Daily Archives: October 4, 2010

Hawking Radiation Observed!!!!

… maybe….

Not in a black hole, where it is supposed to constitute the ‘evaporation’ of photons across the hole’s event horizon, but rather, in a refractive index perturbation style event horizon, in the lab. It is made in glass.

… researchers using a CCD camera detected a peculiar kind of photon emission at a 90-degree angle to the glass. … researchers arranged the experiment in a way to strongly suppress or eliminate other types of radiation.

“Experimental evidence of photon emission that on one hand bears the characteristics of Hawking radiation and on the other is distinguishable and thus separate from other known photon emission mechanisms,” the physicists wrote in their study. “We therefore interpret the observed photon emission as an indication of Hawking radiation induced by the analogue event horizon.”

More details here

Robert Edwards, developed In-vitro Fertilization, wins Nobel Prize in Medicine

Robert Edwards of Britain won the 2010 Nobel Prize in medicine on Monday for the development of in-vitro fertilization, a breakthrough that has helped millions of infertile couples to have children.

“His achievements have made it possible to treat infertility, a medical condition afflicting a large proportion of humanity including more than 10 percent of all couples worldwide,” the medicine prize committee in Stockholm said in its citation.


Happy Anniversary The Mouse that Roared

I always assumed that “The Mouse that Roared” was a not too subtle reference to Sputnik I, which was launched on this date in 1957. The satellite was the first human made machine to orbit the planet, and it was launched by the Soviet Union at the height of the Cold War. In some ways, Sputnik’s tiny “beep beep beep” sound heard radiometrically (but mostly metaphorically) in the west, from a Soviet-launched device flying over whatever countries the Soviets decided to launch it over … was the most frightening sound ever heard in the Situation Room (or the 1957 equivalent thereof) at the White House.

There is a direct relationship between Sputnik’s launch and the subsequent building of hundreds of college campus buildings, expansions of science departments, expansion of science education, and funding for science research in the United States.

It is a shame that today this intentional, self-reflexive effort to dominate the world via knowledge (albeit knowledge of weapons and rockets) has been converted today into the exact opposite; The fear mongering right wing militants have decided that it is better to NOT have excellent science research and science education. Why? Because it hurts their cause. Having a population schooled in rational thinking and the scientific method, and related thinking methodologies, is antithetical to the right wing’s policy agenda. For the most part, policy-making based on rational thinking about good data will lead to different approaches than policy-making based on business oriented special interests. It is very much in the interest of the right wing to keep science educators busy defending public education from creationism than it is to have a well informed, rational, skeptical population.

We truly have drifted close to rocky shores. I don’t think it is possible to stop the stupidity. We ignored it for too long.

Oh, I should clarify my obscure reference: The Mouse that Roared was a movie. At the least, check out the description of it, but better yet, get some popcorn and watch it some time.