and spatially-varying clouds, and associated atmospheric temperature fluctuations.

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The Milky Way as You’ve Never Seen It Before [AMNH SciCafe, October 2018]

Fly through the galaxy with Museum astrophysicist Jackie Faherty, who takes us on a dazzling tour of new research and data visualizations made possible by recently released data from the Gaia space telescope.

 

In April 2018, the European Space Agency’s Gaia observatory released its second data catalog, which includes the distances to over 1.3 billion stars. Faherty breaks down why this information is so revolutionary, and explains how this information is helping scientists and non-scientists alike understand the universe like never before. Listen to the full SciCafe event, including a Q&A session, by downloading the Science@AMNH podcast on iTunes, Soundcloud, or wherever you get your podcasts. This SciCafe took place on October 3, 2018.

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Artificial General Intelligence is here, Google DeepMind unveil Impala AGI

One of the most significant Artificial Intelligence (AI) milestones in history was quietly ushered into recently, the quest for Artificial General Intelligence (AGI). This is probably the most sought after goal in the entire field of computer science. With the introduction of the Impala architectureDeepMind, the company behind AlphaGo and the self-learning AlphaZero, now has AGI firmly in its sights, and while many people predicted the first AGI’s would emerge in or around 2035 we know know that date should be 2018. A staggering 18 years early – even if Impala is, by all interpretations, a basic first generation AGI.

 

 

Firstly let us define AGI, since it’s been used by different people to mean lots of different things, including the latest, and also revolutionary breakthrough for “General AI” which was realized earlier. Unlike today’s so called narrow AI’s that can only learn one thing very well AGI is a single intelligence, or algorithm, that can learn multiple tasks and exhibits “positive memory transfer” when doing so, sometimes called meta-learning. During meta-learning, the acquisition of one skill helps the learner to pick up another new skill faster, just as we ourselves do when we’re learning, because it applies some of its previous “know-how” to the new task. In other words, one learns how to learn — and can generalize that to acquiring new skills, the way humans do. This has been the holy grail of AI for a long time.

 

As it currently exists, AI shows little ability to transfer learning towards new tasks. Typically, it must be trained anew every time from scratch, although even the way AI’s learn is changing as new more powerful AI’s being to figure out how to evolve and self-learn, like the ones from OpenAI and Baidu, which achieved the “Zero shot learning” goal, which both hit those milestones last year. For instance, the same neural network that makes recommendations to you for a Netflix show cannot use that learning to suddenly start making meaningful grocery recommendations. Even these single-instance “narrow” AIs can be impressive though, such as IBM Watson or Google’s self-driving car tech. However, these aren’t nearly so much so an artificial general intelligence, which could conceivably unlock the kind of recursive self-improvement variously referred to as the “intelligence explosion” or “Singularity” which many estimate will happen in the mid 2040’s.

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MIT AGI: Building machines that see, learn, and think like people (Josh Tenenbaum)

This is a talk by Josh Tenenbaum for course 6.S099: Artificial General Intelligence. This class is free and open to everyone. Our goal is to take an engineering approach to exploring possible paths toward building human-level intelligence for a better world.

 

INFO: Course website:  https://agi.mit.edu

 

Contact: agi@mit.edu

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Quasars: the Brightest Black Holes [by Professor Carolin Crawford]

Quasars are among the most dramatic objects anywhere in the cosmos. They emit prodigious amounts of energy, all due to a supermassive black hole at the heart of a galaxy. Visible far across the Universe, quasars can be used to trace both the early life of galaxies, and the properties of the intervening space.

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44 Video Lectures about Physics and Cosmology from the Royal Institution

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Hidden Universe - Dark Matter [Video: NOVA]

In the 20th century, telescopes advanced greatly in size, with apertures of optical scopes expanding from just five feet to over 30, and radio dishes growing from 30 feet across to 1,000.

 

Discoveries kept pace: We have mapped the Milky Way with its 100 billion stars, for instance, and now accept that the universe has billions of galaxies, many anchored by a supermassive black hole at the center. But to address some of the most pressing cosmological questions today—what is dark matter? dark energy? is there life elsewhere?—space scientists agree that we need much bigger and much better eyes on the sky.

 

NOVA examines how a simple instrument, the telescope, has fundamentally changed our understanding of our place in the universe. What began as a curiosity—two spectacle lenses held a foot apart—ultimately revolutionized human thought across science, philosophy, and religion. "Hunting the Edge of Space" takes viewers on a global adventure of discovery, dramatizing the innovations in technology and the achievements in science that have marked the rich history of the telescope.Click here to edit the content

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Supercomputing and the Human Brain [Singularity University, by Larry Smarr]

Larry Smarr discusses the state of the art in supercomputing, with a focus on how current computation compares to the human brain and when supercomputers will surpass human processing power. Current supercomputers are estimated to match the human visual cortex and will reach human brain's computational ability within the next twenty years.

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The Mysterious Architecture of the Universe [by J Richard Gott]

J Richard Gott leads a journey through the history of our understanding of the Universe’s structure, and explains the ‘cosmic web’: the idea that our Universe is like a sponge made up of clusters of galaxies intricately connected by filaments of galaxies.
Watch the Q&A here: https://youtu.be/B4duk3RiQzA
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J Richard Gott was among the first cosmologists to propose that the structure of our Universe is like a sponge made up of clusters of galaxies intricately connected by filaments of galaxies – a magnificent structure now called the 'cosmic web'. In this talk he shows how ambitious telescope surveys such as the Sloan Digital Sky Survey are transforming our understanding of the cosmos, and how the cosmic web holds vital clues to the origins of the universe and the next trillion years that lie ahead.

J Richard Gott is Emeritus Professor of Astrophysical Sciences at Princeton University and is noted for his contributions to cosmology and general relativity.
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Sean Carroll: The Paradoxes of Time Travel

Science fiction has introduced us all to the idea of traveling into the past – but is it really possible? Sean Carroll talks bout how time travel would possibly work in the context of Einstein’s theory of general relativity, including the hypothetical idea of wormholes connecting distant regions of space. Dr. Carroll also explores the logical structure of time travel, and what it implies about predestination and free will. In the end, time travel is probably not possible, but by taking the idea seriously we help understand how the universe works.

 

Dr. Carroll is a Senior Research Associate in Physics at the California Institute of Technology. His most recent book is “From Eternity to Here: The Quest for the Ultimate Theory of Time”, a popular book on cosmology and the arrow of time. He is a contributor to the blog Cosmic Variance.Click here to edit the content

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The End of the Universe - in a Googol Years [lecture by Geraint Lewis]

https://twitter.com/cosmic_horizons

 

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Alternative Approaches to Molecular Biology | MIT 7.01SC Fundamentals of Biology [39 Video Lectures]

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Deepmind AlphaZero - Mastering Games Without Human Knowledge

https://deepmind.com/blog/alphago-zero-learning-scratch/

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Visual Group Theory [43 Video Lectures]

Group theory is the study of symmetry, and is one of the most beautiful areas in all of mathematics. It arises in puzzles, visual arts, music, nature, the physical and life sciences, computer science, cryptography, and of course, all throughout mathematics.

The lecturer draws knowledge from several sources: a 2009 book called Visual Group Theory (VGT), by Nathan Carter. The renowned mathematician Steven Strogatz at Cornell, calls it One of the best introductions to group theory -- or to any branch of higher math -- I've ever read. VGT has 300 color illustrations, and focuses on the intuition behind the difficult concepts in group theory. The second source is a free e-book called An inquiry-based approach to abstract algebra, by Dana Ernst. This follows the "Visual Group Theory" approach, but is more rigorous and proof-based. However, most of the proofs are not provided; you are supposed to fill them in. This is what the "inquiry-based" part means. 

In class, solving the Rubik's cube will be detailed. The class analyzes art freises, chemical molecules, and contra dances. At the end, the listener will truly understand groups, subgroups, cosets, products and quotients, homomorphisms, group actions, conjugacy classes, centralizers, normalizers, semidirect products, theorems by Lagrange, Cayley, Cauchy, and Sylow, and what Évariste Galois stayed up until dawn writing the night before his untimely death in a duel at age 20, that remains one of the most celebrated achievements in all of mathematics, and which provided the framework necessary to elegantly solve several classic mathematical mysteries of the ancient Greeks.

 

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Standard Model: The physics that tells us what the Universe is made of - 61 is the magic number

Standard Model: The physics that tells us what the Universe is made of - 61 is the magic number | Science-Videos | Scoop.it
Everything around us is made of atoms, but it turns out that the building blocks of the Universe are far stranger than that
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Division algebras and physics (14 Video Lectures)

The octonions are the largest of the four normed division algebras. While somewhat neglected due to their non-associativity, they stand at the crossroads of many interesting fields of mathematics. They are in a tight relation to Clifford algebras and spinors, Bott periodicity, projective and Lorentzian geometry, Jordan algebras, and the exceptional Lie groups. They have applications in quantum logic, special relativity and supersymmetry.

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Before the Big Bang [8 Video Lectures]

A pre big bang universe? How do we test these ideas? Should we accept the claims that the universe really has a beginning? In some sections of the film there is CGI animation to help visualize the evolution of the universe. These are for illustrative purposes only and should not be taken too literally. For example, the big bang is not an explosion from a single point and a quantum bridge would not really look like a tunnel; the universe is 4-dimensional, not 2- or even 3-dimensional, so these images are simply to assist the explanation.

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First Video in Natural Habitat of Rare Deep Sea Jellynose Fish - David Attenborough Documentary HD

An underwater adventure in search of living fossils. The island of New Guinea in the Pacific Ocean sits on the equator, where immediately next to a richly-colored coral reef, a sharp underwater cliff drops down to 1,000 meters. A long-awaited exploration down the little known depths of this tropical sea is finally about to start. NHK has teamed up with eminent marine biologist Mark Erdmann, discoverer of the coelacanth in Indonesia. The spherical transparent submarine, which successfully captured the world’s first moving images of a giant squid in its natural habitat, is used as the team encounters true living fossil species one after another. During their last dive, in the darkest depths of caves in the deep-sea cliff, the crew encounters a huge, never filmed deep sea jellynose fish.

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Prediction Machines: The Simple Economics of Artificial Intelligence [2018 Video, presenter: Prof. Dr. Ajay Agrawal]

Prof. Ajay Agrawal, founder of the Creative Destruction Lab and co-founder of the AI/robotics company Kindred, explored the economics behind the creation of artificial intelligence. April 18th, 2018.

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Black Holes and the Fundamental Laws of Physics [by Jerome Gauntlett]

Black holes are amongst the most extraordinary objects that are known to exist in the universe. Jerome Gauntlett will discuss their fascinating properties and describe the dramatic recent observations of black holes using gravitational waves. He will also explain why it is believed that black holes hold the key to unlocking the next level of our understanding of the fundamental laws of physics. Jerome Gauntlett is a professor of theoretical physics at Imperial College. His principal research interests are focussed on string theory, quantum field theory and black holes.

 

Most recently he has been investigating whether string theory techniques can be used to study exotic states of matter that arise in condensed matter physics. He was Head of the Theoretical Physics Group at Imperial from 2011-2016. He was the theoretical physics consultant for the film The Theory of Everything and he has an Erdos-Bacon number of six (having written a paper with Shing-Tung Yau and appeared in the film Windrider with Nicole Kidman).

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The Accelerating Universe & the Hunt for Dark Energy [by Brian Schmidt]

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The Rare Coelacanth! A Fish That Time Forgot and Never Went Extinct

The coelacanths constitute a now rare order of fish that includes two extant species in the genus Latimeria: the West Indian Ocean coelacanth (Latimeria chalumnae) and the Indonesian coelacanth (Latimeria menadoensis). They follow the oldest known living lineage of Sarcopterygii (lobe-finned fish and tetrapods), which means they are more closely related to lungfish, reptiles and mammals than to the common ray-finned fishes. They are found along the coastlines of the Indian Ocean and Indonesia. Since there are only two species of coelacanth and both are threatened, it is the most endangered order of animals in the world. The West Indian Ocean coelacanth is a critically endangered species.

 

The coelacanth, which is related to lungfishes and tetrapods, was believed to have been extinct since the end of the Cretaceous period. More closely related to tetrapods than to the ray-finned fish, coelacanths were considered transitional species between fish and tetrapods. On 23 December 1938, the first Latimeriaspecimen was found off the east coast of South Africa, off the Chalumna River(now Tyolomnqa). Museum curator Marjorie Courtenay-Latimer discovered the fish among the catch of a local angler, Captain Hendrick Goosen. A Rhodes University ichthyologist, J. L. B. Smith, confirmed the fish's importance with a famous cable: "MOST IMPORTANT PRESERVE SKELETON AND GILLS = FISH DESCRIBED".[6][14]

 

Its discovery 66 million years after it was believed to have gone extinct makes the coelacanth the best-known example of a Lazarus taxon, an evolutionary line that seems to have disappeared from the fossil record only to reappear much later. Since 1938, Latimeria chalumnae have been found in the ComorosKenya,TanzaniaMozambiqueMadagascar, and in iSimangaliso Wetland ParkKwazulu-Natal in South Africa.[15]

 

The second extant species, L. menadoensis, was described from ManadoNorth SulawesiIndonesia in 1999 by Pouyaud et al.[16] based on a specimen discovered by Mark V. Erdmann in 1998[17] and deposited at the Indonesian Institute of Sciences (LIPI). Only a photograph of the first specimen of this species was made at a local market by Erdmann and his wife Arnaz Mehta before it was bought by a shopper.[citation needed]

 

The coelacanth has no real commercial value apart from being coveted by museums and private collectors. As a food fish it is almost worthless, as its tissues exude oils that give the flesh a foul flavor.[18] The coelacanth's continued survival may be threatened by commercial deep-sea trawling,[19] in which coelacanths are caught as bycatch.

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