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A Sourcebook for the Worldwide Discovery of a Creative Organic Universe
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Recent Additions: New and Updated Entries in the Past 60 Days
Displaying entries 16 through 30 of 106 found.

An Organic, Conducive, Habitable MultiUniVerse

Animate Cosmos > Quantum Cosmology > quantum CS

Rispoli, Matthew, et al. Quantum Critical Behavior at the Many-Body-Localization Transition. arXiv:1812.06959. While equilibrium quantum systems are said to be well quantified, non-equilibrium phenomena have not yet been. Here seven Harvard University physicists describe how these active phases can be explained by better measurements of their entanglement properties. We cite to record how the arcane quantum realm is being parsed by the same critically poised systems theory as everywhere else. And from the Abstract: Our results unify the system's microscopic structure with its macroscopic quantum critical behavior, and they provide an essential step towards understanding criticality and universality in non-equilibrium systems.

Animate Cosmos > Quantum Cosmology > quantum CS

Tran, Minh, et al. Locality and Digital Quantum Simulation of Power-Law Interactions. Physical Review X. 9/031006, 2019. This entry by an eight person team based at the University of Maryland Joint Center for Quantum Information including Alexey Gorshkov is one more instance of how quantum nature, long seen as strangely off-putting, has lately been brought into a common systems fold.

Animate Cosmos > Quantum Cosmology > physics

Drossel, Barbara. Strong Emergence in Condensed Matter Physics. arXiv:1909.01134. In a contribution to appear in a Synthese issue on Top-Down Causation, the Technical University Darmstadt theoretical physicist (search) contends that from a 2019 vista this basic field, aka many-body physics, by virtue of integrative summations of myriad particles (entities), does inherently give rise to macroscopic formations. See also How Downwards Causation Occurs in Digital Computers by George Ellis and the author at 1908.10186 and Emergent Quasiparticles by Alexandre Guay and Olivier Sartenaer in Individuation, Process, and Scientific Practices by Otavio Bueno, et al, eds. (Oxford UP, 2018).

This paper argues that the physics of condensed matter cannot be reduced to the supposedly fundamental quantum mechanical theory for all the atoms of which the system consists. In fact, there are many reasons to reject the idea that the world of physics is causally closed with everything being determined by bottom-up by microscopic laws. In actual practice condensed-matter theory does not start with atomic interactions. Instead, plausible assumptions, intuitive models, and phenomena are used to mathematically describe the properties of systems that consist of a macroscopic number of particles. The paper thus includes a list of arguments in favor of strong emergence and top-down causation within the realm of physics. (Abstract excerpt)

Animate Cosmos > Quantum Cosmology > exouniverse

Siegfried, Tom. The Number of the Heavens: A History of the Multiverse and the Quest to Understand the Cosmos. Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 2019. The senior science writer about physics and information (search) here provides a detailed recount of man’s (some 275 male names in the index, one primary woman Lisa Randell) historic wonderments about our starry raiment. Its compass runs from Aristotle and Atomists to Robert Grosseteste in the 13th century onto Copernicus, Nicholas of Cusa, Newton, Galileo, and company as horizons expanded from a sun and moon. Circa 1900, Alfred Wallace’s cosmos had our solar system at its center. The 20th century went on to reveal a galactic universe, its inflationary origin, temporal nucleosynthesis. By 2000, via quantum, string, and other theories, a wider presence became implied and/or required of multiple cosmoses with widely different, contingent properties. Anthropic explanations whence such parameters can be explained because they permit life and intelligence to appear are duly chronicled. As 2020 nears, if one might turn and reflect, how fantastic is this scenario which aware human beings upon a minute ovoworld have at last come to realize.

Animate Cosmos > Organic > Biology Physics

Geyer, Delphine, et al. Freezing a Flock: Motility-Induced Phase Separation in Polar Active Liquids. Physical Review X.. 9/031043, 2019. University of Lyon and University of Paris researchers including Denis Bartolo deftly perceive in their experimental setup how particulate densities in a flowing stream seem to exhibit their an inherent propensity to transform into more organized groupings. The work merited an editorial Viewpoint: A Crowd Freezes Up which highlights deep affinities between physics and people.

Combining experiments and theory, we investigate the dense phases of polar active matter beyond the conventional flocking picture. We show that above a critical density flocks assembled from self-propelled colloids arrest their collective motion, lose their orientational order, and form solids that actively rearrange their local structure while continuously melting and freezing at their boundaries. We argue that the suppression of collective motion in the form of solid jams is a generic feature of flocks assembled from motile units that reduce their speed as density increases, a feature common to a broad class of active bodies, from synthetic colloids to living creatures. (Abstract)

Animate Cosmos > Organic > Biology Physics

Le Bihan, Denis. Is the Brain Relativistic?. arXiv:1908.04290. The senior French philosophical neuroscientist is posted at NEUROSPIN: From Physics to the Human Brain, a CEA Parisian research and clinical project, especially for autism studies, by way of novel intense field imaging techniques. In search of a broader natural context of service to cerebral research, the author notes that while cosmic physics has a conceptual basis, a global theory of the working brain to account for cognition, behavior, and consciousness does not exist. A sense of a deep affinity between our human faculty and the extant universe informs the text, as the second and third quotes allude. Neural network theories are engaged, along with genetic (alphabetic) factors in a connectome mode, along with synaptic pruning and visual capacities. As this imaginative rooting goes forward, we visit quantum phenomena, Minkowski diagrams, hyperspace geodesics, and more to show how akin a vital universe and our microcosmic human acumen might actually be. Thus the paper closes with the thought:To paraphrase (physicist) J. A. Wheeler one may conclude that brain spacetime tells activity how to flow while activity tells brain spacetime how to curve. (29)

Due to the large body of knowledge which neuroimaging has achieved over the last three decades, we have gained a fresh view of the brain which could help us make predictions for new imaging instruments to come, such as ultra high field MRI. By doing so, switching back and forth between physics and neurobiology, we come to a sense that time and space in the brain, as in the Universe, are, indeed, tightly mingled, and could be unified through a brain 'spacetime'. Thinking about a speed limit for action potentials flowing along myelinated axons led us to envision a 4-dimensional brain spacetime which holds to a relativistic pseudo-diffusion principle and functional curvature governed by brain activity, in a similar way gravitational masses give our 4-dimensional Universe spacetime its curvature. (Abstract excerpts, edits).

In consideration of neuroimaging achievements over the last 3 decades we thought that we could perhaps look at the brain with a fresh view which could unveil those “old” things in a new framework. By doing so, switching back and forth between physics and neurobiology, we came across the view that time and space in the brain, as in the Universe, were, indeed, tightly mingled, and might fade away to be unified through a brain “spacetime”. Further thinking led us to realize that this 4-dimensional brain spacetime would obey a kind of relativistic principle and present a functional curvature generated by brain activity, in a similar way gravitational masses give our 4-dimensional Universe spacetime its curvature. We then looked at how this whole-brain framework may shed light on clinical observations of dysfunctions and disorders. (2, edits)

Following the arguments developed above one should not find it objectionable, we hope, that the brain may be viewed in some way as a physical “object” embedded in a 4D enclosure. As such, the brain which is part of the Universe must obey Universephysical laws. After all, the perceptionwe have of the external world, the Universe, comes from our internal world, that is our mind in our brain, and it should not come as a surprise that our understanding of the Universe and our brain are irremediably connected. Hence, considering that the brain represents a kind of Universe itself one may envision how physical laws could be revisited, directly or through analogical derivations to provide a framework useful to better represent and perhaps understand how the brain works as a whole system. (10)

Animate Cosmos > Organic > Biology Physics

Ross, Tyler, et al. Controlling Organization and Forces in Active Matter through Optically-defined Boundaries. Nature. 572/224, 2019. CalTech bioengineers uncover non-equilibrium phenomena and principles by optically controlling structures and fluid flow in an engineered system of active biomolecules which led to views of an innate tendency to spontaneously organize into animate structures and movements.

Animate Cosmos > Organic > Biology Physics

Wills, Peter. Reflexivity, Coding and Quantum Biology. Biosystems. Online September, 2019. The University of Auckland philosophical biologist continues his frontier studies beyond a constrained Darwinian selection to include self-organizion, epigenetics, autocatalysis, symbolic information with Harold Pattee and Paul Davies, cooperative groupings and more. An active, codified development with a computational guise and a “reflexive” spontaneity thus becomes evident. With this in place, it is mused that evolutionary theories might at last be fulfilling Erwin Schrodinger’s view of an intrinsic physical fertility. Wills is often joined by University of North Carolina biochemist Charles Carter (search both) for papers such as Interdependence, Reflexivity, Fidelity, Impedance Matching, and the Evolution of Genetic Coding in Molecular Biology and Evolution (35/2, 2018).

Biological systems are fundamentally computational in that they process information in a purposeful fashion rather than just transferring bits of it in a syntactical manner. It carries meaning defined by the molecular context of its cellular environment. Information processing in biological systems displays an inherent reflexivity, a tendency for the information-processing to be “about” the behaviour of the molecules that participate in the computational process. This is most evident in the operation of the genetic code, where the specificity of the reactions catalysed by the aminoacyl-tRNA synthetase (aaRS) enzymes is required to be self-sustaining. A cell’s suite of aaRS enzymes completes a reflexively autocatalytic set of molecular components capable of making themselves by way of reflexive information stored in an organism’s genome. The genetic code is a reflexively self-organised, evolved symbolic system of chemical self-description. (Abstract excerpt)

Animate Cosmos > Organic > Biology Physics

Wright, Katherine. Life is Physics. Physics Magazine. January 11, 2019. Physicists are on the hunt for a “theory of life” that explains why life can exist. A senior editor reviews this historic re-convergence and theoretical closure underway in our midst as biology and physics, life and land become one again.

(Ramin) Golestanian and (Nigel) Goldenfeld both believe that the traits of life, such as replication, evolution, and using energy to move, are examples of what condensed-matter physicists call “emergent phenomena”—complex properties that arise from the interactions of a large number of simpler components. For example, superconductivity is a macroscopic property that arises in metals from attractive interactions among its electrons, which lead to a state with zero electrical resistance. In the case of life, the emergent behaviors arise from interactions among molecules and from how the molecules group together to form structures or carry out functions.

Animate Cosmos > Information > Quant Info

Haken, Hermann and Juval Portugali, eds. Special Issue “Information and Self-Organization II.”. Entropy. Online September, 2019. The lead Stuttgart University physicist, now in his 93rd year, is a premier pioneer of complex system theories since the 1970s. He again joins with the Tel Aviv University geographer to provide a space for these vital studies. The closing date for entries is January 31, 2021.

In the first Special Issue — “Information and Self-Organization” — (Haken and Portugali 2016), the aim was to deal with the different ways processes of self-organization are linked with the various forms of information. In the present Special Issue — “Information and Self-Organization II” — the aim is to extend the discussion by adding studies exploring further aspects and domains of information and self-organization, such as principles of self-organization based on information theory, social neurology, and coordination dynamics, the ‘free energy principle’, or their conjunction, and special topics such as cities, language, economy, culture, and society as self-organizing systems, etc.

Animate Cosmos > Information > Quant Info

Lewis-Swan, Robert, et al. Dynamics of Quantum Information. Nature Reviews Physics. 1/8, 2019. We cite this entry by University of Colorado, Center for Theory of Quantum Matter physicists in coauthor Ana Maria Rey’s group (second quote) as one more good example of these revolutionary quantum frontiers. As entries herein note, referrals to strange intractability are gone, rather this phenomena with its special properties is can lately be treated and availed as another accessible, macro complex realm, similar to everywhere else.

The ability to harness the dynamics of quantum information and entanglement is vital to the development of quantum technologies and the study of complex quantum systems. On the theoretical side, this is a topical field helping us to unify and confront common problems in physics, quantum statistical mechanics and cosmology. Experimentally, an ability to now manipulate neutral atoms and trapped ions help reveal their quantum dynamics. Here, we discuss progress in characterizing quantum entanglement and information scrambling in quantum many-body systems. The level of control over both the internal and external degrees of freedom of individual particles in these systems serves to join entanglement and thermodynamics, and the information transport and computational complexity of interacting systems. (Abstract)

My research interests are in the scientific interface between atomic, molecular and optical physics, condensed matter physics and quantum information science. Specifically, I seek to develop new techniques for controlling quantum systems and then using them in applications ranging from quantum simulations/information to time and frequency standards. My group wants to engineer controllable quantum systems capable to mimic desired real materials as well as to create advanced and novel measurement techniques to probe atomic quantum systems at the fundamental level. (Ana Maria Rey)

Animate Cosmos > Thermodynamics

Matsoukas, Themis. Thermodynamics Beyond Molecules: Statistical Thermodynamics of Probability Distributions. Entropy. 21/9, 2019. The Penn State chemical engineering professor and author of Generalized Statistical Thermodynamics (Springer, 2018) describes a variational calculus which can lead to mathematical network relationships. A statistical mechanics thus accrues via a foray into information theories and Bayesian inference.

Animate Cosmos > Astrobiology

Candian, Alessandra, et al. The Aromatic Universe. Physics Today. November, 2018. Dutch and Chinese scientists extol the innately essential presence of rich molecular structures of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons as planar flakes of fused benzene rings, along with their fullerene cousins, as revealed by their vibrational and electronic spectra.

Animate Cosmos > Astrobiology

Novotny, Oldrich, et al. Quantum State Selective Electron Recombination Studies Suggest Enhanced Abundance of Primordial HeH+. Science. 365/676, 2019. As worldwide collaborations reconstruct how the lively Universe and phenomenal human beings came to be, a 26 person team based at MPI Nuclear Physics, with other postings in the Czech Republic, Germany, Russia, and Israel, cite results from the new University of Heidelberg Cryogenic Storage Ring which provide the best evidence to date for this helium hydride ur-molecule at the very onset of life’s cosmic evolution. See also a commentary First Molecule Still Animates Astronomers by Stefano Bovino and Daniele Galli in the same issue, and Astrophysical Detection of the Helium Hydride Ion HeH+ by Rolf Gusten, et al in Nature (568/357, 2019). In later 2019, we wonder how it might finally become critically possible to realize that an innately organic, astrobiological milieu exists on its procreative own.

The epoch of first star formation in the early universe was dominated by simple atomic and molecular species consisting mainly of two elements: hydrogen and helium. Gaining insight into this constitutive era requires thorough understanding of molecular reactivity under primordial conditions. We used a cryogenic ion storage ring combined with a merged electron beam to measure state-specific rate coefficients of dissociative recombination, a process by which electrons destroy molecular ions. We found a dramatic decrease of the electron recombination rates for the lowest rotational states of HeH+, compared to previous measurements at room temperature. The reduced destruction of cold HeH+ translates into an enhanced abundance of this primordial molecule at redshifts of first star and galaxy formation. (Abstract)

Animate Cosmos > exoearths

Shields, Aomawa. The Climates of Other Worlds: A Review of the Emerging Field of Exoplanet Climatology. Astrophysical Journal Supplement Series. 243/2, 2019. A UC Irvine astrophysicist adds another important detectable feature for exoplanet searches across near and far Milky Way environs. Just as here, atmospheric weather patterns are a good indicator of relative habitability.

While climate models have often used to analyze and predict climate and weather on Earth, a growing community of researchers has begun to apply relative models to extrasolar planets. This work has provided a better understanding of how orbital, surface, and atmospheric properties affect planetary climate and habitability; how these climatic effects might change for different stellar and planetary environments; and how observational signatures of newly discovered planets might be influenced by these climatic factors. This review summarizes the active field of exoplanet climatology thus far, recent work using a hierarchy of computer models to identify planets most capable of supporting life, and offers a glimpse into future directions for exoplanet science. (Abstract excerpt)

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