Section 1

Perry “AGENTP” Austin

     When ever someone asks the question; who wants to be a superhero? I would always answer in the back of my mind; ME! In this day and age, a lot of people (especially fans of this type of thing) understand that it takes a lot more than just a fancy costume or a cool mask to pull off being a super hero. It’s a nice perk but there is a lot more to fighting crime. Sure you may figure out a theme for your hero and maybe even a catch phrase, but after all of that then what? Are you trying to get super powers? Do you know how to fight? What tools would you use in the battle against the forces of evil? A lot of questions come to mind and I am going to try my best to answer them. I will also try to apply physics to this subject to the best of my abilities. Maybe then we will know if being a super hero is possible.

I think I should start off with the second thing that comes to mind when it comes to being a super hero (the first thing would be the costume). I am talking about the super powers. Is it possible to actually become superhuman? Can we really obtain these abilities that can only happen in comics, movies, and TV? Some sources would say so. Thinking about this subject takes me back to weeks one and two of the physics class.  Dr. Michio Kaku’s lecture on “The possible vs. impossible” touched upon one particular ability, Telepathy. It was not in the sense of reading minds or lifting objects with your mind (that’s telekinesis). Dr. Kaku was actually talking about controlling machines with your brain. According to his research, it’s possible (with fine tuning and more testing of course), to surgically place a microchip inside the brain to control almost any electronic. Dr. Kaku gave an example about a man who was completely paralyzed and had this procedure done to him. Without have to move any part of his body, this man was able to “surf the web, check his email, and even communicate through texting, all with his brain”. Now keep in mind we are also talking about being about to absorb the data will doing these amazing things with a microchip implanted in your brain. Anyone with this type of super power would definitely be a force to be reckoned with because after all, “knowledge is power” right? Thinking about super powers also comes to mind where they would come from. I am pretty sure we can rule out any lab accidents or radioactive bug bites for now. I am also sure that somewhere out there, scientists are trying to crack the code and inject a serum like in “Heroes” or even “Captain America”. Being born with these special abilities seems more possible than anything. One website I found describes 6 people with special abilities. The site describes people with abilities that mainly involve endurance. It ranges from a person who can withstand electric shocks to a person who can “run forever”. One man in particular would be Ma Xiangang. Xiangang discovered his powers by touching a live wire in his fuse box while trying to fix his television. The article mentions that this ability is in his “body chemistry”. It also mentions how weight and mass play a part in how much the human body can take.  The site can be found here:http://www.cracked.com/article_19661_6-real-people-with-mind-blowing-mutant-superpowers.html .

One other super hero type subject I would like to touch upon would have to be Transformations.  I am talking about a power suit or super hero outfit being teleported on the body. The way I see it, we might see the teleportation of objects before we see the teleportation of people.  I am a big fan of Tokusatsu (Japanese live action with special effects). I have mentioned this a lot between talking with others whom share my interest to just blogging about it online. Seeing the hero transform into a super powered form has always been one of my favorite things about super heroes. So of course I enjoy “Power Rangers”. Personally I like the original Japanese version known as “Super Sentai” but that’s a whole other subject for another time. Some of the other Japanese heroes you may have heard of. Heroes like “Ultraman”, “Kikaider” (for those who were in Japan or Hawaii that watched that show), and my favorite series of all, “Kamen Rider”. Besides the fact that these heroes came from Japan, one big thing they have in common would be that they all transform. Whether it is by the press of a button, the flick of a switch, body motion, or just old fashion shouting out a catch phrase; energy wraps around the body then our hero is ready to fight. What really has gotten me interested in this would be that it is all a form of teleportation.  Now we all know that teleportation is still being studied. So far we have come close by teleporting things like particles and lasers. Unfortunately, there is that whole issue with the original object being destroyed at the starting point of the teleportation process. More information can be found for that at this website: http://science.howstuffworks.com/science-vs-myth/everyday-myths/teleportation.htm.

Speaking of starting points, your super hero outfit has to come from somewhere right? While the heroes I’ve mentioned transform with certain devices (whether the suits come from somewhere unknown or may be compacted in the device some how), one Japanese hero actually has a bit more detail in his transformation process. I am talking about the hero Uuchu-Keiji-Gavan (Space Sheriff Gavan).  The show is about a space cop named Gavan who protects the earth from evil aliens using a combat suit made of a special type of space metal. The way his transformation sequence works is that he does this motion with his body and shouts “CHOUCHAKU” (translates to equip)!  A signal is sent to his space ship hovering over the earth and these silver particles beam down and form the suit around his entire body.  The computer on the ship breaks down the armor into particles and teleports it down to Gavan and it reforms around his body. The series always has a narrator that will show us what the transformation looks like in slow motion. The narrator always says that the process “takes 0.5 seconds for the transformation to take place”.  While it is just a TV show, it still follows the laws of physics. In fact, there is another hero like Gavan who does the same thing. The difference is that his armor is red and he actually has a suit that he wears underneath his regular clothes. When this hero (Sharivan) does his transformation, his ship actually locks on to the suit and teleports the armor to it. The transformation can be seen for Gavan here: http://youtu.be/EovOLvwlaZg. The transformation for Sharivan can be seen here:http://youtu.be/rlmv296Vn7k. Both videos are in Japanese but you can see what I have described just fine.

 

Section 2

 

 

 

Section 3

Nicholas Shashaguay

            Ever wanted to learn more about the universe and to understand it more? Well, so do a lot of people and some of those people are on the right track.  A team of 800 physicists had made a breakthrough with breaking the quantum measurement barrier with a new technique called quantum squeezing, which will allow physicists to detect gravity waves. A lot of research is going on now to detect gravity waves with Gravitational wave detectors and quantum squeezing takes them a step closer to achieving, which might be, the greatest way to understanding our universe a little better.

The whole idea of detecting gravity waves came from Albert Einstein’s prediction, in 1916 AD, of the existence of gravitational waves. On the website www.ligo-la.caltech.edu they explained, further, Einstein’s prediction as followed; Albert Einstein predicted the existence of gravitational waves in 1916 as part of the theory of general relativity. He described space and time as different aspects of reality in which matter and energy are ultimately the same. Space-time can be thought of as a “fabric” defined by the measuring of distances by rulers and the measuring of time by clocks. The presence of large amounts of mass or energy distorts space-time — in essence causing the fabric to “warp” — and we observe this as gravity. Freely falling objects — whether a soccer ball, a satellite, or a beam of starlight — simply follow the most direct path in this curved space-time.Gravity waves are ripples in space generated by extreme cosmic events, for example, the Big Bang. Such events, like stars merging, induce ripples in the fabric of space-time but the ripples (gravity waves) are really weak and detecting them is extremely hard. So how does one detect these waves? Well, first you will need a Gravitational Wave Detector.

Gravitational Wave Detectors are out there in today’s world and they try to detect these waves. The problem is that the detectors aren’t sensitive enough to find any. Physicists know they exist but have yet to prove that they do with the “I need to see it to believe” method.  The most famous wave detector is the LIGO or Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory, will detect ripples using a device called a laser interferometer; this measures the time it takes for light to travel between mirrors. How the LIGO works is simple if you’re a Physicist but if you’re not one, like myself, it’s hard to understand.  The detector is made up of an L-shaped vacuum system, four kilometers long, with mirrors at the ends. Understanding this? No? It’s ok because www.ligo-la.caltech.edu, which is the website for LIGO, explains this for better understanding.  Two mirrors hang far apart, forming one “arm” of the interferometer, and two more mirrors make a second arm perpendicular to the first. Viewed from above, the two arms form an L shape. Laser light enters the arms through a beam splitter located at the corner of the L, dividing the light between the arms. The light is allowed to bounce between the mirrors repeatedly before it returns to the beam splitter. If the two arms have identical lengths, then interference between the light beams returning to the beam splitter will direct all of the light back toward the laser. But if there is any difference between the lengths of the two arms, some light will travel to where it can be recorded by a photodetector. Basically saying that if the signals are the same nothing was detected but if there’s a difference it’s worth recording and following up. Now we got that out of the way, let’s go on to how LIGO and the squeezing technique go together.

Like I said before, the equipment wasn’t sensitive enough to detect the waves in space so when Physicists came up with the quantum squeezing technique this was a very exciting time because now they are a step closer to detect gravity waves. Before they came up with this technique there was a problem, the problem was the Heisenberg uncertainty principle. www.ligo-la.caltech.edu states that we can’t know both the position and the velocity of a quantum particle perfectly–the better we know the position, the worse we know the velocity, and vice versa. For light waves, the Heisenberg principle tells us that there are unavoidable uncertainties in amplitude and phase that are connected in a similar way. They way the got around this to make the LIGO more sensitive was by using a crystal with non-liner optical property this crystal can convert a normal vacuum to a “squeezed vacuum” which has phase fluctuations smaller than a normal vacuum. The quantum squeezing technique makes the LIGO more sensitive by reducing the vacuum phase fluctuation.  So by eliminating a lot of noise it’s very possible to hear the gravity waves in the next few years while Physicists make the LIGO more sensitive.

References:

phys.org (2013 August 16). ‘Listening’ to black holes form with gravity waves www.phys.org. Retrieved August 25, 2013, fromhttp://phys.org/news/2013-08-black-holes-gravity.html

phys.org (2013 August 01). Closing in on Einstein’s window to the universe. Retrieved August 25, 2013, from  http://phys.org/news/2013-08-einstein-window-universe.html#inlRlv

phys.org (2013 May 16). New method proposed for detecting gravitational waves from ends of universe . Retrieved August 25, 2013 fromhttp://phys.org/news/2013-05-method-gravitational-universe.html#inlRlv

phys.org (2013 May 03). New experiments set to detect gravitational waves. Retrieved August 25, 2013 from http://phys.org/news/2013-05-gravitational.html#inlRlv

Ligo.edu (no date). GRAVITATIONAL WAVES: RIPPLES IN THE FABRIC OF SPACE-TIME. Retrieved August 25, 2013 from http://www.ligo-la.caltech.edu/LLO/overviewsci.htm

Ligo.org (no date). The Quantum Enhanced LIGO Detector Sets New Sensitivity Record. Retrieved August 25, 2013 from http://www.ligo.org/science/Publication-SqueezedVacuum/index.php

 

Advertisements