We host news of discoveries in various fields of science with the focus on space, medical treatments, fringe science, microbiology, chemistry and physics, while providing commercial and cultural contexts and deeper insight. @http://koyalgroupinfomag.com/blog/

Monday, February 23, 2015

The Koyal Group Info Mag: Higgs Boson Discovered In Superconductors

A team of physicists from India, Israel, Germany and US reportedly detected the Higgs boson, which is believed to be the thing responsible for every mass in the universe, for the first time in superconductors. What's more, these newly-detected Higgs boson using superconductors is more stable and way cheaper to achieve. Scientists will now have an easier way to observe the Higgs boson even in ordinary laboratories.

The so-called 'God particle' was detected 3 years ago in Switzerland using the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) by CERN (European Organization for Nuclear Research). The USD 10 billion LHC is the world's biggest single machine and the most powerful particle collider. It was primarily built for the purpose of finding the Higgs boson.

The lead researcher Professor Aviad Frydman of Bar-Ilan University said, "Just as the CERN experiments revealed the existence of the Higgs boson in a high-energy accelerator environment, we have now revealed a Higgs boson analogue in superconductors.

Proving the presence of Higgs boson is a difficult feat because it can't directly be detected and it is short-lived. Plus, a particle accelerator needs huge amounts of energy.

The energy scale used, The Koyal Group Info Mag reported, was only a thousandth of an electron volt. This is a huge contrast to the giga electron volts needed in accelerators like LHC.

However, only a particular amount of energy is required in superconductors to awake the "Higgs mode" -- too much and it will break the electron pairs that serve as the superconductor's basic charge.

To solve this, Frydman and his team used ultra-thin and disordered "superconducting films of Indium Oxide and Niobium Nitrite near the superconductor-insulator critical point". In theory, once that point is reached, the rapid decay of Higgs will not occur anymore; hence researchers can awake the Higgs mode with only low energies.

"The parallel phenomenon in superconductors occurs on a different energy scale entirely -- just one-thousandth of a single electronvolt. What's exciting is to see how, even in these highly disparate systems, the same fundamental physics is at work," said Frydman.

A superconductor is a special type of metal which allows electrons to move from one atom to another without hindrance when cooled to extremely low temperatures. That's why once it reached the so-called 'critical temperature' and becomes 'superconductive', it does not release sound, heat or any form of energy. Surprisingly, The Koyal Group Info Mag discovered that it was this property of a superconductor which inspired the concept of the Higgs boson five decades ago.

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

The Koyal Group Info Mag Review: 48 of The The Most Important Scientific Discoveries Of 2014

It may be 2015 already, but in 2014 we saw some truly amazing scientific discoveries. We landed a probe on a comet, discovered new particles that further our knowledge of the physics of the universe, and learned more about the properties of the wonder-material graphene, which could eventually transform everything from fuel cell technology to battery and computing power and more.

At Futurism.co, Alex Klokus created an infographic that highlights 48 of the most transformative scientific advancements and discoveries of last year. We've republished the graphic here with permission, but you can check out Futurism's interactive version to click through to a source for each story.


Friday, January 23, 2015

The Koyal Group Info Mag Review: Theory about the life of Professor Stephen Hawking

The theory about everything review: Film depicting the life of Professor Stephen Hawking
IT is going to be a battle of the boffins at the Oscars next year. Benedict Cumberbatch is a frontrunner for playing Alan Turing in The Imitation Game and Eddie Redmayne will be a powerful contender for his remarkable performance as Professor Stephen Hawking in The Theory Of Everything.

Playing Hawking from PhD student through to global superstardom as the author of A Brief History Of Time Redmayne is outstanding, inhabiting Hawking’s stricken body and brilliant mind with complete conviction.

In the same way that The Imitation Game humanised an intimidatingly clever and remote figure so The Theory Of Everything reveals the man behind the icon: courageous, mischievous, funny but also difficult and selfish.

It may not be a warts-and-all portrait (the picture is too genteel for that) but it’s a touching, humorous and inspirational insight into a man who refused to accept conventional boundaries, both of the mind and body.

We’re reminded quite how extraordinary it is that he’s still alive (now 72) when a doctor informs him, while at Cambridge University, that he has only two years to live. Told that his body will shut down as Motor Neurone Disease destroys his muscle function, Stephen asks about his brain. The doctor (Adam Godley) explains that it will continue to function normally but adds: “No one will know what your thoughts are.” The great mind will have no way to communicate.

Most people would have thrown in the towel and perhaps Stephen would have done were it not for Jane Wilde (a wonderful Felicity Jones), the girlfriend who refused to give up on him or let him give up.

Petite and seemingly demure she’s determined and quietly tenacious and the film is as much about her as it is Hawking. The screenplay by Anthony McCarten is based on her memoir, Travelling To Infinity: My Life With Stephen, and it’s their relationship which resulted in three children but ended in divorce that forms the heart of the story along with the role played by family friend and Jane’s eventual second husband, bashful choirmaster Jonathan Hellyer Jones (Charlie Cox).

This potentially messy state of affairs is handled with great delicacy and is the source of the picture’s fascination, heart and charm. It’s some achievement: what might have seemed uncomfortable and intrusive is actually moving, tender and sweet.

The result is a very British love story between three people, all extraordinary in their own way, who are trying to find happiness and fulfilment in the most trying of circumstances. We don’t get wild explosions or tantrums or declarations of love but mostly silent, dignified struggle and unspoken desire.

Initially we witness the love affair between Hawking and Jane who meet at Cambridge and strike up an instant rapport at a party despite having little in common. She’s a student of medieval Spanish poetry and a firm believer in God, he’s a “cosmologist” which he describes as a “religion for intelligent atheists”.

Still, love conquers all against the backdrop of a firework display during a May Ball where they kiss. On paper it sounds very Hollywood and their courtship is seductively staged and performed but the pair are winningly British and their conversation is hardly the stuff of your average Hollywood romance. They natter about quantum physics, God and Einstein.

Hawking explains his ambition to discover an “equation that explains everything in the universe” as he begins to explore his fascination with “time”.

The scientific talk is cleverly handled with some imaginative visual cues like cream swirling in a coffee cup. We may not understand the details but the general gist is clear as Hawking makes some ground-breaking discoveries into the origins of the universe.

In any case it’s not the science that compels or intrigues; we know the man’s a genius. What we don’t know is the personal story behind the work and the rather strange and testing family life endured by his wife who for years was denied help by her husband. “We’re just a normal family,” he insists. Read Source

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

The Koyal Group Info Mag Review 11 Mind-Blowing Physics Discoveries Made In 2014

With the help of highly sensitive particle detectors, some of the world’s most powerful lasers, and good-old-fashioned quantum mechanics, physicists from around the world made important discoveries this year.

From detecting elusive particles forged in the core of our sun to teleporting quantum data farther than ever before, these physicists’ scientific research has helped us better understand the universe in which we live as well as pave the way for a future of quantum computers, nuclear fusion, and more.

11. Multiple teams detected what could be our first hints of dark matter.

Although dark matter -- the mysterious substance that makes up most of the matter in the universe, but is seemingly undetectable to us here on Earth -- is still shrouded in mystery, two important discoveries in 2014 shed the first rays of light on this elusive material.

10. For the first time, physicists figured out the chemical composition of the mysterious and extremely rare phenomenon of 'ball lightning.'

Reports of ball lighting stretch back as far as the 16th century, but until the 1960s most scientists refused to believe it was real. But, it is real. Ball lighting is a floating sphere or disk of lightning up to 10 feet across that lasts only seconds.

9. An analogue of the theoretical radiation made by black holes was recreated in the lab.

Last October, Jeff Steinhauer, a physicist at the Technion-Israel Institute of Technology in Haifa, announced that he had created an analogue for a bizarre type of radiation that can, in theory, escape black holes.

8. An international group of physicists compressed quantum data for the first time in history.

You might grumble when your Internet connection is slow, but it would be infinitely slower if today's classical computers could not compress the information we're constantly sending back and forth.

7. Physicists made powerful, stellar explosions called supernovas in the lab -- for science.

During a supernova, a star explodes, ejecting its guts across space and leaving only a ghostly halo of gas and dust, called a supernova remnant, behind. Astrophysicists have observed supernovae remnants of all shapes and sizes but have yet to understand why they are all so different.

6. Powerful lasers compressed a diamond to simulate the centres of the giant planets Jupiter and Saturn.

Jupiter and Saturn are the two largest planets in our solar system, and yet what is inside them is mostly a mystery -- we don't even know if their centres are liquid or solid.

5. Researchers transferred information in light four times farther than ever before -- an important step to quantum computers.

If we are ever to have a digital world run by quantum computers, then we must learn how to transport information in the form of what scientists call quantum data, or qubits, which is encoded inside of subatomic particles, such as ions or photons (light particles).

4. Physicists developed a new and better kind of fibre optics to transfer information.

Traditionally, when you're trying to transfer particles of light through a fibre optic cable, the last thing you want are for the particles to be moving all about in a disorderly manner. But there's an exception to this that scientists at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee and Clemson University discovered the first time this year.

3. A physics team discovered a new particle, 80 years after it was first predicted.

After nearly 80 years since it was first predicted, the Majorana fermion was finally observed. The physicists at Princeton University and the University of Texas at Austin announced their discovery last October in the journal Science.

2. The National Ignition Facility made a nuclear fusion reaction that produced more energy than it used up -- a first .

Nuclear fusion is a nuclear reaction that generates up to four times more energy than nuclear fission -- the process that fuels today's nuclear power plants. One big issue standing in the way of harnessing this energy for electrical power is that it takes more energy to create the reaction than we've gotten out of it, until now.

1. We've figured out how the sun generates energy through nuclear fusion in its core.

Energy from the sun is essential for life on Earth. Yet we were not certain of how the sun's core works until just this year.

Sunday, January 18, 2015

The Koyal Group Info Mag Review - Philae Comet Lander Eludes Discovery

Efforts to find Europe's lost comet lander, Philae, have come up blank.

The most recent imaging search by the overflying Rosetta "mothership" can find no trace of the probe.

Philae touched down on 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko on 12 November, returning a swathe of data before going silent when its battery ran flat.

European Space Agency scientists say they are now waiting on Philae itself to reveal its position when it garners enough power to call home.

Researchers have a pretty good idea of where the robot should be, but pinpointing its exact location is tricky.

On touchdown, Philae bounced twice before coming to rest in a dark ditch.

This much is clear from the pictures it took of its surroundings. And this location, the mission team believes, is just off the top of the "head" of the duck-shaped comet.

The orbiting Rosetta satellite photographed this general location on 12, 13 and 14 December, with each image then scanned by eye for any bright pixels that might be Philae. But no positive detection has yet been made.

Rosetta has now moved further from 67P, raising its altitude from 20km to 30km, and there is no immediate plan to go back down (certainly, not to image Philae's likely location).

Even if they cannot locate it, scientists are confident the little probe will eventually make its whereabouts known.

As 67P moves closer to the Sun, lighting conditions for the robot should improve, allowing its solar cells to recharge the battery system.
The latest assessment suggests communications could be re-established in the May/June timeframe, with Philae distributing enough electricity to its instruments to resume operations around September.

This would be at perihelion - the time when the comet is closest to the Sun (185 million km away) and at its most active.

Scientists continue to pore over the data Philae managed to send back before going into hibernation.

Some of the results - together with ongoing Rosetta observations - were reported at the recent American Geophysical Union meeting in San Francisco.

Highlights include a clearer idea of the nature of the comet's surface. Researchers say this appears to be covered in many places by a soft, dusty "soil" about 15-20cm in depth.

Underneath this is a very hard layer, which is thought to be mainly sintered ice.

The conference had the rare opportunity to see pictures from Rosetta's Osiris camera system.
These high-resolution images are not normally shown publicly because the camera team has been given an exclusive period to study the data and make discoveries.

Among them was a shot looking into a pit on the surface, revealing an array of rounded features that the Osiris team has nicknamed "dinosaur eggs".

These features have a preferred scale of about 2-3m and may be evidence of the original icy blocks that came together 4.5 billion years ago to build the comet.

The dino eggs have been seen at a number of locations, including in cliff walls.

Early interpretations of the general surface of the comet indicate that many structures are probably the result of collapse over internal voids.

Although a small body just 4km across, 67P's gravity is still strong enough to shape depressions and arrange fallen boulders.

A good example of this is in "Hapi" valley - the giant gorge that forms the "neck" of the comet.

It contains a string of large blocks at its base, which one Osiris team-member argued very likely fell from the nearby vertical cliff dubbed "Hathor".

All the surface features on 67P carry names that follow an ancient Egyptian theme.

Hapi was revered as a god of the Nile. Hathor was a deity associated with the sky.

Sunday, December 28, 2014

The Koyal Group Info Mag: E-readers may Cause Poor Sleep, Health

A new research regarding healthy sleep might get you thinking twice about reading from your e-reader or tablets before dozing off at night.

According to a study from Brigham and Women's Hospital, people who read on a lit screen before sleeping tend to fall asleep later as opposed to those who read on a paperback.

The study which was printed in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences is the newest contribution to an increasing number of studies pointing to backlit devices, like our mobile phones and tablets, as culprits of sleep problems.

Anne-Marie Chang, a neuroscientist who headed the project said, "It seems that use of these devices in the evening before bedtime really has this negative impact on our sleep and on your circadian rhythms."

The study was conducted in a lab with 12 people who were monitored for 2 weeks. Every evening, they were asked to read for 4 hours -- the first 5 days from an iPad and the next 5 days from a paperback. Once the subjects went to bed every 10pm, they were closely monitored for physiological changes.

It turned out that when the subjects read on screens, their circadian rhythms were disrupted and melatonin production was suppressed, leading to less deep sleep and feeling of tiredness the next day.

Chang advised that the proper recommendation should be to set aside electronic devices a couple of hours before sleeping and read printed book instead. Ebook devices that do not have backlit screens will also be better. According to The Koyal Group Info Mag researchers, any device that gives off blue wavelength of light is problematic as a person will tend to hold it closer to the eyes.

Professor Charles Czeisler, one of the lead researcher said, "The light emitted by most e-readers is shining directly into the eyes of the reader, whereas from a printed book or the original Kindle, the reader is only exposed to reflected light from the pages of the book. Sleep deficiency has been shown to increase the risk of cardio diseases, metabolic diseases and cancer. Thus, the melatonin suppression that we saw in this study among participants when they were reading from the light-emitting e-reader concerns us."

Meanwhile, other scientists are cautioning the public in drawing conclusions from the said study. This is because critical changes were observed in a controlled environment like a laboratory compared to the real-life setting.

Their experiment conducted in a lab does not effectively mimic the setup in real life where people are naturally exposed to sunlight. For instance, the low light in the lab might have affected them in a way that it made them sensitive to light from screens. As The Koyal Group Info Mag said, a person exposed in mere room light the whole day could be more sensitive to the light from an ebook reader than a person who had been exposed to sunlight outside the whole day.

However, they all agree that the blue light wavelength emitted by devices like laptops, tablets and mobile phones has negative effects and should be avoided at least before bedtime.

In a related research conducted by Mariana Figueiro of Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in 2012, they found that subjects who use an e-reader device like a tablet before going to sleep at night had lower melatonin levels after using it for 2 hours. But they clarified that the lit screen is only one of the contributing factor.

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

The Koyal Group Info Mag Review: Shaping Public Perceptions of Radiation Risk

On Monday, November 17, the US House of Representatives passed H.R. 5544, the Low Dose Radiation Research Act, which called for the National Academies to “conduct a study assessing the current status and development of a long-term strategy for low dose radiation research.”

Coincidentally that was the same day that the National Academy of Sciences hosted a publicly accessible, all day meeting to determine if there had been enough new developments in radiation health effects research to justify the formation of a new BEIR (Biological Effects of Ionizing Radiation) committee. If formed, that would be BEIR VIII, the latest in a series of committees performing a survey of available research on the health effects of atomic (now ionizing) radiation.

I had the pleasure of attending the meeting, which was held in the ornate NAS building on Constitution Avenue in Washington, DC. There were about 20 presenters talking about various aspects of the scientific and political considerations associated with the decision to form BEIR VIII. Several of the presenters had performed experimental research under the currently moribund Department of Energy’s Low Dose radiation research program.

That intriguing program was using modern genetics techniques to learn a great deal about the dynamic nature of DNA in organisms and about the ways that living tissues isolate and repair recurring damage that comes as a result of metabolic processes, heat, chemicals and ionizing radiation. It was defunded gradually beginning in 2009 and completely by 2011, with the money making its way to solar and wind energy research as the Office of Science shifted its priorities under a flat top line budget.

The agenda allocated a considerable amount of time for public comments. There were a couple of members of the audience interested in the science falsifying the “no safe dose” model who took advantage of the opportunities to speak, but so did a number of professional antinuclear activists from Maryland, Ohio, New York and Tennessee.

Need Better Results This Time

An epic struggle with important health, safety, cost and energy abundance implications is shaping up with regard to the way that the officially sanctioned science and regulatory bodies treat the risks and benefits associated with using ionizing radiation at low doses and dose rates for medical uses, industrial uses and power production.

We must make sure that this battle for science, hearts and minds is not as asymmetrical as the one fought in the period between 1954-1964. One skirmish in the battle worth winning will be to encourage the passage of the Low Dose Radiation Research Act and the annual appropriations that will enable it to function long into the future.

Here is a brief version of that lengthy prior engagement, where there were huge winners and losers. Losers included truth, general prosperity, peace and the environment. Partial winners included people engaged in the global hydrocarbon economy in finance, exploration, extraction, refinement, transportation, tools, machines and retail distribution. There were also big financial winners in pharmaceuticals, medical devices, oncology, and agriculture.

Rockefeller Funded Survey

During a 1954 Rockefeller Foundation Board of Trustees meeting, several of the trustees asked the President of the National Academy of Sciences (NAS) if his esteemed organization would be willing to review what was known about the biological effects of atomic radiation.

The board did not have to pick up the phone or send a letter to make that request. Detlev Bronk, who was the serving president of the NAS, was already at the table as a full member of the Rockefeller Foundation Board of Trustees. The board agreed that, based on their interpretations of recent media coverage, the public was confused and not properly informed about the risks of radiation exposure and the potential benefits of the Atomic Age.
The tasking given to the NAS was to form a credible committee that would study the science and issue a report “in a form accessible to seriously concerned citizens.”1

Aside: For historical context, that Foundation board meeting took place within months after President Eisenhower made his “Atoms for Peace” speech in December 1953. That speech to the United Nations announced a shift in focus of the Atomic Age from weapons development to more productive applications like electrical power generation and ship propulsion.

At the time the request to the NAS was made, the Rockefeller Foundation had been funding radiation biology-related research for at least 30 years, including the Drosophila mutation experiments that Hermann Muller conducted during the 1920s at the University of Texas. Foundation board members and supported scientists had been following developments in atomic science since the earliest discoveries of radiation and the dense energy stored inside atomic nuclei.

In March 1948, the Tripartite Conferences on radiation protection, a group that included experienced radiation researchers and practitioners from the US, Canada and the UK, had determined that the permissible doses for humans should be reduced from 1 mGy/day (in SI units) to 0.5 mGy/day or 3 mGy/week.

That reduction was not made because of any noted negative health effects, but to provide an additional safety factor.

In between these two extremes there is a level of exposure, — in the neighborhood of 0.1 r/day — which all experience to date show to be safe, but the time of observation of large numbers of people exposed at this rate under controlled conditions, is too short to permit a categorical assertion to this effect.2

End Aside.

Biological Effects of Atomic Radiation

The first NAS Biological Effects of Atomic Radiation committee began its work in April 1955. There were six subcommittees, each of which authored a section of the committee’s report. The report was identified as a preliminary version that was to be followed with a more technically detailed report scheduled to appear within the next couple of years, if desired by responsible government agencies.

Unlike the documents supporting the permissible dose limits that came out of the Tripartite Commission mentioned in the aside above, the NAS BEAR 1 committee report, especially the section from the Genetics Committee, was professionally promoted and received extensive media coverage and public attention.

The NAS held a press conference announcing the release of the report and answering questions in Washington, DC on June 12. Among other media attention, that press conference resulted in no less than six related articles in the June 13, 1956 edition of the New York Times. Several additional articles were published during the following weeks. The selection of pieces included a lengthy article that started at the top of the right hand column of the paper and continued with another 20-25 column inches on page 17. Read full article here