Monday, September 24, 2012

The arrow of time: Backward ran sentences…

From The Economist:

To the relief of physicists, time really does have a preferred direction

TIME seems to flow inexorably in one direction. Superficially, that is because things deteriorate with age—and this, in turn, is because there are innumerably fewer ways to arrange particles in an orderly fashion than in a jumbled mess. Any change in an existing arrangement is therefore likely to increase its disorder.

Dig a little deeper, though, and time’s arrow becomes mysterious. A particle cannot, by itself, become disordered, so when you examine its behaviour in isolation the past and the future are hard to distinguish. If you film its movement and then give the film to someone else, he will not be able to work out just from the particle’s behaviour which way to run the film through the projector. Essentially, the two ways of doing so are symmetrical. Or so physicists used to think until hints to the contrary emerged in the 1960s. Now a group of researchers at the SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory, near Stanford University in California, have found the first physical evidence that backs those indications up.

 The main hint that nature violates the time-reversal (T) symmetry implied by the thought experiment with the film—and thus that there really is an arrow of time—came from seemingly disparate discoveries about matter and antimatter. Mathematically, particles and their anti-versions differ in two ways: they have opposite electrical charges and they are each other’s mirror reflections. But in 1964 some particles called kaons were shown not to respect this charge-conjugation/parity (CP) symmetry, as it is known. Matter and antimatter are not, in other words, quite equal and opposite....MORE
HT: Improbable Research who write:
 Further physics news about whether the past is coming
There’s been further evidence found that, maybe, time does not run backwards. The evidence is presented in this study:
Observation of Time Reversal Violation in the B0 Meson System,” The BABAR Collaboration [J.P. Lees, et al.], arXiv:1207.5832, July 24, 2012.

I was at Improbable Research because I missed the Ig Nobel prizes this year and wanted to know where I could get the vid:

Here is the Winners page:
"The Ig Nobel awards are arguably the highlight of the scientific calendar." --Nature

2009 Public Health prize demonstration
Ig Nobel Prize Winner Dr. Elena Bodnar demonstrates her invention (a brassiere that can quickly convert into a pair of protective face masks) assisted by Nobel laureates Wolfgang Ketterle (left), Orhan Pamuk, and Paul Krugman (right). Photo credit: Alexey Eliseev, 2009 Ig Nobel Ceremony

The 2012 Ig Nobel Prize Winners

Winners were announced and awarded on Thursday night, September 20. The ceremony was webcast live. For more information, check the ceremony page.

PSYCHOLOGY PRIZE: Anita Eerland and Rolf Zwaan [THE NETHERLANDS] and Tulio Guadalupe [PERU, RUSSIA, and THE NETHERLANDS] for their study "Leaning to the Left Makes the Eiffel Tower Seem Smaller"
REFERENCE: "Leaning to the Left Makes the Eiffel Tower Seem Smaller: Posture-Modulated Estimation," Anita Eerland, Tulio M. Guadalupe and Rolf A. Zwaan, Psychological Science, vol. 22 no. 12, December 2011, pp. 1511-14.
ATTENDING THE CEREMONY: Tulio Guadalupe. [NOTE: Two days after the ceremony, Anita Eerland and Rolf Zwaan will marry each other, in the Netherlands.]

PEACE PRIZE: The SKN Company [RUSSIA], for converting old Russian ammunition into new diamonds.

ACOUSTICS PRIZE: Kazutaka Kurihara and Koji Tsukada [JAPAN] for creating the SpeechJammer — a machine that disrupts a person's speech, by making them hear their own spoken words at a very slight delay.
REFERENCE: "SpeechJammer: A System Utilizing Artificial Speech Disturbance with Delayed Auditory Feedback", Kazutaka Kurihara, Koji Tsukada, February 28, 2012.
ATTENDING THE CEREMONY: Kazutaka Kurihara and Koji Tsukada

NEUROSCIENCE PRIZE: Craig Bennett, Abigail Baird, Michael Miller, and George Wolford [USA], for demonstrating that brain researchers, by using complicated instruments and simple statistics, can see meaningful brain activity anywhere — even in a dead salmon.
REFERENCE: "Neural correlates of interspecies perspective taking in the post-mortem Atlantic Salmon: An argument for multiple comparisons correction," Craig M. Bennett, Abigail A. Baird, Michael B. Miller, and George L. Wolford, 2009.
REFERENCE: "Neural Correlates of Interspecies Perspective Taking in the Post-Mortem Atlantic Salmon: An Argument For Multiple Comparisons Correction," Craig M. Bennett, Abigail A. Baird, Michael B. Miller, and George L. Wolford, Journal of Serendipitous and Unexpected Results, vol. 1, no. 1, 2010, pp. 1-5.
ATTENDING THE CEREMONY: Craig Bennett, Abigail Baird, Michael Miller, and George Wolford

You may recall that in 2010 we were able to use the headline "Andre Geim First in History to Win Both the Nobel and the IgNobel Prizes":
The folks at Improbable Research (on blogroll at left) must be saying "We're so proud".
They recognized Mr. Geim's genius back in 2000 for his pioneering work in in the field of frog levitataion.
The awards celebrate achievements that "cannot or should not be reproduced."
Here is the ref. for other scholars who wish to follow his path:

Andre Geim of the University of Nijmegen (the Netherlands) and Sir Michael Berry of Bristol University (UK), for using magnets to levitate a frog. [REFERENCE: "Of Flying Frogs and Levitrons" by M.V. Berry and A.K. Geim, European Journal of Physics, v. 18, 1997, p. 307-13.] 
Radboud University Nijmegen's High Field Magnet Laboratory devotes a page of their website to the subject:...
The Nobel was followed by the obligatory interview: interviews Physics Laureate Geim about his Ig Nobel

Oh wait, that took an odd turn.

Anyhoo, here's the complete IgBill.