Einstein was correct – in 1915!

Scientists have finally seen the backside of a black hole and in doing so, they’ve proved that a 1915 theory posited by Albert Einstein was correct.

Einstein’s 1915 Theory of General Relativity predicted that the gravitational pull of black holes is so large that black holes warp the fabric of space, according to The Telegraph. His theory posited that this extremely massive gravitational pull was so massive that it twists magnetic fields and bends lightwaves near black holes…

“Fifty years ago, when astrophysicists started speculating about how the magnetic field might behave close to a black hole, they had no idea that one day we might have the techniques to observe this directly and see Einstein’s general theory of relativity in action,” Standford University professor and research report co-author, Roger Blandford, said…

As time has progressed, though, the mystery around black holes has grown more clear thanks to modern telescopes and the like. That’s how Nature report author Dan Wilkins, a Standford University astrophysicist, and Blandford, were finally able to prove Einstein’s theory correct, more than 100 years later.

Click through up top and read the article. It’s written in understandable English. Fascinating stuff…as important as any science you may read in your whole lifetime.

Scientists confirm Einstein’s theory of general relativity

Click to enlargeESA/Hubble & NASA

❝ A new study validates Einstein’s theory of general relativity in a distant galaxy for the first time.

This study supports our current understanding of gravity and provides more evidence for the existence of dark matter and dark energy — two mysterious concepts that scientists know about only indirectly by observing their effects on cosmic objects.

❝ Albert Einstein’s theory of general relativity, published in 1916, explains how gravity is the result of a concept known as the fabric of space-time. Simply put, the theory predicts how much the mass of an object — in this case, a galaxy — curves space-time…

RTFA. Spend a few minutes thinking about a topic that supersedes all the bigotry and greed that frames so much of our lives. The scientific search for verifiable fact really is a driving force in where our species can grow to and thrive. If our politicians don’t kill us first.

Einstein’s theory of happiness sold for $1.3M at auction

While Albert Einstein’s theory of happiness may be relative, it fetched $1.3 million at a Jerusalem auction…

The Nobel-winning scientist’s musings, on a handwritten note, may not be as famous as his groundbreaking theory of relativity, but they still shed light on one of the great modern minds.

Winner’s Auctions and Exhibitions said Einstein was traveling in Japan in 1922 when he was told he would be awarded the Nobel Prize in physics. In Tokyo, Einstein scribbled the note in German to a bellboy after he did not have cash to give him a tip.

“A calm and modest life brings more happiness than the pursuit of success combined with constant restlessness,” it reads.

RTFA for more advice from a smart guy.

A new window on the universe — gravitational waves confirmed

The top two plots show data received at each detector
The final plot compares data from both…confirming the detection

For the first time, scientists have observed ripples in the fabric of spacetime called gravitational waves, arriving at Earth from a cataclysmic event in the distant universe. This confirms a major prediction of Albert Einstein’s 1915 general theory of relativity and opens an unprecedented new window onto the cosmos.

Gravitational waves carry information about their dramatic origins and about the nature of gravity that cannot otherwise be obtained. Physicists have concluded that the detected gravitational waves were produced during the final fraction of a second of the merger of two black holes to produce a single, more massive spinning black hole. This collision of two black holes had been predicted but never observed.

The gravitational waves were detected on September 14, 2015 at 5:51 a.m. Eastern Daylight Time (09:51 UTC) by both of the twin Laser Interferometer Gravitational-wave Observatory (LIGO) detectors, located in Livingston, Louisiana, and Hanford, Washington, USA…

Based on the observed signals, LIGO scientists estimate that the black holes for this event were about 29 and 36 times the mass of the sun, and the event took place 1.3 billion years ago. About 3 times the mass of the sun was converted into gravitational waves in a fraction of a second — with a peak power output about 50 times that of the whole visible universe. By looking at the time of arrival of the signals — the detector in Livingston recorded the event 7 milliseconds before the detector in Hanford — scientists can say that the source was located in the Southern Hemisphere.

RTFA. Lots of truly interesting science.

And, sorry, Trumpites – the earth is not flat.

First ever photograph of light as particle and a wave

Light as particle and wave
Click to enlargeEnergy-space photography of light confined on a nanowire

Light behaves both as a particle and as a wave. Since the days of Einstein, scientists have been trying to directly observe both of these aspects of light at the same time. Now, scientists at EPFL have succeeded in capturing the first-ever snapshot of this dual behavior.

Quantum mechanics tells us that light can behave simultaneously as a particle or a wave. However, there has never been an experiment able to capture both natures of light at the same time; the closest we have come is seeing either wave or particle, but always at different times. Taking a radically different experimental approach, EPFL scientists have now been able to take the first ever snapshot of light behaving both as a wave and as a particle. The breakthrough work is published in Nature Communications.

When UV light hits a metal surface, it causes an emission of electrons. Albert Einstein explained this “photoelectric” effect by proposing that light — thought to only be a wave — is also a stream of particles. Even though a variety of experiments have successfully observed both the particle- and wave-like behaviors of light, they have never been able to observe both at the same time.

RTFA for details of the experiment. Even if I understand quantum-nothing – though SmartAlix explains it to me at least once every year – I really love the photograph. 🙂

Astronomers discover largest known structure in the universe

Astronomers have discovered the largest known structure in the universe – a group of quasars so large it would take 4 billion years to cross it while traveling at speed of light.

The immense scale also challenges Albert Einstein’s Cosmological Principle, the assumption that the universe looks the same from every point of view…

The findings by academics from Britain’s University of Central Lancashire were published in the journal Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society and reported on the society’s website on Friday.

Quasars are believed to be the brightest objects in the universe, with light emanating from the nuclei of galaxies from the early days of the universe and visible billions of light-years away.

“Since 1982 it has been known that quasars tend to group together in clumps or ‘structures’ of surprisingly large sizes, forming large quasar groups or LQGs,” the society said.

This newly discovered large quasar group has a dimension of 500 megaparsecs, each megaparsec measuring 3.3 million light-years.

Because the LQG is elongated, its longest dimension is 1,200 megaparsecs, or 4 billion light-years, the society said.

That size is 1,600 times larger than the distance from Earth’s Milky Way to the nearest galaxy, the Andromeda.

“While it is difficult to fathom the scale of this LQG, we can say quite definitely it is the largest structure ever seen in the entire universe,” Roger Clowes, leader of the research team, said in a statement. “This is hugely exciting – not least because it runs counter to our current understanding of the scale of the universe.”

Wow. People who hate and fear science have no comprehensions of [1] the inherent conservatism of the craft – which requires an accumulation of validation to change a body of knowledge – and [2] the excitement engendered throughout whenever a quality is challenged by solid data.

Einstein’s Cosmological Principle may not be replaced in my lifetime – but, whatever replaces it will also face continued, disciplined poking and prodding based on a never-ending search for more understanding.

“God” wasn’t needed to create the universe

God did not create the universe and the “Big Bang” was an inevitable consequence of the laws of physics, the eminent British theoretical physicist Stephen Hawking argues in a new book.

In “The Grand Design,” co-authored with U.S. physicist Leonard Mlodinow, Hawking says a new series of theories made a creator of the universe redundant…

“Because there is a law such as gravity, the universe can and will create itself from nothing. Spontaneous creation is the reason there is something rather than nothing, why the universe exists, why we exist,” Hawking writes.

It is not necessary to invoke God to light the blue touch paper and set the universe going.”

Hawking, 68, who won global recognition with his 1988 book “A Brief History of Time,” an account of the origins of the universe, is renowned for his work on black holes, cosmology and quantum gravity.

Since 1974, the scientist has worked on marrying the two cornerstones of modern physics — Albert Einstein’s General Theory of Relativity, which concerns gravity and large-scale phenomena, and quantum theory, which covers subatomic particles…

In his latest book, he said the 1992 discovery of a planet orbiting another star other than the Sun helped deconstruct the view of the father of physics Isaac Newton that the universe could not have arisen out of chaos but was created by God.

“That makes the coincidences of our planetary conditions — the single Sun, the lucky combination of Earth-Sun distance and solar mass, far less remarkable, and far less compelling evidence that the Earth was carefully designed just to please us human beings,” he writes.

Hawking isn’t saying anything that any scientist worth their salt – if they have more than a passing interest in philosophy – hasn’t figured long ago. Probably in undergraduate days.

I give Hawking credit for trying to educate our species on a large scale. That obviously is the target for the new book. The folks who have little contact with science or academic passages at philosophy – other than utilizing the results of the craft constantly without praying to their TV set or shoes.

Still, the superstitions which go back to building a fire at the cave mouth to keep away the banshees are hard to explain away to those who reject reason as a useful practice.

Enviro refrigerator design from Einstein and Szilard. Wha?

Actually, I’m not that startled about the design. I was a 2nd-generation tech at GE – and my father worked on fridges of this design before and during the transition to freon-based compressor styles.

An early invention by Albert Einstein has been rebuilt by scientists at Oxford University who are trying to develop an environmentally friendly refrigerator that runs without electricity.

Malcolm McCulloch, an electrical engineer at Oxford who works on green technologies, is leading a three-year project to develop more robust appliances that can be used in places without electricity.

His team has completed a prototype of a type of fridge patented in 1930 by Einstein and his colleague, the Hungarian physicist Leo Szilard. It had no moving parts and used only pressurised gases to keep things cold. The design was partly used in the first domestic refrigerators, but the technology was abandoned when more efficient compressors became popular in the 1950s. That meant a switch to using freons.

Pressurised gas fridges based around Einstein’s design were replaced by freon-compressor fridges partly because Einstein and Szilard’s design was not very efficient. But McCulloch thinks that by tweaking the design and replacing the types of gases used it will be possible to quadruple the efficiency. He also wants to take the idea further. The only energy input needed into the fridge is to heat a pump, and McCulloch has been working on powering this with solar energy.

‘No moving parts is a real benefit because it can carry on going without maintenance. This could have real applications in rural areas,’ he said.

Terrific. Sometimes I wonder about how many great ideas are gathering dust because, accidentally or intentionally, the economics of the times didn’t encourage mass production?