Congratulations to the winners of the blog post challenge for FOP 1209.

Section 1

Nick Rini

Nanotechnology- Making Small Advances

Nanotechnology has been around for some time and we are reaping rewards from researchers around the world. Further exploration, although benefits are numerous, there is a question of what boundaries should not be crossed. Hopefully, this article will inform some key areas where nanotechnology is and what lies in the future.

The best way to start this article is to have some background information. A physicist by the name of Richard Feynman first spoke of his idea at an American Physical Society meeting at CalTech in 1959 (NNI, 2012). At this time atoms had already been “split”, but to actually study or “see” things at such a small scale was not possible. It wasn’t until 1981 that scanning tunneling microscopes (STM) allowed physicists to see things on an atomic/molecular level. Most will say, “It is very small”. Well, how small is it exactly? One nanometer is a billionth of a meter (10-9), which is smaller than micro (10-6). Perhaps microscope should be changed to Nano scope.

Some examples of this would be:

There are 25,400,000 nanometers in an inch

A sheet of newspaper is about 100,000 nanometers thick

On a comparative scale, if a marble were a nanometer, then one meter would be the size of the Earth (NNI, 2012)

At this level, scientists and engineers can manipulate structures to deliberately do what they want it to do. This is a huge advantage over “natural” compositions in our known materials, methods, and mental thought processes.

Most can associate the technology used in the medical field and it’s no exception that nanotechnology is ever-present. Researchers are now able to deliver a “fluid containing nanobots programed to attack and reconstruct the molecular structure of cancer cells and viruses.” (Bonsor, 2012) This is truly a great advantage in fighting cancer. Many have dealt with cancer in someone close, and the agonizing pain they go through in treatment. At a molecular level, chemo can be delivered in a concentrated form resulting in less pain for patients.

Energy generation will always be a sought after prize and in large metropolitan cities, consumption is the forerunner. Nanotechnology is now present in this area, together with the construction industry. A thin film engineered through nanotechnology can capture the power of the Sun. This film can be applied to building structures, as well as windows, keeping aesthetics appealing. No extra space is needed to build a generating facility, expenses incurred bringing the power to the sites, and all emissions lost in the process. Imagine a building designed to power itself through solar energy AND it’s built right into the structure! (Soutter, 2012)

Graphene, in its infancy, has impacted composites, electronics, and fuel cells. It is comprised of a sheet of carbon about an atom thick. Strength-to-weight ratios are now possible. This benefits aviation industry driving down manufacturing costs and providing better material strength. Transistors can now employ the efficiency of graphene instead of silicon to deliver electrons at even higher speeds. Graphene is replacing indium-electrodes present electronic device screens.  Advancing towards hydrogen power, graphene allows storage of hydrogen in a lighter tank. Fuel cells incorporate layers of graphene. Since a larger surface area can be used to store electrons, ultra capacitors may take the place of lithium-ion batteries. Instead of hours of charging, it may only take a few minutes. (Present Hawk’s Perch Technical Writing, LLC, 2012)

These brief introductions of applied nanotechnology offer only a glimpse of our future. Clearly, we are on the path to improving are reliance of fossil fuel, innovating medical achievements, and exploring structural composites on a global scale, perhaps even beyond our planet. In conclusion, we are amidst advancing technology every day, and it’s no exception that nanotechnology will have a huge impact in our future, both in our lives and our affect on the planet we live on.

Cited Works:

Bonsor, K. a. (2012). How Nanotechnology Works. Retrieved Sep 2012, from howstuffworks:

http://science.howstuffworks.com/nanotechnology4.htm

NNI. (2012). Nanotech-101. Retrieved Sep 2012, from Nano.gov National Nanotechnology Intiative:

http://www.nano.gov/nanotech-101/what/definition

Present Hawk’s Perch Technical Writing, LLC. (2012). Retrieved Sep 2012, from Understanding Nano.com:

http://www.understandingnano.com/

Soutter, W. (2012, Sep). Nanotechnology in Green Construction. Retrieved Sep 2012, from Azonano.com:

http://www.azonano.com/article.aspx?ArticleID=3093

Section 2

Samuel Moore

Super-Heroes vs. Physics

The concept of the superhero has captivated millions in comics, film and television for decades. From Action Comics #1 to The New 52, superhero stories have made us cry, laugh, angry and joyful. At their least, they have shown readers that good can always triumph over evil and at their best, they can help a country feel optimistic during times of great sorrow and depression. But there is something that always seems to give superheroes a run for their money: Physics

Physics is a science that involves the study of matter and it’s motion through space and time and how the universe behaves (energy and force are also related concepts). It is Physics that tells us what we as humans can and cannot do physically. It tells us how gravity works, how energy is used is certain aspects and how that same energy can be used as pure force. It is Physics that seems to take our beloved superheroes from heavenly high to heavily ground’. In this post, we’re going to look at a few members of one of the most famous superhero ensembles created: The Justice League, and pit them against the forces of Physics. First off, we’re going to start with the greatest superhero of them all:

SUPERMAN

In the Man of Steel’s origin, gravity is used to explain his abilities to move faster than a speeding bullet (back to this later), be more powerful than a locomotive and leap tall buildings in a single bound. So logically, if gravity is in play for Superman to jump incredible distances, then he has an extremely lower gravitational force on him than humans. But if this was the case then how can he be able to walk around humans as freely and normal as he does? Think for a moment about an astronaut on the moon: Gravity on the moon is much less than on Earth. To be exact, the moon’s gravity is 1/6th of our own. An astronaut bounces when they are trying to walk on the moon because of the low gravity. Through Physics, Superman should show the same effects.

BATMAN

The Dark Knight may not be super-human or an extraterrestrial but his vast monetary resources, gadgetry and genius IQ more than make up for his lack in super powers. One such advantage in gadgetry is his cape, which doubles as a glider. Batman uses this to travel great distances from high altitude. That being said, Batman is gliding downward, meaning he doesn’t have a constant velocity. The farther down he falls, the more acceleration he picks up. How would he stop? Physicists at the University of Leicester have concluded after tests, that the impact from Batman’s gliding (depending on the height of the building he were to jump off of) would be equal to being hit my a car at 50 mph, stating that “Clearly gliding using a bat-cape is not a safe way to travel, unless a method to rapidly slow down is used, such as a parachute.” Batman….parachute….LAME.

THE FLASH

The fastest superhero alive, even faster than Superman, can run on water, create vortices from pure speed and can even match the vibrational constant of solid objects and vibrate through them. According to Physics (with a little help from medical science), if someone were able to move as fast as The Flash, the friction between their joints wouldn’t be able to take the extremely fast acceleration speeds and their joints would heat up and degrade. Sean Carroll, a physicist at the California Institute of Technology, said, “In our bodies, if we try to speed ourselves up, we would die because we’re not meant to move that quickly. Even though there is a lot of physics involved in traveling the speed of light, there is no realistic way that the human body could get to those kinds of speeds.”

So there you have it. The bottom line: Leave the heroics for the comics. You’ll just kill yourself!

Cited works:

-Hanks, H. (Sept. 23, 2011) The science of “The Flash”. CNN. Retrieved from http://geekout.blogs.cnn.com/2011/09/23/the-science-of-the-flash/

-N.A. (June. 28, 2006) “Science of Superman” Breaks Down His Strength”. USA TODAY. Retrieved from http://www.usatoday.com/tech/science/2006-06-28-superman-science_x.htm

-Clark, L. (July 9, 2012) “Physics Shows Batman’s Cape Is Suicide Machine”. Wired.co.uk. Retrieved from http://www.wired.com/wiredscience/2012/07/batman-cape-physics/

Section 3

Markus Benitez

Theory of Relative Time Travel

I was around 14 or 15 years old when I started to wonder about time travel. I’ve been pondering the subject all this time, and have a theory on the matter. Traditional time travel is impossible. As the question is asked, if it was possible, where are all the time travelers? Despite being able to make an argument relating to the possibility they may be invisible, or simply look no different then anyone else, the fact is, time travel is impossible. It’s impossible to go back in Time, for Time flows forward constantly. As long as someone or something is able to observe Time, and experience time, then Time exists. Since Time is a measurement of instances passing, you cannot go back in time to an instant that has already recorded the history of that instance. For example, when you’re watching a movie, just because you rewind the video, it doesn’t mean you’re able to change what happens next in the film because the film has already been recorded. No matter how many times I watch Batman Begins, his parents always die. Think of Time the same way, since something has already occurred, you cannot change the outcome. This explains why there are no individuals from the future visiting the past that we are aware of.

Dr. Michio Kaku talks about time travel in his “Sci Fi or Sci Fact Lecture” available on Youtube. Dr. Kaku talks about his theory of time travel stating that time is a river, which may fork at some point into two rivers. One of those rivers takes you back in time and the individuals therein have the same genes, and same behavior but are not the same people and you are in fact, “In a different parallel universe.” He goes on to explain that in his theory, via wormholes, you would be able to jump streams in such a way that eliminates paradoxes. My overall theory differs greatly with Dr. Kaku’s, however our theories have some similarities that are worth noting. For example, his theory eliminates paradoxes, due to the existence of a parallel universe. My philosophy takes it further, suggesting that there are multiple realities of whole universes. More information about this explained in Fig 1 below.

If the speed of light is to be assumed to be the fastest speed possible, and at the speed of light, the world around you moves slower and slower, then moving faster than the speed of light would allow you to go back in time. However, as stated before, this is impossible because that would change what has already been recorded in this reality. Therefore, the only way to move through time is to move through parallel realities. This may already occur, but only on a quantum level. The famous Thomas Young experiment called the “Double Slit Experiment” proves that matter can behave as a wave, and as a particle simultaneously. In this case, it was electrons. But according to quantum superposition, matter of any size can behave similarly. Such that when not observing matter, matter is at all possible positions simultaneously. By that logic, all parallel realities in which matter is at a given position, is overlapping. But once observed, the parallel realities separate themselves thereby allowing the observer to see what “is” in their reality. Fig. 2 below hopefully demonstrates the implications.

So the big question is, “According to your oh-so-special theory, how do you travel through time?” The answer is you don’t. But you can theoretically travel through realities/dimensions/parallel universes. The only way to do it, however, is to not be observed, or have any thought or understanding whatsoever. And even then, you’d be in all possible realities, in all possible positions, at any given time, and as soon as you’re observed, or have understanding, then you’d return to this reality unless you could configure your mind to recognize reality in a different way.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Fig 1.

 

 

 

 

Fig 2.

Let the tan rectangle represent a table, which represents space and time. Universes A through Y represent parallel universes. The image labeled “Un-observed Spacetime” represents what is said to occur when matter is unobserved as according to the quantum superposition principle; such that the red box is at all positions at the same time. The image to the right of it represents what it should look like because the red box has the potential to be placed anywhere on the table and therefore has been placed everywhere on the table. It’s what the “Un-observed Spacetime” image would look like if all possible placements had been drawn and shown overlapping. Instead of drawing all possibilities I drew only six as you can see. The image labeled “Observed Reality” represents our reality, in that once space time is observed, what is potential is disregarded, and the parallel possibilities separate from what has been defined. In this case, the box is in fact in the center of the table. Because it has been defined as being in the center of the table, the parallel realities break away and no longer interfere with what has been defined. For history has thus been recorded and as mentioned before, once what “is” has been defined, nothing can change it. This is why multiple identical objects cannot be observed being in all possible positions simultaneously. This also explains why when electrons are observed when fired through two slits they behave like a particle rather than waves.

REFERENCES:

Dr. Kaku, M. (2012). The physics of time travel: Is it real, or is it fable?. Retrieved from http://mkaku.org/home/?page_id=252

Schwarz, P. (n.d.). The official string theory website: Basics. Retrieved from http://www.superstringtheory.com/basics/index.html

Higgo, J. (1999). A lazy layman’s guide to quantum physics. Retrieved from http://www.higgo.com/quantum/laymans.htm

Dr. Kaku, M. (Performer) (2009, February 13). Sci fi or sci fact lecture part 4. Dr. Michio Kaku: Sci fi or sci fact lecture. [Video podcast]. Retrieved from http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=to9Ht2NRQ3o&feature=channel

Arntz, W. (Director) (2004, September 10). Quantum superposition what the bleep excerpt. What the bleep do we know?. [Video podcast]. Retrieved from http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v0v-cvvyc-M&feature=related

Arntz, W. (Director) (2004, September 10). Dr. quantum double slit experiment. What the bleep do we know?. [Video podcast]. Retrieved from http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DfPeprQ7oGc

Section 6

Lee Anderson

What We Don’t Know

The Beauty of Physics

If there’s anything that I’ve learned while studying physics this month, it’s that we don’t know everything. In fact, in a universal context, we probably don’t really know anything.

In an article titled “Wisdom is Knowing What we Don’t Know,”  entrepreneur Les Brown discusses what pride and hubris in learning does for humanity. He poses that real strength lies in the ability to admit mistakes and ignorance. I agree.

Take for example, any of hundreds of scientific ideas from the beginning of known history (some of which that we’ve discussed in this class) that have been blown out of the water. These breakthroughs usually enrage the so-called “experts” of the time. After all, it took Copernicus years to build up the courage to publish his work for fear of being scoffed at.

Where can that lead us today? Well, at risk of being too radical I think it means we shouldn’t be afraid to question some things around us. Just because “facts” are being printed by very learned men and women in textbooks doesn’t mean that they are set in stone.

One of the great examples I can point to is this idea of dark matter. In school, this was taught to me as fact: there are distortions in visible light from stars that must be the result of an invisible force (dark matter) that was so massive its gravity was pulling and distorting the light. I did a report on it and was certain this “space goo” existed and was factual. However, according to NASA, Dark Matter was also an explanation necessary to show that the universe was expanding more quickly than before, instead of slowing down (a “fact” also open for future research). While reading through NASA’sweb page, “What is Dark Matter?”, I was pleasantly surprised to see that their overall verdict is that they just don’t know.

Also showing Les Brown’s version of wisdom is the idea that the NASA official’s are willing to go so far as to present the idea that perhaps Einstein’s theory of gravity may be incorrect. After all, it would be exceptionally arrogant to assume we know so much about a universe that we don’t even know the size of.  Another theory presented is that empty space has properties all of its own that we know nothing about. This theory states that there is an energy possessed by empty space that does not simply go away just because the universe is expanding into it.

Then, just as my faith in humankind’s curiosity was about to restored, phrases like “roughly 70% of the Universe is dark energy” come blaring at me with a pride that seems to humanity clapping the dust off our hands and saying “Well, that’s all of it, the universe is understood.” Understandably, this is not what the experts are saying, but a creative and learning mind must always accept that there is more out there that we don’t know.

With all this being said, I do understand that it is important to work off of the great minds and thoughts before us. Without them we would have so little understanding in ANY field of humanity, whether it is science, art, technology or anything else. My utmost gratitude goes to creative men and women who are willing to use previous knowledge and then step aside from it to discover something new.

Works Cited

Hewitt, P. G., Suchocki, J., & Hewitt, L. A. (2008). Conceptual Physical Science, 4th Edition. Pearson Custom Publishing, 39.

 

 

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