RSSArchive for June, 2010

The Bizarre and Wonderful World of Quantum Theory—And How Understanding It Has Ultimately Changed Our Lives

“In fact, it is often stated that of all the theories proposed in this century, the silliest is quantum theory. Some say that the only thing that quantum theory has going for it, in fact, is that it is unquestionably correct.”

Almost since its inception, the development of quantum theory has been built by some of the greatest minds of their day. Some of the framework for this theory can be traced back to the following discoveries:

— In 1897 the discovery of the electron proved there were individual particles that make up the atom.

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Is It a Good Idea to Nuke the Oil Leak?

There was brief speculation in the media about using nuclear weapons to seal up the raging oil leak in the Gulf of Mexico. I think this is a bad idea, from a physics point of view. Let me say that my mentor while I was in high school and at Harvard, Edward Teller, father of the H-bomb, was a firm advocate of using nuclear weapons to dig out canals and other grand engineering projects. The logic is this: when an H-bomb is detonated underground, most of its energy is in the form of soft X-rays, which deposit most of their energy in a large sphere, where it is absorbed and the energy turned to intense heat. (In the air, this ball of hot ionized plasma rises rapidly, with cold air coming in from the side, which gives rise to the familiar mushroom cloud).

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The Birth of Our Universe (It’s Violent & Continually Changing)

Up until just a few hundred years ago most people thought that the Universe was a stable, static place that had been here forever and would continue forever. Today we know that nothing could be further from the truth. In reality, we know that the Universe is a violent and continually changing place that was born in a mere nanosecond of time in the spectacular event we call the Big Bang. You may have heard the Big Bang referred to as the mother of all explosions but it wasn’t an explosion so much as an expansion. From a space that was infinitely small, the entire Universe expanded and continues even to this day -13.7 billion years later.

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Will humanoid robots ever approach the vastness of human intelligence?

  Right now our most advanced robots are not quite as smart as we would want them to be. One of the most popular—Honda’s humanoid robot, Asimo—is quite sophisticated but you won’t be seeing one in your home anytime soon. If you want to lease one however, simply make out a check to Honda for $150,000 — per month! According to Honda’s Web site, they added intelligence technology which is capable of interpreting the postures and gestures of humans and moving independently in response.

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Michio Kaku speaks with Keith Olbermann (MSNBC) about the recent idea to Nuke the Oil Well?

Nuke the oil well? Dr. Kaku talks with Keith Olbermann (MSNBC) about the recent proposal of using a small nuclear device to melt the oil well shut in the Gulf of Mexico and what could go wrong as a result.

NBC Today Show interview about BP’s latest effort to ‘Cut & Cap’ the damaged oil pipe in the Gulf

Disaster in the Gulf: Day 44 (June 2nd – NBC’s Today Show Interview with Dr. Kaku about BP’s latest effort to ‘Cut & Cap’ the damaged pipe in the Gulf and if the method will in fact work. BP plans to use a diamond edged tool (wire-cutters) to make a clean cut of the damaged pipe (one cut was made last night) and if the caps don’t work, the problem has essentially become magnified because now the holes are even larger than before and an estimated 20% increase of oil spillage is now a high possibility.

The creation of the first man-made synthetic cell (FOX News)

Dr. Kaku speaks with FOX News about the recent announcement in the enduring quest to create artificial life. Scientists claim that they’ve produced a living cell powered by manmade DNA.
The inventors call it the world’s first synthetic cell.

Man injects himself with computer virus (FOX News)

Michio Kaku speaks with FOX News about University of Reading researcher Mark Gasson becoming the first human known to be infected by a computer virus. The virus, infecting a chip implanted in Gasson’s hand, passed into a laboratory computer. From there, the infection could have spread into other computer chips found in building access cards.

MSNBC (Keith Olbermann Interview) on BP’s top-kill procedure in the Gulf of Mexico

Dr. Kaku sits down with Keith Olbermann (The Countdown – MSNBC) to speak about how BP’s top-kill procedure is faring at stopping the oil in the Gulf and what other options are available to avoid a worst case scenerio disaster. Interview took place on May 27th, 2010.