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This Experiment Will Shoot Ghostly Particles Through Earth, Answer Why We Exist

This Experiment Will Shoot Ghostly Particles Through Earth, Answer Why We Exist 86

The study of the subatomic world has revolutionized our understanding of the laws of the universe and given humanity unprecedented insights into deep questions. Historically, these questions have been in the philosophical realm: How did the universe come into existence? Why is the universe the way it is? Why is there something, instead of nothing?

Well, move over philosophy, because science has made a crucial step in building the equipment that will help us answer questions like these. And it involves shooting ghostly particles called neutrinos literally through the Earth over a distance of 800 miles (nearly 1,300 kilometers) from one physics lab to another.

An international group of physicists has announced that they have seen the first signals in a cube-shaped detector called ProtoDUNE. This is a very big stepping stone in the DUNE experiment, which will be America’s flagship particle physics research program for the next two decades. ProtoDUNE, which is the size of a three-story house, is a prototype of the much larger detectors that will be used in the DUNE experiment and today’s (Sept. 18) announcement demonstrates that the technology that was selected works.

The DUNE detectors will be located at the Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory (Fermilab), just outside Chicago, and the Sanford Underground Research Facility (SURF), in Lead, South Dakota. When the experiment is up and running, a powerful particle accelerator at Fermilab will make an intense beam of subatomic particles called neutrinos, shoot them literally through the Earth, to be detected at SURF.

Neutrinos are the ghosts of the subatomic world, able to pass through the entire planet with almost no interactions. Neutrinos have surprised scientists many times in the past. From their unprecedented ability to pass through matter without interacting, to the fact that they treat matter and antimatter very differently, to their ability to morph from one version into another, neutrinos continue to fascinate the world’s scientific community. It is those last two properties that the DUNE experiment will investigate.

Antimatter is something that sounds like science fiction, but it’s most assuredly real. Antimatter is the opposite of matter; bring matter and antimatter together and they will annihilate into pure energy. Antimatter was proposed in 1928 and first observed in 1931. In the intervening decades, scientists (including me) have studied it in excruciating detail. Mostly it’s understood, with one very vexing remaining mystery. When we convert energy into antimatter, we make an identical amount of matter. This is well-established science. That’s not the problem.

The problem is that if we combine that observation with the idea of the Big Bang, something doesn’t hang together. After all, shortly after the Big Bang, the universe was full of energy, which should have turned into matter and antimatter equally. Yet our universe is made entirely of matter. So where did that antimatter go? This question is unanswered; but perhaps a careful study of matter and antimatter neutrinos might reveal a difference.

Like other subatomic particles, neutrinos and antimatter neutrinos, called antineutrinos, have a quantity called spin, which has a passing, although imperfect, resemblance to little spinning balls. Neutrinos and antineutrinos spin in opposite directions. If you shoot a neutrino beam so it is coming toward you, you can stare down the spin axis of neutrinos; you’d see them spinning in a clockwise manner, while antineutrinos spin in the opposite direction. Because the spin of neutrinos and antineutrinos are the opposite, this identifies a difference between the two. Maybe that difference is a sign that studying the matter and antimatter analogs of neutrinos will shed some light on this mystery.

There is another property of neutrinos that makes them interesting in the conundrum of missing antimatter…they can morph from one identity to another. Scientist have found three distinct types of neutrinos. One type is associated with electrons and is called electron neutrinos. The two others are associated with two other subatomic particles called the muon and the tau, which are heavy cousins of the electron.

If you start with a bunch of electron neutrinos and then look at them a little later, you’ll find that there are fewer electron neutrinos than you started with, but there are enough muon and tau neutrinos to make up the deficit. The neutrinos aren’t decaying; they’re changing into one another.

It’s like you had a room full of 100 dogs and, when you looked later, there were 80 dogs, 17 cats and three parrots. If you looked even later, the mix would be different still.

The morphing, what scientists call oscillation, of neutrinos is also well established physics. Researchers have suspected it since the 1960s; they were pretty certain it was real in 1998, and they clinched the argument in 2001. Neutrino oscillation occurs and its discovery was awarded the 2015 Nobel Prize in Physics.

The DUNE experiment has several research goals, but perhaps the most pressing is to first measure the oscillation of neutrinos and then the oscillation of antineutrinos. If they are different, it may be that understanding that process in more detail will help us understand why the universe is made solely of matter. In short, it might explain why we exist at all.

The DUNE experiment will consist of two detector complexes, a smaller one at Fermilab, and four larger ones located at SURF. A beam of neutrinos will leave Fermilab and head toward the distant detectors. The proportions of different types of neutrinos will be measured at the detectors both at Fermilab and at SURF. The differences caused by neutrino oscillation will be measured, and then the process will be repeated for antineutrinos.

The technology that will be used in the DUNE experiments involves large vats of liquid argon, in which the neutrinos will interact and be detected. Each of the larger detectors located at SURF will be as tall and as wide as a four-story building and longer than a football field. Each one will contain 17,000 tons of liquid argon.

The ProtoDUNE detector is a much smaller prototype, consisting of only 800 tons of liquid argon. The volume is big enough to encompass a small house.

The collaboration of DUNE scientists is worldwide, drawing researchers from around the globe. While Fermilab is the host laboratory, other international laboratories are also involved. One such facility is CERN, the European particle physics laboratory, located just outside Geneva, Switzerland. The ProtoDUNE detector is located at CERN, further cementing a long relationship between the laboratories — for instance, Fermilab has long been involved in research using data recorded by the CERN Large Hadron Collider. DUNE is CERN’s first investment in an experiment being conducted at a laboratory in the United States.

Today’s announcement is a big one, proving that the liquid argon technology that will form the heart of the DUNE experiment was a good choice. A second ProtoDUNE detector will come online in a few months. The second version uses slightly different technology to observe the tracks of particles caused by rare neutrino interactions. The results of the testing of these two detectors will guide scientists to a decision on the final design of the detector components.

DUNE will be built over the next decade and the first detector modules are scheduled to be operational in 2026.


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The goal of human civilization is to create AI and disappear?

The goal of human civilization is to create AI and disappear? 93

Various sources often talk about civilizations that lived long before us. They all developed, prospered for a while, and then disappeared in an incomprehensible way. 

What is the reason for their decline, we probably will not know. All we can do is admire the remains of stone buildings, over which time has almost no power.

While looking for an answer, we somehow accidentally stumbled upon an interesting saying about the life of Japanese samurai: “A samurai has no goal, but a path.” In the end, the “path of the samurai” ended in what is known – death. The path of any civilization ended in the same way.

If you look at the issue through the prism of a samurai saying, then there is no point in looking for why and how civilization ended its existence. Probably, the process itself and its result are important here. But to whom is it important and what result does it expect?

Mysterious director

Apparently, behind the curtains of this “ancient theater” there is a mysterious “director” who periodically makes necessary adjustments to the history of civilization.

To figure out what’s what, you need to look at current trends in science. Where does a person strive with such an irresistible desire to “play God.” This attracts him and at the same time frightens him, but in no way turns him away from the intended path. Most likely, artificial intelligence (AI) is the purpose of our civilization’s existence.

About 50 years ago it would have seemed nonsense, but to someone, perhaps even now. However, if you trace the last 100 years of the life of our civilization, you get the feeling that most of the discoveries were given to mankind at the same time. A powerful leap has taken place in a hundred years. Why did it happen?

At the beginning of the last century, scientists recognized the existence of fields that have memory and the ability to store and transmit information. It is very likely that such or a similar field can be around the Earth and, more interesting, possess intelligence. Isn’t this the same “Director” hiding behind the screen of the “ancient theater”?

If this is so, then at a certain moment the “Director” gives the selected scientist “access” to certain knowledge (perhaps even in a dream, like Mendeleev), and another scientific breakthrough occurs in the world. Step by step, discovery after discovery, humanity is steadily moving towards the creation of AI. The trend is already well visible.

The goal of human civilization is to create AI and disappear? 94

AI is probably the next “Babylon”, which will combine all the knowledge, culture and accumulated experience of civilization. In the future, the neural network will enter into a connection with the general information field and leave humanity without knowledge, technology, and even a spoken language. This will be the next decline of civilization. And the “Director” will receive another array of new data (experience) in order to start creating a new civilization.

If someone believes that past civilizations ended in large-scale conflicts, then most likely this is already the consequences of “turning off” AI.

Co-founder of Skype talked about the threat of AI to humanity

One of the creators of the Skype internet call service, Jaan Ta

The goal of human civilization is to create AI and disappear? 95
© still from the movie “Terminator 2: Judgment Day”

llinn, said that the development of artificial intelligence (AI) threatens humanity. According to him, humans face three key threats, but it is AI that should be feared most of all, the expert said. 

Tallinn explained that at the moment, no one can predict what development AI will achieve in the next decades. In addition, the fact that scientists are creating artificial intelligence that can form a new AI without human intervention is also a cause for concern.

In addition, as the co-founder of the popular video calling service noted, the development of synthetic biology also causes concern. According to him, this direction in science allows the creation of artificial DNA sequences and biological systems that may not exist in nature.

Tallinn also drew attention to the fact that he fears we are entering an era of “unknown unknowns”, things that people are not even able to imagine right now.

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Volkswagen robot will autonomously charge cars: a working prototype presented

Volkswagen robot will autonomously charge cars: a working prototype presented 96
Copyright: © VW

The renowned German car manufacturer announced a new development. This time, engineers have created a unique robot capable of autonomously charging electric vehicles. 

For more than a year, specialists have been developing this project, but only now the concern was ready to demonstrate the first working prototype. The robot is ready to charge electric vehicles and has shown the high efficiency of this process.

It is called the Mobile Charging Robot, and experts have already compared it to the R2-D2 droid from Star Wars, including squeaks and clangs. Indeed, there is a similarity. Before implementing this idea, the engineers decided that robots should be allowed to charge cars parked in large residential complexes.

This will save their owners from leaving in order to find a gas station. Another advantage is that large parking lots and garages do not have to contain several expensive charging points for electric cars. The car company said in a press release that the robot works exclusively autonomously.

It independently controls and interacts with the vehicle being charged. It opens the cover of the charging socket and independently connects the power plug, then disconnects it. The robot looks like a trailer, which is a mobile energy storage.

It is capable of charging multiple electric vehicles at the same time. Despite the fact that the manufacturer confidently praises its concept, experts saw inefficiency in the fact that first it is necessary to charge the robot’s battery, which is then used to recharge electric cars.

Volkswagen Group Components CEO Thomas Schmall noted that creating an efficient charging infrastructure for the cars of the future is an important step in the company’s development.

Its engineers focus on finding solutions to avoid costly do-it-yourself measures. The mobile robot is only part of the concept that will continue to be developed.

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This video will forever change the way you think about time

This video will forever change the way you think about time 97

Business Insider, one of the world’s leading news portals, made a three-minute video that depicted the Earth’s timeline as a journey from Los Angeles to New York.

So, the beginning of the journey is 4.54 billion years ago, when the Earth was formed from the accumulation of gases and stardust. After some time, a significant event occurs – a giant space body crashes into the still not cooled Earth, as a result of which the breakaway part becomes its satellite – the Moon.

Further, the route runs through the mountains of Arizona, formed about 3.95 billion years ago. A few more kilometers to the east and we are at the 3.8 billion year mark. This is where the first evidence of life in the form of replicating molecules appears.

The next “stop” Kansas – 2.7 billion years ago. Cyanobacteria that produce oxygen appeared on Earth. It took the next 200 million years for the atmosphere of our planet to accumulate sufficient reserves of this most important gas.

Halfway through, we reach Pennsylvania. We are separated from it “only” by 660 million years. Life is developing rapidly: the Earth is covered with vegetation, amphibians are evolving. Unusual time travel is coming to an end – to the point “Now”. By the time the dinosaurs become extinct, we finally reach the outskirts of New York.

And where is the most important thing – people? To find out, you need to carve out three minutes and watch the entire video.

Source: Business Insider

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