General progress in Science

Deadlock

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There is already a thread specifically and correctly discussing the fruits of Irish scientific contributions to our evolving comprehension of the Universe about us.

I'm kicking off this more general thread with images from IBM labs, where now there are techniques of sufficient sensitivity to permit the direct 'imaging' of relatively simple organic molecules (molecules that contain carbon).

The image below shows what chemists considered to be a well fitting model of the structure of pentacene (C22H14), a compound containing five six-member ring structures of carbon atoms (grey) and bonded hydrogen atoms.



The photo beneath shows an actual image of this molecule - and just how accurate the chemical model is. A stunning visual and vindication of theory.



ETA -

The Paper that describes this is actually quite old (2009) but has just come to my attention. Imaging used a techniques called Atomic Force Microscopy. I've just added additional links to the OP.


https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pentacene
https://www.zurich.ibm.com/news/09/pentacene.html
https://www.flickr.com/photos/ibm_research_zurich/sets/72157622092395070/detail/
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Atomic_force_microscopy
 
Last edited:


Toland

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There is already a thread specifically and correctly discussing the fruits of Irish scientific contributions to our evolving comprehension of the Universe about us.

I'm kicking off this more general thread with images from IBM labs, where now there is sufficient magnification and resolution to directly image relatively simple organic molecules (molecules that contain carbon).

The image below shows what chemists considered to be a well fitting model of the structure of pentacene (C22H14), a compound containing five six-member ring structures of carbon atoms (grey) and bonded hydrogen atoms.



The photo beneath shows an actual image of this molecule - and just how accurate the chemical model is. A stunning visual and vindication of theory.



https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pentacene
I find it very impressive from a technological view, not to say surprising from a theoretical view, that photons can be used to get quite the level of resolution they have managed to achieve.

It's almost literally incredible, especially considering that each atom in that compound is almost entirely empty space and that the only thing keeping them together are clouds of electrons. How on earth do the photons (even billions of them) "see" the electron clouds at that scale?
 

Deadlock

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I find it very impressive from a technological view, not to say surprising from a theoretical view, that photons can be used to get quite the level of resolution they have managed to achieve.

It's almost literally incredible, especially considering that each atom in that compound is almost entirely empty space and that the only thing keeping them together are clouds of electrons. How on earth do the photons (even billions of them) "see" the electron clouds at that scale?
I've updated the OP with some additional information. The technique used to image the pentacene was atomic force microscopy (AFM). To coin an analogy, AFM doesn't 'see' the molecule, it 'feels' it.

Actually that is probably all the more impressive!
 

Bill

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they are doing a lot in quantum computing , 50 qubit system in the pipeline
 

Bill

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I'll have a look later, I'm busy at the moment gluing tennis rackets to my shoes
 

Mitsui2

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Quantum computing blows my mind.
There was a Horizon programme on the BBC a few years back that had a segment on quantum computing. I'd recorded it, and myself and the son had to watch the segment three times, comparing notes afterwards, just to make sure that we thought we understood what was being said, never mind the implications.

Some time afterwards I was at an event where I was introduced to someone who actually had some involvement in the field and I told him this story. He said "Only three times? Then you probably didn't understand what was being said at all - I've been at this game every day for fifteen years and I still don't understand it!"
 

Deadlock

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From the nano to the very mega.

Sometimes I think we forget actually how very small we all are ...

 

Mitsui2

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From the nano to the very mega.

Sometimes I think we forget actually how very small we all are ...
Indeed!

"As flies to wanton boys are we to the gods - they kill us for their sport." (Old Bill Shakespeare)
 

silverharp

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i want super conductors, big hype in the 80's about it and nothing since , then there is the game changer fusion power
 

Deadlock

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i want super conductors, big hype in the 80's about it and nothing since , then there is the game changer fusion power
In regards of the latter - many posters may be familiar with the EU-led ITER consortium, hoping to construct a functional fusion reactor at Saint Paul-lez-Durance in Southern France. The first plasma test will occur just before Christmas 2025.

This follows on from a very successful test runs at the Joint European Torus (JET) outside Oxford in the UK. JETs successful tests have laid the foundation for ITER.

"A few months later we achieved a one MA plasma for more than 2 seconds and won our bet with TFTR. Later on, in 1984, the solemn JET inauguration by the Queen and the President F. Mitterand had taken place."
Two seconds does not seem like a long time to sustain a plasma, but it is a stunning milestone and to have sustained for a time scale within the realms of human perception, is remarkable.

https://www.iter.org/
https://www.euro-fusion.org/jet/
 
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Se0samh

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In regards of the latter - many posters may be familiar with the EU-led ITER consortium, hoping to construct a functional fusion reactor at Saint Paul-lez-Durance in Southern France. The first plasma test will occur just before Christmas 2025.

This follows on from a very successful test runs at the Joint European Torus (JET) outside Oxford in the UK. JETs successful tests have laid the foundation for ITER.



Two seconds does not seem like a long time to sustain a plasma, but it is a stunning milestone and to have sustained for a time scale within the realms of human perception, is remarkable.

https://www.iter.org/
https://www.euro-fusion.org/jet/

Truly...
 

okibb

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There was a Horizon programme on the BBC a few years back that had a segment on quantum computing. I'd recorded it, and myself and the son had to watch the segment three times, comparing notes afterwards, just to make sure that we thought we understood what was being said, never mind the implications.

Some time afterwards I was at an event where I was introduced to someone who actually had some involvement in the field and I told him this story. He said "Only three times? Then you probably didn't understand what was being said at all - I've been at this game every day for fifteen years and I still don't understand it!"
Quantum mechanics is highly and frustratingly counterintuitive, but absolutely fascinating. Did some early coding to model quantum effects on a nucleus way back when computer modelling was pretty basic. Used a then-new Apple with a 66MHz processor, made it creak with a few hundred lines of code.

Anyway, the biggest thing in quantum computing is the use of entangled pairs to communicate information faster (yes, it's possible) than the speed of light - the quants/flash traders will love this.

China

https://phys.org/news/2017-07-physicists-transmit-earth-to-space-quantum-entanglement.html
 

wombat

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Something more prosaic: type 2 maturity onset diabetes may contain five distinct sub-groups with different risks of complications for patients:
Have a relative with diabetes and I never knew how serious the complications were until I saw it at close hand - its also a very expensive disease for the health system because of the need to treat the side effects, any research into the disease is money well spent.
 

CatullusV

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There is already a thread specifically and correctly discussing the fruits of Irish scientific contributions to our evolving comprehension of the Universe about us.

I'm kicking off this more general thread with images from IBM labs, where now there are techniques of sufficient sensitivity to permit the direct 'imaging' of relatively simple organic molecules (molecules that contain carbon).

The image below shows what chemists considered to be a well fitting model of the structure of pentacene (C22H14), a compound containing five six-member ring structures of carbon atoms (grey) and bonded hydrogen atoms.



The photo beneath shows an actual image of this molecule - and just how accurate the chemical model is. A stunning visual and vindication of theory.



ETA -

The Paper that describes this is actually quite old (2009) but has just come to my attention. Imaging used a techniques called Atomic Force Microscopy. I've just added additional links to the OP.


https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pentacene
https://www.zurich.ibm.com/news/09/pentacene.html
https://www.flickr.com/photos/ibm_research_zurich/sets/72157622092395070/detail/
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Atomic_force_microscopy
I have a very close relationship with IBM as a former employee and writer of some of their Redbooks.

Having spoken with some former research colleagues there was some mild scepticism expressed about this visualisation. It fit the target, well, very neatly.

Part of the problem with science now is that the extent of research is reaching into such outre limits as to make replicability impossible. Think of the frame-dragging experiments conducted in space. Not only did they require space on a satellite, but also the manufacture of the most perfect spheres created by humans. When it emerged that there was a minor imperfection was detected the data interpretation had to be modified.

My point, I guess, is that science is reaching into places where interpretation is king and the data cannot economically be regained. Suddenly Popper becomes less relevant.

I'm very much into the philosophy of science and greatly admire its rigour, it's self-correcting mechanisms, its method. It is now, though, getting into areas where in some instances the underlying method may need reexamination. I'm aware of some moves in that direction.
 

Mitsui2

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Anyway, the biggest thing in quantum computing is the use of entangled pairs to communicate information faster (yes, it's possible) than the speed of light - the quants/flash traders will love this.
The whole subject of entangled pairs is... I dunno, immensely exhilerating, completely terrifying and utterly awe-inspiring all at the same time. Even with my modest knowledge of physics, it seems to go against just about everything underpinning our classical understanding of the physical laws of the Universe - yet there it is.

The only time I regret the shortness of human life is when I imagine where the sciences may be going, and all the stuff I won't live to see!
 

Deadlock

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I have a very close relationship with IBM as a former employee and writer of some of their Redbooks.

Having spoken with some former research colleagues there was some mild scepticism expressed about this visualisation. It fit the target, well, very neatly.

Part of the problem with science now is that the extent of research is reaching into such outre limits as to make replicability impossible. Think of the frame-dragging experiments conducted in space. Not only did they require space on a satellite, but also the manufacture of the most perfect spheres created by humans. When it emerged that there was a minor imperfection was detected the data interpretation had to be modified.

My point, I guess, is that science is reaching into places where interpretation is king and the data cannot economically be regained. Suddenly Popper becomes less relevant.

I'm very much into the philosophy of science and greatly admire its rigour, it's self-correcting mechanisms, its method. It is now, though, getting into areas where in some instances the underlying method may need reexamination. I'm aware of some moves in that direction.
A very valued former mentor opined once "We will never arrive at a place where we have a full answer. We will however, have more, smarter, and better questions, better ways to ask them, and hopefully, the resources to examine them in the deepest sense we can, and then entrust them to our students."
 

Deadlock

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...

My point, I guess, is that science is reaching into places where interpretation is king and the data cannot economically be regained. Suddenly Popper becomes less relevant.

I'm very much into the philosophy of science and greatly admire its rigour, it's self-correcting mechanisms, its method. It is now, though, getting into areas where in some instances the underlying method may need reexamination. I'm aware of some moves in that direction.
That chimes quite well with several aspects of physics - where physics has itself raced so far ahead of mathematics that whole new realms of maths not currently imagined, let alone devised, will be required to describe these advances in physics.
 

soubresauts

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Have a relative with diabetes and I never knew how serious the complications were until I saw it at close hand - its also a very expensive disease for the health system because of the need to treat the side effects, any research into the disease is money well spent.
"Any research..." If you had said "any disinterested research" I'd agree with you. I'm afraid that too much scientific research is directed (as well as financed) by vested interests. Leading to distorted findings...
 


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