Physics News of the Week (January 20-27)

| January 27, 2013 | 0 Comments

Another week has passed and it’s time to see what is going on in the never-sleeping world of science. If you would like to receive these updates every week straight to your email please feel free to register to our email newsletter.

1) Survey Shows No Agreement on the Fundamental Ideas of Quantum Mechanics (January 23)

Quantum mechanics is notorious for paradoxes and thus is often philosophically unpleasing. As an example would be the famous wave-particle duality, which states that matter can have both particle-like and wave-like properties. Naturally, there are many different interpretations of quantum mechanics starting with the many world theory and ending, with the, perhaps most popular, Copenhagen interpretation. However, what is interesting, is that there appears to be no universal agreement on the best interpretation of quantum mechanics in the science community.

This is illustrated by the results of a survey from a conference held in 2011: Quantum Physics and the Nature of Reality. The purpose of the survey was to find out how much agreement or disagreement there is regarding the main ideas of quantum mechanics. Full article and results can be found here.

The spirit of Einstein-Bohr debates can still be felt today

2) You Don’t Exist in and Infinite Number of Places, Scientists Say (January 25)

One of the most bizarre ideas in theories of infinite and parallel universes, is that planets and living beings must be repeated an infinite number of times. And, as strange as it sounds, the idea is logical in many ways — if you have an infinite universe, there should be infinite combinations of matter spanned throughout the infinity of space eventually leading to infinite repetition of planets and living beings, right? Well apparently a couple scientists from Spain have other views. Francisco José Soler Gil at the University of Sevilla and Manuel Alfonseca at the Autonomous University of Madrid have looked at two different proposals – one based on classical cosmology and the other on quantum mechanics – that contend that we live in an infinite universe in which history is repeated an infinite number of times in space. They have picked apart both proposals and argue that both are highly speculative, despite often being presented as plausible ideas. Moreover, they argue that we really don’t know whether we live in an infinite universe, as a finite one seems equally likely. Full article here.

3) A Precursor to Einstein’s Famous Equation (January 25)

A new study reveals the contribution of a little known Austrian physicist, Friedrich Hasenöhrl, to uncovering a precursor to Einstein famous equation.wo American physicists outline the role played by Austrian physicist Friedrich Hasenöhrl in establishing the proportionality between the energy (E) of a quantity of matter with its mass (m) in a cavity filled with radiation. In a paper about to be published in the European Physical Journal H, Stephen Boughn from Haverford College in Pensylvannia and Tony Rothman from Princeton University in New Jersey argue how Hasenöhrl’s work, for which he now receives little credit, may have contributed to the famous equation E=mc2. Read the full article here.

It’s a very interesting discovery, as it is popularly believed that Einstein was the first to discover the mass and energy equivalence equation, which is perhaps the most popular equation in science. More about Friedrich Hasenohrl here.




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