There is a deep relationship between math and physics. Sometimes physicists point to new math, sometimes they mine odd and curious places for new approaches. Something is currently stirring - here's a nice non-technical description.
Feynman diagrams were devised by Richard Feynman in the 1940s. They feature lines representing elementary particles that converge at a vertex (which represents a collision) and then diverge from there to represent the pieces that emerge from the crash. Those lines either shoot off alone or converge again. The chain of collisions can be as long as a physicist dares to consider.
To that schematic physicists then add numbers, for the mass, momentum and direction of the particles involved. Then they begin a laborious accounting procedure — integrate these, add that, square this. The final result is a single number, called a Feynman probability, which quantifies the chance that the particle collision will play out as sketched.
“In some sense Feynman invented this diagram to encode complicated math as a bookkeeping device,” said Sergei Gukov, a theoretical physicist and mathematician at the California Institute of Technology.
Feynman diagrams have served physics well over the years, but they have limitations. One is strictly procedural. Physicists are pursuing increasingly high-energy particle collisions that require greater precision of measurement — and as the precision goes up, so does the intricacy of the Feynman diagrams that need to be calculated to generate a prediction.
The second limitation is of a more fundamental nature. Feynman diagrams are based on the assumption that the more potential collisions and sub-collisions physicists account for, the more accurate their numerical predictions will be. This process of calculation, known as perturbative expansion, works very well for particle collisions of electrons, where the weak and electromagnetic forces dominate. It works less well for high-energy collisions, like collisions between protons, where the strong nuclear force prevails. In these cases, accounting for a wider range of collisions — by drawing ever more elaborate Feynman diagrams — can actually lead physicists astray.
“We know for a fact that at some point it begins to diverge” from real-world physics, said Francis Brown, a mathematician at the University of Oxford. “What’s not known is how to estimate at what point one should stop calculating diagrams.”
Yet there is reason for optimism. Over the last decade physicists and mathematicians have been exploring a surprising correspondence that has the potential to breathe new life into the venerable Feynman diagram and generate far-reaching insights in both fields. It has to do with the strange fact that the values calculated from Feynman diagrams seem to exactly match some of the most important numbers that crop up in a branch of mathematics known as algebraic geometry. These values are called “periods of motives,” and there’s no obvious reason why the same numbers should appear in both settings. Indeed, it’s as strange as it would be if every time you measured a cup of rice, you observed that the number of grains was prime.
It may or may not pan out, but people continue to work.
Scientists at the University of Massachusetts Amherst led by biologist Duncan Irschick who created the Beastcam Array, a rapid-capture, field portable tabletop system for making high-resolution, full-color 3D models of living organisms, now plan to use it in an ambitious effort to create 3D models of all living organisms.
The Beastcam Array consists of 10 fixed arms, each of which can mount three G-16 Canon cameras for a 30-camera array. Small animals placed in the array’s center can be quickly and conveniently modeled in 3D by the cameras aided by software. Using this technology, Irschick and colleagues have created a new multimedia platform they call “Digital Life,” and have already created 3D models of sharks, scorpions, toads and lizards.
The seismic energy made the planet's crust more permeable. Molten rock deep in the interior began flowing through fractures. As that magma expanded, gasses in the solution began forming bubbles. As with a shaken soda bottle, the results were likely explosive.
“Once that’s initiated, it becomes a kind of runaway process,” said Paul Renne, a University of California, Berkeley geologist and lead author of the new paper.
Rather stunning diversity from a detailed study of the genomes from about 2,500 bacteria from underground sediment is reported in a Nature Communications paper. Little is known about the underground world .. this study adds 47 new phylum-level groups and re-draws the tree of life.
Thousands of microbial genomes shed light on interconnected biogeochemical processes in an aquifer system
Karthik Anantharaman1, Christopher T. Brown2, Laura A. Hug1, Itai Sharon1, Cindy J. Castelle1, Alexander J. Probst1, Brian C. Thomas1, Andrea Singh1, Michael J. Wilkins3, Ulas Karaoz4, Eoin L. Brodie4, Kenneth H. Williams4, Susan S. Hubbard4 & Jillian F. Banfield1,4
1 Department of Earth and Planetary Science, University of California, Berkeley, California 94720, USA. 2 Department of Plant and Microbial Biology, University of California, Berkeley, California 94720, USA. 3 School of Earth Sciences and Department of Microbiology, The Ohio State University, Columbus, Ohio 43210, USA. 4 Earth and Environmental Sciences, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, Berkeley, California 94720, USA.
The subterranean world hosts up to one-fifth of all biomass, including microbial communities that drive transformations central to Earth’s biogeochemical cycles. However, little is known about how complex microbial communities in such environments are structured, and how inter-organism interactions shape ecosystem function. Here we apply terabase-scale cultivation-independent metagenomics to aquifer sediments and groundwater, and reconstruct 2,540 draft-quality, near-complete and complete strain-resolved genomes that represent the majority of known bacterial phyla as well as 47 newly discovered phylum-level lineages. Metabolic analyses spanning this vast phylogenetic diversity and representing up to 36% of organisms detected in the system are used to document the distribution of pathways in coexisting organisms. Consistent with prior findings indicating metabolic handoffs in simple consortia, we find that few organisms within the community can conduct multiple sequential redox transformations. As environmental conditions change, different assemblages of organisms are selected for, altering linkages among the major biogeochemical cycles.
The terrestrial subsurface is the largest reservoir of carbon on earth, containing 14–135 Pg of carbon1 and 2–19% of all biomass2. Microorganisms drive organic and inorganic compound transformations in this environment and thereby control biogeochemical cycles. Our current knowledge of the microbial ecology of the subsurface is primarily based on 16S ribosomal RNA (rRNA) gene sequences. Recent estimates show thato8% of 16S rRNA sequences in public databases derive from subsurface organisms3 and only a small fraction of those are represented by genomes or isolates. Thus, there is remarkably little reliable information about microbial metabolism in the subsurface. Further, little is known about how organisms in subsurface ecosystems are metabolically interconnected. Some cultivation-based studies of syntrophic consortia4–6 and smallscale metagenomic analyses of natural communities7–9 suggest that organisms are linked via metabolic handoffs: the transfer of redox reaction products of one organism to another. However, no complex environments have been dissected completely enough to resolve the metabolic interaction networks that underpin them. This restricts the ability of biogeochemical models to capture key aspects of the carbon and other nutrient cycles10. New approaches such as genome-resolved metagenomics, an approach that can yield a comprehensive set of draft and even complete genomes for organisms without the requirement for laboratory isolation7,11,12, have the potential to provide this critical level of understanding of biogeochemical processes. In this study, we use terabase-scale shotgun DNA sequencing to extensively sample microbial genomes from an aquifer adjacent to the Colorado River, located near Rifle, CO, USA. Previous studies of this aquifer characterized specific lineages of microorganisms, primarily as part of an investigation into the potential for addition of uranium into the subsurface to stimulate uranium immobilization13–19. Here our goal is the extensive recovery of near-complete and complete genomes to enable accurate reconstruction of metabolism and ecological roles of the microbial majority, including previously unstudied lineages. To maximize recovery of genomes, we study 15 geochemically distinct sediment and groundwater environments, some of which were altered via in situ manipulation experiments. Our results show that terabase-scale metagenomics can be used as a high-throughput tool to recover thousands of high-quality strain-resolved genomes from a complex subsurface ecosystem. We use these genomes to track dynamics in community composition and metabolic potential across the studied spectrum of environment types, and detect organisms from the ‘rare biosphere’20, which may represent as little as o0.001% of a community. Given identification of many new putative phylumlevel groups, our metabolic analyses span an unprecedented level of phylogenetic diversity. Our genome-resolved studies at the community-level support the idea that inter-organism interactions are key to turning the globally relevant subsurface biogeochemical cycles of carbon, nitrogen, sulfur and hydrogen.
A ground motion visualization from American geophone array .. yesterday's earthquake in Italy as it spread across North America. The visualization is a color code representing the degreeo f up and down vertical acceleration at each site. Select the vertical component expanded view to include Alaska. Note how some regions with major faults appear to be excited by the impulses.
Since 1825 a tradition of The Royal Institution. Michael Faraday's are legend and are still considered an example of presenting science to the public. The Institution has a website with a good number of videos including those, Christmas and otherwise, associated with the Braggs.