Mass or Weight?

Mass, by J. Baggott, was published in June 2017 by Oxford University Press.

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The Ancient Greeks visualised geometric atoms and now we have quantum physics.

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This book tells the history, from atomist Leucippus, through Newton to Einstein.

But the fundamental structure of physical reality remains difficult to follow. The book shows how this stuff of the universe is proving more elusive and uncertain than we ever imagined, whether we will ever reconcile the inner structures of the weight and mass of atoms.

 

8 Minutes

Alexander Whitley is the choreographer of 8 Minutes on the main stage of Sadler’s Wells, London during the summer.

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It is done in collaboration with solar scientists from the Rutherford Appleton Laboratory and the title refers to the length of time it takes for the sun’s light to reach the Earth.

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Whitley has incorporated quotes about astrophysics into the soundtrack, and has managed to create something that feels concrete and ungraspable at the same time, much like the universe.

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London’s Evening Standard praises the way 8 Minutes merges dance, visuals and music as equal partners. Daniel Wohl’s score pulsates with solar energy while Tal Rosner’s hypnotic digital projections feature lava-like waves, inky black views from space and a sizzling red sun.

By Jupiter

Some early findings from NASA’s Juno mission are published today in Science magazine (papers by SJ Bolton et al and JEP Connerney et al). They present some of the pictures from the orbiter that arrived at Jupiter last July. The familiar stripes appear to be hot bands seen through layers of cloud:

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The top and bottom of Jupiter are pockmarked with a chaotic mélange of swirls that are immense storms hundreds of miles across.

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The planet’s interior core appears bigger than expected, and swirling electric currents are generating surprisingly strong magnetic fields.

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Auroral lights shining in Jupiter’s polar regions seem to operate in a reverse way to those on Earth. There appears not to be an entirely solid or gaseous core to the planet. One clue to what is at the core is a belt of ammonia that may be rising around the planet’s equator.

What they report is nothing like Jupiter Ascending, the 2015 film, written, produced and directed, by The Wachowskis.

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By Jupiter was a Rogers and Hart musical production in New York during 1942. Such human creativity is not a patch on what NASA is finding.

Clouds Over Islands

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What really happens in this picture is this: land heats up faster than water. When the sun comes out, the land heats quickly, forming an area of low pressure directly on the island. This results in an area of higher pressure offshore.

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Since air moves from high to low pressure, the marine moisture as well as moisture from the island gets drawn into the low pressure over the island. Low pressure creates upward vertical movement, causing the warm moist air to rise, cool and condense into a cloud directly over each island.

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Rorschach Tests

Nearly a century after Hermann Rorschach invented his ink blot test, a controversial assessment that he used in psychiatric clinics. Patients gave many different interpretations of the shapes and figures in Rorschach’s blots.

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Now, in the journal Plos One, R. Taylor et al at the University of Oregon, claim to have an answer. They analysed ten Rorschach ink blots and found that the five black and white patterns varied in their fractal complexity. The less complex the fractals in the blots, the more images people tended to see.

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Rorschach’s Blot Seven is shown at the top (a). Note the tell-tale fractal signatures of irregular curves or shapes at the edges of the symmetrical image. Some people see a woman’s head with a ponytail. Below (b) the inkblot has been altered with the fractal borders removed. The ability to see hidden patterns is reduced.

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Fractals are patterns that repeat themselves over different size scales. The most familiar ones appear in nature, in the branching of trees, the edges of clouds, and the contours of coastlines. When the ratio of fine to coarse details is high, scientists say the image has a high fractal complexity.

“Your eyes are amazing pattern detectors, but why are they getting fooled? It’s almost as if they are getting trigger happy, seeing things that aren’t there,” Taylor told The Guardian. His work on fractals began with studies of Jackson Pollock’s spectacular drip paintings

Mirrors

Not known for her interest in science, the Japanese artist Yayoi Kusama shows such applications in her exhibition at Washington DC’s Infinity Mirrors at the Hirschhorn Museum.yk-infinityrooms-img-05.jpg

The mirrored environments are too small to take beyond the inner detail. They take the images away from the artistic and make the viewer search for technological and scientific explanations rather than any senses of feelings within the content.

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Elphie – Hamburg

Rising more than 100 metres above Hamburg’s harbour like a great glass galleon marooned atop an old brick warehouse, the Elbphilharmonie concert hall

4000.jpg, The Swiss architects Jacques Herzog and Pierre de Meuron have never looked so relieved.

The project began as the unlikely dream of Alexander Gérard, a private developer and former classmate of Herzog and De Meuron, who had hoped to finance the scheme with the 45 luxury flats and 250-room hotel that are also housed in the big glass mountain. He commissioned the architects to come up with a dazzling alternative to a dreary plan for a 90-metre media office tower on the site, which died away with the end of the dotcom boom. The Swiss starchitects’ thrilling images quickly caught the public imagination and the project was adopted by the city in 2003 and prioritised as a plan of national importance.

The grand hall, itself hung from the 700-tonne roof like a dangling cocoon, features 1,000 hand-blown glass lamps and 10,000 uniquely carved acoustic panels, while the facade incorporates 600 curved panes of 48mm-thick glass. It has been compared to Kaiser Wilhelm’s megalomania,

5376.jpgThe escalator is gently curved in a hump-backed profile, so you can’t see where you’re going, adding to the camp drama of it all, before you emerge at a big picture window punched into the brick wall, affording the first great view across the harbour.
Hamburg’s completed ‘Elphie’ concert hall shines triumphant

5472-1.jpgIntricacy and complexity … the white ceiling1593.jpgOur role is to connect the old city with the new city beyond,” says De Mueron, referring to the HafenCity quarter, an emerging district slated to house 12,000 people in the former docklands, in which the “Elphie”, as locals have nicknamed the concert hall, stands as a shining beacon.

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