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Stephen Hawking Requested This Equation to the Universe On His Tombstone

Widely loved and celebrated cosmologist Professor Stephen Hawking died early on March 14, 2018 and he left an impact on the world.

There is one formula he created which was so prolific, he requested that it be placed on his tombstone in 2002, during a 60th birthday “party” which was really a workshop on theoretical physics and cosmology and the future of the fields.

The formula describes the entropy of a black hole. The formula is said to be the centerpiece and primary point of reference for our understanding of the mysterious black hole, and the pinnacle of Stephen Hawking’s achievement in life. He worked on it with his peer Jacob Bekenstein.

The black hole formula draws an important connection between important thermodynamical quantities necessary for an understanding of black holes, such as entropy represented by a capital S in the formula, to the physical properties of the hole, most specifically its area (A).

The other letters in the formula represent the constants of the universe. C is the speed of light, k is the Boltzmann constant, h-bar is the reduced Planck constant, and G is the universal gravitation constant.

Even regular physics textbooks in school describe entropy as a measure of disorder within a macroscopic system. The amount of information that can be stored in an object is another definition of entropy: data, that is the essential importance of this.

They say the entropy of a black hole is proportional to its surface area, and not its volume. Its event horizon is the surface of a black hole, and past that, they say nothing can escape.

Quantum mechanics was applied to these incredibly dense apparent black holes, and that’s how Hawking understood the thermodynamics of them. This led to one proposal of Hawking radiation. He claimed black holes had a temperature and entropy.

Hawking took this understanding to a whole other scale. The said the entire universe could be looked at like a black hole, having a “cosmological event horizon,” which suggests the entire universe has a certain temperature and entropy value, as difficult as that is to wrap the mind around.

This concept was the foundation of the holographic principle, which suggests that all information encoded in the entire universe can be decoded from a lower dimensional boundary’s properties.

Austrian physicist Ludwig Boltzmann was the first to propose the law of entropy, and his tombstone also bears his formula. I guess scientists like to celebrate just like the rest of us.

Rest in peace Stephen, and thank you for all the food for thought.

(Image credit: kayfabenews, nytimes)


Science & Technology

DNA would not be unique: there may be millions of possible genetic molecules

A team of scientists used a computer program to discover more than 1 million molecules that could store genetic information, just like DNA.

DNA and its cousin RNA store genetic information and allow life as we know it, but what if millions of lesser known chemicals could do exactly the same?

A new study suggests that more than 1 million similar chemicals could encode biological information in the same way as DNA does. The new study could point the way to new goals for pharmaceutical drugs, explain how life on Earth evolved and even help us find ways to live beyond our planet, according to the authors.

Jay Goodwin, chemist at Emory University and co-author of the study, said in a release:

It is really exciting to consider the potential of alternative genetic systems … that could possibly have arisen and evolved in different environments, perhaps even on other planets or moons within our solar system. ”

DNA and RNA, the two known types of nucleic acids contain chemical bits called nucleotides, which bind in a particular order and transmit different data, depending on their sequence, similar to individual letters within a written sentence. Some natural and artificial molecules mimic the basic structure of DNA, but so far, no one had tried to count how many of these similarities could exist, the authors wrote.

DNA is only one among millions of possible genetic molecules
Credit: lisichik / Pixabay

Jim Cleaves, chemist at Tokyo Institute of Technology said in a statement:

There are two types of nucleic acids in biology. We wanted to know if there is one more to find or even a million more. The answer is that there seems to be many, many more than expected. ”

Simulating DNA-like molecules

The authors designed a computer program to generate chemical formulas for molecules similar to nucleic acids. In DNA, nucleotides are joined in different pairs and joined in a line, so scientists made sure that their generated molecules could be formed in the same way. In the end, his program gathered more than 1,160,000 different molecules that met these basic criteria.

Markus meringer, chemist at German Aerospace Center in Cologne, said in a statement:

“We were surprised by the result of this calculation. It would be very difficult to estimate a priori that there are more than one million scaffolds similar to nucleic acids. Now we know, and we can start analyzing some of these in the laboratory. ”

Credit: PublicDomainPictures / Pixabay

The multitude of similarities can clarify the story of how life arose on Earth, before DNA and RNA dominated the world of biology. Theoretically, evolution may have performed “tests” with some of these other molecules before establishing nucleic acids as the best carriers of genetic data, the authors suggested.

The similar ones can also boost future medical advances, they added. According to the statement, drugs that resemble nucleotides are already used to undermine dangerous viruses and malignant cancer cells in the human body. With a library of structurally similar molecules at hand, drug developers could adopt similar DNA as an important weapon in the fight against disease.

Pieter Burger, biochemist of the Emory University said in a statement:

It is absolutely fascinating to think that through the use of modern computational techniques we could find new medicines by looking for alternative molecules to DNA and RNA that can store hereditary information. ”

The scientific study has been published in Journal of Chemical Information and Modeling.

Source: Live science

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Science & Technology

Biochemist David Dimer: “Life could have originated in a puddle under the shadow of a volcano”

University of California biochemist David Dimer has been studying the world at the cellular level for over 40 years. Most of all, as Dimer himself says, he is impressed by cell membranes surrounded by fatty membranes. The scientist is convinced that these membranes became the reason for the appearance of life on Earth.

“For life to appear, simple molecules had to become more complex. The process of complication led to the appearance of RNA, a chemical chain consisting of repeating subunits. There were terrible conditions on young Earth, but the membranes provided the necessary reactions, ”explained Dimer.

According to the biochemist, primary cell membranes “absorbed” chemicals on Earth, acting as microscopic chemical laboratories. Most of the reactions were unsuccessful, but a tiny fraction of them nevertheless led to the appearance of the first biological molecules.

“On the early Earth, there were all the necessary ingredients for the emergence of life, so that only stable favorable conditions were needed to trigger reactions. Life could have originated in a puddle under the shadow of a volcano, as there was a lot of chemistry and a comfortable temperature, ”added Dimer.

An ideal place for the origin of life, the biochemist considers the foot of the volcanic massifs that can be observed today in Iceland. Such areas were well suited for the appearance of protocells due to the regular cycle of heating and cooling of fresh water with an abundance of chemical elements.

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Science & Technology

Scientists create a virus “capable” of destroying any kind of cancer

An Australian company called Imugene has created a virus that can eliminate all types of cancer. So far it has been tested on Petrie plates and mice, where it worked by reducing tumors and killing diseased cells. Human tests should start soon.

Although it seems strange that a virus is used to treat a disease, this is possible and scientists have been doing it for years. A modified herpes virus has been implemented to treat some types of skin cancer.

Now, scientists are using cowpox virus as the basis for their cancer treatment, called CF33. The first tests on mice have reduced tumor cells, so Imugene believes that the next logical step is to perform experiments on humans, in order to verify the effectiveness of the treatment.

During the next tests, which will take place next year in Australia and other countries, the treatment will be implemented in some types of specific cancers, such as triple negative breast cancer, melanoma, lung cancer, bladder cancer, gastric cancer and intestinal.

Professor Yuman Fong, a cancer treatment specialist, told the Daily Telegraph that there is evidence that some viruses could fight cancer since the early 1900s when people were vaccinated against rabies and their cancer disappeared. entered the reference phase.

However, it was feared that just as the virus was toxic to cancer, it was also to humans, but now things are different and could be the best way to attack cancerous tumors.

In Imugene experiments, patients will observe that the virus will be injected directly into their tumors, where it will multiply to the point of destroying it. The immune system itself should therefore be alerted to other cancer cells in the body, attacking and eliminating them.

This is very promising, but it will take years before the health strategy is used in hospitals, because it remains to be seen how the immune system reacts to the virus itself. Furthermore, cancer cells mutate to survive, and this is how they have become resistant to treatments such as chemotherapy and immunotherapy.

source: Daily Telegraph

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