It’s no secret that this is the nuclear age, that is the age where nuclear technology will go its greatest to shaping the world. From its use as a weapon during world war 2 to our future hopes of using it as a power source, the atom is changing the way the world works. Using its Stellarator nuclear fusion machine, Germany has taken the first steps in this change with the creation of hydrogen plasma.
With Germany having one of very few nuclear fusion machines, it was only a matter of time before they changed how close we were to sustainable fusion. Nuclear fusion is the same process that powers the sun, potentially creating a clean source of energy, not to mention nearly limitless.
Back in December, the team at the Max Planck Institute in Germany managed to suspend helium plasma, the new step forward was in using the hydrogen atom, something the team has now managed to do using their experimental reactor, the Wendelstein 7-X (W7X) stellarator. The difficulty alone makes this act an accomplishment, but with hydrogen fusion releasing far more energy than helium fusion, we’re yet another step closer to the ultimate goal of a sustainable reaction, but still have a very long way to go.
John Jelonnek is a physicist at the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology, and also one of the people responsible for installing the technology that heats the reactor. In speaking to the Guardian Jelonnek stated, “We’re not doing this for us but for our children and grandchildren”.
Quantum Entanglement may sound like a term straight out of a science-fiction film, but it is real. Quantum entanglement is a term used to describe when you link two particles, this means that when you affect one particle, the linked particle displays the same change in behaviour no matter how far apart they are. Imagine it is almost like a particle walkie-talkie system, you say something on one end and the other end hears it as if you had said it there. While this was possible before, you had to go near absolute zero to achieve it, meaning that while an amazing piece of science and technology, the practical uses were slim. That is no longer the case as a research paper has appeared announcing they have managed to complete the action at room temperature.
The experiment resulted in thousands of electrons and nucleons being linked, roughly equating to the size of a blood cell; around 40 micrometer’s cubed. By using infrared laser light to align the magnetic states and then MRI imaging to entangle them, the group hopes that this can be the first step towards using quantum technology in an everyday environment.
The technology could create sensors which are more sensitive to changes or even to create systems where it is scientifically impossible to intercept a message between two devices (simply because the message would only exist at the start and end point). A whole host of possible uses have appeared and this technology can only continue to grow.
This is not an article about a future movie plot. It would seem that as we become more and more aware about the universe we only just start to understand just how little we actually know about what could happen in the vast emptiness of space. The White House’s National Science and Technology Council seem to understand this as they have released their strategic plan for “extreme space weather events” that could potentially disable or even destroy spacecraft and satellites.
Two terms that will be used a lot in this article are Solar Wind and Earth’s magnetic field. The former, Solar wind, is the term used to describe particles that the sun admits on an almost regular basis. While the latter, the Earth’s magnetic field, is a natural field that is generated around the earth (your compass uses it to help point you to north). The magnetic field normally acts as a protective barrier and stops the solar winds from breaching into the atmosphere.
With estimates of $2 trillion in damages for a single ‘monster’ surge, ten times more than any other natural disaster in recorded history, and a 12% chance given by NASA that one could happen within the next decade, it would seem that preparing for this event is just one of the many things we should be looking at.
There are three stages to any disaster, and it would seem that we are starting to work on all of them for this particular scenario.
The first stage is knowing when it might happen, for this we have the NOAA Space Weather Prediction Centre who monitors the sun for any signs that something abnormal, like a ‘monster’ solar wave, could be emitted. With an estimated window of only 15-60 minutes to act, the likely hood of being able to act effectively comes from preparation more than reflection on the information given.
People always thought about teleportation as a way of beaming beings or objects from one point in space and time to another. And the technology might even be achievable in the near future, according to professor Ronald Hanson from Delft University of Technology in Netherlands. But there might be a way to use the ‘teleportation’ method in other areas as well.
Hanson states that there is no law of physics preventing teleportation of large objects and humans alike. And that goes for teleporting information as well. In an experiment at the university, he was able to transport information encapsulated into subatomic particles between two targets situated three meters apart, having it be a success with 100% reliability.
During this experiment, four possible states are reported to have been transmitted. Each of the states related to a qubit, having it be the quantum equivalent of a digital bit. His next experiment now involves teleporting information between buildings in the university campus situated 1.3 km apart.
Though the technology is still in its early stages, it could revolutionise the way internet is delivered nowadays, having two notable major advantages. The first advantage is obviously incredibly high-speed connection and the second is network security, since information cannot be intercepted while travelling.
Thank you BGR for providing us with this information