Physicists watch quantum particles tunnel through solid barriers. Here’s what they found. – Live Science

The quantum world is a pretty wild one, where the seemingly impossible happens all the time: Teensy objects separated by miles are tied to one another, and particles can even be in two places at once. But one of the most perplexing quantum superpowers is the movement of particles through seemingly impenetrable barriers.

Now, a team of physicists has devised a simple way to measure the duration of this bizarre phenomenon, called quantum tunneling. And they figured out how long the tunneling takes from start to finish from the moment a particle enters the barrier, tunnels through and comes out the other side, they reported online July 22 in the journal Nature.

Quantum tunneling is a phenomenon where an atom or a subatomic particle can appear on the opposite side of a barrier that should be impossible for the particle to penetrate. It's as if you were walking and encountered a 10-foot-tall (3 meters) wall extending as far as the eye can see. Without a ladder or Spider-man climbing skills, the wall would make it impossible for you to continue.

Related: The 18 biggest unsolved mysteries in physics

However, in the quantum world, it is rare, but possible, for an atom or electron to simply "appear" on the other side, as if a tunnel had been dug through the wall. "Quantum tunneling is one of the most puzzling of quantum phenomena," said study co-author Aephraim Steinberg, co-director of the Quantum Information Science Program at Canadian Institute for Advanced Research. "And it is fantastic that we're now able to actually study it in this way."

Quantum tunneling is not new to physicists. It forms the basis of many modern technologies such as electronic chips, called tunnel diodes, which allow for the movement of electricity through a circuit in one direction but not the other. Scanning tunneling microscopes (STM) also use tunneling to literally show individual atoms on the surface of a solid. Shortly after the first STM was invented, researchers at IBM reported using the device to spell out the letters IBM using 35 xenon atoms on a nickel substrate.

While the laws of quantum mechanics allow for quantum tunneling, researchers still don't know exactly what happens while a subatomic particle is undergoing the tunneling process. Indeed, some researchers thought that the particle appears instantaneously on the other side of the barrier as if it instantaneously teleported there, Sci-News.com reported.

Researchers had previously tried to measure the amount of time it takes for tunneling to occur, with varying results. One of the difficulties in earlier versions of this type of experiment is identifying the moment tunneling starts and stops. To simplify the methodology, the researchers used magnets to create a new kind of "clock" that would tick only while the particle was tunneling.

Subatomic particles all have magnetic properties and when magnets are in an external magnetic field, they rotate like a spinning top. The amount of rotation (also called precession) depends on how long the particle is bathed in that magnetic field. Knowing that, the Toronto group used a magnetic field to form their barrier. When particles are inside the barrier, they precess. Outside it, they don't. So measuring how long the particles precess told the researchers how long those atoms took to tunnel through the barrier.

Related: 18 times quantum particles blew our minds

"The experiment is a breathtaking technical achievement," said Drew Alton, physics professor at Augustana University, in South Dakota.

The researchers prepared approximately 8,000 rubidium atoms, cooled them to a billionth of a degree above absolute zero. The atoms needed to be this temperature, otherwise they would have moved around randomly at high speeds, rather than staying in a small clump. The scientists used a laser to create the magnetic barrier; they focused the laser so that the barrier was 1.3 micrometers (microns) thick, or the thickness of about 2,500 rubidium atoms. (So if you were a foot thick, front to back, this barrier would be the equivalent of about half a mile thick.) Using another laser, the scientists nudged the rubidium atoms toward the barrier, moving them about 0.15 inches per second (4 millimeters/s).

As expected, most of the rubidium atoms bounced off the barrier. However, due to quantum tunneling, about 3% of the atoms penetrated the barrier and appeared on the other side. Based on the precession of those atoms, it took them about 0.6 milliseconds to traverse the barrier.

Chad Orzel, an associate professor of physics at Union College in New York, who was not part of the study, applauded the experiment, "Their experiment is ingeniously constructed to make it difficult to interpret as anything other than what they say," said Orzel, author of "How to Teach Quantum Mechanics to Your Dog" (Scribner, 2010) It "is one of the best examples you'll see of a thought experiment made real," he added.

Experiments exploring quantum tunneling are difficult and further research is needed to understand the implications of this study. The Toronto group is already considering improvements to their apparatus to not only determine the duration of the tunneling process, but to also see if they can learn anything about velocity of the atoms at different points inside the barrier. "We're working on a new measurement where we make the barrier thicker and then determine the amount of precession at different depths," Steinberg said. "It will be very interesting to see if the atoms' speed is constant or not."

In many interpretations of quantum mechanics, it is impossible even in principle to determine a subatomic particle's trajectory. Such a measurement could lead to insights into the confusing world of quantum theory. The quantum world is very different from the world we're familiar with. Experiments like these will help make it a little less mysterious.

Originally published on Live Science.

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Physicists watch quantum particles tunnel through solid barriers. Here's what they found. - Live Science

Quantum-safe security firm evolutionQ awarded contribution from Canada Space Agency for Quantum Key Distribution (QKD) Network Research and…

KITCHENER, Ontario (PRWEB) August 10, 2020

evolutionQ was awarded a Space Technology Development Program (STDP) contribution by the CSA to develop solutions to advance satellite-based secure quantum communication services and tools to address challenges related to satellite-based Quantum Key Distribution (QKD) networks.

Cryptography underpins the secure communications required for the digital, network-based social and financial interactions that are at the heart of modern society and the economy, including banking, the sharing of confidential healthcare data, and the exchange of sensitive information between governmental institutions. However, rapid advancements in quantum computing threaten current encryption methods because quantum computers, when built, will be able to break commonly used cybersecurity systems. It is important to develop tools, like QKD, that will be resistant to such quantum threats.

QKD technologies leverage the fundamental laws of quantum physics to distribute confidential cryptographic keys between two users, while detecting the attempts of malicious third-parties to intercept such keys. Unfortunately, typical terrestrial methods to establish such direct secure connection between locations are limited to relatively short distances, of the order of at most 200 km. This is clearly a challenge for a country as vast as Canada. Satellite-based QKD will enable secure, reliable, and economical key-sharing across Canada.

A powerful quantum computer has the power to decimate todays cryptography. As key quantum computing milestones are achieved, the need for quantum-safe solutions intensifies, said Dr. Michele Mosca, President and CEO of evolutionQ. Robust cryptography is absolutely necessary for our safety and the proper functioning of our digital economy. We must adopt quantum-safe solutions to secure and safeguard our critical infrastructures, financial services and intellectual property."

Quantum Key Distribution is an important tool in addressing the quantum threat. QKD uses the fundamental laws of physics to protect information shared between two parties. CTO of evolutionQ, Dr. Norbert Ltkenhaus remarked. Satellite-based QKD is essential for a vast country like Canada and will help secure communications from coast to coast. evolutionQ is poised to utilize its expertise and develop solutions to help establish satellite QKD, and to integrate it with existing terrestrial solutions.

evolutionQ will develop tools to address the challenges unique to satellite-based QKD. This will be accomplished by modelling the role and performance of QKD satellites, and by designing optimization algorithms to integrate QKD satellites with terrestrial networks. The software solutions will be designed to be integrated with existing and planned satellite hardware. The project is expected to last 24 months.

The initiative will also help Canada safeguard sovereignty in the quantum age and strengthen Canadian leadership in the space and quantum sectors. The initiative aligns with the new Space Strategy for Canada, the safety and security principle in Canadas Digital Charter and the Government of Canadas Innovations and Skills Plan.

This project is undertaken with the financial support of the Canadian Space Agency.

About evolutionQ:evolutionQ is a leading quantum-safe cybersecurity company led by world-renowned quantum computing experts Dr. Michele Mosca and Dr. Norbert Ltkenhaus. evolutionQ delivers quantum-risk management strategy and advisory services along with robust cybersecurity products designed to be safe against quantum computers.

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Nuh Gedik and Pablo Jarillo-Herrero are 2020 Moore Experimental Investigators in Quantum Materials – MIT News

Physics professorsNuh GedikandPablo Jarillo-Herrerohave been named Experimental Investigators in Quantum Materials by theGordon and Betty Moore Foundation.

The two are among 20 winners nationwide of the foundation's Emergent Phenomena in Quantum Systems (EPiQS) Initiative. Each will receive a five-year, $1.6 million unrestricted grant to support their research in quantum materials.

Gediks research centers on using advanced optical techniques for probing and controlling properties of quantum materials. He will use his grant to search for novel, light-induced phases in these systems.

These materials display fascinating but poorly understood properties, such as high-temperature superconductivity or topological protection, says Gedik. We use ultrafast laser pulses to make femtosecond movies of electrons and atoms inside these systems to understand the mechanism behind their exotic behavior. Our ultimate goal isto use light as a controllable tuning parameter (just as magnetic field orpressure) to switch between equilibrium phases and to engineer newlight-induced stateswith no equilibrium counterparts.

Jarillo-Herrero, theCecil and Ida Green Professor of Physics,leads a laboratory that uses quantum electronic transport and optoelectronic techniques to investigate novel 2D materials and heterostructures, with a focus on emergent correlated and topological phenomena/phases resulting from the interplay between unusual electronic structures and electron interaction effects.

This Moore Foundation award will allow my group to focus on a novel experimental platform called twistronics, where a new degree of freedom, namely the twist angle between two stacked 2D crystalline lattices, enables the exploration of a plethora of intriguing quantum mechanical effects, such as superconductivity. This emergent platform may provide important clues about the origin of many of the most fascinating phases of matter present in the universe, as well as the potential engineering of these phases to create new quantum technologies.

The EPiQS Initiative of the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation aims to stimulate experimental research in the physics of quantum materials by providing some of the fields most creative scientists with freedom to take risks and flexibility for agile change of research direction. The collective impact of these investigators will produce a more comprehensive understanding of the fundamental organizing principles of complex quantum matter in solids.

The Experimental Investigator awards are the largest grant portfolio within the EPiQS initiative, says Amalia Fernandez-Paella, program officer of the EPiQS Initiative. We expect that such substantial, stable, and flexible support will propel quantum materials research forward and unleash the creativity of the investigators.

The cohorts research will cover a broad spectrum of research questions, types of materials systems, and complementary experimental approaches. The investigators will advance experimental probes of quantum states in materials; elucidate emergent phenomena observed in systems with strong electron interactions; investigate light-induced states of matter; explore the vast space of two-dimensional layered structures; and illuminate the role of quantum entanglement in exotic systems such as quantum spin liquids. In addition, the investigators will participate in EPiQS community-building activities, which include investigator symposia, topical workshops, and theQuantEmX scientist exchange program.

Since 2013, EPiQS has supported an integrated research program that includes materials synthesis, experiment, and theory, and that crosses the boundaries between physics, chemistry, and materials science. Thesecond phaseof the initiative was kicked off earlier this year with the launch of two major grant portfolios:Materials Synthesis Investigators and Theory Centers. The 20 newly inaugurated experimental investigators will join these grantees to form a vibrant, collaborative community that strives to push the entire field toward a new frontier.

The first cohort of EPiQS Experimental Investigators made advances that changed the landscape of quantum materials, and I expect no less from this second cohort. Emergent phenomena appear when a large number of constituents interact strongly, whether these constituents are electrons in materials, or the brilliant scientists trying to crack the mysteries of materials. says Duan Pejakovi, director of the EPiQS Initiative. Gedik and Jarillo-Herrero were also part of the first cohort of EPIQS awardees.

The Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation fosters pathbreaking scientific discovery, environmental conservation, patient care improvements, and preservation of the special character of the San Francisco Bay Area.

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Nuh Gedik and Pablo Jarillo-Herrero are 2020 Moore Experimental Investigators in Quantum Materials - MIT News

Quantum physics: the trick to beat artificial intelligence to Go? | Innovation – Explica

The relationship between artificial intelligence and games can be summed up in two words: cat and mouse. Since 1997 Deep Blue defeated Kasparov at chess, primal mouse, a long list of rodents have been presenting their candidacy to become the definitive game that proves or denies the intellectual superiority of the machine: Jeopardy, Starcraft, Poker Go, another aspiring classic, defeated in 2016, has just returned to the ring determined to make life difficult for the cat with the help of a team of scientists from Shanghai Jiao Tong University.

Those responsible for the new challenge have devised a modality inspired by the quantum physics of this ancient board game. In it, players make their moves with two interlocking tiles instead of one. Quantum physics can give the game the non-deterministic feature typical of games of chance that does not exist in the classical version, they explain in the resulting study. Furthermore, in this revamped Go, it is played under conditions of imperfect information ; that is, players can only know a part of the state of the game, while the rest is kept secret, like the cards in poker.

In classic Go, two players face each other to achieve control of the board and surround their opponent by strategically placing black and white pieces, called stones, on the intersections of a board of 18 by 18 squares. If a player occupies the four intersections that surround an opponents piece, he captures it. At the end of the game, which comes when the two players pass their turn for not seeing more possible moves, the one who has surrounded the most empty intersections with their stones wins. This seemingly simple dynamic allows long successions of plays and generates endless scenarios that, at least until 2016, made Go a challenge with the potential to exceed the capabilities of the machine and remain on the shrinking list of things that Humans still do better.

The quantum version is a twist that exponentially expands the possible states of the game by incorporating interlocking tiles into the game and confronting the algorithm with someone of its size: another machine.

The key to this new and convoluted game mode is that the position of the interlocking stones on the board is not final. As soon as the opponent places a piece on a vertex adjacent to either of the two that are interlocking, one of them will disappear and the other remains on the board. In this way, the player does not know if he has succeeded in his action until he has completed it. In the event that the tile next to which it has been placed disappears when the entanglement collapses, you will have wasted your time. In the same way, the unmasked stone that remains on the board will only be able to surround the enemy from that moment on. Lets say that each player places a pair of interlocking stones separate from their opponents. At that point, the board could have four different configurations depending on which one remains on it.

Who decides stays and who leaves? The permanence or not of the chips is obtained by creating a true quantum entanglement process. The scientists used entangled pairs of photons to extract a random series of measurements of 0 or 1 that were assigned to the paired stones.

Where we come from

Go was considered a worthy successor to the outdated chess for two main reasons. On the one hand, the greatest number of possible positions on your board complicates the tasks of searching for potential movements. On the other hand, the aspect of a victory in chess -capturing the king- is more limited than in Go, where any configuration of the board in which none of the players see more benefits to conquer, gives rise to the final count.

As it is, it is not surprising that, for decades, the machine was incapable of beating a human, whether it was this professional or amateur player. The hunt for Go jumped into the worlds newspapers in 2015, when Fan Hui took on Alpha Go, the algorithm developed by Deep Mind, in a first round from which the machine emerged victorious. In 2016, this artificial intelligence established itself as superior as far as Go is concerned after winning the former world champion, Lee Sedol.

Then Alpha Go Zero would come. And then Alpha Zero. The original learned to play over the course of thousands of games against players of varying levels. The second generation learned by playing against itself. And the third, also self-taught, also taught himself how to play chess and shogi.

Where we go?

It is not unreasonable to ask what humanity wants a quantum Go for. According to the Chinese scientists who have invented it, the aim is basically to raise the bar for the machine. Our results establish a paradigm for inventing new games with quantum features and resources and offer a versatile platform for both classical and quantum machine learning, they explain.

Alpha Zero, for example, brings to Deepmind collateral victories to those that occur on the board. An algorithm capable of assimilating the rules of three different games is a significant advance towards the creation of learning systems of general purpose and adaptable to changing situations. Putting the machines to pursue these new goals can have two results: that the algorithm becomes more sophisticated until it reaches them or that the mouse hunts the cat and we finally find the limit of artificial intelligence.

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August: Quantum thermodynamics | News and features – University of Bristol

The QuamNESS consortium unites researchers in University of Bristol, Queens University of Belfast and Trinity College Dublin with the support of a grant from the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council and Science Foundation Ireland (EPSRC-SFI) to explore the thermodynamics of quantum machines and technologies.

Thermodynamics is one of the pillars of natural sciences: it studies the way energy is exchanged between bodies at different temperature, predicts the likeliness of certain chemical reactions, and explains why even the most energy-efficient engine will always produce waste.

However, what happens when the processes of interest involve systems as simple as electrons, atoms or simple molecules? For such nanoscale building blocks of matter, the laws of physics experienced in the everyday world are no longer valid, and quantum mechanics come into play. Therefore, to provide an accurate description of energy-exchange processes occurring at microscopic scales, thermodynamics must be blended with the quantum framework.

Such new avenues of investigation promise to deliver minuscule devices able to make use of the counter-intuitive laws of quantum mechanics to outperform their classical counterparts. Miniaturised to only handfuls of atoms, these machines hold the promise of offering highly efficient ways of generating power, managing heat flows and recovering wasted energy in wide-ranging technologies, from microprocessors to chemical reactions.

The UK-Irish consortium QuamNESS, comprising researchers at the University of Bristol, Queens University Belfast, and Trinity College Dublin, will address this challenging perspective. By developing novel mathematical tools and powerful simulation methods the fundamental principles governing the performance of the smallest possible engines will be revealed. Supported by a large EPSRC-SFI grant, totalling more than 1.6 million, the QuamNESS team will work towards a fully-fledged understanding of how to engineer new technologies that benefit from super-efficient (quantum-enhanced) thermal management.

Dr Stephen Clark, Senior Lecturer in Physics at the University of Bristol and one of the principal investigators of QuamNESS, said: Developing the tools to unravel quantum enhancements is of paramount importance to near-future technologies and is the main objective of our project.

Quantum systems are well known to behave in very unintuitive ways. Under certain conditions, these strange quantum effects can both compete and radically alter the way energy is transformed. Our project will sharpen the view of this interplay by reassessing the fundamental concepts of irreversibility and fluctuations. The long-term aim is then to design schemes to harness quantum effects to make more efficient nanoscale machines.

A crucial feature of QuamNESS is that it brings together a uniquely well-suited team of researchers across world-class institutions in England, Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland. Consequently the EPSRC-SFI partnership scheme was perfectly placed to support a project built on such close cross-border collaboration.

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Loop Quantum Cosmology Theory: Cosmic Tango Between the Very Small and the Very Large – SciTechDaily

Tiny quantum fluctuations in the early universe explain two major mysteries about the large-scale structure of the universe, in a cosmic tango of the very small and the very large. A new study by researchers at Penn State used the theory of quantum loop gravity to account for these mysteries, which Einsteins theory of general relativity considers anomalous. Credit: Dani Zemba, Penn State

Theory of loop quantum cosmology describes how tiny primordial features account for anomalies at the largest scales of the universe.

While Einsteins theory of general relativity can explain a large array of fascinating astrophysical and cosmological phenomena, some aspects of the properties of the universe at the largest-scales remain a mystery. A new study using loop quantum cosmologya theory that uses quantum mechanics to extend gravitational physics beyond Einsteins theory of general relativityaccounts for two major mysteries. While the differences in the theories occur at the tiniest of scalesmuch smaller than even a protonthey have consequences at the largest of accessible scales in the universe. The study, which was published online on July 29, 2020, in the journal Physical Review Letters, also provides new predictions about the universe that future satellite missions could test.

While a zoomed-out picture of the universe looks fairly uniform, it does have a large-scale structure, for example because galaxies and dark matter are not uniformly distributed throughout the universe. The origin of this structure has been traced back to the tiny inhomogeneities observed in the Cosmic Microwave Background (CMB)radiation that was emitted when the universe was 380 thousand years young that we can still see today. But the CMB itself has three puzzling features that are considered anomalies because they are difficult to explain using known physics.

Diagram showing evolution of the Universe according to the paradigm of Loop Quantum Origins, developed by scientists at Penn State. Credit: Alan Stonebraker. P. Singh, Physics 5, 142 (2012); APS/A. Stonebraker

While seeing one of these anomalies may not be that statistically remarkable, seeing two or more together suggests we live in an exceptional universe, said Donghui Jeong, associate professor of astronomy and astrophysics at Penn State and an author of the paper. A recent study in the journal Nature Astronomy proposed an explanation for one of these anomalies that raised so many additional concerns, they flagged a possible crisis in cosmology. Using quantum loop cosmology, however, we have resolved two of these anomalies naturally, avoiding that potential crisis.

Research over the last three decades has greatly improved our understanding of the early universe, including how the inhomogeneities in the CMB were produced in the first place. These inhomogeneities are a result of inevitable quantum fluctuations in the early universe. During a highly accelerated phase of expansion at very early timesknown as inflationthese primordial, miniscule fluctuations were stretched under gravitys influence and seeded the observed inhomogeneities in the CMB.

To understand how primordial seeds arose, we need a closer look at the early universe, where Einsteins theory of general relativity breaks down, said Abhay Ashtekar, Evan Pugh Professor of Physics, holder of the Eberly Family Chair in Physics, and director of the Penn State Institute for Gravitation and the Cosmos. The standard inflationary paradigm based on general relativity treats space time as a smooth continuum. Consider a shirt that appears like a two-dimensional surface, but on closer inspection you can see that it is woven by densely packed one-dimensional threads. In this way, the fabric of space time is really woven by quantum threads. In accounting for these threads, loop quantum cosmology allows us to go beyond the continuum described by general relativity where Einsteins physics breaks downfor example beyond the Big Bang.

The researchers previous investigation into the early universe replaced the idea of a Big Bang singularity, where the universe emerged from nothing, with the Big Bounce, where the current expanding universe emerged from a super-compressed mass that was created when the universe contracted in its preceding phase. They found that all of the large-scale structures of the universe accounted for by general relativity are equally explained by inflation after this Big Bounce using equations of loop quantum cosmology.

In the new study, the researchers determined that inflation under loop quantum cosmology also resolves two of the major anomalies that appear under general relativity.

The primordial fluctuations we are talking about occur at the incredibly small Planck scale, said Brajesh Gupt, a postdoctoral researcher at Penn State at the time of the research and currently at the Texas Advanced Computing Center of the University of Texas at Austin. A Planck length is about 20 orders of magnitude smaller than the radius of a proton. But corrections to inflation at this unimaginably small scale simultaneously explain two of the anomalies at the largest scales in the universe, in a cosmic tango of the very small and the very large. The researchers also produced new predictions about a fundamental cosmological parameter and primordial gravitational waves that could be tested during future satellite missions, including LiteBird and Cosmic Origins Explorer, which will continue improve our understanding of the early universe.

Reference: Alleviating the Tension in the Cosmic Microwave Background Using Planck-Scale Physics by Abhay Ashtekar, Brajesh Gupt, Donghui Jeong and V. Sreenath, 29 July 2020, Physical Review Letters.DOI: 10.1103/PhysRevLett.125.051302

In addition to Jeong, Ashtekar, and Gupt, the research team includes V. Sreenath at the National Institute of Technology Karnataka in Surathkal, India. This work was supported by the National Science Foundation, NASA, the Penn State Eberly College of Science, and the Inter-University Center for Astronomy and Astrophysics in Pune, India.

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Scientists Played a Game of Go at the Quantum Scale – Futurism

Quantum Realm

A team of Chinese scientists put a new twist on the ancient game Go: They shrunk it down to the quantum scale.

In this new version, the classic black and white stones players use as game pieces were taken away and replaced by pairs of entangled photons, according to Phys.org. While the game is an unusual quantum experiment on its own, the researchers say that the work could herald a new era of quantum physics-based games.

In a regular game of Go, players try to claim territory on a board and capture each others stones by surrounding them with their own. Its an extremely complex game governed by extremely simple rules, which has made it a common target for AI researchers.

But in the quantum version, which is described in a paper shared on the preprint server ArXiv last month, the use of entangled photons introduces new layers of complexity and randomness.

The main difference between the two games is that now it matters whether an encircled photon is entangled with another or not. When a player places down two photons, they remain entangled until another photon is placed next to one of them. For as long as theyre entangled, neither photon can be captured.

And thanks to the tricky nature of quantum physics, a player wont know whether a given photon is entangled with another until they try to capture it, adding a new element of chance and trickery that renders classic Go strategies useless.

READ MORE: Using entangled photons to play quantum Go [Phys.org]

More on Go: Human Go Champion Who Lost to AI Says Machines Cannot Be Defeated

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Scientists Played a Game of Go at the Quantum Scale - Futurism

CBD Nation, Available August 25 On Amazon And Video On Demand, Examines The Highest Levels Of Scientific Research And Medical Evidence Surrounding The…

Explains the film's director and producer David Jakubovic, "Over the course of this project, I came to realize that cannabis is far from a gateway drug; for many, it's actually an exit drug from Pharmaceuticals and Narcotics. And in the U.S. - which has 5% of the world's population consuming 75% of the world's pharmaceuticals - we can no longer afford to be in the dark about the facts. Facts can save lives."

Featuring the world's leading experts in cannabis science and medicine - including acclaimed Israeli scientist Raphael Mechoulam, Ph.D., the 'father of cannabis research' whose 1960s discovery of THC jump started the medical and scientific revolution around cannabis - CBD Nation offers a compelling look at 60 years' worth of published and ongoing research.

"We published our findings thirty-seven years ago: cannabidiol (CBD) blocks epileptic attacks in patients. What happened? Nothing for thirty years," states Raphael Mechoulam, President of The Multidisciplinary Center for Cannabinoid Research at The Hebrew University of Jerusalem."Nothing happened until desperate parents like those in this film did their own research and found out that cannabidiol can help children with epilepsy. But epilepsy is just one of many conditions that we know cannabis medicine can treat. If the world chooses to not look at all of the science, it is not ignorance it's negligence."

Adds longtime cannabis activist, entrepreneur, and restorative justice champion, Steve DeAngelo, who also appears in the film: "CBD Nation brings you the real science that decades of U.S. government sponsored misinformation have hidden from public view. Watch it, and learn why cannabis may just be the most valuable medicine ever discovered by human beings."

Shot in 2018 over the course of six months in the United States, Canada, and Israel, CBD Nation marries a wealth of scientific breakthroughs with first-person narratives, following the emotional stories of patients for whom CBD is a lifesaving medicine.

"CBD Nation tells the authentic origin story of CBD how it took sick kids like Jayden David, Rylie Maedler, and the late Charlotte Figibecoming messengers for this plant in order for mainstream society to acknowledge its potential as medicine," shares Harborside co-founder, cannabis industry consultant and strategic advisor,Andrew DeAngelo. "It is a story about human biology, human rights, and the ultimate victory of truth and science, which could not be more relevant today."

With interviews from more than 30 physicians, clinicians, researchers, and patients, CBD Nation is the first wide release film to dive deep into how the human body has evolved to work with cannabis, providing not only a second chance at life for patients but also a fighting chance for the world's most politicized plant to be accepted for what it is: medicine.

"I hope that U.S. doctors, educators and politicians see this film," says Rylie Maedler, who worked closely with legislators in her home state of Delaware to pass Rylie's Law, granting children with qualifying conditions access to medical cannabis. "Because I'm living proof of the fact that cannabis and CBD have a place in modern medicine."

To learn more about CBD Nation, please visit CBDNationFilm.com.

PRESS CONTACT:[emailprotected]; 646.943.0541

ABOUT MAD MACHINE FILMSLaunched in 2013, Mad Machine Films produces documentary films and commercial content on a wide range of subjects and genres, from cannabis science and quantum physics, to the Vietnam War and concert films. The company was founded by director David Jakubovic, whose most recent credits include directing National Geographic's 2-hour World War 2 special, Heroes of the Sky: the Mighty Eighth Air Force PBS's 1-hour concert film for British pop icon Charli XCX, and the upcoming feature documentary, CBD Nation.

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The unending appeal of time loops – SYFY WIRE

For most of us, it began with an alarm clock. The old fashioned, mechanical numbers flipped down to 6 a.m., and the familiar beats of Sonny and Cher's "I Got You Babe" rang out. It was Groundhog Day, again, and Bill Murray's Phil Conners was about to begin reliving the worst day of his life over and over again. Groundhog Day didn't invent its concept, but the comedy manages to occupy an almost impossible intersection of dark, silly, and genuinely heartfelt, and as such has stood as the defining example of the time-loop genre for almost 20 years.

The trope is simple enough: A character or multiple characters experience the same period of time on a loop, with their interactions within it being the only element of change. And though Groundhog Day's shadow loomed large over the '90s, the mid-2000s and onward allowed for a veritable explosion of new takes on it. From the underrated Emily Blunt (and Tom Cruise, but mostly we're here for Emily Blunt) vehicle Edge of Tomorrow (aka Live. Die. Repeat.), the Happy Death Day horror franchise, the popular Netflix comedy series Russian Doll, and the newest entry, Hulu's Palm Springs, the "It's like Groundhog Day but" genre has been booming.

Warning: The following may contain spoilers for Palm Springs.

What is it about the time loop trope that draws us in? It certainly feels like it has an extra dose of relevance currently, with many folks working from home while trying to retain any awareness of the difference between days. Palm Springs especially has benefited from a timeliness the filmmakers had never intentioned. The film eerily predicted the behavioral patterns we're seeing within our real-life national time loop. Andy Samberg's character is adrift without an anchor; Cristin Miliotti dives into workhorse mode, teaching herself complicated quantum physics in the booth of a diner; J.K. Simmons devolves into abject primal cruelty, admitting he hadn't even considered the way his actions affected the others.

But outside of a stay-at-home crisis, time loops have gained traction in their appeal due to the same themes that made Groundhog Day so popular to begin with. Like the drunken locals that Phil Conners laments to in Punxsutawney, or the fellow wedding guest in the Palm Springs hotel pool talking to Samberg's Nyles, those existing outside the loop can relate on a visceral level to the experience of feeling like today is the same as yesterday and tomorrow. For Bill Murray, the appeal of Groundhog Day as a script was its representation of people's fear of change, and how we choose to repeat our daily lives to avoid it. These themes echoed in Russian Doll, which as a bingeable streaming series really allowed audiences to inhabit the repetitive nature of the loops, ironically utilizing the same technologies that have sped our lives up and caused them to feel even more cyclical.

But these themes are not the universal notes behind all time-loop stories. The first season of Star Trek: Discovery made excellent use of the trope in the episode "Magic to Make the Sanest Man Mad" as a tool for villainous Harry Mudd's schemes, and in which the crew members repeatedly attempt to prevent the destruction of the ship. Similarly, the "Eleventh Hour" arc of the actual-play RPG podcast The Adventure Zone features a time loop in which the characters must try to stop the destruction of a rural town. Stories like this, often using much shorter time loops to up the stakes with a ticking clock, magnify one of the other key relatable themes of the trope, repeating events over and over until one can get them right.

The appeal for this "getting it right" element to time loops is fairly universal. Who among us hasn't replayed a past mistake or fumbled social encounter over and over in our heads, imagining all the ways that we could have done it better? The time-loop premise offers us a wish-fulfillment fantasy, giving us the most literal representation of that experience possible. In a "be careful what you wish for" lesson in morality though, often it's the characters' attempts to stop a thing from happening that leads to much more catastrophic results. The lesson perhaps being that obsessing over a past event is ultimately destructive and the goal should be to move on.

These two themes are not completely independent of each other. In seemingly lower-stakes stories, the thing that the characters might be most actively trying to fix is their own lives. In the real world, those of us who live repetitious loops from day to day likely don't do so out of a sense that we've got everything exactly how we like it rather, we do it thinking that, if we just stick with our grind, one day it will probably all pay off.

The simple beauty of a time-loop story is that when presented with a world where everything is ultimately static, the only element of true change must come from the characters themselves. According to Groundhog Day screenwriter Danny Rubin, what starts as the worst day of Phil's life ends up as the best day, based entirely on how he personally changes and how that affects the way he experiences the world. Similarly, in Edge of Tomorrow, while there is a very real alien threat, Tom Cruise's character has moved from being a coward trying to escape conflict to rushing into danger, sacrificing himself to save the world, even after he's been freed from the time loop.

Between the relatability, the darkened wish fulfillment, and the intense zeroing in on character development, all combined with the inherent entertainment value of a well managed time-loop story, it's easy to see why time loops moved out of being a seldom-used premise from a handful of specific sources into a full-on subgenre of its own. It's a near-certainty that we'll continue to see more and more of these stories as time moves forward. Or doesn't.

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The unending appeal of time loops - SYFY WIRE

The Force of Nothingness Has Been Used to Manipulate Objects – ScienceAlert

Scientists can use some pretty wild forces to manipulate materials. There's acoustic tweezers, which use the force ofacoustic radiationto control tiny objects. Optical tweezers made of lasers exploit the force of light. Not content with that, now physicists have made a device to manipulate materials using the force of nothingness.

OK, that may be a bit simplistic. When we say nothingness, we're really referring to the attractive force that arises between two surfaces in a vacuum, known as the Casimir force. The new research has provided not just a way to use it for no-contact object manipulation, but also to measure it.

The implications span multiple fields, from chemistry and gravitational wave astronomy all the way down to something as fundamental and ubiquitous as metrology - the science of measurement.

"If you can measure and manipulate the Casimir force on objects, then we gain the ability to improve force sensitivity and reduce mechanical losses, with the potential to strongly impact science and technology," explained physicist Michael Tobar of the University of Western Australia.

The Casimir force was first predicted in 1948 by Dutch theoretical physicist Hendrik Casimir, and finally demonstrated within his predicted values in 1997.

But, since then, it has been generating a lot more interest, not just for its own sake, but for how it might be used in other areas of research.

What Casimir predicted was that an attractive force would exist between two conducting plates in a vacuum, due to contrasts in quantum fluctuations in the electromagnetic field.

"To understand this, we need to delve into the weirdness of quantum physics. In reality a perfect vacuum does not exist - even in empty space at zero temperature, virtual particles, like photons, flicker in and out of existence," Tobar said.

"These fluctuations interact with objects placed in vacuum and are actually enhanced in magnitude as temperature is increased, causing a measurable force from 'nothing' - otherwise known as the Casimir force."

The team's experiment took place in room temperature settings.They made use of a tiny metallic enclosure designed to confine certain kinds of electromagnetic radiation, referred to as a microwave re-entrant cavity.

Separated from this cavity by a gap of about one micrometre was a metal-plated silicon nitride membrane acting as a Casimir spring.

By applying an electrostatic force, the team was able to control the re-entrant gap with exquisite precision.

This, in turn, allowed them to manipulate the membrane with the Casimir force that arose when the gap was sufficiently small.

"Because of the Casimir force between the objects, the metallic membrane, which flexed back and forth, had its spring-like oscillations significantly modified and was used to manipulate the properties of the membrane and re-entrant cavity system in a unique way," Tobar said.

"This allowed orders of magnitudes of improvement in force sensitivity and the ability to control the mechanical state of the membrane."

But controlling the gap also allowed the researchers to measure the force. As the gap opened, the Casimir force grew weaker, until it was at a point where it was no longer acting on the membrane. By studying the changes to the membrane, the team could generate high precision measurements.

It's a novel way of measuring nothing, though other methods have used tiny rapidly moving materials to also get a grip on the force exerted by variations in otherwise vacant quantum fields.

Other studies have also put the force to use in less precise ways, helping tiny silicon devices keep their distance, for example.

"The technique presented here has high potential to create additional schemes and devices by manipulating the thermal Casimir force," the researchers wrote in their paper.

"For example, 'in situ' agile programmable devices, engineered to manipulate mode structures and improve resonator losses as needed at room temperature, could be constructed, including the development and manipulation of topological mechanical oscillators."

Doesn't that sound fun?

The research has been published in Nature Physics.

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The Force of Nothingness Has Been Used to Manipulate Objects - ScienceAlert

Fake ‘Freedom to Breathe Agency’ was caught in Facebook COVID-19 purge – Insider – INSIDER

A video being widely shared on social media has renewed attention on a group that falsely presents itself as a government agency fighting against compulsory mask-wearing.

In the video filmed in a California grocery store a woman says she is from the "Freedom to Breathe Agency."

She tells a store worker that she could be sued for enforcing mask rules. She also handed her papers, which, according to BuzzFeed News, claimed that she could be sent to prison.

The group has no affiliation with any state or federal authority, and has been warned by the Department of Justice to stop mis-using its seal.

It has also been censured as part of a Facebook crackdown on coronavirus misinformation, linked to fake cards marked "FACE MASK EXEMPT" and said to be issued by the agency.

In July the Department of Justice (DoJ) denied any affiliation with the group after imagery emerged of the cards, which feature the department's seal.

"These postings were not issued by the Department and are not endorsed by the Department," said the DoJ in a statement to NPR.

The cards threatened business owners requiring patrons to wear masks with a referral to the DoJ, and potential fines of $150,000.

Pictures of the exemption cards were being linked to widely in a Facebook group called Unmasking America, reported The Verge in July.

The page was subsequently banned from the site for spreading coronavirus misinformation.

One poster in the group reportedly advised others to "print it, laminate it and use it. The number is legit."

The group's Facebook page is currently unavailable, with a message from Facebook suggesting possible reasons, including that it had been deleted.

The group's founder was identified by The New York Times as Lenka Koloma.

The outlet reported that she was selling the cards on a page on the Shopify platform. She describes herself on her webpage as an "entrepreneur, motivational speaker, transformation expert and researcher in the field of biology, nutritional science, science of life, neuroscience and quantum physics."

She is also, according to BuzzFeed News, the woman in the video confronting the grocery store worker.

She claims wearing a mask is part of "subliminal mind conditioning," and her website contains a print-out of grounds for refusing to obey mask-wearing rules.

Koloma did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Facebook also did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Do you have a personal experience with the coronavirus you'd like to share? Or a tip on how your town or community is handling the pandemic? Please email covidtips@businessinsider.com and tell us your story.

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Fake 'Freedom to Breathe Agency' was caught in Facebook COVID-19 purge - Insider - INSIDER

How Wave.tv is making the World’s Strongest Man think bigger with its digital plans – SportsPro Media

Boasting one of the most evocative titles in sport, and having grown from a light-hearted entertainment show into an international franchise watched by millions, it seems disingenuous to label the Worlds Strongest Man (WSM) as small or niche.

Then again, in an industry swarming with billion dollar broadcast deals, eye-popping viewing figures, and lucrative commercial partnerships, it is a mark of the times that even WSMs feats of superhuman strength have not been able to keep up with other sports properties in the search for expansion.

A reported annual global viewership of around 220 million would certainly challenge the assumption that WSM is on the fringes of global recognition. But if you really break it down, the sport, while capturing the imagination, has yet to fully immerse itself in the public consciousness.

Aside from the cream of the crop, who get the majority of their income from sponsorships, few athletes make a living out if it. Even Eddie Hall, WSM 2017 winner and the first man to pull a 500kg deadlift (for context, that is heavier than a polar bear) could only afford to turn pro in 2015. He is one of the few select strongmen, certainly in the UK, who qualify for household name status. The other being Geoff Capes, who claimed two titles in 1983 and 1985 during the sports fledgling years.

A staple of the Christmas TV schedule during the past five decades, that reliance on linear broadcasting has perhaps held WSM back given audiences propensity today for digital, on-demand content. Even a 170kg bloke pulling an airplane is not as attention grabbing as it once was.

But that could all be about to change. In June, sports entertainment company Wave.tv struck a partnership with IMG to strengthen its content offering across the agency giants properties, one being WSM.

The deal secured Wave.tv rights to distribute WSM content via an array of digital media brands on Snapchat, Instagram, TikTok, Facebook and YouTube channels, meaning keg tossing, axle pressing and tyre flipping were all at the fingertips of the Wave.tv audience.

We believe that a formula of fandoms, plusprogramming formats, plus IP equals new hit programming, Brian Verne (pictured right), Wave.tvs chief executive and co-founder, tells SportsPro. When we started Wave.tv,we set out to go sport by sport, or fandom by fandom, and create this portfolio of digitally native media brands, covering everything from traditional sports to non-traditional sports to anything in between.

We wanted to do it squarely on the core and emerging social and digital platforms, where we saw young fans really migrating to for their sports entertainment experience.

We felt like if we were able to do that, and take this view of providing fans with a true breadth of programming, and then also marry that with mastering different programming formats, then we'd be able to go and work with rights holders or IP holders.

We simply reimagine a lot of the same stories and narratives that fans have cared about for years into new hit programming for the platforms on which our media brands live.

Wave.tv had already tested the waters with IMG through the launch of The Pump on Snapchat. Described as the destination for the strongest content on the planet, the show features strongmen and other fitness personalities hitting the iron. Over a 12-month period, WSM content generated more than 345 million views, with The Pump now boasting a dedicated fanbase and becoming one of Wave.tvs top performing properties.

Over the last 18 months, Vernes operation has also been distributing WSM content across the Wave TV, Highlights WAVE, and Greatest Highlights channels, demonstrating bold plans to take the rights holders IP to the masses.

I think in general, there has been this massive misconception in the market that fandom is decreasing with the next generation of fans, when in fact it's actually at an all-time high, explains Verne.

People's viewing habits have changed. Today, yes, that younger fan isn't necessarily behaving the same way as previous generations. But they're consuming more content than ever on their phones across the social and digital platforms where our brands live.

So, if anything, I think its a reminder to the industry that people still love all sorts of sports for all sorts of fandoms.

There are all these amazing stories or moments that are happening on a daily basis and just because it might not be soccer, football, basketball, baseball, or hockey, doesn't mean there isn't an incredible story to be told. That was our worldview as it relates to Worlds Strongest Man.

Magns Ver Magnsson and Bill Kazmaier won seven WSM titles between them during the 1980s and 90s

Indeed, WSM has been packed with engrossing storytelling since its first edition in 1977, adding some brains to its considerable brawn.

The 1980s saw Capes, the US Bill Kazmaier and Icelands Jn Pll Sigmarsson, who called himself the Viking, trade titles and insults during the decade. The mid 1990s to early 2000s saw more Nordic power reign supreme, with competitors from Finland, Sweden, Norway, and Iceland again dominating the field.

From 2010, weve arguably seen the highest standard of competition in the sports history, with ydrnas Savickas, Brian Shaw, Eddie Hall and Game of Thrones star Hafr Jlus Bjrnsson breaking numerous world records.

Savickas fittingly known as Big Z and regarded in many circles as the strongest man in history was described by strength icon and WWE star Mark Henry as being the Michael Jordan of lifting. Yet, his profile pales in comparison to the fastest man who ever lived, Usain Boult, or even Jordan himself.

Considering the quality on show today, staunch WSM fans could make a case that the sport does not need to drastically alter its broadcasting approach for fear of pampering the most masculine of vocations. But, facing competition from the likes of the Arnold Strongman Classic, it would be short-sighted not to tap into a digital methodology as more established sports already have done.

ydrnas Savickas is an icon of the sport

Crucially, the Wave.tv tie-up ensures WSM, along with other IMG properties such as EuroLeague Basketball and Edge Sport, will enjoy a flow of organic coverage and engagement with Gen Z and millennial audiences. Currently, 80 per cent of Wave.tvs viewers are aged between 13 and 34.

Added to that, since being founded in 2017, Wave.tv has become the fourth largest sports media entity in the US and fastest growing overall globally, according to measurement solution firm Shareablee. Boasting more than 3.2 billion monthly views, the company has over 60 million followers and subscribers, reaching at least 200 million fans each month.

I think that the beauty of sport is that its truly this universal language, continues Verne. We often say that fandom cannot, and should not, fit within a singular box.Regardless of what your favourite sport is, that doesn't mean youre not equally as passionate.

If you think about how many different fandoms exist and manifest globally, it is very limiting as a media company to only focus on a small subset. Thus, we took this approach that whether a sport is traditional or non-traditional, or anything you can even imagine, we want to develop a media brand and programming for it.

Other IMG properties including EuroLeague Basketball and Edge Sport are part of Wave.tvs content deal

Verne notes that he expects rights holders to lean even more heavily on digital content in the ongoing battle for increased exposure. Linear TV will continue to be the bread and butter, certainly with the biggest leagues, for the foreseeable future. But the added potential of opening up further sponsorship inventory, coupled with the Covid-19 uncertainty, would suggest social media has an even more sizeable role to play.

At the end of the day, it increases fandom, which drives enterprise value. From a pure commercial and revenue generating point of view, we see this as massively valuable sports sponsorship inventory, says Verne.

You think about the industry at large and, every single year, every white paper talks about the value of the ecosystem increasing. Now, we're in the midst of this paradigm shift of sorts where all sorts of things are changing.

So we view this type of programming that lives across core and emerging social and digital [platforms] as being incredibly valuable and lucrative to all sorts of rights holders. Weve certainly found a way to differentiate ourselves by working with a lot of non-traditional sports to date.

If you think about how many different fandoms exist and manifest globally, it is very limiting as a media company to only focus on a small subset.

The clamour for properties, not just WSM, to grasp the next wave of fans is all the more urgent as they look to shore up their earnings amid the economic downturn. An exact formula is elusive, given the variable nature of each generation. But, Wave.tvs youthful audience offers some clues to maximise digital engagement.

Don't overthink things. Regardless of whether it was year 1900, 1960 or 2020, sports is escapism. Its entertainment for people, explains Verne.

The same underlying pillars still exist today when you talk about developing effective programming. People want to learn something, they want to be entertained, they want to laugh, they want to be motivated, they want to be inspired. If you take that approach to your programming, irrespective of the medium or the format, then I think it's going to be effective.

For whatever reason, over the last decade or so, there has been a little bit of a misconception or over complicating a lot of what we do. We're not solving quantum physics. Were just taking the same things you and I grew up with, that our parents and grandparents grew up watching, the same interests, and just adapting it to how fans across the world are behaving today.

That's why I always tell people that the beauty in our business is truly the simplicity.

Without mammoth TV and commercial contracts to fall back on, the post-Covid future is even more uncertain for non-traditional sports. However, for WSM, its collaboration with Wave.tv offers a chance to leverage content old and new for an untapped demographic.

Boosting those prospects further arethe considerable resources Wave.tv is able to allocate to its partners. In June, Verne closed a Series A funding round worth US$32 million to further build Wave.tv's roster of media brands, while company acquisitions are on the agenda too.

With consumers watching more content during lockdown, Wave.tv was able to sustain its business by drawing on it deep archive. Whilst other media brands have been hit hard by the coronavirus pandemic, Verne claims Wave.tv is on target to see about 100 per cent year-over-year revenue growth meaning it has enough budget to target the addition of between 12 and 20 new staff this quarter.

WSM athletes may be competing bicep to bicep, but Wave.tvs approach to having ardent fans from varying sports at the centre of its approach highlights the value of putting passion into practice.

Weve always viewed ourselves as this modern day sports and entertainment enterprise. From a media point of view, we have 18 media brands within our portfolio, each covering some subset of fandom. That's made us well positioned to continue to add media brands to the roster, says Verne.

Our worldview is that we can develop a very successful, digitally native media brand for a particular area of sports fandom. So, you'll definitely see us expand into new categories.

Given the time that were in, were at the convergence of a lot of change within sports sponsorship. Sports betting, especially in North America, is one of the fastest growing sectors, so that's something that we're looking at really heavily.

Thats on our roadmap from a programming and commercial opportunity point of view. Well be continuing to diversify and add assets to our portfolio as things evolve. Were very much in growth mode.

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How Wave.tv is making the World's Strongest Man think bigger with its digital plans - SportsPro Media

Large Hadron Collider Detects Evidence of a Rare Higgs Boson Process: God Particle Decaying Into a Pair of Muons – SciTechDaily

The Compact Muon Solenoid (CMS) is a general-purpose detector at the Large Hadron Collider (LHC). It has a broad physics programme ranging from studying the Standard Model (including the Higgs boson) to searching for extra dimensions and particles that could make up dark matter. The CMS detector is built around a huge solenoid magnet. This takes the form of a cylindrical coil of superconducting cable that generates a field of 4 tesla, about 100,000 times the magnetic field of the Earth. The field is confined by a steel yoke that forms the bulk of the detectors 14,000-tonne weight. Credit: CERN

The ATLAS and CMS collaborations at the Large Hadron Collider have seen evidence of a new type of decay not yet observed: the Higgs boson decaying into a pair of muons.

US CMS the United States contingent of the global CMS collaboration played a crucial role in this result, contributing to the excellent performance of CMS detector. US CMS members have been instrumental in the design, construction and upgrades of detector components that capture the particle tracks and help filter potential signals from the background noise: the tracker detector, the muon detectors, the muon trigger system and the computing system. They continue to lead the successful maintenance and operations of these systems.

US CMS is very proud to acknowledge the significant impact made by its members in deploying innovative analysis techniques, including cutting-edge AI methods, which were critical in establishing the evidence for Higgs boson decays into a muon and antimuon pair, said Brown University physicist Meenakshi Narain, chair of the US CMS collaboration. This is a rare process, and finding evidence for it is a vital step toward understanding the Higgs particle and the Standard Model.

CMS is an international collaboration with members from 238 institutes across 55 countries. US CMS, hosted by the U.S. Department of Energys Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory, makes up about a third of the CMS collaboration.

The achievement, reached significantly ahead of what was expected, relies on the excellent performance of our detector, on the large data set provided by LHC and on advanced analysis techniques, said Roberto Carlin, spokesperson for the CMS experimental collaboration.

The ATLAS and CMS experiments at CERN have announced new results that show that the Higgs boson decays into two muons. The muon is a heavier copy of the electron, one of the elementary particles that constitute the matter content of the universe. While electrons are classified as a first-generation particle, muons belong to the second generation. The physics process of the Higgs boson decaying into muons is a rare phenomenon as only about one Higgs boson in 5,000 decays into muons. These new results have pivotal importance for fundamental physics because they indicate for the first time that the Higgs boson interacts with second-generation elementary particles.

Physicists at CERN have been studying the Higgs boson since its discovery in 2012 to probe the properties of this very special particle. The Higgs boson, produced from proton collisions at the Large Hadron Collider, disintegrates referred to as decay almost instantaneously into other particles. One of the main methods of studying the Higgs bosons properties is by analyzing how it decays into the various fundamental particles and the rate of disintegration.

A candidate of a Higgs boson decays into two muons as recorded by CMS. Credit: CMS collaboration, CMS collaboration, Thomas McCauley

CMS achieved evidence of this decay with 3 sigma, which means that the chance of seeing the Higgs boson decaying into a muon pair from statistical fluctuation is less than one in 700. ATLAS two sigma result means the chances are one in 40. The combination of both results would increase the significance well above 3 sigma and provides strong evidence for the Higgs boson decay to two muons.

CMS is proud to have achieved this sensitivity to the decay of Higgs bosons to muons and to show first experimental evidence for this process. The Higgs boson seems to interact also with second-generation particles in agreement with the prediction of the Standard Model, a result that will be further refined with the data we expect to collect in the next run, says Roberto Carlin, spokesperson for the CMS experiment.

The Higgs boson is the quantum manifestation of the Higgs field, which gives mass to elementary particles it interacts with, via the Brout-Englert-Higgs mechanism. By measuring the rate at which the Higgs boson decays into different particles, physicists can infer the strength of their interaction with the Higgs field: the higher the rate of decay into a given particle, the stronger its interaction with the field. So far, the ATLAS and CMS experiments have observed the Higgs boson decays into different types of bosons such as W and Z, and heavier fermions such as tau leptons. The interaction with the heaviest quarks, the top and bottom, was measured in 2018. Muons are much lighter in comparison, and their interaction with the Higgs field is weaker. Interactions between the Higgs boson and muons had, therefore, not been seen at the LHC.

A candidate ATLAS event display of a Higgs boson decay to two muons. Credit: ATLAS collaboration

This evidence of Higgs boson decays to second-generation matter particles complements a highly successful Run 2 Higgs physics program. The measurements of the Higgs bosons properties have reached a new stage in precision and rare decay modes can be addressed. These achievements rely on the large LHC data set, the outstanding efficiency, and performance of the ATLAS detector, as well as the use of novel analysis techniques, says Karl Jakobs, ATLAS spokesperson.

What makes these studies even more challenging is that, at the LHC, for every predicted Higgs boson decaying to two muons, there are thousands of muon pairs produced through other processes that mimic the expected experimental signature. The characteristic signature of the Higgs bosons decay to muons is a small excess of events that cluster near a muon-pair mass of 125 GeV, which is the mass of the Higgs boson. Isolating the Higgs boson to muon-pair interactions is no easy feat. To do so, both experiments measure the energy, momentum and angles of muon candidates from the Higgs bosons decay. In addition, the sensitivity of the analyses was improved through methods such as sophisticated background modeling strategies and other advanced techniques such as machine-learning algorithms. CMS combined four separate analyses, each optimized to categorize physics events with possible signals of a specific Higgs boson production mode. ATLAS divided their events into 20 categories that targeted specific Higgs boson production modes.

The results, which are so far consistent with the Standard Model predictions, used the full data set collected from the second run of the LHC. With more data to be recorded from the particle accelerators next run and with the High-Luminosity LHC, the ATLAS and CMS collaborations expect to reach the sensitivity (5 sigma) needed to establish the discovery of the Higgs boson decay to two muons and constrain possible theories of physics beyond the Standard Model which would affect this decay mode of the Higgs boson.


Measurement of Higgs boson decay to a pair of muons in proton-proton collisions at s=13TeV by CMS Collaboration, 29 July 2020, CMS Physics Analysis Summaries.Report: CMS-PAS-HIG-19-006

A search for the dimuon decay of the Standard Model Higgs boson with the ATLAS detector by ATLAS Collaboration, 15 July 2020, High Energy Physics Experiment.arXiv: 2007.07830

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Large Hadron Collider Detects Evidence of a Rare Higgs Boson Process: God Particle Decaying Into a Pair of Muons - SciTechDaily

Space-Time Refraction Defies Fermats Principle: New Class of Laser Beam Doesnt Follow Normal Laws of Refraction – SciTechDaily

A new study in Nature Photonics details the unique properties of the UCF-developed laser beam.

The speed of a message traveling in these packets is no longer affected by traveling through different materials of different densities.

University of Central Florida researchers have developed a new type of laser beam that doesnt follow long-held principles about how light refracts and travels. The findings, which were published recently in Nature Photonics, could have huge implications for optical communication and laser technologies.

This new class of laser beams has unique properties that are not shared by common laser beams, says Ayman Abouraddy, a professor in UCFs College of Optics and Photonics and the studys principal investigator.

The beams, known as spacetime wave packets, follow different rules when they refract, that is when they pass through different materials. Normally, light slows down when it travels into a denser material.

In contrast, spacetime wave packets can be arranged to behave in the usual manner, to not change speed at all, or even to anomalously speed up in denser materials, Abouraddy says. As such, these pulses of light can arrive at different points in space at the same time.

Think about how a spoon inside a water-filled glass looks broken at the point where the water and air meet, Abouraddy says. The speed of light in air is different from the speed of light in water. And so, the light rays wind up bending after they cross the surface between air to water, and so apparently the spoon looks bent. This is a well-known phenomenon described by Snells Law.

Although Snells Law still applies, the underlying change in velocity of the pulses is no longer applicable for the new laser beams, Abouraddy says. These abilities are counter to Fermats Principle that says light always travels such that it takes the shortest path, he says.

What we find here, though, is no matter how different the materials are that light passes through, there always exists one of our spacetime wave packets that could cross the interface of the two materials without changing its velocity, Abouraddy says. So, no matter what the properties of the medium are, it will go across the interface and continue as if its not there.

For communication, this means the speed of a message traveling in these packets is no longer affected by traveling through different materials of different densities.

If you think of a plane trying to communicate with two submarines at the same depth but one is far away and the other ones close by, the one thats farther away will incur a longer delay than the one thats close by, Abouraddy says. We find that we can arrange for our pulses to propagate such that they arrive at the two submarines at the same time. In fact, now the person sending the pulse doesnt even need to know where the submarine is, as long as they are at the same depth. All those submarines will receive the pulse at the same time so you can blindly synchronize them without knowing where they are.

Abouraddys research team created the spacetime wave packets by using a device known as a spatial light modulator to reorganize the energy of a pulse of light so that its properties in space and time are no longer separate. This allows them to control the group velocity of the pulse of light, which is roughly the speed at which the peak of the pulse travels.

Previous work has shown the teams ability to control the group velocity of the spacetime wave packets, including in optical materials. The current study built upon that work by finding they could also control the spacetime wave packets speed through different media. This does not contradict special relativity in any way, because it applies to the propagation of the pulse peak rather than to the underlying oscillations of the light wave.

This new field that were developing is a new concept for light beams, Abouraddy says. As a result, everything we look into using these beams reveals new behavior. All the behavior we know about light really takes tacitly an underlying presumption that its properties in space and time are separable. So, all we know in optics is based on that. Its a built-in assumption. Its taken to be the natural state of affairs. But now, breaking that underlying assumption, were starting to see new behavior all over the place.

Co-authors of the study were Basanta Bhaduri, lead author and a former research scientist with UCFs College of Optics and Photonics, now with Bruker Nano Surfaces in California, and Murat Yessenov, a doctoral candidate in the college.

Bhaduri became interested in Abouraddys research after reading about it in journals, such as Optics Express and Nature Photonics, and joined the professors research team in 2018. For the study, he helped develop the concept and designed the experiments, as well as carried out measurements and analyzed data.

He says the study results are important in many ways, including the new research avenues it opens.

Space-time refraction defies our expectations derived from Fermats principle and offers new opportunities for molding the flow of light and other wave phenomena, Bhaduri says.

Yessenovs roles included data analysis, derivations and simulations. He says he became interested in the work by wanting to explore more about entanglement, which in quantum systems is when two well-separated objects still have a relation to each other.

We believe that spacetime wave packets have more to offer and many more interesting effects can be unveiled using them, Yessenov says.

Abouraddy says next steps for the research include studying the interaction of these new laser beams with devices such as laser cavities and optical fibers, in addition to applying these new insights to matter rather than to light waves.

Reference: Anomalous refraction of optical spacetime wave packets by Basanta Bhaduri, Murat Yessenov and Ayman F. Abouraddy, 22 June 2020, Nature Photonics.DOI: 10.1038/s41566-020-0645-6

The research was funded by the U.S. Office of Naval Research.

Bhaduri earned his doctorate in physics (applied optics) from the Indian Institute of Technology in Madras, India. He was a research scientist at UCF before recently moving to Bruker Nano Surfaces in California where he is a senior staff optical engineer.

Yessenov earned his bachelors in physics from Nazabayev University, Kazakhstan, and joined Abouraddys group in 2017.

Abouraddy received his doctorate in electrical engineering from Boston University and worked as a postdoctoral researcher at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He joined UCF in 2008.

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Space-Time Refraction Defies Fermats Principle: New Class of Laser Beam Doesnt Follow Normal Laws of Refraction - SciTechDaily

Taking a risk on theoretical physics | symmetry magazine – Symmetry magazine

If Juan Maldacena were not a physicist, he thinks he would have been an engineer like his father. As a boy growing up in Buenos Aires, he liked to spend time with him tinkering with the washing machine or the car or other household items, learning how they exploited the laws of physics, as he sees it today.

Now a theoretical physicist at the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton, New Jersey, Maldacena is world-famous in part for writing what is still one of the most influential articles in string theory.

Although the abstract realms of theoretical physics may seem like a far cry from the literal nuts and bolts of heavy appliances, I think its not too different, he says. Building a theory that works is like building a washing machine that works.

String theory just has a lower risk of electrocution or a flooded basement.

When Maldacena began his post-secondary education at the University of Buenos Aires, it seemed natural to enter as a physics major. I really loved learning about how the laws of physics explained various aspects of the real world, he says.

After two years, he transferred to the Instituto Balseiro in the far western Argentinian city of Bariloche, a research-oriented institution that accepts students after their first two years at other institutions. It is small and grants degrees in only a few disciplines, all related to physics and engineering.

Maldacena graduated with the equivalent of a US masters degree in 1991. He debated what his next move should be: physics graduate school or leaving the academic world to work as an engineer. He was a strong student and loved the discipline but worried that he might not have what it takes to make it as a physics researcher.

I really enjoyed taking the classes, but I didnt know what research was like. It was still a big mystery to me, he says. In the end, I decided to take my chances.

He was accepted to Princeton University, where he started a PhD that fall. Maldacena thrived at Princeton, where he says he enjoyed taking classes with some of the best particle physicists in his field. It was wonderful to see all these people whose papers I had been reading.

His doctoral thesis probed the behavior of black holes in string theory, a framework that unites quantum mechanics and Einsteins theory of relativity by describing fundamental particles as one-dimensional strings.

String theory is a theory of quantum gravity, so Maldacena was extrapolating from the quantum scale to the very, very large. It was considered to be a big success for string theorythe fact that you could describe black holes, which are a big deviation from flat space. It was a consistency check for this theory, he says.

Prominent string theorist Nathan Seiberg was on sabbatical from Rutgers University at the IAS when he met Maldacena, who was then a graduate student at Princeton. They were later colleagues at Rutgers, and they are now colleagues again at the IAS.

Seiberg says he was enormously impressed with Maldacena when they first met. It was quite clear from day one that he was someone specialvery, very specialand he would rise to the top.

Maldacena is best known for his description of the anti-de Sitter/conformal field theory correspondence. The crux of the AdS/CFT correspondence is that a theory of gravity in one universe is the same as the quantum field theory on the boundary of that universe.

Maldacenas first paper describing the idea, published in 1997, has become one of the most-cited articles in string theory, and high-energy physics more broadly. These are results that will stay fundamental in physics for centuries, Seiberg says.

The correspondence has had interesting applications to several fields, including nuclear physics, condensed matter physics, cosmology and mathematics.

Maldacena graduated from Princeton in 1996, so his AdS/CFT breakthrough came very early in his career, when few academics would risk taking a big swing like that. Hes not afraid. Hes very bold, Seiberg says. He likes to attack the most difficult questions that most people would stay away from. He just goes full steam ahead.

The risk paid off. Maldacena was hired as an associate professor at Harvard University directly from the first year of his postdoc at Rutgers and was offered a full professorship two years later. Shortly after that, he was offered a permanent position at the IAS and moved back to New Jersey.

Maldacenas clarity stands out to Seiberg. In research, one is often in this fog of confusion. And he has this clear mind, seeing through the fog and knowing where to go, Seiberg says.

Seiberg says they have worked together a few timesand the joy of the collaboration was enormousbut Maldacena has also had an influence on him far beyond their formal co-authorship. There were many times, both when I made official presentations and in informal conversations, that he would ask a question that completely changed the direction of my own research, Seiberg says.

When he isnt doing physics, Maldacena enjoys hiking with his wife and three children. He sees his work and recreation as two sides of the same coin. When you think about physics problems, you are thinking about very specific aspects of nature, Maldacena says. When you go hiking, you appreciate other aspects of nature.

In addition to his own research, Maldacena has advised several PhD students and postdocs. He has a very good sense for identifying talent, Seiberg says. His track record is amazing.

Maldacena remembers when he wasnt sure whether he should try going into a research career in physics and hopes that other students in his position will not let that fear keep them from trying it. Maybe they will find that they are better than they expected, he says. Or maybe they will love it more than they expected.

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Taking a risk on theoretical physics | symmetry magazine - Symmetry magazine

China Closes in on the US in Science – Fair Observer

China has for the first time taken the top position in the Nature Index as the biggest producer of high-quality research in chemistry. What will the future of China science look like?

Quantum physics may be science on an impossibly small scale, but it is one field where China is staking a massive leadership role. In February, researchers in Hefei forged a quantum connection between clusters of atoms 50 kilometers apart in an optical fiber, meaning that any changes in one groups quantum state instantly affected the other. This 50-kilometer entanglement the longest distance achieved anywhere could eventually lead to a quantum internet that would be near-instantaneous and impervious to eavesdropping.


Quantum communications is just one area where Chinese scientists are taking a leading role others include artificial intelligence (AI), biotechnology and materials genome engineering. Together, they are allowing China to reassert its position as a scientific powerhouse, centuries after the Middle Kingdom wowed the world with the four great inventions of the compass, paper, printing and gunpowder.

Chinas modern-day scientific prowess is backed by unprecedented state spending on research and development. Expressed in purchasing power parity (PPP), Chinas investment in R&D was $370.6 billion in 2017, second only to the United States, which spent $476.5 billion. And China likely overtook the US in research funding in 2019 for the first time, based on projections by the US National Science Board (although the figures are yet to be compiled at the time of writing). In terms of global scientific R&D spending, China has contributed 32% of all growth since 2000, compared with 20% for the US and 17% for the European Union.

The Chinese governments open checkbook has bought the country a lot of impressive big-science hardware. The country now boasts the worlds most powerful supercomputer, the biggest radio telescope and, by some measures, the largest gene-sequencing center.

But Beijings willingness to spend belies its poor standing in a crucial indicator of science leadership: the number of Nobel Laureates. Only one Chinese national has ever won a Nobel Prize in a scientific discipline Tu Youyou, recognized in 2015 for her role in the development of an antimalarial drug. By contrast, the US has produced 302 Nobel Laureates in chemistry, medicine and physics since the year 1900, nearly one-third of which have been awarded since 2000. Japanese scientists have also fared well, with 24 Nobel Prize winners since 1949.

Money is not the issue so much, says Denis Simon, who has studied Chinese science for 40 years and is the executive vice chancellor of Duke Kunshan University. Its how you use the money. Money doesnt buy innovation. What buys innovation is inspired thought and willingness to take risks.

Countries that place more emphasis on independent free-thinking seem to have done better in the Nobel Prize rankings, but Chinas ever-greater science proficiency is testing the hypothesis that it cannot be achieved in a highly-centralized and hierarchal system as well.

Nobel Laureates aside, there are other indicators that show China is closing in on the US as a science superpower. The countrys scientists filed 49% of all related patents worldwide in 2018, although it is important to highlight that in the view of some experts, these numbers are skewed by various factors, such as the refiling of patents already filed elsewhere. In addition, China is steadily increasing its percentage of research articles published in renowned publications, from just 5% in 2000 to 21% in 2018. The US remains dominant in its proportion of highly-cited articles, followed by the EU, but Chinas numbers are growing.

Chinas recent scientific advancements in the past two decades are especially notable, given the countrys fraught history. Its scientific community was devastated during the 1966-76 Cultural Revolution, when many academics were denounced as counterrevolutionary and some universities were closed, halting almost all research and scientific training.

Only after China adopted its famous policy of Reform and Opening Up in 1978 did the research community begin to regrow around its stumps. In the four decades since, the economic development and international contacts have been instrumental in enabling science to flourish in China, according to Cong Cao, who studies Chinese science policy at the University of Nottingham in Ningbo, a major port and industrial hub in east China.

We really want to see this kind of stable environment continue, says Cao. For the past 40 years, China has basically been a follower in scientific research. Now, in certain areas, the Chinese side is approaching the frontier of science, he says.

Some parts of Chinas scientific system have been functional for decades, says Caroline Wagner, a professor at Ohio State University who has studied the scientific impact of foreign-trained Chinese researchers after they return to China. Food science, agricultural science, soil and engineering are fields where Chinas had strong research capabilities. It just hasnt participated in the world system of publication and validation, she adds.

China has broadened its scientific gaze, beyond the areas mentioned by Wagner, to cover some of the most exciting topics and challenges in science today. China leads the world in 33 out of 137 research fronts, particularly in computer science, chemistry, engineering, material sciences and mathematics, according to a report published in November 2019 by the Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS) and Clarivate Analytics, a US data and analytics company.

The progress has been particularly visible in the field of chemistry, where for the first time China dethroned the US as the biggest producer of high-quality research papers in 2019. Chinas research output last year was almost double the combined share of India, Japan and South Korea, which all ranked in the top 10.

The outbreak of COVID-19, first detected in Wuhan, provides a challenge for Chinas scientists and an opportunity in terms of aiming to become the first country to develop a vaccine. If they can do it, it would be a gamechanger. The deadly coronavirus has also highlighted Chinas capabilities in AI and computer science, which has seen sweeping national investments in recent years.

The ability of domestic research institutions and companies to harness big data to feed their AI tools gives China a leg-up in the next round of scientific research and innovation, according to academics. I think big data is an area China does have advantages, in parts because they have a few dominant apps like WeChat that everybody uses, says Yu Zhou, a professor in the Department of Earth Science and Geography at Vassar College in the US. You dont have that in the US.

China still has shortcomings to overcome before it can be considered a global leader in science. Despite lavish spending, the global business consultancy McKinsey noted in a 2015 report that inefficient government funding, among other factors, was stifling Chinas endeavors to promote science-based innovations. Five years on, this remains a problem, according to Zhou, who says an immature system of evaluating science innovations has led to state administrators from outside who dont know what theyre doing and are just bureaucratic bean-counting.

The country still lacks well-established links between businesses and universities, which significantly limits knowledge transfers. Although this relationship is difficult to quantify, Times Higher Education examined how universities work on research with industry, and it noted that in 2016, more than 6% of US publications [were] joint efforts between the academy and industry, compared with just 2.7% in China.

While China ranked second in the CAS-Clarivate report identifying the best and emerging specialty areas in scientific research, it was dwarfed by the US, which claimed the top spot on 80 research fronts. This may be partly because China has been selective in its approach, opting to channel resources into science that will not only help Beijing project its power but also respond to its peoples particular problems.

The state has the overview about the areas where China needs to invest more, says Zhou. She points to Chinas massive investments in renewable energy and electric vehicles as an example. The state has this function of telling people where you should put more money. Some areas, like environmental science, make a lot of sense.

This methodical approach reflects Chinas attitude to science. In the last 40 years, Chinas leaders tackled the countrys lagging status with a top-down approach and long-term strategic planning. When it comes to the longstanding view that this approach stifles innovation, Wagner, in a soon-to-be-published study, disagrees.

What we found is that at the disciplinary level, Chinas publications in physical sciences were highly-creative when compared to the field as a whole, much more creative than other parts of Chinas work, she says. The physical sciences stood out as highly-creative. Measures of technology research was found to be moderately creative, but biology did not appear to be creative.

We were surprised with the results of the work, finding that Chinas publications already display world-class level of creativity, says Wagner.

Authorities are orchestrating the development of a scientific establishment one pillar of which is a core group of elite universities known as the C9 that includes Tsinghua and Peking in Beijing and Fudan in Shanghai. Another key plank has been the Thousand Talents Program (TTP), a successful scheme aimed at luring top researchers to China with lab space, lavish salaries, research funding and other incentives.

Around the late 1990s, the Chinese decided to double or triple the levels of enrollment in university, but what they couldnt do was hire more good faculty. They just couldnt get that many, says Simon at Duke University. But the TTP has helped plug the deficit in training younger generations of Chinese researchers.

Simon believes the success of the TPP at the recruitment of top scientific talent has only become more important because China could face a potential talent shortage due to the notorious one-child policy. China has struggled to engineer a baby boom after scrapping the notorious policy in 2015, which could shrink the future scientific workforce.

Increasingly strict controls on internet access are also a potential long-term hindrance toward scientific excellence in China. A common gripe among the countrys academics is that internet access is a major obstacle to their research. Wagner from Ohio State University says the free flow of knowledge and information is critical to innovation.

Many researchers routinely bypass internet controls, but ever-tightening restrictions on the flow of information risk making international collaboration more difficult and threaten Chinas place in science and technology globally.

Studies demonstrate the benefits of openness, says Wagner. You cant get around the need to share findings, data and insights. If that gets closed off, China will drop behind and the world will be deprived of Chinas input. There are no winners in that scenario

The China-US relationship has also grown increasingly toxic since US President Donald Trump took office three years ago, ramping up the prospect of the worlds top-two economies decoupling. Researchers are in no doubt that this would be a disaster for the scientific communities of both countries.

Its not good for science globally, said Cong from Ningbo. Theres no doubt about that because each country is constrained by resources. No country in the world can pursue every line of research, so thats really where you need to be collaborative. If decoupling between China and the US really happens, its not going to be good for China and for other countries.

But there is also the argument that Chinese and American scientific communities are already too intertwined for any decoupling to have a serious impact, according to Simon.

The government-to-government cooperation is important, but [it] is not the defining dimension of the science and technology cooperation between China and the US, says Simon. It would be very hard, at least from my perspective, for the US government to disengage and simply shut down all of that collaboration. Theres just so much going on I dont know if anyone would know where to go to stop it or to shut the spigot off.

Just how much a potential delinking would really hurt China is up for debate. Februarys successful quantum entanglement experiment in Hefei underscores how Chinese scientists are operating at the cutting edge in many ways on their own.

The US remains ahead, but if youre looking at where we will be five, 10 years from now, the trend lines are all extremely positive for China, says Simon. The Chinese have corrected a lot of the problems that were inherent in their system. Theyre all the time trying to get higher-yield performance from their scientific community. And I think theyre starting to succeed.

*[This article was written by Shi Wei Jun and was originally published byCKGSB Knowledge, a partner institution ofFair Observer.]

The views expressed in this article are the authors own and do not necessarily reflect Fair Observers editorial policy.

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China Closes in on the US in Science - Fair Observer

Quantum Computers Will No Longer Threat To Bitcoin! – Somag News

A new computing software could free Bitcoin and cryptocurrencies from powerful quantum computers that have the potential to violate public key cryptography.

According to the MIT Technology Review, the researchers are working on the development of a new measure known as lattice-based cryptography that promises to make crypto technology more quantum proof.

Lattice-based cryptography can neutralize the enormous computational capabilities of quantum computers by hiding data inside complex geometric structures containing a grid of infinite dots spread over thousands of dimensions. The security measure seems almost impenetrable, even with the use of powerful quantum computers, unless the key is in hand.

The advent of quantum computing machines is often brought to the fore as it poses a threat to cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin as well as cryptographic algorithms that keep the internet generally safe. The World Economic Forum explains how quantum computers can violate current encryption standards as follows.

The full computational ability of a sufficiently powerful and error-corrected quantum computer means that public-key cryptography is doomed and will compromise the technology used to protect many of todays fundamental digital systems and activities.

MIT Technology Review says the solution is promising, although the current iterations are not yet ready to be implemented. Ripple CTO David Schwartz says that developers believe it will take at least eight years before the technology that uses the properties of quantum physics to make quick calculations becomes sophisticated enough to crack the cryptocurrency.

I think we have at least eight years. I have very high confidence that quantum computing needs at least ten years to pose a threat, but you never know when there might be progress.

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Quantum Computers Will No Longer Threat To Bitcoin! - Somag News

Introduction to Quantum Electronics and Nonlinear Optics – Optics & Photonics News

This book is based on an introductory course of quantum electronics taught at Moscow Power Engineering Institute, National Research University, Russia. The book has seven chapters presenting the physics of modern quantum electronics devices such as lasers, masersand photodetectors. At the end of each chapter are problems, as in any textbook.

The first chapter explains the properties of atoms and molecules using quantum mechanics. The next two chapters are dedicated to electric and magnetic dipole interactions. The rest of the book focuses on the field interactions with charges and matter, quantum amplifiers and generators, and the physics of lasers and masers.

The book has a crystal-clear style and can be understood by any student with a basic physics and mathematical background.

Review by Mircea Dragoman, National Research and Development Institute in Microtechnology, Romania.

The opinions expressed in the book review section are those of the reviewer and do not necessarily reflect those of OPN or OSA.

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Introduction to Quantum Electronics and Nonlinear Optics - Optics & Photonics News

Bitcoin vs Quantum Computers: Real and Imagined Fears – CryptoGlobe

Crypto enthusiasts have long-held fears of the future that quantum computing might bring. But are those fears overblown?

Quantum computers are a near-perfect embodiment of Arthur C. Clarkes third law, Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic. A fully functional quantum computer would be orders of magnitude more powerful than any conventional supercomputer in existence.

The positive applications are numerous and include accelerating discovery of cures to diseases to revolutionizing investment management and presenting better and lower-cost trading opportunities.

This could provide a huge boost to the sciences but it also represents a threat to existing cryptographic algorithms. Many crypto enthusiasts are concerned that this could compromise the blockchain and render cryptocurrency worthless. The question is, how real are these fears?

Traditional computers use bits, or 1s and 0s, in order to represent data. Everything youre seeing on your screen right now can be broken down into a string of binary digits. Quantum computers are based on the qubit, a two-state quantum system.

As a result, they are able to perform processes significantly faster than any conventional computer could. This involves quantum physics so well focus on the broad strokes here. For those interested in a deep dive, there is a great series of articles on this at the MIT Technical Review.

A quantum computer is one that is designed to capture and contain qubits in a stable state. They are then able to take advantage of two key mechanics in order to process large amounts of data:

The downside of quantum computers is that they require a significant amount of energy to run and are error-prone because of decoherence. Even slight vibrations or temperature changes can cause a quantum computer to cease functioning.

This had prevented quantum computers from achieving quantum supremacy, which is the ability to outperform traditional computers. But that changed in September 2019 when Google claimed that it had succeeded in reaching quantum supremacy, sending a shockwave through the cryptography world.

The big fear with quantum computers is that they would render all real-world uses of cryptography obsolete overnight. This would make online banking, messaging, and e-commerce completely unsafe and cripple the internet as we know it. It would also render cryptocurrencies inoperable.

Most of the major blockchains, including Bitcoin, rely upon ECDSA (Elliptical Curve Digital Signature Algorithm). This allows blockchains to create a random 256-bit private key and a linked public key that can be shared with third parties without revealing that private key.

Quantum computers could unravel the relationship between these keys thus allowing cryptocurrency wallets to be hacked and a holders funds to be liquidated.

The short answer: Maybe, but not yet. The truth is that, as Peter Todd confirmed, we still dont know how close we are to a viable, scalable quantum computer. It could be 6 months from now, or it could be never.

Another point is that if users follow the standard practice of only using Bitcoin addresses one time, it limits the amount of time a quantum computer has to break the key.

But the threat is still present, if a little distant. The good news is that some projects are actively working to counter it. The Quantum Resistant Ledger (QRL) is the first industrial implementation of the eXtended Merkle Signature Scheme (XMSS). This hash-based signature scheme is significantly more advanced than ECDSA and should be harder for a quantum computer to crack.

In general, cryptocurrency investors shouldnt be too concerned about quantum computing in the short-term. But it would still be prudent to keep an eye on the quantum computing world and projects like QRL.

Featured image via Pixabay.


Bitcoin vs Quantum Computers: Real and Imagined Fears - CryptoGlobe

Japan science society lures online readers with column on physics applied to virus fight – The Mainichi

A screen capture of The Japan Society of Applied Physics webpage for the online column on using physics for coronavirus measures.

TOKYO -- An online column on using physics for novel coronavirus countermeasures run by The Japan Society of Applied Physics (JSAP) has become a hit with readers, despite its discussion of highly technical details about the virus and the pandemic, garnering some 10,000 pageviews since its July launch.

Applied physics is the study of technological development using physics theories. When it comes to the coronavirus pandemic, physics is the foundation for the now well-known polymerase chain reaction (PCR) tests and the electron microscopes that captured the virus's appearance.

Other examples include non-contact thermometers used at event venues and elsewhere that use infrared sensors to measure heat emissions from the body's surface. Thermo-fluid analysis -- in which a space is divided into grids to measure factors such as temperature, air pressure and air flow -- is used to project how droplets are diffused.

The JSAP started the column on its website in early July as a way for people to learn about the background of how these technologies were developed, as well as to provide information about physical laws related to coronavirus measures. The 25 installments published so far have both a condensed version written at a high school science level, and a main version for those who want to dig deeper. The society has formed an editorial committee for the column, and checks every entry for factual errors.

JSAP president Mutsuko Hatano, a professor of quantum sensing at the Tokyo Institute of Technology, noted that Isaac Newton discovered universal gravitation in the 17th century when he was spending time in his hometown after his university in London closed down due to the plague.

"We too wanted to use this time when we're asked to refrain from various types of activities as an opportunity for the future. We hope that our column serves as a motivator for those who aspire to study physics," she commented.

(Japanese original by Ryo Watanabe, Science & Environment News Department)

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Japan science society lures online readers with column on physics applied to virus fight - The Mainichi