close

Upstream is for future thinkers

It provides news of emerging technologies, scientific discoveries and predictions of our future

info-page-image

Biomedical

Biomedical

Transhumanism is a biomedical goal to fundamentally transform the human condition by developing and making widely available technologies to greatly enhance human intellectual, physical, and psychological capacities.

This is achieved though Cybernetics, Genetic Engineering, Life Extension, Medicine and Stem Cell Treatments.

Computing

Computing

The effect computers have had on the world is unquestionably great, however with their capabilities increasing exponentially we are living in a time where, with the development of quantum computing, their effects on us has barely scratched the surface of what is to come.

Artificial intelligence, Augmented Reality, Holography, Quantum Computing and Virtual Reality are all around the corner.

Energy

Energy

As the planet’s resources are rapidly depleting, perhaps the area of most intense global interest at the moment is finding alternate methods of producing energy and efficiently feeding our populations.

Some of these methods include Artificial Photosynthesis, Biofuels, Fusion Power, Genetically Modified Food, Solar Power, Vertical Farming and Wireless Energy Transfer.

Leisure

Leisure

Consumer goods, with the help of emerging technologies, are changing our day to day lives at an increasingly rapid pace. From the internet to mobile phones and 3D printing, the past 30 years has changed the way we live.

The next 30 years includes Holographic Displays, Immersive Gaming, Smart Clothing, Virtual Reality and Wearable Computing.

Military

Military

Although military may not seem the most constructive of tech focuses, it often has the budget to pioneer new technologies which are refined and used commercially later; for example electronic computers, satellite technology or the internet.

Current military interest includes Artificial Intelligence, Drones, Hypersonic Aircraft, Particle Beam Weapons & Stealth Technology.

Nanotechnology

Nanotechnology

One of the most exciting progressions of the 21st century so far is our ability to create on a nano scale – allowing us to produce new materials that have never been seen before, and build machines so small that they can even carry out tasks within our blood stream.

Nanotechnology has created new fields of interest within Biotechnology, Computing, Energy and Medicine.

Physics

Physics

Although some people may find physics to be the dull cousin of technology, it is only through the understanding of physics that many of our technologies and understandings of the universe are possible – it is the language to describe and therefore can create our reality, and is incredibly exciting for people who take the time to understand it, as it is the key which can open new doors for our future.

Robotics

Robotics

A very tangible physical embodiment of technology for humans is robotics; we can relate and interact physically with robots and in the future develop relationships with them.

Also as artificial intelligence evolves alongside human intelligence, there will be a time where this technology will increasingly find the need to embody itself in the physical world through robotics.

Space

Space

The final frontier.

The exploration of space holds endless possible discoveries – however one which we may be on the brink of observing which will change the world and the way we think about ourselves as human beings, is the discovery of life on other planets (or moons, such as Jupiter’s Europa or Saturn’s Enceladus, as it may turn out.)

Transport

Transport

Driverless Cars, Jetpacks, Magnetic Levitation, Space Elevators, Fusion Rockets and Teleportation – all areas of intense interest and each offering huge potential for the development of civilisation.

Transport is a practical constraint which touches people daily, which is why future developments could change our lives and the world’s economies on the whole.

Predictions

Predictions

Technology futurists make extrapolations on scientific progress – for example it is predicted that quantum computing will become commercially viable around 2020, based on current advances in technology and projected milestones. This is turn will facilitate breakthroughs in medicine by enabling an accurate virtual model of chemical reactions – thus building an ever-growing web of forecasts.

close

About Upstream

Profile

Upstream is an aggregation of news websites curated by Oliver Rozynski, a Sydney based freelance digital designer by trade, technologist by hobby and entrepreneur by aspiration.

It includes the absolute latest on emerging technologies, projections on future trends and scientific breakthroughs as they happen from over 60 universities worldwide.

The aim of Upstream is to create awareness of the explosion of scientific and technological developments which is currently unfolding behind the curtain of mainstream media. With a better understanding of the possibilities for our future, we can open our imaginations to create a new outlook.

We have a lot to look forward to!

See my personal website.

Signature
perfectlyacc

Perfectly accurate clocks turn out to be impossible

Can the passage of time be measured precisely, always and everywhere? The answer will upset many watchmakers. A team of physicists from the universities of Warsaw and Nottingham have just shown that when we are dealing with very large accelerations, no clock will actually be able to show the real passage of time, known as “proper time”.

The ideal clock is merely a convenient fiction, as theorists from the University of Warsaw (UW) and University of Nottingham (UN) have shown. In a study published in the journal Classical and Quantum Gravity they demonstrate that in systems moving with enormous accelerations, building a clock that would precisely measure the passage of time is impossible for fundamental reasons.

“In both theories of relativity, special and general, it is tacitly assumed that it is always possible to construct an ideal clock – one that will accurately measure the time elapsed in the system, regardless of whether the system is at rest, moving at a uniform speed, or accelerating. It turns out, however, that when we talk about really fast accelerations, this postulate simply cannot apply,” says Dr. Andrzej Dragan from the Faculty of Physics, University of Warsaw.

The simplest clocks are unstable elementary particles, for example muons (particles with similar properties to electrons but 200 times more massive). Usually, muons decay into an electron, muon neutrino, and an electron antineutrino. By measuring the decay times and averaging the results for muons moving slowly and those moving at nearly the speed of light, we can observe the famous slowing down of the passage of time: the faster the muons are moving, the less likely the experimenter is to see them decay. Velocity therefore affects the clocks’ observed tempo.

What about acceleration? Experiments were performed at CERN in the late 1970s, measuring the decay time of muons undergoing circular motion accelerations even as great as billions of billions of times the acceleration of Earth’s gravity (10^18 g). Such acceleration was found to have no impact on the disintegration times.

The Polish-British group of theorists from the universities of Warsaw and Nottingham, on the other hand, were looking at the description of unstable particles moving in accelerating motion in a straight line. The key point for their analysis turned out to be a fascinating effect predicted in 1976 by the Canadian physicist William Unruh.

“Contrary to intuition, the concept of a particle is not completely independent of the observer. We all know the Doppler Effect, for example, which causes a photon emitted by a moving source to appear bluer to an observer toward which the source is approaching, but redder to one it is receding from. The Unruh effect is somewhat similar, except that the results are more spectacular: in an certain area of space, a non-accelerating observer sees a quantum field vacuum, whereas an accelerating observer sees many particles,” explains Dr. Dragan.

The equation describing the Unruh effect says that the number of particles visible within a quantum field varies depending on the acceleration experienced by an observer: the greater the acceleration, the more of them there are. These non-inertial effects may be due to the movement of the observer, but their source can also be a gravitational field. Interestingly, the Unruh effect is very akin to the famous Hawking radiation emitted by black holes.

The unstable particles which the physicists from the universities of Warsaw and Nottingham treated as a fundamental clocks in their analysis decay as a result of interactions with other quantum fields. The theory says that if such a particle remains in a space filled with a vacuum it decays at a different pace than when in the vicinity of many other particles interacting with it. Thus if in a system of extreme acceleration more particles can be seen as a result of the Unruh effect, the average decay times of particles such as muons should change.

“Our calculations showed that above certain very large accelerations there simply must be time disorders in the decay of elementary particles. And if the disturbances affect fundamental clocks such as muons, then any other device built on the principles of quantum field theory will also be disrupted. Therefore, perfectly precise measurements of proper time are no longer possible. This fact has further consequences, because losing the ability to accurately measure the passage of time also means problems with the measurements of distance,” explains Dr. Dragan.

Until now it has been assumed that the concepts of time and space may lose their traditional senses only when certain phenomena predicted by hypothetical theories of quantum gravity begin to play a vital role. It is believed that the necessary conditions prevailed in the vicinity of the Big Bang.
“In our paper, we show that for problems with the measurements of space-time to arise, such extreme conditions are not needed at all. Time, and therefore space, most likely cease to be accurately measurable even in today’s Universe, provided that we try to carry out the measurements in systems moving with great acceleration,” notes Dr. Dragan.

The results from the physicists from Warsaw and Nottingham mean that at sufficiently high accelerations, the operational capabilities of any theory built on the notion of time, and thus also space, will be disrupted. This raises interesting questions. If in extremely accelerating systems we cannot build a clock that measures time accurately, is this exclusively a fundamental flaw in our measurement methods? Or maybe something is happening directly to time itself? And do properties which cannot be measured accurately even make physical sense?

Modern accelerators can accelerate particles with accelerations several orders of magnitude higher than in the experiments of the 70s. Thus today we can carry out experiments in which the Unruh effect should be visible – and so changes in the decay time of particles triggered by acceleration should be observable, too. The conclusions of the Polish-British group of physicists on ideal clocks will thus soon be verified.

“If our predictions are confirmed experimentally, many things related to our understanding of space-time, the passage of time, and its measurement methods will have to be rethought from scratch. It could be… interesting,” concludes Dr. Dragan with a smile.

Thanks Phys.org

Comments

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>

More articles on Physics
Physics Related Articles
...
You're an official future thinker