Archive | February 2016

The 5 States of Matter of the World

download (42)There is a misconception that there are only three States of Matter: solid, liquid, and gas. Well I’m trying to break that misconception because there are really five States of Matter and they are solid, liquid, gas, PLASMA, and BOSE-EINSTEIN CONDENSATES (BEC).

The First State of Matter is Solid. In a solid, particles are compiled very tightly together so they can not move around a lot. Most of the time the particles in a solid move only the slightest amounts and they have a very low kinetic energy. The reason the particles move is because the electrons of each atom are in motion, so the atoms have a small vibration, but they are in a fixed position. Solids also have a definite or fixed shape. They do not change shapes when they are put in containers. Also they have a definite volume. The solid particles are so tightly packed together that increasing pressure will not compress the solid to a smaller volume.

The liquid particles of a substance have more kinetic energy that the particles of a solid. The liquid particles are held in an irregular arrangement, but they are very close to each other to they have a definite volume like solids. Just like solids they also can not be compressed. The particles of a liquid have just enough room to flow around, making the liquid to have an indefinite shape. The liquid will change shape to conform to its container. You can see this characteristic easily in water. Also force is spread evenly through the liquid, so when an object is placed in a liquid, the particles are displaced by the object.

Gas particles have a great deal of space between them and have high kinetic energy. The particles of a gas likes to spread out so if it is not confined the gas will spread indefinitely. The gas also likes to expand to its limits. When a gas is put under pressure by reducing the volume of a container, the space between particles is reduced, and the pressure exerted by their collisions increases. This means that when there is less space for the gas particles to move around they will move faster and more pressure will build up in the container. If the volume of the container is held constant, but he temperature of the gas increases, then the pressure will also increase. Gas particles have enough kinetic energy to overcome intermolecular forces that hold solids and liquids together. This means that gases have no definite volume and shape. So the main characteristics of gas is that the particles are very free, they have no definite or fixed volume and shape, and that they are very high-class.

Plasma is not the most common state of matter on Earth. Actually it is a very rare state of matter on Earth as it is only really found under the crust of the Earth, but it maybe the most common state of matter in the universe. Plasma consists of highly charged particles with extremely high kinetic energy. Stars are essentially superheated balls of plasma.

The State of Matter, Bose-Einstein Condensate, was created in a lab. This State of Matter is not commonly known. This is only state possible in the temperature of absolute zero. This temperature stops the kinetic energy from being transferred and it becomes a “super atom.” This state does not have much data and there is not a lot of known facts of this state.

 

This entry was posted on February 25, 2016, in Education and tagged .

Butterfly Effect: Reality or Myth

download (40)The Butterfly Effect, simply put, is the phenomenon where a small change in the initial conditions may pile up over time, and in the end, create a massive effect. Just like a small snowball rolled downhill may gather more snow on the way and by the time it reaches the base, it turns huge! This forms the basis of a rather emerging field of science: “Chaos”. It is just what the name suggests – the study of highly complex systems that are sensitive to very slight changes, sometimes, even to the ones they themselves create!

Emergence of a New Science

What else would’ve been a better field for the emergence of Chaos than Meteorology, where even a small change in the wind speed may delay monsoon by days! The Butterfly Effect was discovered for the first time in 1961, in the laboratory of one such MIT Meteorologist, Edward Lorenz. Lorenz was more of a mathematics person than his colleagues. He had never been much interested in pure Meteorology, instead, he wanted to encapture the beauty of weather by mathematical formulas, which would allow Meteorologists like him to predict the weather not just days, but months, even years in advance!

This quest of his led him to setting up a computer in his lab, the Royal McBee. Computers at that time were neither as advanced, nor as common as today. Instead they were huge beasts run by vacuum tubes and outputting the results only through print. Because of this, his lab was indeed a center of attraction for the whole department!

Lorenz believed that weather, just like many other physical phenomenons, could be defined by some set of equations, which when solved, would predict the future weather. And he wasn’t the only person with this belief. Most scientists at that time used to believe that nature is nothing but a set of equations given a physical form. And that if they can obtain those raw equations, they could make anything work according to them! This might seem pretty straight-forward and logical. Unfortunately, it isn’t.

However, Lorenz was successful in modelling a pretty simple weather mechanism in his computer, governed by 12 differential equations. What his computer did was intake the initial conditions for the weather, and based on those equations, it calculated the result and printed it in the form of a string of numbers (which only Lorenz, and few others in the department were able to understand). One day, Lorenz wanted to re-examine a set of results. While doing so, instead of starting the process all the way from the start, he entered the values from halfway between the previous result, expecting it to exactly duplicate the previous results. However, this time he found something strange. The second result remained similar to the previous result for some time, but soon, subtle differences started to appear.It wasn’t long when both the results became completely contrary! At first he thought it was a hardware problem and so he inspected all the vacuum tubes, which were all fine.

Soon, he realized where the problem lied. The Royal McBee stored the values upto 6 decimal places in it’s memory, and that is what it calculated. In the printout however, to save space, the result was rounded off to just 3 decimal places. So the values Lorenz entered the second time were just 3 decimal places, and hence not precise. This caused a small difference which started to pile up and resulted in a huge difference. Lorenz was quite attracted by what he had just observed and so he started working on it. He found that if in such a complex and repeating system, a set of variables are plotted against time, then the points on graph seem to follow somewhat the same path as the last cycle, but with slight difference. And as the number of cycles increased, the difference became large. This graph was named the “Lorenz attractor” and it resembled the wings of a butterfly. The Butterfly Effect was hence discovered! Though, it’s technical name became “Sensitive Dependence on Initial Conditions” (somebody needs to learn how to name).

So Can a Butterfly Really Cause Hurricanes?

The Butterfly Effect is usually referred to by the notation that a butterfly flapping it’s wings somewhere, may cause a hurricane elsewhere. However, this notation might be slightly flawed. A butterfly flapping it’s wings may indeed change the wind speed or direction, even if by a minute amount, however, there is practically nothing a butterfly may do that might pile up to “cause” a hurricane. Now, what’s interesting here is the difference between “cause” and “effect”. A change in the flapping of a butterfly may change wind speed and/or direction, which may pile up over time and cause a change in winds as whole, which might ultimately effect the time or place of a hurricane. The hurricane, however, may not be “caused” by the movements of the butterfly entirely. So finally, a butterfly flapping it’s wings may ‘effect’ the hurricane, but not cause it.

If you are still not sure whether the Butterfly Effect is real or not, here’s something for you. An Institution rejecting an application for admission is pretty common right? What havoc could it cause? Well interestingly, in 1905, the Vienna Academy of Fine Arts rejected an application twice. This ultimately led to the death of over 60 million people! “How?”, you ask. Well, the applicant was a German fellow named Adolf Hitler.

 

Smart Science With Unintelligent Conclusions

download (41)My love of science led me to many areas of research, especially when studying medical science in my youth and then bio-anthropology in later years. The concepts are amazing and the way things come together are elements of nature are manipulated, added together, taken away, or transformed into other things is mind-blowing. One has only to look at electricity which starts from nothing more than friction to understand the power behind it.

That power can kill, maim, or turn one’s life around. It is the same power generated from lightning which is caused by friction of water molecules high in the sky. It is a reminder that long before man decided to explore the elements and to work to understand how simple things in nature work there was a more powerful force controlling everything.

It is that power that I want to focus on in this article because it is something I have experienced firsthand. It is not dangerous but it can knock you off your feet. It can’t be seen or felt but it can pin you down to the ground so that you can’t move a muscle. In the scientific world it would be labelled one’s imagination. In my world and with what I know it is the great Creative Power of the Universe.

Nothing happens on this earth or in all of space that is not directed by it. How do I know? Because unlike the scientists there is something in my memory that they can never erase – reincarnation. It is not anything that most scientists will explore or seek to understand, and those who do will use unintelligent means to arrive at their incorrect conclusions.

My own conclusion is that this ‘power’ is something that only those who have a connection to it will understand or feel. My research shows that millions have knowledge of it today but they are silenced by a code of unintelligent outcomes from certain bases that stop them. The bottom line is most will think of them as mad because in the way of societies these things don’t happen.

As a scientist and one who has looked with open eyes into the things happening today let me assure you that they not only happen but they are written down where everyone has access. If only they would look in the right places to find them.

 

This entry was posted on February 11, 2016, in Education.

11 Lesser Known Facts About Louis Pasteur

download (39)Louis Pasteur, born in 1822, was a French scientist. He went on to become a Chemistry professor and made quite a lot of discoveries. Popularly known as Chemist and Microbiologist, he is known for his tremendous contribution to the field of science. He is known for his work in Vaccination, Pasteurization and Fermentation processes. Here are some interesting facts which throw light on his work as a scientist:

1. Pasteurization

Louis Pasteur came up with one of the most important discoveries of the pasteurization process. He found that when we heat milk, all the germs inside it get killed and this way we can have a safer way to drink and use milk. This process saved people from getting sick.

2. Study Graph of Louis

Louis started with school where he was an average student. But instead he was a gifted artist. He loved to draw and paint. He went on to acquire a doctorate degree and later became a professor of Chemistry and teacher dean faculty at Lille University.

3. “Vaccination”

He was the one who came up with the word of “Vaccination” as we know it today. He worked tremendously to find cure for many of the diseases by providing vaccination for it.

4. Changed Medicine

He came up with vaccines for cholera, small pox, anthrax and rabies and saved many lives. His rabies vaccination in the year 1885 saved a life of a boy who was the first one to get it.

5. Left-Handed and Right-Handed people

In a rather fascinating theory, Louis discovered how people are either left handed or right handed because of the molecules present in each individual, which are twisted in either of that direction. Wow!!

6. He had OCD for germs

Louis was known for his OCD. In order to find out things about diseases, he never shook hands with anybody even with royalty. He was too scared to catch diseases and infections. Guess knowing too much makes you like this!

7. He was Responsible for happiness- Beer and Wine

The fermentation process was introduced and discovered by Louis, he was responsible for making beer. He said that juices can be converted into wines and beer. He truly is responsible for our happiness!

8. Paris Pasteur Institute

In the year 1887, he founded Pasteur Institute in Paris and he remained the director of the institute till his death. Also his mortals’ remains lie in the building and a tomb was built in his memory.

9. Brain Stroke didn’t stop him

In 1868, Louis suffered a really bad brain stroke which made him partly paralyzed. But his dedication and passion kept him going for his research nevertheless.

10. “Legion of Honor”

For all the great work, Louis did, he was honored with esteemed French order of “Legion of Honor”. The Grand Croix tittle was given to him, which recognized all his contribution to the world of science.

11. He found true reasons for diseases

Initially people believed that diseases get generated spontaneously but Pasteur and his germ theory gave logical answers to it. He discovered and proved that microorganisms are true causing agent of diseases. Thanks to him, we know the cause of our problems.

The Growth of Performance Based Funding for Research

images (28)EQUITABLE DISTRIBUTION

Corporations have demonstrated a clear preference for either funding short-term applied research projects, or stepping away from research entirely and simply buying-up competitors who bring new products or treatments to the market. The billionaire owners (or majority shareholders) of those corporations have the financial freedom to fund their own research centers, and some do that by endowing such centers at major research institutions. For the rest of the academic institutions, however, research funding is often limited to smaller grant-funded projects, alumni endowments, or a portion of the national research budgets of federal agencies. How those agencies calculate the size of those respective portions has been coming under increasing scrutiny.

THE ERA OF AUSTERITY

As governments around the world continue to struggle with lower tax revenues and the consequences of profligate spending in their respective pasts, the amount of government funding awarded to scholarly research has come under increasing scrutiny. Justification of funding for ongoing research projects has been easier to achieve provided those projects are remaining on budget and on target, but with each new project, funds have to be justified against alternative potential expenditures, which leads us to the problem of metrics and the consistent measurement of research output.

ANOTHER SYSTEM TO BE MANAGED

In Europe the metrics being developed for Performance Based Research Funding Systems (PRFS) are still very much under debate. Norway, for example, implemented its’ system back in 2002, developing an assessment matrix using four key indicators – two output and two input:

• Output
o Publications as indicated by citations (30%)
o Ph.D. graduates from the institution (30%)

• Input
o External funding from the Norwegian Research Council (20%)
o External Funding from the European Union (20%)

In ongoing discussions with faculty, the publications indicator has been refined even further, drawing distinctions between books, articles, research papers, conference papers, and contributions to anthologies.

The most obvious complaint about the matrix is that it clearly favors larger established institutions with senior faculty at the top of their fields. Smaller or newer institutions with younger staff and less prestigious rankings see themselves as being punished with a perceived grandfathering of the top tier institutions that already have high scores on all the ranking indicators.

CLOUDS ON THE HORIZON

Evaluation matrices are rarely if ever rescinded once they have been put in place. They may get modified over time, but once research becomes performance based, irrespective of the perceived equitability of the process (or lack thereof), it’s unlikely that it will be replaced. In the US, budget cuts as a result of sequestrations and direct challenges to research efficacy in the proposed High Quality Research Act have already put researchers on notice that an era of performance based assessment is upon us. It remains to be seen if we will be able to incorporate the lessons learned by our European contemporaries.