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Gravitational Waves from merging neutron stars – The dawn of a new era in astronomy

More videos from the Monash University (Physics & Astronomy)

 

Have you heard the news of the detection of gravitational waves from a binary neutron star merger (GW170817) in the constellation of Hydra?  This is a momentous event in physics and astronomy and will go down as one of the highlights of 21st century science.  
Several researchers in the School of Physics & Astronomy at Monash University were involved in this work, including Dr Paul Lasky and Dr Eric Thrane who gave this Public Lecture.

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iBiology Talk: Kevin Esvelt (MIT) 1 - Gene Drive

All iBiology Talks are here

 

Evolution has selected wild organisms to be extremely well adapted to their environment. Because most genetic changes introduced by humans divert the resources of the organism to benefit humans, such mutations are typically eliminated by natural selection in the ancestral habitat. In his first talk, Dr. Kevin Esvelt explains how self-propagating CRISPR-based gene drives can be used to spread genetic alterations through wild populations, potentially impacting all organisms of the target species. Gene drives could be used to benefit public health, the environment, agriculture, and animal well-being. However, real-world use may incur ecological risks, and even research involving self-propagating gene drive systems may risk public trust in science and governance given the possibility of accidental spread. Esvelt explains how to minimize risk and discusses the importance of engaging communities in planning any projects which may affect them.

 

Esvelt’s second talk focuses on strategies to allow for the safe implementation of localized gene drive technologies that do not spread indefinitely. Daisy drive systems are made up of multiple elements connected like a daisy chain such that each causes the next to be preferentially inherited. They are designed to be self-exhausting by losing elements with each generation, thereby limiting spread. This technique has multiple applications such as removing an invasive species from one area without impacting the same species in its native habitat. Esvelt explains that daisy-drive stability might be tested in a species such as C. elegans where hundreds of generations can be grown in a short period of time. His lab is also developing technologies to reverse any unwanted genetic changes that might be introduced via gene drive. Once again, Esvelt emphasizes the importance of community input into any gene alteration projects. Although it does not currently involve gene drive, he uses the “Mice Against Ticks” project that seeks to prevent tick-borne diseases on the islands of Nantucket and Martha’s Vineyard as an example.

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Oscillating x-rays reveal black hole spin

When a star passes close to a massive black hole (MBH), it is ripped apart by the strong tidal forces. As the resulting debris falls toward the MBH, it heats up, emitting light and x-rays in a tidal disruption event (TDE). Pasham et al. (Science, this issue p. 531) examined x-ray observations of a TDE that occurred in 2014. The x-ray emissions varied in a quasi-periodic oscillation every 131 seconds. The rapid rate of this oscillation could only have arisen from material orbiting close to the MBH's event horizon, which indicates that the MBH is spinning rapidly.

 

 

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Great Science Videos: From Astronomy to Physics & Psychology

Great Science Videos: From Astronomy to Physics & Psychology | Science-Videos | Scoop.it

Others large video lists include:

 

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Discoveries of Exoplanets - It's Time to Meet Our Neighbours

An exoplanet (extrasolar planet) is a planet located outside the Solar System. The first evidence of an exoplanet was noted as early as 1917, but was not recognized as such. However, the first scientific detection of an exoplanet began in 1988. Shortly afterwards, the first confirmed detection came in 1992, with the discovery of several terrestrial-mass planets orbiting the pulsar PSR B1257+12. The first confirmation of an exoplanet orbiting a main-sequence star was made in 1995, when a giant planet was found in a four-day orbit around the nearby star 51 Pegasi. Some exoplanets have been imaged directly by telescopes, but the vast majority have been detected through indirect methods, such as the transit method and the radial-velocity method. As of 1 February 2019, there are 3,976 confirmed planets in 2,971 systems, with 653 systems having more than one planet. This is a list of the most notable discoveries.

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Unsolved mysteries of fundamental physics [Prof. John Baez, Oct. 2018]

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What does it mean to be human? Ghosts and Machines- Julien Musolino, Geordie Rose and Michael Murray

What does it mean to be human? J. Wentzel van Huysteen, in his Gifford lectures, posed the question of whether or not we are “alone in the world?” With advances in artificial intelligence and increasing knowledge in the cognitive sciences, the lines that have traditionally defined human uniqueness are beginning to blur.

What constitutes our humanity—that intrinsic notion that separates us from other animals and machines, the essence that demonstrates we are more than the sum of our biological existence—is becoming less and less clear.

In a sense, we may be witnessing the collapse of Cartesian dualism, the idea of the human being having a spirit or soul that is separate from their physical body, or what philosopher Gibert Ryle has referred to the dogma of the “the ghost in the machine.” Is there more, however? Can religious notions of the soul, mind, and body navigate these new advances in science and technology and even provide meaning and value to them, or will religious notions become obsolete? Are there limits to what AI can achieve, and limits to how science can speak to our humanity?

David Bentley Hart has said that “rational thought—understanding, intention, will, consciousness—is not a species of computation.” Is there a line that, no matter the advances in technology or the passing of evolutionary time, no computer or animal will ever cross? Is it our ability to transcend our biology, to somehow rise above the fetters of our bodily existence and instincts that truly makes us human? Will machines one day rise above their programming?

What it means to be human is one of the most important and pressing questions of our day; as we learn more about our world and ourselves, the answer to this question is becoming ever more complex.
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Beyond the Cosmic Horizon of the Universe

In 2012. NASA scientists detected the most distant galaxy we have ever discovered, MACS0647-JD. This galaxy's light is only just reaching us, after over 13 billion years. We now believe that galaxy to have receded as far as 46 Billion light years away from Earth. But how can this be? This surely means that distant galaxies are receding away from us at the speed of light- something that should be impossible by the laws of Special Relativity. However, a massive 96% of the billions of galaxies we have observed have already disappeared over the cosmic horizon- and we will never get the chance to reach them. This video discusses the cosmic horizon, accelerating expansion, and the total awesome size of this universe.

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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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NASA: SpaceX #CrewDragon Demonstration Flight Return to Earth

Large collection of NASA videos

 

SpaceX’s #CrewDragon on its journey back to Earth, including its deorbit burn and splashdown in the Atlantic Ocean.

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Artificial Intelligence: Mankind's Last Invention

Technological Singularity Explained

 

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The Future of Fundamental Physics (by Dr. Nima Arkani-Hamed)

The Future of Fundamental Physics (by Dr. Nima Arkani-Hamed) | Science-Videos | Scoop.it

2010 Messenger lectures by renowned theoretical physicist Nima Arkani-Hamed. Recorded Oct. 4-8, 2010.

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Demis Hassabis: Towards General Artificial Intelligence

Dr. Demis Hassabis is the Co-Founder and CEO of DeepMind, the world’s leading General Artificial Intelligence (AI) company, which was acquired by Google in 2014 in their largest ever European acquisition. Demis will draw on his eclectic experiences as an AI researcher, neuroscientist and video games designer to discuss what is happening at the cutting edge of AI research, including the recent historic AlphaGo match, and its future potential impact on fields such as science and healthcare, and how developing AI may help us better understand the human mind.
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Quantum Computing for Computer Scientists

This talk discards hand-wavy pop-science metaphors and answers a simple question: from a computer science perspective, how can a quantum computer outperform a classical computer? Attendees will learn the following: - Representing computation with basic linear algebra (matrices and vectors)

 

The computational workings of qbits, superposition, and quantum logic gates - Solving the Deutsch oracle problem: the simplest problem where a quantum computer outperforms classical methods - Bonus topics: quantum entanglement and teleportation The talk concludes with a live demonstration of quantum entanglement on a real-world quantum computer, and a demo of the Deutsch oracle problem implemented in Q# with the Microsoft Quantum Development Kit.

 

This talk assumes no prerequisite knowledge, although comfort with basic linear algebra (matrices, vectors, matrix multiplication) will ease understanding.

 

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Global Warming, Anthropocene, and Mathematics in the 21st Century [John Baez]

We have left the Holocene and entered a new epoch, the Anthropocene, when the biosphere is rapidly changing due to human activities. Global warming is just part of this process.

 

About 1/4 of all chemical energy produced by plants is now used by humans. Humans now take more nitrogen from the atmosphere and convert it into nitrates than all other processes combined. About 8-9 times as much phosphorus is flowing into oceans than the natural background rate. The rate of species going extinct is 100-1000 times the usual background rate. Populations of large ocean fish have declined 90% since 1950.

 

This is a very informative talk about what humans are doing to their home planet...

 

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The Origin of the Elements - YouTube

The world around us is made of atoms, but where did all these atoms came from? How was the gold in our jewelry, the carbon in our bodies, and the iron in our cars made? This lecture will trace the origin of a gold atom from the Big Bang to the present day, and beyond. All elements were forged in the nuclear furnaces inside stars, and how, when they die, these massive stars spread the elements into space. The origin of the building blocks of matter itself was in the Big Bang, and this lecture will speculate on the future of the atoms around us today.

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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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