Monthly Archive: August 2019

Scientists demonstrate quantum state exchange between light and matter

first_img Coupling qubits to sound in a multimode cavity Quantum computers offer the promise of processing information much more efficiently than classical computers. But before quantum computers can be built, scientists must confront several challenges, one of which is quantum computers’ vulnerability to their surroundings. Interaction with outside forces would immediately damage a quantum computer’s information; this problem is known as “decoherence.” In the Caltech scientists’ experiment, a cesium atom is localized within the cavity by a far off-resonant optical trap, where it repeatedly undergoes a series of light absorption and reemission cycles, lasting a total of 360 ms. During each such cycle, the cavity is first illuminated by an incident pulse of coherent light. Whenever the atom-cavity system absorbs this pulse, the quantum state of the light is written onto the internal state of the atom. After a delay of about 300 ns, the atomic state gets mapped back onto an emitted pulse of light, which is allowed to interfere with the source of the original coherent pulse. Observing the resulting interference fringe demonstrates the reversibility of the overall absorption-reemission process.“Our optical cavity has a very small mode volume (the cavity length is only 42 microns), which ensures that the coherent interaction between the atom and light field occurs on a much faster time scale than the decoherence caused by atomic spontaneous emission or cavity leakage,” Boozer explained. “Thus the atom and cavity field can exchange quantum information coherently many times before an incoherent process occurs. This regime is known as strong-coupling in cavity QED.”The scientists explain that the efficiency of the light-to-atom transfer is limited in this scenario by factors such as passive mirror losses, equal transmission coefficients of the cavity mirrors, and the coupling of the atom to both polarization modes of the cavity.With the ability to reversibly transfer a qubit’s state from “flying” to “stationary” and back again, the scientists have taken a step toward coherently transferring quantum information across a network, without disruption with the outside world. Still, Boozer and his colleagues look forward to future improvements.“In the present work, the qubit is encoded in the photon-number states of light and in the hyperfine levels of the atom,” he said. “A more robust scheme which we may pursue in the future would be to instead use the polarization degree of freedom of the light, and the magnetic sublevels of the atom. Another future goal will be to increase the efficiency of the state transfer process, for instance by using cavity mirrors with unequal transmissivities and/or even higher reflectivities.”Citation: Boozer, A. D., Boca, A., Miller, R., Northup, T. E., and Kimble, H. J. “Reversible State Transfer between Light and a Single Trapped Atom.” Physical Review Letters 98, 193601 (2007).Copyright 2007 All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed in whole or part without the express written permission of Citation: Scientists demonstrate quantum state exchange between light and matter (2007, May 22) retrieved 18 August 2019 from This schematic of the scientists´ experiment shows a light pulse illuminating a cesium atom in an optical cavity, where the quantum states of the light and atom are mapped onto each other. When the light pulse exits, its interference with the original pulse demonstrates the reversibility of the state transfer. Image credit: Boozer, et al.center_img This document is subject to copyright. Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study or research, no part may be reproduced without the written permission. The content is provided for information purposes only. Explore further One method to coherently process quantum information involves cavity quantum electrodynamics (QED). In this method, scientists use a small cavity to achieve coherent dynamics between an atom and a photon by manipulating an atom’s radiation properties with mirrors. Scientists from the California Institute of Technology are among the leaders in cavity QED, and have recently reported an important advance to enable a coherent distribution of quantum information across a network.In their paper published in Physical Review Letters, physicist David Boozer and his colleagues have demonstrated the reversible state transfer of a coherent light pulse to and from the internal state of an atom trapped in an optical cavity. This observation is the first verification of atomic physicist Ignacio Cirac’s proposal for the reversible mapping of quantum states between light and matter using cavity QED to provide strong coupling for the atom-photon interaction.“The most significant result of this work is the demonstration of reversibility (i.e., coherence) for the light emission and absorption processes,” Boozer told “The fact that this process is coherent means that it preserves superpositions of quantum states, hence it is a way of mapping quantum information between an atom and light.”In quantum networks, qubits (the information states for quantum computers) can be represented by either atoms or photons. Atoms, which have long coherence times, serve as “stationary” qubits, or nodes of a network, where they are stored and locally manipulated. Photons, on the other hand, serve as “flying” qubits, or quantum channels that connect nodes over long distances. While many single-photon sources have been demonstrated in the past decade, none have been experimentally shown to be reversible until now.“In principle, in a quantum computer there are several logic gates, each of which performs an elementary quantum operation on one or two stationary qubits,” Boozer explained. “The gates are connected together in a network, so that the output of one gate can be transported as a flying qubit to the input of the next gate. Hence, one needs a way to turn stationary qubits into flying qubits and vice-versa, which is what our recent work has demonstrated.”last_img read more

Toyotas Crown Hybrid Lets You See in the Dark

first_img This document is subject to copyright. Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study or research, no part may be reproduced without the written permission. The content is provided for information purposes only. In the Night View´s pedestrian recognition system, yellow frames are displayed around the pedestrians and the entire image. Considering that nighttime driving is often the most dangerous, the new Toyota Crown Hybrid could help make the roads safer by giving drivers a kind of nocturnal vision. The newest Crown Hybrid model, released in May 2008, features an updated “Night View” system that displays a view of the road at night, including pedestrians. While the previous Night View display appeared on the windshield and overlapped with the real view ahead, the new model incorporates the display on an LCD meter located on the dashboard just above the steering wheel. With the device, drivers can see the upcoming twists and turns on a dark road beyond the area of the car´s headlights. Its sensors can also recognize pedestrians in or near the road, who are displayed as one of a number of prepared pedestrian images that most closely matches their shape. When the system detects a pedestrian, a yellow box highlights their location on the LCD display. A yellow frame also appears on the entire screen to attract the driver´s attention.The LCD meter has a 1280 x 480 resolution, and works at speeds of between 15 and 60 kph (10 and 40 mph) – at higher speeds, the process circuit has difficult recognizing pedestrians. In addition to speed, rainy conditions and extreme levels of darkness also affect the pedestrian detection function, and can force the function to shut off.At the request of a number of users, Toyota may also add a feature that recognizes bicyclists and animals in a future model. Currently, the LCD meter adds significant cost to the car, but Toyota hopes to reduce the cost in the future, as well as include the display in other vehicle models.via: Nikkei Digitally programmable perovskite nanowire-block copolymer composites Explore further Citation: Toyota’s Crown Hybrid Lets You See in the Dark (2008, May 31) retrieved 18 August 2019 from read more

Physicists Investigate Possibility of an Unhiggs

first_img The hunt for the Higgs steps up a gear This figure represents a five-dimensional diagram relevant to how the Unhiggs affects certain parameters in particle physics models. Physicists are calculating the properties of the Unhiggs so that it will be recognized at the LHC, if it exists. Image credit: Falkowski and Pérez-Victoria. ( — One of the biggest goals of the LHC is to discover the Higgs boson, the only particle in the Standard Model that has not yet been observed. In general, physicists are pretty confident that the Higgs does in fact exist, although they have spent a lot of effort searching for the particle in less powerful accelerators without success. While patiently waiting for the LHC to reach its full energy and a Higgs particle to leave a signature in a detector, some physicists are investigating alternative scenarios. One of the most recent proposals is that the Higgs is not a particle, but an unparticle called the Unhiggs. More recently, Falkowski and Pérez-Victoria have further investigated the properties of the Unhiggs. In their study, they have explored certain experimental predictions of the Unhiggs proposal, such as how the Unhiggs affects precision observables measured by experiment. The scientists found that the Unhiggs is even more like the Higgs than previously thought, in that it closely mimics the Higgs for some light masses. They also found that the primary difference between the Unhiggs and the Higgs is due to their different propagators: while the Higgs’ propagator is mathematically described as a pole, the Unhiggs’ propagator is a branch. This characteristic is what makes the Unhiggs difficult to detect in collider experiments. “Propagators are mathematical functions that are used for computing amplitudes in quantum theories,” Falkowski explained. “Amplitudes determine the probability of certain events to occur in our colliders. The ‘pole’ means that the propagator becomes very large for certain values of the momenta corresponding to the particle mass; mathematically, this is the origin of resonances in kinematical distributions measured by experiment. Propagators for unparticles do not have poles, but rather branch cuts (discontinuities of the imaginary part), and therefore unparticles do not show up as resonances.”Instead, when the Unhiggs “decays,” it becomes suppressed, making its decay product mostly invisible. Still, the physicists say that a more detailed analysis of the collider’s constraints is necessary in order to determine if the Unhiggs might be observed. If physicists do find a way to determine its existence, the Unhiggs could possibly reveal information about the elusiveness of new physics beyond the Standard Model. Falkowski and Pérez-Victoria are currently working on a theoretical framework where not only the Higgs but also the W and Z bosons have unparticle components.“At the present stage it’s hard to say whether the idea is useful, that is to say whether it solves any problems that are troubling particle physicists,” Falkowski said. “Our approach in the paper was rather that the Unhiggs could be the reality, and explore consequences of that assumption. As I said, a priori it was far from obvious that the Unhiggs is theoretically consistent, or if it’s consistent with all experimental results up to date. The usefulness of this direction of research is that it allows the experimental physicists to prepare their experiments such that the Unhiggs, if present, would not be missed.” Explore further This document is subject to copyright. Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study or research, no part may be reproduced without the written permission. The content is provided for information purposes only.center_img The Unhiggs idea was first suggested in a paper published in November 2009 by physicists David Stancato and John Terning of the University of California, Davis. The Unhiggs is not all that different from the Higgs, except that it demonstrates unparticle behavior and, subsequently, does not fit in with the Standard Model. While a particle has discrete parameters, the Unhiggs’ parameters are continuous. In this sense, the Unhiggs is itself a continuum, and can be thought of as a collection of many Higgs bosons, each carrying a fraction of the Unhigg’s total value. “In particle physics, we are used to dealing with (surprise) particles,” Adam Falkowski, a physicist at Rutgers University, told Falkowski and Manuel Pérez-Victoria of the University of Granada are also investigating the possibility of the Unhiggs. “One property of particles is a well defined mass. For an unstable particle (such as the Higgs boson in the Standard Model), we can experimentally determine the mass by measuring the momenta of its decay products and computing the so-called invariant mass. Particles show as bumps, or resonances, in the invariant mass spectrum or other kinematical distributions. “Unparticles, on the other hand, do not have a well defined mass; in fact, an unparticle can be thought of as a superposition of an infinite number of particles with different masses. For this reason, unparticles don’t show up as resonances. Instead, they show up as subtle modifications of kinematical distributions measured by experiment, and therefore they can be difficult to spot.”In their study, Stancato and Terning showed that the possibility of an Unhiggs is theoretically consistent (which was not obvious a priori). The physicists found that the Unhiggs can do many things that the Higgs does. For example, both the particle and the continuum possess a non-zero vacuum expectation value, which can “break electroweak symmetry” and “unitarize WW scattering” – abilities that are important for giving other particles mass, which is a fundamental role of the Higgs. In addition, the scientists found that the Unhiggs can do something that the Higgs cannot: provide a solution to the so-called little hierarchy problem. Citation: Physicists Investigate Possibility of an ‘Unhiggs’ (2010, January 28) retrieved 18 August 2019 from Copyright 2010 All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed in whole or part without the express written permission of More information: Adam Falkowski and Manuel Pérez-Victoria. “Electroweak precision observables and the unhiggs.” Journal of High Energy Physics. Doi:10.1088/1126-6708/2009/12/061. Stancato and John Terning. ”The Unhiggs.” Journal of High Energy Physics. Doi:10.1088/1126-6708/2009/11/101. read more

Thoughtcontrolled computers on the way Intel

first_img Intel scientists are currently mapping out brain activity produced when people think of particular words, by measuring activity at about 20,000 locations in the brain. The devices being used to do the mapping at the moment are expensive and bulky MRI scanners, similar to those used in hospitals, but senior researcher at Intel, Dean Pomerlau, said smaller gadgets that could be worn on the head are being developed. Once the brain activity is mapped out the computer will be able to determine what words are being thought by identifying similar brain patterns and differences between them.Pomerlau said words produce activity in parts of the brain associated with what the word represents. So thinking of a word for a type of food, such as apple, results in activity in the parts of the brain associated with hunger, while a word with a physical association such as spade produces activity in the areas of the motor cortex related to making the physical movements of digging. In this way the computer can infer attributes of a word to narrow it down and identify it quickly.A working prototype can already detect words like house, screwdriver and barn, but as brain scanning becomes more advanced the computer’s ability to understand thoughts will improve.If the plans are successful users will be able to surf the Internet, write emails and carry out a host of other activities on the computer simply by thinking about them. Director of Intel Laboratories, Justin Ratner, said it is clear humans are no longer restricted to using a keyboard and mouse, and mind reading is the “ultimate user interface.” He said he is confident any concerns about privacy will be overcome.While many able-bodied computer users may hesitate to adopt a technology that operates a computer by reading their minds, people who are unable to use a keyboard or a mouse through disability should find the new technology gives them much more freedom and opportunities for communicating. ( — Computers controlled by the mind are going a step further with Intel’s development of mind-controlled computers. Existing computers operated by brain power require the user to mentally move a cursor on the screen, but the new computers will be designed to directly read the words thought by the user. An fMRI scan example. Image: Wikipedia. © 2010 Intel wants a chip implant in your brain More information: Via Telegraph Explore further This document is subject to copyright. Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study or research, no part may be reproduced without the written permission. The content is provided for information purposes only. Citation: Thought-controlled computers on the way: Intel (2010, August 25) retrieved 18 August 2019 from read more

To dial perchance to group Statistical analysis reveals clustered telephony patterns

first_img Citation: To dial, perchance to group: Statistical analysis reveals clustered telephony patterns (2013, February 21) retrieved 18 August 2019 from Rank ordering plot showing the average calling frequency f(cr) of the cr-th-most contacted friend for the users with the same degree. (A) Plots of f(cr) as a function of ln cr for cluster 2. (B) Loglog plots of f(cr) with respect to cr for cluster 3. (C) Plots of f(cr)b versus ln cr for cluster 4. (D) Scatter plots of b with respect to k for cluster 4. Copyright © PNAS, doi:10.1073/pnas.1220433110 Journal information: Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences Explore further Jiang describes the process of classifying the clusters based on statistical analysis. Because individuals in Cluster 1 were characterized by a high frequency of call initiation (out-going call mean percentage 0.99), a small number of call recipients (average number 22), and an allocation of almost all out-going calls to only one call recipient (average communication diversity value 0.015), the researchers inferred them that they were robot-based callers. By comparison, individuals in Cluster 3 characterized by a high frequency of call initiation (mean out-going call percentage 0.94), a larger number of call recipients (average number callees 2083), and an even distribution of out-going calls among all callees (average communication diversity value 0.98), they inferred them to be telecom frauds and telephone sales. On the other hand, in the group of individual users with a Weibull duration distribution, the average number of callees, the mean percentage of outgoing calls, and the average value of communication diversity were 245, 0.57, and 0.79, respectively. Two other interesting discoveries: The researchers found that they could determine the probability that a user will call the cr-th-most-contact (the recipient most called by an outgoing call r within cluster c) and the probability distribution of burst sizes. Jiang summarizes the main cr-th-most-contact results by cluster as follows: Cluster 1: most of the calls (mean 99.5% and min 94%) are to only one contactCluster 2: the number of outgoing calls to different contacts follows an exponential distributionCluster 3: the number of outgoing calls to different contacts follows a power-law distributionCluster 4: the number of outgoing calls to different contacts follows a stretched exponential distributionRegarding burst size probability,Clusters 1 and 3: the burst size switches from a power-law distribution to an exponential distribution with the increment of time windowsCluster 2: the burst size follows a exponential distribution for different time windowsCluster 4: the burst size follows a power-law distribution for different time windowsFinally, the researchers see that their findings may enable a more detailed analysis of the huge body of data contained in the logs of massive users. “Our analysis of the massive data of calls enables us to gain insights into the investigation of other massive data sets,” Zhou says, “such as stock traders and massively multiplayer online role-playing game users. However,” he acknowledges, “the methods used in our paper might not be able to be directly applied to other complex systems. It’s very possible that we’ll need to further develop new methods and techniques.” How many lakes are there, and how big are they? Definition of intraday intercall durations. (A) Schematic chart of call logs for an individual. (B) Intraday pattern of the number of calls. Copyright © PNAS, doi:10.1073/pnas.1220433110 Dr. Zhi-Qiang Jiang discusses the challenges he and his colleagues – Prof. H. Eugene Stanley, Prof. Wei-Xing Zhou, Prof. Boris Podobnik, Wen-Jie Xie, and Ming-Xia Li – faced in conducting their study. “In our sample, there are 4,635,536 individuals that have nonempty intercall durations – that is, each has at least two calls,” Jiang tells, adding that for theoretical and practical reasons, it is not optimal to investigate individuals with low calling frequencies. Therefore, the team focused on the 100,000 most active users. While previous studies were primarily interested in collective behaviors, Jiang’s research studied the individual level. “Examining the intercall duration distributions of many randomly chosen individuals showed that power-law and Weibull distributions are two suitable candidates. In order to test our conjecture, we had to design a rigorous statistical method – and this the first challenge we encountered.”Confirmation that intercall durations follow a power-law distribution with an exponential cutoff at the population level was relatively simple, Jiang continues. “Moreover, since this result is consistent with previous studies, the statistical test was also relatively simple. However,” he notes, “we did not use maximum likelihood estimation.” Maximum likelihood estimation (MLE) is a method of estimating the parameters of a statistical model. In addition, when applied to a dataset and given a statistical model, MLE provides estimates for the model’s parameters. “Instead, we used the simple least-squares regression method because performing MLE on a sample of 100,000 individuals with numerous durations was beyond our computer’s capacity.”By determining intercall duration distributions, the team was able to classify them into two groups: one with power-law intercall duration distributions and the other with Weibull distributions. (A Weibull distribution is a flexible measurement that details the continuous probability distribution associated with the lifetime characteristics of a member of a population.) “We looked at different properties of individuals’ calling patterns,” Jiang illustrates, “and found many differences. For instance, it’s natural to investigate the data from the perspective of complex networks – and the simplest way is to check the out-degree distributions.” The degree of a graph or network node is the number of connections it has to other nodes; the degree distribution is the probability distribution of these degrees over the entire network – and in a directed network, in- and out-degree refers to a node’s inbound or outbound links, respectively. In this paper, the out-degree describes the number of different callees (call recipients) for a specified cell phone user. During and after the classification of the four calling patterns, the researchers examined the behaviors of the individuals in the three groups with a power-law duration distribution – robot-bases calls, telecom fraud and telephone sales – in greater detail. For example, Jiang notes, they checked the time series of call occurrence times, adding “It was another challenge to find a suitable method for further classifying the phone users.” Moving forward, Zhou continues, the researchers plan to perform further investigations on the calling behaviors of individuals and the complexity of the communication networks. “We also plan to investigate the mobility behaviors of individuals to have a better understanding of human mobility patterns. It would also be a very interesting topic to understand the spatiotemporal dynamics of human communication and mobility.”Jiang and his colleagues also believe that their highly-interdisciplinary work represents a significant scientific step forward. “It involves topics that range from complex systems to human dynamics, and also enriches our understanding on the individuals whose activity patterns are dominated by the power-law distribution of inter-event time. Moreover, it proposes a new approach to understanding individual behaviors from the big data contained in the logs of massive users, and provides a framework for constructing models to explain the empirical collective behaviors based on clusters of, rather than all, individuals.”The team also views work as significant in a practical sense. “Mobile phone service providers can use the idea to identify illegal users and to design their sales strategies,” Podobnik concludes. “We believe that having better insight into mobile phone dynamics can help mobile operators become even more efficient, and perhaps even help them reduce their costs and more easily deal with spam, which are also part of our studies.” This document is subject to copyright. Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study or research, no part may be reproduced without the written permission. The content is provided for information purposes only. More information: Calling patterns in human communication dynamics, PNAS January 29, 2013 vol. 110 no. 5 1600-1605, doi:10.1073/pnas.1220433110 Calling patterns for the individuals from power-law and Weibull group. (A) Distribution of the percentage of outgoing calls rout and the call diversity ϕ for power-law group. (B) Plots of out-degree k with respect to communication diversity ϕ for power law group. Three ellipses correspond to the three clusters of individuals. (C) Similar as A but for Weibull group. (D) Similar as B but for Weibull group. Copyright © PNAS, doi:10.1073/pnas.1220433110 Copyright 2013 All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed in whole or part without the express written permission of (—Whether cellular calls, texting, instant messaging, there’s more to communications than content: every exchange leaves behind an electronic trace that can be measured and studied. Recently, researchers led by Prof. Wei-Xing Zhou at East China University of Science and Technology and by Prof. H. Eugene Stanley at University of Boston studied intercall durations of the 100,000 most active cell phone users of a Chinese mobile phone operator. They found that these durations form three clusters – robot-based callers, telecom fraud and telephone sales – that follow a power-law distribution, but also found that calling patterns of individual users formed a fourth cluster that followed a Weibull distribution. The researchers conclude that their findings may enable a more detailed analysis of the huge body of data contained in the logs of massive numbers of users.last_img read more

Aboriginal language groups use of star maps studied

first_img This document is subject to copyright. Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study or research, no part may be reproduced without the written permission. The content is provided for information purposes only. The ABC report provided a live link, which goes to the arXiv site, where the authors submitted their paper on June 29, titled “Star Maps and Travelling to Ceremonies—the Euahlayi People and Their Use of the Night Sky.” Among the authors, representation includes the Department of Indigenous Studies at Macquarie University, Euahlayi Law Man, and CSIRO Astronomy and Space Science. Fundamentally, their research, said the ABC, documents how people from two language groups the Euahlayi and Kamilaroi people. in north-central New South Wales and south-central Queensland use star maps to teach travel routes based on songlines. Do all Aboriginal people use the stars for navigation at night? The authors stated that “We have shown that while many Aboriginal cultural groups have a rich knowledge of the night sky, this does not necessarily mean that they all use the stars and night sky for actual navigation.”Norris told the ABC that in the process of speaking to a man relaying traditional stories, the team discovered a “fantastic store of knowledge about how people navigated.” A key discovery in their research is that the Euahlayi and Kamilaroi people, who did not travel extensively at night, had no use for the night sky as a knowledge tool. The authors present a different story. They wrote: “They used “star maps” in the night sky for learning and remembering waypoints along their routes of travel, but not for actual navigation.” They instead used star maps as a teaching device in advance of travel, via songlines. The stars were not direction pointers, as much as pre-travel reminders of where songlines go. “For the Euahlayi, and for the Kamilaroi and neighbouring language groups,” said the authors, “there was another way to use the stars for travelling which was not a form of navigation by the stars. This was the use of patterns of stars (“star maps”) to teach people how to travel in and outside of their country. Knowledge in Aboriginal culture is transmitted orally, so this technique could be considered a memory aid to assist in teaching, and as a reminder for future travel.”.Songlines are about singing where you’ve been, a recreation of a given landscape. In Aboriginal groups, songlines have been found to cross a vast landscape linking important locations and land features. Prof. Norris said in the ABC report that the links between songlines and star maps became evident in their research.He said it has been known for some time about Aboriginal peoples’ songlines describing the features of the land and it has also been known that some Aboriginal groups use the stars as a compass. “But then” he said in ABC, “people talk about these journeys that you can see in the sky but it’s never quite clear about how that maps onto the songlines on the ground.” Now, for the first time, he added, “we are actually hearing the details of how this actually works.” In some cases, said Norris, people identify places on the group with places in the sky. “We’ve never been able to map one onto the other like this before.”As for future study, the authors said, “Further research on the use of star maps for travel by other language groups, particularly those who might have met the Euahlayi peoples at common ceremonial locations, may lead to a clearer understanding of the Aboriginal use of the night sky for travel.”The current population of people identifying as Kamilaroi and/or Euahlayi ancestry is approximately 29,000, estimates from Kamilaroi Nation Applicant Board, said the authors. Citation: Aboriginal language groups’ use of star maps studied (2014, July 14) retrieved 18 August 2019 from Goodooga to Carnarvon Gorge star map (image courtesy of Starry Night Education) Credit: arXiv:1406.7456 [physics.hist-ph] Aboriginal people – how to misunderstand their science © 2014 Explore further Professor Ray Norris of the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization (CSIRO) and colleagues from Macquarie University have researched the use of stars and constellations by certain groups. According to the Australia Broadcasting Corporation (ABC), the research was reported in the Journal of Astronomical History and Heritage. More information: Star Maps and Travelling to Ceremonies—the Euahlayi People and Their Use of the Night Sky, arXiv:1406.7456 [physics.hist-ph] Euahlayi people are an Australian Aboriginal language group located in north-central New South Wales and south-central Queensland. They have a rich culture of astronomy, and use of the night sky in resource management. Like several other Aboriginal peoples, they did not travel extensively at night, and so were assumed not to use the night sky for navigation. This study has confirmed that they, like most other Aboriginal groups, travelled extensively outside their own country for purposes of trade and ceremonies. We also found that, previously unknown, they used star maps in the night sky for learning and remembering waypoints along their routes of travel, but not for actual navigation. Further research may find that this was common to many Aboriginal groups in Australia.last_img read more

NIH initiatives to overcome age bias in grant offerings appear to be

first_img(—A professor of structural biology and an informatics researcher have together written a paper outlining age bias in grant offerings by the National Institutes of Health over the past several decades. They show how older principal investigators (PIs) have traditionally been given more grants but note that new initiatives by NIH appear to be having a positive impact. Michael and Jonathan Levitt, who happen to be brothers, have published their work in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. Journal information: Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences Explore further It has been a well-known issue in the science community for quite some time that older PIs have a better chance of getting a grant from the NIH than younger people. In their paper, the Levitts outline a trend that showed PIs under age 46 receiving fewer grants since 1982, while those for PIs over 55 received more of them—specifically, they found that the median age of PIs over the years 1980 to 2010 rose from 40 to 50. The bias is due to the way NIH awards grants, the authors note—committees are created to make assessments and award grants, but the members are made up of NIH grantees, which are heavily skewed toward older baby boomers. Older scientists, they suggest, find it difficult to award work to people they view as young and inexperienced.The authors note that things have been changing. In 2008, NIH initiated the Early Stage Investigator Policy solely to address age bias in awarding grants. And in 2016, the institute launched the Maximizing Investigator’s Research Award. And just last year, NIH officials announced plans to set a cap limit on the number of grants a single PI can hold at one time. As the authors note, it is still too early to tell how much of an impact the moves by NIH will have, but early signs suggest a reduced rate of increase in grants to older PIs, while the numbers granted to younger PIs has been rising. They suggest that additional efforts be made (such as dedicating more resources to transitional postdoctoral fellowships that are awarded by NIH) to encourage young people to enter the science field, noting that most Nobel laureates did their prize-winning work before the age of 40. This document is subject to copyright. Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study or research, no part may be reproduced without the written permission. The content is provided for information purposes only. More information: Michael Levitt et al. Future of fundamental discovery in US biomedical research, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (2017). DOI: 10.1073/pnas.1609996114AbstractYoung researchers are crucially important for basic science as they make unexpected, fundamental discoveries. Since 1982, we find a steady drop in the number of grant-eligible basic-science faculty [principal investigators (PIs)] younger than 46. This fall occurred over a 32-y period when inflation-corrected congressional funds for NIH almost tripled. During this time, the PI success ratio (fraction of basic-science PIs who are R01 grantees) dropped for younger PIs (below 46) and increased for older PIs (above 55). This age-related bias seems to have caused the steady drop in the number of young basic-science PIs and could reduce future US discoveries in fundamental biomedical science. The NIH recognized this bias in its 2008 early-stage investigator (ESI) policy to fund young PIs at higher rates. We show this policy is working and recommend that it be enhanced by using better data. Together with the National Institute of General Medical Sciences (NIGMS) Maximizing Investigators’ Research Award (MIRA) program to reward senior PIs with research time in exchange for less funding, this may reverse a decades-long trend of more money going to older PIs. To prepare young scientists for increased demand, additional resources should be devoted to transitional postdoctoral fellowships already offered by NIH.center_img How the ‘graying biomedical workforce’ affects scientific funding in the US This figure shows age variation of R01 grantees. The median age grows from 40 to 50, whereas that of the 5% youngest grows from 32 to 37. The average age of first-(FIR) R01 grantees is 6 y more than that of the 5% youngest, and halfway to the median age. Since 1980, US life expectancy has increased by 5 y (64). Credit: (c) Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (2017). DOI: 10.1073/pnas.1609996114 Citation: NIH initiatives to overcome age bias in grant offerings appear to be working (2017, June 6) retrieved 18 August 2019 from © 2017 Phys.orglast_img read more

Evidence dinosaur walked on all fours when young and switched to bipedalism

first_img Journal information: Scientific Reports A team of researchers affiliated with institutions in Argentina and the U.K. has found evidence of a dinosaur that walked on all fours when it was young and then switched to walking on two legs as it grew to adulthood. In their paper published in the journal Scientific Reports, the group describes their study of Mussaurus patagonicus, an early sauropod species that lived in what is now Argentina, and what they learned about it. © 2019 Science X Network Explore further Mussaurus specimens. (a,b) hatchling, (c) yearling, (d) adult. Scale bars represent 5 cm (a), (b) 15 cm (c) and 100 cm (d). To better show isolated bones in (c), we used specimen PVL 4587, of the same ontogenetic age as MPM 1813 (except for the ilium, which belongs to MPM 1813). Preserved bones are shaded in grey. Credit: Scientific Reports (2019). DOI: 10.1038/s41598-019-44037-1 This document is subject to copyright. Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study or research, no part may be reproduced without the written permission. The content is provided for information purposes only.center_img Prior research had found evidence of Mussaurus patagonicus (“Patagonian mouse lizard”) living in what is now Patagonia, Argentina. Like other sauropod species, it had a long neck and tail, walked upright, and weighed approximately one metric ton. It was also known to be quite small after hatching—small enough to fit in the modern human hand. This piqued the interest of the researchers, who wondered if it might have walked on all fours in its early stages of growth.To learn more about M. patagonicus development, the researchers obtained and studied sample bone fossils from three periods during the life of the dinosaur: just after they were born, at one year, and as adults. They then used computer simulations to fill in the rest of the anatomy of the dinosaur. Next, they calculated the center of gravity for the dinosaur at each stage of its life. For a creature to walk upright, its center of gravity must be over its back legs, rather than farther up its spine, as is the case with animals like cats and dogs.The researchers found that during its early stages, the center of gravity for the dinosaur was farther up the spine, suggesting it walked on all fours. They also found that the center of gravity did not shift until the dinosaur reached adulthood, suggesting that it walked on all fours for most of its young life.The finding is unique, because other than humans, no other species is known to walk on all fours during early stages of development and transition to bipedalism after growing to adulthood. The finding suggests that other dinosaurs might have done so, as well. More information: Alejandro Otero et al. Ontogenetic changes in the body plan of the sauropodomorph dinosaur Mussaurus patagonicus reveal shifts of locomotor stance during growth, Scientific Reports (2019). DOI: 10.1038/s41598-019-44037-1 Citation: Evidence dinosaur walked on all fours when young and switched to bipedalism as an adult (2019, May 22) retrieved 18 August 2019 from A ‘high-heeled’ dinosaur that walked on its tiptoeslast_img read more

Of laughs gags and romance

first_imgSpring Fever Literary Festival, conducted by Penguin Random House at India Habitat Center on Lodhi Road, on its fifth day hosted the three romance novelists – Durjoy Datta, Aarya Babbar, and Sudeep Nagarkar – and their entourage of fans. The discussion was on love, friendship, on writing, and on life on the whole. The conversation was moderated by Urvashi Gulia, the author of My Way is the Highway.The talks began with the analysis of each one’s writing procedure. The fans, as well as Urvashi herself, were eager to know how these boys did it. ‘There is no definite process to writing.’ said Durjoy, much to everyone’s dismay. Also Read – ‘Playing Jojo was emotionally exhausting’There is no flash of light, no moment of heavenly inspiration. I sit down in front of my laptop, staring a blank screen and I write in the good hope that each word made sense, to the one preceding it and to the one that it had succeeded.’ Durjoy began writing on the realization that he loved writing and wanted to keep on doing it. ‘The steady flow of pocket money that came my way helped too’, he said. Sudeep on the other hand said that it was his desire to tell the real meaning of love and friendship that got him to write. The years of depression that ensnared him during college years and all that anger that had to find a way out, he said, directed him towards writing. And so he wrote four books on the topic love and friendship. ‘I do not care for money, prestige, but if my book can make a difference in someone’s life, it means the world to me.’ Aarya said he wrote to fill the empty phases in his life, when he was waiting in line for auditions or breaks during movie shootings.last_img read more

Travel career topmost on womens bucket lists Survey

first_imgThe same report highlights that men choose relationships as the most important life-goal, followed by travel and money, while letting career take a backseat.The results are part of the Ginger Hotels’ ‘Bucket List Study 2015’, which find that while Indian men continue to tread on the conservative path leading to dependable careers and satisfactory lifestyles, Indian women set unconventional goals and priorities. The online survey took a sample of over 1146 respondents in India across regions who were invited to share their experiences and behavioural patterns. Also Read – ‘Playing Jojo was emotionally exhausting’Travel ranked first on women’s wishlist with 35 per cent of women surveyed putting travel on the top of their bucket lists. This was followed by Career (34 per cent), Money (43 per cent) and Relationships (34 per cent). Men gave precedence to relationships over ambitions.Relationships ranked first on the men’s wishlist with 32 per cent votes followed by travel (30 per cent), money (33 per cent) and career (30 per cent). The survey also found that for women, it’s the experiences collected along the journey of life that hold more importance than assets as compared to men. 32 per cent of women stated that experiences had more value than assets while 19 per cent men valued assets more. Also Read – Leslie doing new comedy special with NetflixThe survey found that 23 per cent consider their expenses keeping in mind their families and loved ones while it was only 14 per cent of women that did the same. While women dream big about travelling, they find it harder than men to simply pack and travel on the word go! While 32 per cent women are ready to travel whenever given a chance while only 27 per cent men do the same. However, 48 per cent women find it hard to get away and they travel only once a year while for men the numbers are 45 per cent. Only 7 per cent women travel once a month while for men it is 11 per cent. Yet it is more men at 38 per cent than women at 31 per cent who would consult with their family before planning a trip. Today more women than men are open to travelling.Travel ranked equally high for both men and women as the most envy-inducing activity on Facebook, 46 per cent women and 41 per cent men ranked travel-related photos or statuses of friends on social media foremost as those that induced the most amount of envy.Both women (46 per cent) and men (37 per cent ) believed they were happy with their work-life if there is sufficient money and time.last_img read more