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Freegrass

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Amazing new science and engineering
« on: April 21, 2024, 03:56:06 PM »
I didn't know where to put this video, and I've been coming across a lot of new awesome engineering projects lately, so thought I'd make a separate thread for it.

This video is about a new way of building tunnels with robots. So cool, and they think it could speed up tunnel construction tenfold.

« Last Edit: April 21, 2024, 04:08:35 PM by Freegrass »
When factual science is in conflict with our beliefs or traditions, we cuddle up in our own delusional fantasy where everything starts making sense again.

Sebastian Jones

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Re: Amazing new science and engineering
« Reply #1 on: April 22, 2024, 07:44:48 AM »
Very cool!
It could perhaps have fitted into the Boring Company thread?

morganism

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Re: Amazing new science and engineering
« Reply #2 on: June 09, 2024, 01:59:15 AM »
CERN’s $17-billion supercollider in question as top funder criticizes cost
Germany has raised doubts about the affordability of the Large Hadron Collider’s planned successor.

Plans for a 91-kilometre European particle accelerator are facing a serious challenge after the German government said that the project was unaffordable.

CERN, the European particle-physics laboratory outside Geneva, Switzerland, has embarked on a detailed feasibility study for the first stage of its Future Circular Collider (FCC). This stage, known as FCC-ee, would involve a machine to smash electrons together with antielectrons, and could cost some 15 billion Swiss francs (US$17 billion) by the time it is completed in the mid-2040s. The initial phase of that study, focusing on the technical aspects, had a positive outcome, CERN said in February.

But Germany, which already contributes €267 million (US$290 million) annually to CERN — some 20% of the lab’s budget — cannot afford to spend more, said Eckart Lilienthal of the country’s Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) on 23 May, at a workshop for particle physicists in Bonn, Germany.

CERN’s supercollider plan: $17-billion ‘Higgs factory’ would dwarf LHC

The preliminary cost estimates for the FCC-ee “are subject to a large number of uncertainties, the effects of which are still largely unknown”, a BMBF spokesperson told Nature. “The financing plan is extremely vague and requires a high level of commitment from external partners, which is neither assured nor even in prospect at the present time. Given these conditions, Germany cannot support funding of the project at this point.”
(more)

https://www.nature.com/articles/d41586-024-01671-8

Freegrass

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Re: Amazing new science and engineering
« Reply #3 on: June 09, 2024, 10:25:48 AM »
And then there is this:

How light can vaporize water without the need for heat


It's the most fundamental of processes -- the evaporation of water from the surfaces of oceans and lakes, the burning off of fog in the morning sun, and the drying of briny ponds that leaves solid salt behind. Evaporation is all around us, and humans have been observing it and making use of it for as long as we have existed.

And yet, it turns out, we've been missing a major part of the picture all along.

In a series of painstakingly precise experiments, a team of researchers at MIT has demonstrated that heat isn't alone in causing water to evaporate. Light, striking the water's surface where air and water meet, can break water molecules away and float them into the air, causing evaporation in the absence of any source of heat.

The astonishing new discovery could have a wide range of significant implications. It could help explain mysterious measurements over the years of how sunlight affects clouds, and therefore affect calculations of the effects of climate change on cloud cover and precipitation. It could also lead to new ways of designing industrial processes such as solar-powered desalination or drying of materials.

...

A newfound phenomenon

The new work builds on research reported last year, which described this new "photomolecular effect" but only under very specialized conditions: on the surface of specially prepared hydrogels soaked with water. In the new study, the researchers demonstrate that the hydrogel is not necessary for the process; it occurs at any water surface exposed to light, whether it's a flat surface like a body of water or a curved surface like a droplet of cloud vapor.

Because the effect was so unexpected, the team worked to prove its existence with as many different lines of evidence as possible. In this study, they report 14 different kinds of tests and measurements they carried out to establish that water was indeed evaporating -- that is, molecules of water were being knocked loose from the water's surface and wafted into the air -- due to the light alone, not by heat, which was long assumed to be the only mechanism involved.

One key indicator, which showed up consistently in four different kinds of experiments under different conditions, was that as the water began to evaporate from a test container under visible light, the air temperature measured above the water's surface cooled down and then leveled off, showing that thermal energy was not the driving force behind the effect.

Other key indicators that showed up included the way the evaporation effect varied depending on the angle of the light, the exact color of the light, and its polarization. None of these varying characteristics should happen because at these wavelengths, water hardly absorbs light at all -- and yet the researchers observed them.

The effect is strongest when light hits the water surface at an angle of 45 degrees. It is also strongest with a certain type of polarization, called transverse magnetic tion. And it peaks in green light -- which, oddly, is the color for which water is most transparent and thus interacts the least.

Chen and his co-researchers have proposed a physical mechanism that can explain the angle and polarization dependence of the effect, showing that the photons of light can impart a net force on water molecules at the water surface that is sufficient to knock them loose from the body of water. But they cannot yet account for the color dependence, which they say will require further study.

...

https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2024/04/240424160652.htm
Two Bit Da Vinci just posted a great video about this. Sounds like an important discovery.

When factual science is in conflict with our beliefs or traditions, we cuddle up in our own delusional fantasy where everything starts making sense again.

Freegrass

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Re: Amazing new science and engineering
« Reply #4 on: June 21, 2024, 02:08:32 AM »
This used to be my job for a few years when I worked at BASF in Antwerp. I really loved working with cranes, as a rigger. So when I saw this video just now, I was blown away. This crane is HUGE!!! OMG. The biggest crane I worked with was 800 ton. That was the biggest mobile crane at the time. This one is 5000.  ???

When factual science is in conflict with our beliefs or traditions, we cuddle up in our own delusional fantasy where everything starts making sense again.

morganism

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Re: Amazing new science and engineering
« Reply #5 on: July 04, 2024, 09:39:52 PM »
Gravitational wave researchers cast new light on Antikythera mechanism mystery



Techniques developed to analyse the ripples in spacetime detected by one of the 21st century’s most sensitive pieces of scientific equipment have helped cast new light on the function of the oldest known analogue computer.

Techniques developed to analyse the ripples in spacetime detected by one of the 21st century’s most sensitive pieces of scientific equipment have helped cast new light on the function of the oldest known analogue computer.
 
Astronomers from the University of Glasgow have used statistical modelling techniques developed to analyse gravitational waves to establish the likely number of holes in one of the broken rings of the Antikythera mechanism – an ancient artifact which was showcased in the movie Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny.
 
While the movie version enabled the intrepid archaeologist to travel through time, the Glasgow team’s results provide fresh evidence that one of the components of the Antikythera mechanism was most likely used to track the Greek lunar year. They also offer new insight into the remarkable craftsmanship of the ancient Greeks.

Decades of subsequent research and analysis have established that the mechanism dates from the second century BCE and functioned as a kind of hand-operated mechanical computer. Exterior dials connected to the internal gears allowed users to predict eclipses and calculate the astronomical positions of planets on any given date with an accuracy unparalleled by any other known contemporary device.
 
In 2020, new X-ray images of one of the mechanism’s rings, known as the calendar ring, revealed fresh details of regularly spaced holes that sit beneath the ring. Since the ring was broken and incomplete, however, it wasn’t clear how just how many holes were there originally. Initial analysis by Antikythera researcher Chris Budiselic and colleagues suggested it was likely somewhere between 347 and 367.
 
Now, in a new paper published today in the Horological Journal, the Glasgow researchers describe how they used two statistical analysis techniques to reveal new details about the calendar ring. They show that the ring is vastly more likely to have had 354 holes, corresponding to the lunar calendar, than 365 holes, which would have followed the Egyptian calendar. The analysis also shows that 354 holes is hundreds of times more probable than a 360-hole ring, which previous research had suggested as a possible count.
 
Professor Graham Woan, of the University of Glasgow’s School of Physics & Astronomy, is one of the authors of the paper. He said: “Towards the end of last year, a colleague pointed to me to data acquired by YouTuber Chris Budiselic, who was looking to make a replica of the calendar ring and was investigating ways to determine just how many holes it contained.
 
“It struck me as an interesting problem, and one that I thought I might be able to solve in a different way during the Christmas holidays, so I set about using some statistical techniques to answer the question.”
 
Professor Woan used a technique called Bayesian analysis, which uses probability to quantify uncertainty based on incomplete data, to calculate the likely number of holes in the mechanism using the positions of the surviving holes and the placement of the ring’s surviving six fragments. His results showed strong evidence that the mechanism’s calendar ring contained either 354 or 355 holes.
 
At the same time, one of Professor Woan’s colleagues at the University’s Institute for Gravitational Research, Dr Joseph Bayley, had also heard about the problem. He adapted techniques used by their research group to analyse the signals picked up by the LIGO gravitational wave detectors, which measure the tiny ripples in spacetime, caused by massive astronomical events like the collision of black holes, as they pass through the Earth, to scrutinise the calendar ring.
 
The Markov Chain Monte Carlo and nested sampling methods Woan and Bayley used provided a comprehensive probabilistic set of results, again suggested that the ring most likely contained 354 or 355 holes in a circle of radius 77.1mm, with an uncertainty of about 1/3 mm. It also reveals that the holes were precisely positioned with extraordinary accuracy, with an average radial variation of just 0.028mm between each hole.
 
Bayley, a co-author of the paper, is a research associate at the School of Physics & Astronomy. He said: “Previous studies had suggested that the calendar ring was likely to have tracked the lunar calendar, but the dual techniques we’ve applied in this piece of work greatly increase the likelihood that this was the case.
 
“It’s given me a new appreciation for the Antikythera mechanism and the work and care that Greek craftspeople put into making it – the precision of the holes’ positioning would have required highly accurate measurement techniques and an incredibly steady hand to punch them.
 
Professor Woan added: “It’s a neat symmetry that we’ve adapted techniques we use to study the universe today to understand more about a mechanism that helped people keep track of the heavens nearly two millennia ago.
 
“We hope that our findings about the Antikythera mechanism, although less supernaturally spectacular than those made by Indiana Jones, will help deepen our understanding of how this remarkable device was made and used by the Greeks.”
 
The paper, titled ‘An Improved Calendar Ring Hole-Count for the Antikythera Mechanism: A Fresh Analysis’, is published in Horological Journal.

https://www.gla.ac.uk/news/headline_1086643_en.html

morganism

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Re: Amazing new science and engineering
« Reply #6 on: July 09, 2024, 09:04:42 PM »
Raising the energy state of an atom’s nucleus using a laser

Nuclear spectroscopy breakthrough could rewrite the fundamental constants of nature.

Recently, Eric Hudson and his team at UCLA successfully embedded a thorium atom within a highly transparent crystal and used lasers to stimulate the thorium nucleus to absorb and emit photons, akin to the behavior of electrons in an atom.

The improved technology allows for measurements of time, gravity, and other fields with significantly higher accuracy than current measurements using atomic electrons. This is because the influence of various environmental factors on atomic electrons affects their absorption and emission of photons, limiting their accuracy. In contrast, neutrons and protons are tightly bound within the nucleus and experience minimal environmental disturbance.

With this new technology, scientists may have the ability to investigate potential variations in fundamental constants, such as the fine-structure constant, which determines the strength of the force holding atoms together.

Astronomical clues indicate that the fine-structure constant may not be constant throughout the universe or across different points in time. The fine-structure constant’s precise measurement using the nuclear clock has the potential to fundamentally redefine some of the most basic laws of nature.

“Nuclear forces are so strong it means the energy in the nucleus is a million times stronger than what you see in the electrons, which means that if the fundamental constants of nature deviate, the resulting changes in the nucleus are much bigger and more noticeable, making measurements orders of magnitude more sensitive,” Hudson said. “Using a nuclear clock for these measurements will provide the most sensitive test of ‘constant variation’ to date, and it is likely no experiment for the next 100 years will rival it.”

Hudson’s team put forth the initial proposal for a set of experiments aimed at exciting thorium-229 nuclei embedded in crystals using a laser. They have dedicated the past 15 years to achieving the recently published findings. The challenge lies in exciting neutrons in the atomic nucleus with laser light due to their interaction with surrounding electrons, which readily respond to light and can diminish the number of photons capable of reaching the nucleus. When a particle elevates its energy level, such as through photon absorption, it is described as being in an “excited” state.

The researchers at UCLA placed thorium-229 atoms inside a transparent crystal that is abundant in fluorine. Fluorine has a strong ability to create bonds with other atoms, trapping the atoms and revealing the nucleus like a fly caught in a spider’s web. The electrons were tightly bound to the fluorine, requiring a high amount of energy to excite them, which allowed low-energy light to reach the nucleus.

The thorium nuclei were able to absorb these photons and emit them back, enabling the detection and measurement of nucleus excitation. By altering the photon energy and observing the frequency of nucleus excitation, the team managed to determine the energy of the excited nuclear state.

“We have never been able to drive nuclear transitions like this with a laser before,” Hudson said. “If you hold the thorium in place with a transparent crystal, you can talk to it with light.”

Hudson expressed that the new technology has potential applications in fields requiring extreme precision in timekeeping, such as sensing, communications, and navigation. Current electron-based atomic clocks are large, requiring vacuum chambers to trap atoms and cooling equipment. In contrast, a thorium-based nuclear clock would be much smaller, more robust, more portable, and more accurate.

In addition to commercial uses, the new nuclear spectroscopy has the potential to unveil some of the universe’s greatest mysteries. Precise measurement of an atom’s nucleus provides a new approach to understanding its properties and interactions with energy and the environment. As a result, scientists will be able to test some of their most fundamental concepts about matter, energy, and the laws of space and time.

The research was funded by the U.S. National Science Foundation.

“For many decades, increasingly precise measurements of fundamental constants have allowed us to better understand the universe at all scales and subsequently develop new technologies that grow our economy and strengthen our national security,” said Denise Caldwell, acting assistant director of NSF’s Mathematical and Physical Sciences Directorate, which provided funding for the research. “This nucleus-based technique could one day allow scientists to measure some fundamental constants so precisely that we might have to stop calling them ‘constant.'”

https://www.techexplorist.com/raising-energy-state-atoms-nucleus-using-laser/85800/

....

(effect only lasts a few seconds, but wonder if this could be a cheap and small grav wave detector too. Dark matter background hum would be very interesting too...)

....

Laser Excitation of the 229Th Nuclear Isomeric Transition in a Solid-State Host.

LiSrAlF6 crystals doped with Th229 are used in a laser-based search for the nuclear isomeric transition. Two spectroscopic features near the nuclear transition energy are observed. The first is a broad excitation feature that produces redshifted fluorescence that decays with a timescale of a few seconds. The second is a narrow, laser-linewidth-limited spectral feature at 148.382 19(4)stat(20)sys  nm [2020 407.3(5)stat(30)sys  GHz] that decays with a lifetime of 568(13)stat(20)sys  s. This feature is assigned to the excitation of the Th229 nuclear isomeric state, whose energy is found to be 8.355 733(2)stat(10)sys  eV in Th229:LiSrAlF6.