SciCombinator

Discover the most talked about and latest scientific content & concepts.

Concept: Standard Model

245

Wikipedia has quickly become one of the most frequently accessed encyclopedic references, despite the ease with which content can be changed and the potential for ‘edit wars’ surrounding controversial topics. Little is known about how this potential for controversy affects the accuracy and stability of information on scientific topics, especially those with associated political controversy. Here we present an analysis of the Wikipedia edit histories for seven scientific articles and show that topics we consider politically but not scientifically “controversial” (such as evolution and global warming) experience more frequent edits with more words changed per day than pages we consider “noncontroversial” (such as the standard model in physics or heliocentrism). For example, over the period we analyzed, the global warming page was edited on average (geometric mean ±SD) 1.9±2.7 times resulting in 110.9±10.3 words changed per day, while the standard model in physics was only edited 0.2±1.4 times resulting in 9.4±5.0 words changed per day. The high rate of change observed in these pages makes it difficult for experts to monitor accuracy and contribute time-consuming corrections, to the possible detriment of scientific accuracy. As our society turns to Wikipedia as a primary source of scientific information, it is vital we read it critically and with the understanding that the content is dynamic and vulnerable to vandalism and other shenanigans.

Concepts: Scientific literature, Newspaper, Arithmetic mean, Standard Model, Physics, Wikipedia, Science, Editing

155

Asymmetry in motor patterns is present in a wide variety of animals. Many lateralized behaviors seem to depend on brain asymmetry, as it is the case of different tasks associated to food handling by several bird and mammal species. Here, we analyzed asymmetry in handling behavior of pine cones by red squirrels (Sciurus vulgaris). Red squirrels devote most of their daily activity to feeding, thus this species constitutes an appropriate model for studying asymmetry in food processing. We aimed to explore 1) the potential lateralization in handling of pine cones by squirrels, 2) the dominant pattern for this behavior (left- vs. right-handed), and 3) whether this pattern varies among populations and depending on the pine tree species available. Results revealed that red squirrels handle pine cones in an asymmetrical way, and that direction of asymmetry varies among populations and seems to be determined more by local influences rather than by the pine tree species.

Concepts: Conifer cone, Tree squirrel, Standard Model, Lateralization of brain function, Pine, Pinophyta, Eastern Gray Squirrel, Mammal

138

Photonic quantum information requires high-purity, easily accessible, and scalable single-photon sources. Here, we report an electrically driven single-photon source based on colloidal quantum dots. Our solution-processed devices consist of isolated CdSe/CdS core/shell quantum dots sparsely buried in an insulating layer that is sandwiched between electron-transport and hole-transport layers. The devices generate single photons with near-optimal antibunching at room temperature, i.e., with a second-order temporal correlation function at zero delay (g ((2))(0)) being <0.05 for the best devices without any spectral filtering or background correction. The optimal g ((2))(0) from single-dot electroluminescence breaks the lower g ((2))(0) limit of the corresponding single-dot photoluminescence. Such highly suppressed multi-photon-emission probability is attributed to both novel device design and carrier injection/recombination dynamics. The device structure prevents background electroluminescence while offering efficient single-dot electroluminescence. A quantitative model is developed to illustrate the carrier injection/recombination dynamics of single-dot electroluminescence.

Concepts: The Carrier, Energy, Photon, Condensed matter physics, Standard Model, Qubit, Quantum dot, Quantum mechanics

100

Dense active matter, from bacterial suspensions and microtubule bundles driven by motor proteins to cellular monolayers and synthetic Janus particles, is characterized by mesoscale turbulence, which is the emergence of chaotic flow structures. By immersing an ordered array of symmetric rotors in an active fluid, we introduce a microfluidic system that exploits spontaneous symmetry breaking in mesoscale turbulence to generate work. The lattice of rotors self-organizes into a spin state where neighboring discs continuously rotate in permanent alternating directions due to combined hydrodynamic and elastic effects. Our virtual prototype demonstrates a new research direction for the design of micromachines powered by the nematohydrodynamic properties of active turbulence.

Concepts: Symmetry group, Higgs mechanism, Fluid, Standard Model, Spontaneous symmetry breaking, Group, Symmetry, Fluid dynamics

67

The spectrum of the hydrogen atom has played a central part in fundamental physics in the past 200 years. Historical examples of its significance include the wavelength measurements of absorption lines in the solar spectrum by Fraunhofer, the identification of transition lines by Balmer, Lyman et al., the empirical description of allowed wavelengths by Rydberg, the quantum model of Bohr, the capability of quantum electrodynamics to precisely predict transition frequencies, and modern measurements of the 1S-2S transition by Hänsch(1) to a precision of a few parts in 10(15). Recently, we have achieved the technological advances to allow us to focus on antihydrogen-the antimatter equivalent of hydrogen(2,3,4). The Standard Model predicts that there should have been equal amounts of matter and antimatter in the primordial Universe after the Big Bang, but today’s Universe is observed to consist almost entirely of ordinary matter. This motivates physicists to carefully study antimatter, to see if there is a small asymmetry in the laws of physics that govern the two types of matter. In particular, the CPT (charge conjugation, parity reversal, time reversal) Theorem, a cornerstone of the Standard Model, requires that hydrogen and antihydrogen have the same spectrum. Here we report the observation of the 1S-2S transition in magnetically trapped atoms of antihydrogen in the ALPHA-2 apparatus at CERN. We determine that the frequency of the transition, driven by two photons from a laser at 243 nm, is consistent with that expected for hydrogen in the same environment. This laser excitation of a quantum state of an atom of antimatter represents a highly precise measurement performed on an anti-atom. Our result is consistent with CPT invariance at a relative precision of ~2 × 10(-10).

Concepts: Particle physics, Standard Model, Electron, Matter, Photon, Atom, Quantum mechanics, Quantum field theory

60

The motion of electrons in the microcosm occurs on a time scale set by the atomic unit of time-24 attoseconds. Attosecond pulses at photon energies corresponding to the fundamental absorption edges of matter, which lie in the soft X-ray regime above 200 eV, permit the probing of electronic excitation, chemical state, and atomic structure. Here we demonstrate a soft X-ray pulse duration of 53 as and single pulse streaking reaching the carbon K-absorption edge (284 eV) by utilizing intense two-cycle driving pulses near 1.8-μm center wavelength. Such pulses permit studies of electron dynamics in live biological samples and next-generation electronic materials such as diamond.Isolated attosecond pulses are produced using high harmonic generation and sources of these pulses often suffer from low photon flux in soft X-ray regime. Here the authors demonstrate efficient generation and characterization of 53 as pulses with photon energy near the water window.

Concepts: Elementary particle, Standard Model, Quantum mechanics, Light, Photon, Electromagnetic radiation, Atom, Electron

43

Quantum point contacts are cornerstones of mesoscopic physics and central building blocks for quantum electronics. Although the Fermi wavelength in high-quality bulk graphene can be tuned up to hundreds of nanometres, the observation of quantum confinement of Dirac electrons in nanostructured graphene has proven surprisingly challenging. Here we show ballistic transport and quantized conductance of size-confined Dirac fermions in lithographically defined graphene constrictions. At high carrier densities, the observed conductance agrees excellently with the Landauer theory of ballistic transport without any adjustable parameter. Experimental data and simulations for the evolution of the conductance with magnetic field unambiguously confirm the identification of size quantization in the constriction. Close to the charge neutrality point, bias voltage spectroscopy reveals a renormalized Fermi velocity of ∼1.5 × 10(6) m s(-1) in our constrictions. Moreover, at low carrier density transport measurements allow probing the density of localized states at edges, thus offering a unique handle on edge physics in graphene devices.

Concepts: Particle physics, Paul Dirac, Standard Model, Spin, Quantum field theory, Electron, Fundamental physics concepts, Quantum mechanics

39

The fear-avoidance model describes how the belief that pain is a sign of damage leads to pain-related fear and avoidance. But other beliefs may also trigger the fear and avoidance responses described by the model. Experts have called for the next generation of fear avoidance research to explore what beliefs underlie pain-related fear and how they evolve. We have previously described damage beliefs and suffering/functional loss beliefs underlying high pain-related fear in a sample of individuals with chronic back pain. The aim of this study is to identify common and differential factors associated with the beliefs in this sample.

Concepts: Chronic pain, Standard Model, Next Generation, Belief, Das Model, Kanye West, Star Trek: The Next Generation, Back pain

36

Leveraging the unrivalled performance of optical clocks as key tools for geo-science, for astronomy and for fundamental physics beyond the standard model requires comparing the frequency of distant optical clocks faithfully. Here, we report on the comparison and agreement of two strontium optical clocks at an uncertainty of 5 × 10(-17) via a newly established phase-coherent frequency link connecting Paris and Braunschweig using 1,415 km of telecom fibre. The remote comparison is limited only by the instability and uncertainty of the strontium lattice clocks themselves, with negligible contributions from the optical frequency transfer. A fractional precision of 3 × 10(-17) is reached after only 1,000 s averaging time, which is already 10 times better and more than four orders of magnitude faster than any previous long-distance clock comparison. The capability of performing high resolution international clock comparisons paves the way for a redefinition of the unit of time and an all-optical dissemination of the SI-second.

Concepts: Photon, Universe, Comparisons, Comparison, Fundamental physics concepts, Time, Standard Model, Physics

36

Quantum spin liquids (QSLs) are topological states of matter exhibiting remarkable properties such as the capacity to protect quantum information from decoherence. Whereas their featureless ground states have precluded their straightforward experimental identification, excited states are more revealing and particularly interesting owing to the emergence of fundamentally new excitations such as Majorana fermions. Ideal probes of these excitations are inelastic neutron scattering experiments. These we report here for a ruthenium-based material, α-RuCl3, continuing a major search (so far concentrated on iridium materials) for realizations of the celebrated Kitaev honeycomb topological QSL. Our measurements confirm the requisite strong spin-orbit coupling and low-temperature magnetic order matching predictions proximate to the QSL. We find stacking faults, inherent to the highly two-dimensional nature of the material, resolve an outstanding puzzle. Crucially, dynamical response measurements above interlayer energy scales are naturally accounted for in terms of deconfinement physics expected for QSLs. Comparing these with recent dynamical calculations involving gauge flux excitations and Majorana fermions of the pure Kitaev model, we propose the excitation spectrum of α-RuCl3 as a prime candidate for fractionalized Kitaev physics.

Concepts: Fundamental physics concepts, Quantum state, Spin, Elementary particle, Quantum field theory, Fermion, Standard Model, Neutron