Japanese Researchers Develop Artificial Synapse
Japanese researchers developed a tiny device that has a gap bridged by a copper filament under a voltage pulse stimulation. This results in a change in conductance which is time-dependant — a change in strength that’s nearly identical to the one found in biological synaptic systems. The inorganic synapses could thus be controlled by changes in interval, amplitude, and width of an input voltage pulse stimulation.
Why this is exciting is that the device is essentially mimicking the major features of human cognition, what the researchers refer to as the “emulation of synaptic plasticity”, including what goes on in short-term and long-term memory. Not only that, it responds to the presence of air and temperature changes, which indicates that it has the potential to perceive the environment much like the human brain.
The researchers are hoping that their newfound insight could help in the development of artificial neural networks, but it’s clear that their system, which operates at a microscopic level, could also be used to treat the human brain. The day may be coming when failing synaptic systems could be patched with a device similar to this one, in which biological function is offloaded to a synthetic one.
Spectrometers in progress.
The DIY Spectrometry Kit turns a smartphone into a mobile material analysis lab.
After successfully funding the kits just two months ago, creator Jeffrey Yoo Warren has already launched a full-scale assembly operation, which kicked off with the delivery of 800+ pounds of aluminum conduit boxes earlier this week.
The finished spectrometers look beautiful and seem to work like a charm — and rewards should be out the door on time.
AND WHAT DOES THIS BUTTON DO? Pictured above is the flight deck of Space Shuttle Endeavour, the youngest shuttle and the second to last ever launched. The retired orbiters are now being sent to museums, with Endeavour being sent to California Space Center in Los Angeles, California, Atlantis to the Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex on Merritt Island, Florida, and Discovery to the Udvar-Hazy Annex of the National Air and Space Museum in Chantilly, Virginia. (Photo: Ben Cooper / Spaceflight Now via NASA APOD)
How Does Our Brain Know What Is a Face and What’s Not?
Objects that resemble faces are everywhere. Whether it’s New Hampshire’s erstwhile granite “Old Man of the Mountain,” or Jesus’ face on a tortilla, our brains are adept at locating images that look like faces. However, the normal human brain is almost never fooled into thinking such objects actually are human faces.
Full Story: Science Daily
British scientists to test climate-cooling balloon
The balloon would release particles that would reflect sunlight back into space.
Full Story: Mother Nature Network
I need one for my car.
It followed from the special theory of relativity that mass and energy are both but different manifestations of the same thing — a somewhat unfamiliar conception for the average mind. Furthermore, the equation E is equal to m c-squared, in which energy is put equal to mass, multiplied by the square of the velocity of light, showed that very small amounts of mass may be converted into a very large amount of energy and vice versa. The mass and energy were in fact equivalent, according to the formula mentioned above. This was demonstrated by Cockcroft and Walton in 1932, experimentally.
- Albert Einstein
“Classic” Lesson: Lesson #5 - Fame
This was one of the first STW comics I ever made, and it’s still one of my favorites - not because of the punch-line, but because it was the first original idea I first had for the comic (as opposed to adapting it from something else I had come up with).
I also love this one because it angers so many people who misread it as me saying that ‘there is more skill in profession X than profession Y’. That’s not what it says, but people never read it that way. It’s the skill required to reach a certain level of fame. So the long, long arguments about it in the comments of wherever it gets posted are delightful to read. Mainly because it initiates interesting debates, and because it proves some people need to learn how to read a graph.
And yes, the x- and y- axes are switched, but that had to be done for the sake of building up to the punchline.
(image via upload.wikimedia.org)
The nucleus of every atomic isotope contains two different types of sub-atomic particles: protons and neutrons. The interesting thing about this is that the nucleus has a net-positive charge. Classical physics would tell us that the nucleus shouldn’t exist because of this net-positive charge. The coulombic repulsion caused by having a bunch of positive charges in close proximity to one another should cause the nucleus to fly apart in all directions.
The reason that the nucleus doesn’t fly apart is due to the weak and strong nuclear forces, which act as a sort of “glue” that holds the nucleus together. These forces work in such a way that only some combinations of neutrons and protons result in stable nuclei, forming what is called the “continent of stability”. Neutrons that don’t have this magic combination tend to be instable and fly apart over short time periods.
This “continent” dwindles as nuclei become very large, as is the case in heavy isotopes. This instability is responsible for nuclear fission, atomic power and all of the associated wonders and terrors our civilization experienced in the last century. The continent doesn’t dwindle altogether as atomic mass increases, however. Scientists predict that as fermionic energy levels are filled, an “island of stability” could, theoretically, result.
It may take us another thirty years of research and improvements in atom smashing techniques to find this island. However, if current theories are correct and it does actually exist, the door could be open to an entirely new class of stable super-heavy elements with their own chemical and physical characteristics. These atoms would be fascinating to study in the heart of a supercollider, but there is a possibility that they could be stable for use outside of the lab, possibly as fissile materials for energy or some other as-yet unforeseen application.
Study finds there may be five versions of the Higgs boson
The Higgs Bosson is extremely important to the accepted theory of physics, known as the “Standard Model”, which incorporate everything known at the time about interactions between sub-atomic particles. The Higgs boson is thought to be the sub-atomic particle that mediates the force through which all other sub-atomic particles acquire their mass.
Scientists have been trying for five decades to detect the Higgs boson, but have so far failed. Now theoretical physicist Adam Martin and colleagues at the Fermilab’s Tevatron particle accelerator have analyzed results from the DZero experiment and suggest there may be multiple versions of the Higgs boson.
The DZero experiment set up and observed collisions protons and anti-protons and was designed to examine the reason why the world is composed of normal matter rather than its opposite: anti-matter. They found the collisions resulted in pairs of muons one percent more often than anti-muon particles. The asymmetry could explain why matter has come to dominate over anti-matter, rather than the two annihilating each other.
This effect, called CP violation, had been seen before but not to the same degree as seen in DZero, and the degree of asymmetry found in the latest results is greater than can be accounted for by the Standard Model. The results could be explained by the existence of five Higgs boson particles with similar masses, with one having a negative electric charge, one negative and three neutral. The theory is called the two-Higgs doublet model.
The two-Higgs doublet model is not the only possible explanation for the results, but fitting a new effect in the Standard Model without disrupting its fit with other tests is difficult. The Standard Model accommodates only one Higgs doublet, and while the Higgs is considered a single particle, it actually comes in a package of four. Only one is seen because the other three are seen as W and Z bosons. Adding another Higgs doublet adds four more particles.
Many physicists have come to regard the Standard Model as incomplete since it does not explain gravity or describe dark matter. An extension to the Standard Model, known as “supersymmetry,” proposes that each particle has a more massive “shadow” partner particle, effectively doubling the number of known particles. Such a scheme could accommodate the two-Higgs doublet model. So far no experimental evidence has been found for the existence of the “shadow” particles.
The search for the Higgs boson is one of the main aims of the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) near Geneva in Switzerland. The facility, the world’s largest particle accelerator, could also find experimental evidence for supersymmetry.
Image: CDF II detector at the Tevatron, a 2 TeV proton-antiproton collider located at Fermilab in Batavia IL, USA. [+]
Great write-up on this proposition