ellie_l: (Phun Physics)
I found this video and thought it did a better job at explaining a lot of intro to quantum stuff (orbitals and spin and what-not), so I want to save it and share it. It's a bit dated (the truth and beauty quarks weren't found when it was made), but it has good physics. Enjoy!

ellie_l: (Phun Physics)
I don't believe I've passed on this video to y'all yet. It was put together by the American Museum of Natural History through a program that was developed at the Hayden Planetarium calling the Digital Universe Atlas. You can download and play with the atlas here. It maps out all of the known galaxies in our universe.

The AMNH teamed up with some artists and used this atlas to create this awesome video:

ellie_l: (Zap!)
Dear Livejournal,

Have I told you about hd-fractals.com yet? Because seriously, you should know about them. Below is a zooming in on the Mandelbrot set (which is just the equation z=z^2+C where z=x+i*y solved at every point in the real/imaginary plane. Blackness is when the equation goes to zero, color indicates how quickly that point is going towards infinity). If the starting image were the size of a proton and I zoomed into it until the proton appeared to be the size of the universe, that would be a magnification of ~e.42. This is the Mandelbrot set magnified to e.214.

I recommend hitting the mute button on the video and listening to your favorite classical music while diving into visual mathematics.


ellie_l: (Phun Physics)
Below is a compilation of videos taken from satellites of our sun. The video is converted to sound, which is what the soundtrack for the video is (similar to Seeing with Sound). More information on the video can be found here. Enjoy!


Jan. 19th, 2010 11:14 pm
ellie_l: (Pondering)
I love walking around outside during the day. I smell the flowers and watch the leaves that are growing. Leaves are incredibly fascinating. The recurrent substructures that make them up fit into amazing mathematical models. Hyperbolic geometry surrounds me as I walk down the block. Self-similar fractals on every plant, symmetry laden in all the birds, the insects, the people. Tiny strands of gooey proteins fold together into deoxyribonucleic acid and deliver instructions 3.8 billion years in the making to every single cell I encounter, every single one of the billions of cells that makes me up.

My body communicates with itself using electrochemical signals that my brain interprets as the smell of the winter air or the touch of my love's hand. There is so much happening all around us, all the time.

Gravity from the entire Earth is pulling down on me, holding me onto my bed while the electrons in the outter most layer of the atoms that make me up are repelling against those on the surface of the bed to stop me from falling through the mostly empty space that makes up everything. Those atoms are configured in ways that when touched send a cascade of information chemically through my fingers, passing through the never cluster in my armpit, picked up by my spinal cord and sent to various portions of my brain and is sorted to find if the sensation of 'soft' belongs in the reptilian core of my brain or if it is to spark memories in my hypocampus or send me thinking in ways I never have before in my neocortex.

The material in the bed comes together to have the emergent phenomena of spring constants that I can compress or depress by where I command the ecosystem of my body to move.

Cars pass by outside and I can hear the pitch change as they pass, the same basic phenomena that was used to determine that distant galaxies are moving away from us and led to the idea of an expanding universe.

Little crisps of carbon are being continually heated and mixing with paraffin molecules and oxygen to give off both photons in a spectral range greater than I can see and that causes the particles of the atmosphere to speed up their collisions into one another which then diffuse their new kinetic energy around my room to make it warmer.

There is so much going on around us all the time.
ellie_l: (Phun Physics)
"Space," it says, "is big. Really big. You just won't believe how vastly hugely mind-bogglingly big it is. I mean, you may think it's a long way down the road to the chemist, but that's just peanuts to space."
-The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, Chapter 8

There was a time where all of this, the building you're in, the city you call home, the planet we walk on, the mountains of the Himalayas, the moon, the sun, Jupiter, Pluto, the North Star, the Andromeda galaxy, every swirling collection composed each of billions of stars in that picture above, All of Everything was much smaller. Smaller than a baseball, smaller than the tip of a needle, smaller than a piece of dust you see floating in the morning light, smaller than the cells that make up your finger, smaller than a single link on the chain of DNA, smaller than a single atom.

All of Everything was once small enough to hold in what has evolved over 13.7 billion years to become your hand.

Now, this time didn't last very long. The Universe remained this tiny for about 10-32 seconds at which point it began to rapidly grow in an era that cosmologists call "inflation." To put this number in comparison, the average length of a human blink is on the order of 10-4 seconds. The amount of time the Universe was tiny was 0.00000000000000000000000000000001 second.

The Universe is still expanding today although it's nowhere near the expansion that happened during this inflation period. It was during this inflation that we got a huge portion of the space that we think of when we look into the sky.

We wouldn't have survived in this early Universe, though. At this point in time all that existed and filled All of Everything was an extremely hot plasma made of the most basic of elementary particles. As things began to cool down this plasma began turning into things that we are more familiar with: electrons, protons, and neutrons. It also turned into the antimatter partners of these particles: positrons, anti-protons, and anti-neutrons.

The vast majority of this mix of matter and antimatter destroyed itself, as happens when any type of matter meets its antimatter partner. This sent off a huge burst of light as Most of Everything annihilated itself. The burst of light was so massive that we can still make it out today, although it is not in the visible range. Turn on a radio to a frequency where there is not station. That static you hear is called the Cosmic Microwave Background Radiation. It's a remnant of an explosion that happened 13.7 billion years ago. It has been mapped recently by scientists and continues to be to ever greater resolution. You may have seen the image circulating and not have known what it was.

The Universe then began to cool and hydrogen atoms began to form. A hydrogen atom is made up of a proton in the center with an electron orbiting around it. Different types of hydrogen that are chemically the same are called isotopes, we get them by adding neutrons onto the proton in the middle. At this point there were no stars, no galaxies, just a bunch of space filled with the same material that we used to put in blimps. This time is called the Dark Ages.

Eventually these hydrogen atoms began getting closer together because of the force of gravity. Slowly they would coalesce into great disks of rotating gas. When enough hydrogen pulled together gravity acted on it so strongly that it could actually make two individual atoms of hydrogen (or, more specifically, the nuclei of two hydrogen atoms) fuse together to become an atom of helium. The huge amount of energy released during this nuclear fusion ignited the first stars.

Many of these stars were very large and burned through their hydrogen fuel extremely quickly and as such had short lives of less than a million years. When these stars would run out of hydrogen fuel they would be made up of helium, as that's what they had spent the million years producing. This helium would then come crashing inwards under the force of gravity and fuse into heavier elements. This would lead to lithium, oxygen, carbon, nitrogen, all the way up to uranium. The material of the stars was pulled inward and then bounced off of the heavier core of the star in massive explosions we call novae and supernovae and spew what used to be their material outwards into the heavens. These explosions happened again and again and filled our universe with much more, albeit in much smaller quantities, than hydrogen.

Eventually smaller stars with much longer life spans came into existence. Our own sun ignited about 5 billion years ago and it will be another 5 billion years before it dies out. A swirling mass of hydrogen gas mixed with the heavier atoms created during the death throes of massive stars eventually found its way to our little corner of the Universe and as gravity pulled these pieces together our sun and planets began to form.

One particular planet which gathered much rock and water and happened to be just far enough away from the sun so that the water didn't evaporate and not so far that it all froze managed to collect enough material to create an atmosphere on it of nitrogen, oxygen, carbon, and hydrogen left over from the destruction of ancient stars.

On this small, blue, wet planet, life began to form. In the oceans conditions were right for proteins to fold together in a way that created the building blocks of life. DNA formed and developed protective cell walls, these cells began working together and created larger organisms that adapted to each of their unique environments and changing to meet new ones. Over the course of millennia this lead to strange upright mammals whose brains were wired in such a way as to be able to look into the night sky and think about all that must be out there and ask questions as to where it all came from.
ellie_l: (88 Miles per Hour)
Finally! Last night the skies were wonderfully clear and I was able to try out my new camera mount. It worked pretty well, as you can see here. )
ellie_l: (Default)
Have you ever seen the Powers of Ten video? It's a bit dated at this point (since we can see billions of lightyears out as well as interact with individual quarks and even bits of matter that pop in and out of existence all of the time), but is still accurate for where it goes.

I've heard it said that at the sizes of things we're dealing with, a god being able to care about us would be similar to us being able to care about a single atom in our body.

Powers of Ten )

Also, if you think these are neat and haven't looked at my other blog Glimpsing the Future recently, there's been some good stuff over there I've been linking to (although it's more about robotics, biology, medicine, augmented reality, and where I see technology taking us than size of the universe type things)
ellie_l: (Zap!)
I found this image awhile ago and didn't link to it and regretted it ever since. Google failed me when I looked for it. But behold, the little StumbleUpon button has led me to it again!

A Size Comparison of Astronomical Proportions )
ellie_l: (Phun Physics)
those with secret laboratories and those with secret laboratories on the moon!

So I bought myself a shiny new telescope because I have this awesome balcony but unfortunately there's too much light pollution in the city for me to see much with the naked eye. I took it out for the first time tonight and woah, there are so many stars up there! It's so nice to be able to see them again.

I tried taking some pictures of the moon for ya'll. They came out ok, but nowhere near as good as they could have. Probably because I had to hold the camera in place over the lens for the shot to be made. I need to pick myself up another cheap camera tripod so I can get better pictures...But anyway, take a look at these pictures of the moon and imagine them way crisper than they appear here and you can see what I see!

The Moon! )

I also tried to take some pictures of Jupiter since I could see it pretty clearly (watched the big red spot for awhile as well as a bunch of its moons), but it didn't work out well. Maybe next time. I can't wait for Saturn to get away from the sun to see the rings...

New Blog

Aug. 13th, 2009 06:05 pm
ellie_l: (88 Miles per Hour)
Hey ya'll,

I've been doing some thinking as of late of starting a new blog based on things I've been looking at. The focus of it is going to be things that I see that I think will be very important for the future. This is mostly based off of different trends and events happening in science that's leading to technology that will very likely become present in day-to-day life. I think it's important to be aware of such trends and to share information on them. Without an understanding of where we are now and glimpsing what's to come, how will we know how best to handle the world? So I suggest anyone interested in these things check it out. Most posts on it will most likely be a small blurb of what I got from it as well as a link to the article I found.

It can be found it http://glimpsingthefuture.wordpress.com
ellie_l: (88 Miles per Hour)
So I was going to send a bunch of links to someone through Facebook, but as far as I can tell it will only let me send one link per message (wtf?) so I thought I'd make an open post here and link here. Also, this means that all ya'll can see some of the websites that I've been interested in lately (and, if I missed any that you really like, I would love to know about them!):

Online Learning )

Science Things )

Changing the World )

Other )
ellie_l: (1 in 10)
House Bill 300 was recently introduced in Pennsylvania. If passed, it will amend the Human Relations act to add sexual orientation, gender identity, and gender expression so that LGBT have, in law, the right to be free from discrimination in employment, housing, and public accommodations. Please take a moment to sit down and write a letter or to give up a few minutes of your time to let your legislators know that you support this.
ellie_l: (Phun Physics)
Some physics talks are very poorly done. Other ones are incredible and you just want to watch over and over again. This is one of the latter. )
ellie_l: (88 Miles per Hour)
Hey ya'll, back when everyone was talking about CERN destroying the earth someone posted a video from a game about a particle accelerator and it starts with someone going into the lab. Well, that's...not quite how it works. So I decided I'd take a little video walk-through of what it's actually like to go into a particle accelerator.

JLab Hall A Walkthrough )
ellie_l: (88 Miles per Hour)

Just so ya'll know, October 21st is the day when the earth might get sucked into a black hole. )Make your plans accordingly!

Also, best reason I've heard yet not to be worried about it: "Look, it's a 10^-19 chance, and you've got a 10^-11 chance of suddenly evaporating while shaving"

And finally, here's why you should be far more worried about CERN creating Skynet than sucking us all into a black hole )
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