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What if you tried to hit a baseball at 90% the speed of light?


VISTA views a vast ball of stars

This striking view of the globular star cluster M55 in the constellation Sagittarius the Archer was obtained in infrared light with the VISTA survey telescope at ESO’s Paranal Observatory in Chile. This vast ball of ancient stars is located at a distance of about 17,000 light-years from Earth.

Credit: ESO/J. Emerson/VISTA. Acknowledgment: Cambridge Astronomical Survey Unit


Composer Makes Music From Positron Trails in Cloud Chambers

Music composer and network engineer Domenico Vicinanza has brought together his two loves by making music from the particle tracks of positrons passing through cloud chambers.

The sealed metallic vessels are filled with superheated liquids or vapors, which detect electrically charged particles passing through them, like the more modern silicon particle detectors used in the LHC at Cern. Positrons fired through the chambers — antiparticles of electrons, a trillionth of a meter in size — are subatomic and make no measurable sound by themselves, so Vicinanza had to work out a method to bring their music to life.

He took data stored on the International Science Grid that depicts the tracks, or routes, taken through the chambers by positrons, and draws those directly onto music staves. The elegant arcs and lines are then used as a path over which music notes are laid. Vicinanza composes the melodies himself and his customized software automatically harmonizes the tracks.

“My plan is to sonify some of the early tracks recorded with cloud chambers. I was thinking of a piano trio,” Vicinanza told iSGTWThe resulting music (.mp3) sounds a little like scales being played simultaneously — one ascending in notes and the other descending.

Displays of these events are perfectly symmetric tracks spiraling in opposite directions. Their sonification will be two symmetric melodies, moving in opposite directions,” said Vicinanza, a network engineer at Dante (Delivery of Advanced Network Technology to Europe), Cambridge.

It’s not the first time the engineer has merged art with science. Previous works include music written using data from volcanic seismograms performed by the City Dance Ensemble, and 2,000-year-old Greek music re-created by his troupe, the Lost Sounds Orchestra.

2012 marks 101 years since the invention of Wilson cloud chambers by Charles Thomas Rees Wilson, a Scottish physicist. This year is also the 60th anniversary of the invention of the bubble chamber, by American physicist Donald Glaser, and the first observation of the positron.

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Just ordered myself these cuties.
:) i dont care if that makes me a nerd, i love them. 

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Science decodes 'internal voices' | BBC

Researchers have demonstrated a striking method to reconstruct words, based on the brain waves of patients thinking of those words.

The technique reported in PLoS Biologyrelies on gathering electrical signals directly from patients’ brains.

Based on signals from listening patients, a computer model was used to reconstruct the sounds of words that patients were thinking of.

The method may in future help comatose and locked-in patients communicate.

Several approaches have in recent years suggested that scientists are closing in on methods to tap into our very thoughts.

In a 2011 study, participants with electrodes in direct brain contact were able to move a cursor on a screen by simply thinking of vowel sounds.

A technique called functional magnetic resonance imaging to track blood flow in the brain has shown promise for identifying which words or ideas someone may be thinking about.

By studying patterns of blood flow related to particular images, Jack Gallant’s group at the University of California Berkeley showed in September that patterns can be used to guess images being thought of -recreating “movies in the mind”.

[Read More]


Planck Spacecraft

Image credit: ESA/NASA/JPL-Caltech

This is an artist’s concept of the Planck spacecraft. Planck was launched with the Herschel spacecraft, though the two missions separated shortly after launch and operate independently from each other.

Planck is a European Space Agency mission, with significant participation from NASA. NASA’s Planck Project Office is based at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, Calif. NASA contributed mission-enabling technology for both of Planck’s science instruments. U.S. and European Planck scientists will work together to analyze the Planck data.

Keep Reading: Planck Telescope Warms up as Planned

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Deep in the forest, where heavy feet sink,
you mightn’t be quite as alone as you think. 



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two of my greatest loves in one place! physics and guitar. wave function results are so incredible. science is beautiful.