Tuesday, September 11, 2012

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Wednesday, June 27, 2012


Obesity is a growing global health problem. Obesity is when someone is so overweight that it is a threat to their health.
Obesity typically results from over-eating (especially an unhealthy diet) and lack of enough exercise.
In our modern world with increasingly cheap, high calorie food (example, fast food — or “junk food”), prepared foods that are high in things like salt, sugars or fat, combined with our increasingly sedentary lifestyles, increasing urbanization and changing modes of transportation, it is no wonder that obesity has rapidly increased in the last few decades, around the world.
For the first time in human history, the number of overweight people rivals the number of underweight people.… While the world’s underfed population has declined slightly since 1980 to 1.1 billion, the number of overweight people has surged to 1.1 billion.
In the United States, 55 percent of adults are overweight by international standards. A whopping 23 percent of American adults are considered obese. And the trend is spreading to children as well, with one in five American kids now classified as overweight.… [O]besity cost the United States 12 percent of the national health care budget in the late 1990s, $118 billion, more than double the $47 billion attributable to smoking.
Overweight and obesity are advancing rapidly in the developing world as well … [while] 80 percent of the world’s hungry children live in countries with food surpluses.
 technofixes like liposuction or olestra attract more attention than the behavioral patterns like poor eating habits and sedentary lifestyles that underlie obesity. Liposuction is now the leading form of cosmetic surgery in the United States, for example, at 400,000 operations per year. While billions are spent on gimmicky diets and food advertising, far too little money is spent on nutrition education.
The BBC revealed that food wastage is enormous. In the United Kingdom, some astonishing 30-40% of all food is never eaten, while in the US, some 40-50% of all food ready for harvest never gets eaten. UK alone sees some £20 billion ($38 billion US dollars) worth of food thrown away each year.
  • 40-50% of all food ready for harvest never gets eaten.
  • Every year, over 25% of Americans get sick from what they eat.
  • As few as 13 major corporations control nearly all of the slaughterhouses in the U.S.
  • Americans eat 31% more packaged food than fresh food.
  • The FDA tests only about 1% of food imports. (The US imports about 15% of what they eat.)
  • A simple frozen dinner can contains ingredients from over 500 different suppliers so you have to trust all of those hundreds of companies along the way stuck to regulations about food safety.
  • 50% of tested samples of high fructose corn syrup tested for mercury.
  • Americans eat about six to nine pounds of chemical food additives per year.
  • Food intolerance is on the rise, with as many as 30 million people in the U.S. showing symptoms.
  • Fewer than 27% of Americans eat the correct ratio of meats to vegetables.
  • 80% of the food supply is the responsibility of the FDA yet the number of inspections has decreased while the number of producers has increased.
  • Keeping fields contamination-free can cost well over $250,000–a discouraging sum to smaller farmers.
The World Health Organization (WHO) provides a number of facts on obesity, including that globally in 2005:
  • Approximately 1.6 billion adults (age 15+) were overweight
  • At least 400 million adults were obese
  • At least 20 million children under the age of 5 years are overweight globally in 2005.
The WHO also projected that by 2015, approximately 2.3 billion adults will be overweight and more than 700 million will be obese.
Globally, in 2010 the number of overweight children under the age of five, is estimated to be over 42 million. Close to 35 million of these are living in developing countries.
Overweight and obese children are likely to stay obese into adulthood and more likely to develop noncommunicable diseases like diabetes and cardiovascular diseases at a younger age.
  • While they continue to deal with the problems of infectious disease and under-nutrition, at the same time they are experiencing a rapid upsurge in chronic disease risk factors such as obesity and overweight, particularly in urban settings.
  • It is not uncommon to find under-nutrition and obesity existing side-by-side within the same country, the same community and even within the same household.
  • This double burden is caused by inadequate pre-natal, infant and young child nutrition followed by exposure to high-fat, energy-dense, micronutrient-poor foods and lack of physical activity.
With obesity comes increasing risks of
  • Cardiovascular disease (mainly heart disease and stroke) — already the world’s number one cause of death, killing 17 million people each year.
  • Diabetes (type 2) — which has rapidly become a global epidemic.
  • Musculoskeletal disorders — especially osteoarthritis.
  • Some cancers (endometrial, breast, and colon).
In Europe, for example, the WHO’s European regional body says that “obesity is already responsible for 2-8% of health costs and 10-13% of deaths in different parts of the Region.”
The report further highlights that the costs of coronary heart disease alone are around £10 billion a year (approximately 14 billion in U.S. dollars). These costs are made up of
  • £1.6 billion in direct costs (primarily to the tax payer through the costs of treatment by the British National Health Service) and
  • £8.4 billion in indirect costs (to industry and to society as a whole, though loss of productivity due to death and disability).
Other issues and problems they point out include:
  • Encouraging/advertising unhealthy diets and foods (especially to children);
  • Generally putting low priority on health;
  • Industry-dominated food policy at the expense of local grocery stores;
  • Deteriorating health of children in poverty;
  • and so on.
Food systems causes of obesity
The main problem has been the increased availability of high energy food, because of:
  • Liberalized international food markets
  • Food subsidies that “have arguably distorted the food supply in favour of less healthy foodstuffs”
  • “Transnational food companies [that] have flooded the global market with cheap to produce, energy dense, nutrient empty foods”
  • “Supermarkets and food service chains [that are] encouraging bulk purchases, convenience foods, and supersized portions”
  • Healthy eating often being more expensive than less healthy options, (despite global food prices having dropped on average).
  • Marketing, especially “food advertising through television [which] aims to persuade individuals—particularly children—that they desire foods high in saturated fats, sugars, and salt.”
The local environment and obesity
How people live, what factors make them active or sedentary are also a factor. For exapmle,
  • “Research, mainly in high income countries, indicates that local urban planning and design can influence weight in several ways.”
  • For example, levels of physical activity are affected by
    • Connected streets and the ability to walk from place to place
    • Provision of and access to local public facilities and spaces for recreation and play
  • The increasing reliance on cars leads to physical inactivity, and while a long-time problem in rich countries, is a growing problem in developing countries.
Social conditions and obesity
Examples of issues the BMJ noted here include
  • “Working and living conditions, such as having enough money for a healthy standard of living, underpin compliance with national health guidelines”
  • “Increasingly less job control, security, flexibility of working hours, and access to paid family leave … undermining the material and psychosocial resources necessary for empowering individuals and communities to make healthy living choices.”
  • Inequality, which can lead to different groups being disadvantaged and having less access to needed resources and healthier foods
Addressing obesity at the global level
This involves international institutions, agreements, trade and other policies. For example,
  • The World Health Organization (WHO) is a key institution at this level. It’s global strategy in this area focuses on developing food and agricultural policies that are aligned to promoting public health and multisectorial policies that promote physical activity, as well as generally being an information provider.
  • A joint program of the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization and the World Health Organization, the experience of the Codex Alimentarius Commission highlights the challenges at international level. The Commission was set up to help governments protect the health of consumers and ensure fair trade practices in the food trade.
  • But challenges and obstacles persist. For example, “industry representatives hugely outnumber representatives from public interest groups, resulting in an imbalance between the goals of trade and consumer protection.”
Obesity is a complex condition, one with serious social and psychological dimensions, that affects virtually all age and socioeconomic groups and threatens to overwhelm both developed and developing countries. In 1995, there were an estimated 200 million obese adults worldwide and another 18 million under-five children classified as overweight. As of 2000, the number of obese adults has increased to over 300 million. Contrary to conventional wisdom, the obesity epidemic is not restricted to industrialized societies; in developing countries, it is estimated that over 115 million people suffer from obesity-related problems.
Generally, although men may have higher rates of overweight, women have higher rates of obesity. For both, obesity poses a major risk for serious diet-related noncommunicable diseases, including diabetes mellitus, cardiovascular disease, hypertension and stroke, and certain forms of cancer. Its health consequences range from increased risk of premature death to serious chronic conditions that reduce the overall quality of life.

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Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Important Dates & Discoveries

Important Dates & Discoveries : -
A brief chronological listing of some of the most important discoveries in cosmology, astronomy and physics, from ancient Babylon, India and Greece, right up to the 20th Century. Learn how some of the essential concepts and laws of modern physics which are mentioned in this website (and the earlier ideas out of which they grew) developed in a historical context. 

Its sections : -

  • Ancient World (20th Century B.C. - 4th Century A.D.)
  • Medieval & Renaissance World (5th Century A.D. - 16th Century)
  • Early Modern World (17th Century - 19th Century)
  • Modern World (20th Century )

1) Ancient World : -
  • 20th -16th Century B.C. - Ancient Babylonian tablets show knowledge of the distinction between the moving planets and the “fixed” stars, and the recognition that the movement of planets are regular and periodic.
  • 15th - 12th Century B.C. - The Hindu Rigveda of ancient India describes the origin of the universe in which a “cosmic egg” or Brahmanda, containing the Sun, Moon, planets and the whole universe, expands out of a single concentrated point before subsequently collapsing again, reminiscent of the much later Big Bang and oscillating universe theories.
  • 5th Century B.C. - The Greek philosopher Anaxagoras becomes arguably the first to formulate a kind of molecular theory of matter, and to regard the physical universe as subject to the rule of rationality or reason.
  • 5th Century B.C. - The Greek philosophers Leucippus and Democritus found the school of Atomism, which holds that the universe is composed of very small, indivisible and indestructible building blocks known as atoms, which then form different combinations and shapes in an infinite void.
  • Geocentric universe of Aristotle and Ptolemy - click for larger version
    Geocentric universe of Aristotle and Ptolemy
  • 4th Century B.C. - The Greek philosopher Aristotle describes a geocentric universe in which the fixed, spherical Earth is at the centre, surrounded by concentric celestial spheres of planets and stars. Although he portrays the universe as finite in size, he stresses that it exists unchanged and static throughout eternity.
  • 4th Century B.C. - The Greek philosopher Heraclides proposes that the apparent daily motion of the stars is created by the rotation of the Earth on its axis once a day, and that the Sun annually circles a central Earth, while the other planets orbit the Sun (a geocentric model with heliocentric aspects).
  • 3rd Century B.C. - The Stoic philosophers of ancient Greece assert a kind of “island universe” in which a finite cosmos is surrounded by an infinite void (similar in principle to a galaxy).
  • 3rd Century B.C. - The Greek mathematician and geographer Eratosthenes proved that the Earth was round, and made a remarkably accurate calculation of its circumference and its tilt (as well as devising a system of latitude and longitude, and, possibly, estimating the distance of the Earth from the Sun).
  • 3rd Century B.C. - The Greek astronomer and mathematician Aristarchus of Samos is the first to present an explicit argument for a heliocentric model of the Solar System, placing the Sun, not the Earth, at the center of the known universe. He describes the Earth as rotating daily on its axis and revolving annually about the Sun in a circular orbit, along with a sphere of fixed stars.
  • 2nd Century B.C. - The Greek astronomer Hipparchus of Nicea makes the first measurement of the precession of the equinoxes, and compiles the first star catalogue (in which he proposes our modern system of apparent magnitudes). He also improves on the Solar System model of Apollonius of Perga, in which an eccentric circle carries around a smaller circle (an epicycle), which in turn carries around a planet.
  • 2nd Century B.C. - The Hellenistic astronomer and philosopher Seleucus of Seleucia supports Aristarchus’ heliocentric theory, and links the tides to the influence of the Moon.
  • 2nd Century A.D. - The Roman-Egyptian mathematician and astronomer Ptolemy (Claudius Ptolemaeus) describes a geocentric model, largely based on Aristotelian ideas, in which the planets and the rest of the universe orbit about a stationary Earth in circular epicycles, which becomes the scientific orthodoxy for nearly two millennia (essentially until Copernicus in the 16th Century). He also details the complex motions of the stars and planetary paths using equants, allowing astronomers to predict the positions of the planets.


  • 5th Century A.D. - The Indian astonomer and mathematician Aryabhata proposes that the Earth turns on its own axis, and describes elliptical orbits around the Sun, which some have interpreted as heliocentrism.
  • 6th Century A.D. - The Christian philosopher John Philoponus of Alexandria argues against the ancient Greek notion of an infinite past, and is perhaps the first commentator to argue that the universe is finite in time and therefore had a beginning.
  • 7th Century - The Indian astronomer Brahmagupta, a follower of the heliocentric theory of the Solar System earlier developed by Aryabhata, recognizes gravity as a force of attraction in his "The Opening of the Universe" of 628, in which he describes a force of attraction between the Sun and the Earth.
  • 9th Century - The Muslim astronomer Ja'far ibn Muhammad Abu Ma'shar al-Balkhi developes a planetary model which some have interpreted as heliocentric model.
  • 9th - 11th Century - Early Muslim and Jewish theologians such as Al-Kindi, Saadia Gaon and Al-Ghazali offer logical arguments supporting a finite universe.
  • 11th Century - The Arab polymath Alhazen (also known as Ibn al-Haytham) becomes the first to apply the scientific method to astronomy.
  • 11th Century - The Persian astronomer Abu al-Rayhan al-Biruni describes the Earth's gravitation as the attraction of all things towards the centre of the Earth, and hypothesizes that the Earth turns daily on its axis and annually around the Sun.
  • 11th Century - The Persian polymath Omar Khayyam demonstrates that the universe is not moving around Earth, but that the Earth revolves on its axis, bringing into view different star constellations throughout the night and day. He also calculated the solar year as 365.24219858156 days (correct to six decimal places).
  • 14th Century - The Arab astronomer and engineer Ibn al-Shatir (of the Iranian Maragha school of astronomy) refines and improves the accuracy of the geocentric Ptolemaic model and develops the first accurate model of lunar motion.
  • 15th Century - The Persian astronomer and mathematician Ali Qushji rejects the Aristotelian notion of a stationary Earth in favour of a rotating Earth.
  • 15th Century - Somayaji Nilakantha of the Kerala school of astronomy and mathematics in southern India develops a computational system for a partially heliocentric planetary model in which Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter and Saturn orbit the Sun, which in turn orbits the Earth.
  • Heliocentric universe of Copernicus
    Heliocentric universe of Copernicus
  • 1543 - The Polish astronomer and polymath Nicolaus Copernicus (adapting the geocentric Maragha model of Ibn al-Shatir to meet the requirements of the ancient heliocentric universe of Aristarchus), proposes that the Earth rotates on its axis once daily and travels around the Sun once a year, and demonstrates that the motions of celestial objects can be explained without putting the Earth at rest in the centre of the universe. His Copernican Principle (that the Earth is not in a central, specially favoured position) and its implications (that celestial bodies obey physical laws identical to those on Earth) first establishes cosmology as a science rather than a branch of metaphysics, and marks a shift away from anthropocentrism.
  • 1576 - The English astronomer Thomas Digges popularizes Copernicus’ ideas and also extends them by positing the existence of a multitude of stars extending to infinity, rather than Copernicus’ narrow band of fixed stars.
  • 1584 - The Italian philosopher Giordano Bruno takes the Copernican Principle a stage further by suggesting that even the Solar System is not the centre of the universe, but rather a relatively insignificant  star system among an infinite multitude of others.
  • 1587 - The Danish nobleman and astronomer Tycho Brahe develops a kind of hybrid of the Ptolemaic and Copernican models, a geo-heliocentric system similar to that of Somayaji Nilakantha, now known as the Tychonic system. This involves a static Earth at the centre of the universe, around which revolve the Sun and the Moon, with the other five planets revolving around the Sun.


  • 1605 - The German mathematician and astronomer Johannes Kepler establishes his three Laws of Planetary Motion, mathematical laws that describe the motion of planets in the Solar System, including the ground-breaking idea that the planets follow elliptical, not circular, paths around the Sun. Newton later used them to deduce his own Laws of Motion and his Law of Universal Gravitation.
  • 1610 - The Italian mathematician and physicist Galileo Galilei develops an astronomical telescope powerful enough to indentify moons orbiting Jupiter, sunspots on the Sun and the different phases of Mercury, all of which are instrumental in convincing the scientific community of the day that the heliocentric Copernican model of the Solar System is superior to the geocentric Ptolemiac model.
  • 1632 - Galileo Galilei first describes the Principle of Relativity, the idea that the fundamental laws of physics are the same in all inertial frames and that, purely by observing the outcome of mechanical experiments, one cannot distinguish a state of rest from a state of constant velocity.
  • 1633 - The French philosopher René Descartes outlines a model of a static, infinite universe made up of tiny “corpuscles” of matter, a viewpoint not dissimilar to ancient Greek atomism. Descartes’ universe shares many elements of Sir Isaac Newton’s later model, although Descartes’ vacuum of space is not empty but composed of huge swirling whirlpools of ethereal or fine matter, producing what would later be called gravitational effects.
  • 1638 - Galileo Galilei demonstrates that unequal weights would fall with the same finite speed in a vacuum, and that their time of descent is independent of their mass. Thus, freely falling bodies, heavy or light, have the same constant acceleration, due to the force of gravity.
  • 1675 - The English physicist Sir Isaac Newton argues that light is composed of particles, which are refracted by acceleration toward a denser medium, and posits the existence of “aether” to transmit forces between the particles.
  • Newton's Law of Universal Gravitation - click for larger version
    Newton's Law of Universal Gravitation
  • 1687 - Sir Isaac Newton publishes his “Principia”, which describes an infinite, steady state, static, universe, in which matter on the large scale is uniformly distributed. In the work, he establishes the three Laws of Motion (“a body persists its state of rest or of uniform motion unless acted upon by an external unbalanced force”; “force equals mass times acceleration”; and “to every action there is an equal and opposite reaction”) and the Law of Universal Gravitation (that every particle in the universe attracts every other particle according to an inverse-square formula) that were not to be improved upon for more than two hundred years. He is credited with introducing the idea that the motion of objects in the heavens (such as planets, the Sun and the Moon) can be described by the same set of physical laws as the motion of objects on the ground (like cannon balls and falling apples).
  • 1734 - The Swedish scientist and philosopher Emanuel Swedenborg proposes a hierarchical universe, still generally based on a Newtonian static universe, but with matter clustered on ever larger scales of hierarchy, endlessly being recycled. This idea of a hierarchical universe and the “nebular hypothesis” were developed further (independently) by Thomas Wright (1750) and Immanuel Kant (1775).
  • 1761 - The Swiss physicist Johann Heinrich Lambert supports Wright and Kant’s hierarchical universe and nebular hypothesis, and also hypothesizes that the stars near the Sun are part of a group which travel together through the Milky Way, and that there are many such groupings or star systems throughout the galaxy.
  • 1783 - The amateur British astronomer John Michell proposes the theoretical idea of an object massive enough that its gravity would prevent even light from escaping (which has since become known as a black hole). He realizes that such an object would not be directly visible, but could be identified by the motions of a companion star if it was part of a binary system. A similar idea was independently proposed by the Frenchman Pierre-Simon Laplace in 1795.
  • 1789 - The French chemist Antoine-Laurent de Lavoisier definitively states the Law of Conservation of Mass (although others had previously expressed similar ideas, including the ancient Greek Epicurus, the medieval Persian Nasir al-Din al-Tusi and the 18th Century scientists Mikhail Lomonosov, Joseph Black, Henry Cavendish and Jean Rey), and identifies (albeit slightly incorrectly) 23 elements which he claims can not be broken down into simpler substances.
  • Wave interference in Thomas Young's double-slit experiment - click for larger version
    Wave interference in Thomas Young's double-slit experiment
  • 1803 - The English scientist Thomas Young demonstrates, in his famous double-slit experiment, the interference of light and concludes that light is a wave, not a particle as Sir Isaac Newton had ruled.
  • 1805 - The English chemist John Dalton develops his atomic theory, proposing that each chemical element is composed of atoms of a single unique type, and that, though they are both immutable and indestructible, they can combine to form more complex structures.
  • 1839 - The English scientist Michael Faraday concludes from his work on electromagnetism that, contrary to scientific opinion of the time, the divisions between the various kinds of electricity are illusory. He also establishes that magnetism can affect rays of light, and that there is an underlying relationship between the two phenomena.
  • 1861 - The French scientist Louis Pasteur’s experiments show that organisms such as bacteria and fungi do not appear of their own accord in sterile nutrient-rich media, suggesting that the long-held acceptance of the spontaneous generation of life from non-living matter may be incorrect.
  • 1864 - The Scottish physicist James Clerk Maxwell demonstrates that electric and magnetic fields travel through space in the form of waves at the constant speed of light and that electricity, magnetism and even light are all manifestations of electromagnetism. He collected together laws originally derived by Carl Friedrich Gauss, Michael Faraday and André-Marie Ampère into a unified and consistent theory (often known as Maxwell’s Equations).
  • 1896 - The French physicist Henri Becquerel discovers that certain kinds of matter emit radiation of their own accord (Radioactivity).
  • 1897 - The British physicist J. J. Thomson discovers the electron, the first known sub-atomic particle.


  • 1900 - The German physicist Max Planck suggests, while describing his law of black body radiation, that light may be emitted in discrete frequencies or “quanta”, and establishes the value of the Planck Constant to describe the sizes of these quanta. This is often regarded as marking the birth of quantum physics.
  • 1905 - The German physicist Albert Einstein shows how the Photoelectric Effect is caused by absorption of quanta of light (or photons), an important step in understanding the quantum nature of light and electrons, and a strong influence on the formation of the concept of wave-particle duality in quantum theory.
  • 1905 - Albert Einstein publishes his Special Theory of Relativity, in which he generalizes Galileo's Principle of Relativity (that all uniform motion is relative, and that there is no absolute and well-defined state of rest) from mechanics to all the laws of physics, and incorporates the principle that the speed of light is the same for all inertial observers regardless of the state of motion of the source.
  • 1905 - In a separate paper, Albert Einstein derives the concept of mass-energy equavalance (that any mass has an associated energy) and his famous E = mc2 equation.
  • 1907 - The German mathematician Hermann Minkowski realizes that Einstein's Special Theory of Relativity can be best understood in a four-dimensional space, which he calls “space-time” and in which time and space are not separate entities but intermingled in a four-dimensional space.
  • 1911 - The New Zealand chemist Ernest Rutherford interprets the 1909 experiments of Hans Geiger and Ernest Marsden, establishing for the first time the “planetary model” of the atom, where a central nucleus is circled by a number of tiny electrons like planets around a Sun.
  • 1915 - The German physicist Karl Schwarzschild provides the first exact solution to Einstein’s field equations of general relativity (even before Einstein publishes the theory) for the limited case of a single spherical non-rotating mass, which leads to the “Schwarzschild radius” which defines the size of the event horizon of a non-rotating black hole.
  • General relativity predicts the gravitational bending of light by massive bodies - click for larger version
    General relativity predicts the gravitational bending of light by massive bodies
  • 1916 - Albert Einstein publishes his General Theory of Relativity, in which he unifies special relativity and Newton's Law of Universal Gravitation, and describes gravity as a property of the curvature of four-dimensional space-time. Objects (including planets, like the Earth, for instance) fly freely under their own inertia through warped space-time, following curved paths because this is the shortest possible path in warped space.
  • 1916 - The Austrian physicist Ludwig Flamm examinesSchwarzschild’s solution to Einstein’s field equations and points out that the equations theoretically allow for some kind of invisible connection between two distinct regions of space-time (later to become known as a “wormhole”).
  • 1917 - Albert Einstein publishes a paper introducing the “cosmological constant” into the General Theory of Relativity in an attempt to model the behaviour of the entire universe, an idea he later called his “greatest blunder” but which, in the light of recent discoveries, is beginning to look remarkably prescient.
  • 1919 - Ernest Rutherford is credited with the discovery of the proton when he notices the signatures of hydrogen nuclei when alpha-particles are shot into nitrogen gas. In these experiments, he also became the first person to transmute one element into another (nitrogen into oxygen) through a deliberate man-made nuclear reaction.
  • 1919 - The English astrophysicist Arthur Eddington uses his measurements of an eclipse to confirm the deflection of starlight by the gravity of the Sun as predicted in Einstein’s General Theory of Relativity.
  • 1919 - The German mathematician Theodor Kaluza proposes the addition of a fifth dimension to the General Theory of Relativity, a precursor to much later superstring theory attempts to combine general relativity and quantum theory. The Swedish physicist Oskar Klein independently proposes a similar idea in 1926.
  • 1922 - The Russian biochemist Alexander Oparin hypothesizes that life on Earth began in a “primeval soup” of matter and water between 3.9 and 3.5 billion years ago, as chemical reactions produced small organic molecules from substances present in the atmosphere, which were then organized by chance into the more complex organic molecules that are the basis oflife.
  • 1922 - The Russian cosmologist and mathematician Alexander Friedmann discovers the expanding universe solution to Einstein’s general relativity field equations. The solution for a universe with positive curvature (spherical space) results in the universe expanding for a time and then contracting due to the pull of its gravity, in a perpetual cycle of Big Bang followed by Big Crunch now known as the oscillating universe theory.
  • 1925 - The American astronomer Edwin Hubble proves conclusively that nebulae such as the Andromeda Nebula are much too distant to be part of the Milky Way and are in fact entire galaxies outside our own, thus settling the “Great Debate” about the nature of spiral nebulae and the size of the universe.
  • 1925 - The Austrian theoretical physicist Wolfgang Pauli establishes an important quantum mechanical principle known as the Pauli exclusion principle, which states that no two identical fermions (such as electrons) may occupy the same quantum state simultaneously.
  • Heisenberg's microscope thought experiment to illustrate the effects of the uncertainty principle - click for larger version
    Heisenberg's microscope thought experiment to illustrate the effects of the uncertainty principle
  • 1926 - The German physicist Werner Heisenberg formulates his uncertainity principle, that the values of certain pairs of variables cannot both be known exactly (i.e. the more precisely one variable is known, the less precisely the other can be known), a central concept in quantum physics.
  • 1926 - The Austrian physicist Erbin  Schrödinger  publishes what is now known as the Schrödinger Equation, a central and revolutionary achievement in quantum physics. Later, in 1935, he proposes the famous “Schrödinger's Cat” thought experiment or paradox concerning quantum superposition, decoherence and entanglement.
  • 1927 - The Belgian Roman Catholic priest and physicist Georges Lemaitre proposes (even before Hubble’s corroborating evidence) that the universe is expanding, followed in 1931 by the first definitive version of what has become known as the Big Bang theory of the origin of the universe.
  • 1928 - The British physicist Paul Dirac provides a description of the “spin” of elementry particles such as electrons which is consistent with both the principles of quantum mechanics and the Special Theory of Relativity, and predicts the existence of antimatter.
  • 1929 - Edwin Hubble definitively shows that all the galaxies in the universe are moving away from us, according to a formula which has become known as Hubble's Law, showing that the universe is not in fact static, but expanding.
  • 1932 - The English physicist James Chadwick discovers the neutron; the American physicist Carl Anderson identifies the positron (the anti-electron which had been predicted by Paul Dirac a few years earlier); and the British physicist John Cockcroft and the Irish physicist Ernest Walton succeed in transmuting lithium into helium and other chemical elements using high energy protons, popularly referred to as “splitting the atom”.
  • 1934 - The Swiss-American astronomer Fritz Zwicky and the German-American Walter Baade coin the term “supernova” and hypothesize (correctly) that they are the transition of normal stars into neutron stars, as well as the origin of cosmic rays. Zwicky also uses the virial theorem to deduce the existence of unseen matter (what is now called dark matter) in the universe, as well as the effect of gravitational lensing.
  • 1935 - Albert Einstein and the Israeli physicist Nathan Rosen achieve a solution to Einstein’s field equations known as an Einstein-Rosen bridge (also known as a Lorentzian wormhole or a Schwarzschild wormhole).
  • 1935 - The Indian-American astrophysicist Subrahmanyan Chandrasekhar establishes the “Chandrasekhar limit” of about 1.4 solar masses, above which a star must continue to collapse into a neutron star rather than settling down into a white dwarf.
  • 1939 - The discovery of nuclear fission results from the Berlin experiments of Otto Hahn, Lise Meitner, Fritz Strassmann and Otto Frisch.
  • In a steady state universe, overall density remains constant - click for larger version
    In a steady state universe, overall density remains constant
  • 1948 - The English astronomer Fred Hoyle and the Austrians Thomas Gold and Hermann Bondi propose a non-standard cosmology (i.e. one opposed to the standard Big Bang model) known as the steady state universe. This theory describes a universe that has no beginning and no end, and that expands continuously, but in which new matter is constantly created and inserted as it expands in order to maintain a constant density, so that its overall look does not change over time.
  • 1953 - The experiments of the American biochemists Stanley Miller and Harold Urey (known as the Miller-Urey experiments) demonstrate the feasibility of producing basic organic monomers such as amino acids from a highly reduced mixture of gases, in an attempt to back up Alexander Oparin’s hypotheses on the origins of life on Earth.
  • 1963 - The New Zealand mathematician Roy Kerr discovers a solution to Einstein’s general relativity field equations which describes a spinning black hole, and argues that these are likely to be common objects throughout the universe.
  • 1965 - The American astronomers Arno Penzias and Robert Wilson discover the existence of cosmic microwave background radiation, considered by most to be the best evidence for the Big Bang model of the universe (and effectively disproving Hoyle et al’s steady state universe theory).
  • 1966 - The Russian physicist Andrei Sakharov outlines the three conditions necessary for the observed matter-antimatter imbalance in the universe to be possible, and hypothesizes about singularities linking parallel universe.
  • 1969 - The Murchison meteorite falls on Australia, revealing significant quantities of organic compounds and amino acids (the basis of early life on Earth) which originated in outer space.
  • 1970 - The English physicist Stephen Hawking provides, along with Roger Penrose, theorems regarding singularities in space-time, indicating that singularities and black holes are actually a fairly generic feature of general relativity. He also predicts that black holes should in theory emit radiation (known today as Hawking Radiation) until they eventually exhaust their energy and evaporate.
  • 1980 - The American physicist Alan Guth proposes a model of the universe based on the Big Bang, but incorporating a short, early period of exponential cosmic inflation in order to solve the horizon and flatness problems of the standard Big Bang model.
  • 1980 - The invention of the Scanning Tunnelling Microscope, by the German Gerd Binnig and the Swiss Heinrich Rohrer, shows visually for the first time that matter is composed of spherical atoms stacked row on row.
  • Artist's impression of parallel universes making up the multiverse - click for larger version
    Artist's impression of parallel universes making up the multiverse
  • 1983 - The Russian-American physicist Andrei Linde develops Guth’s cosmic inflation idea further with his chaotic inflation (or eternal inflation) theory, which sees our universe as just one of many “bubble universe” that have developed as part of a multiverse.
  • 1984-6 - A series of important discoveries in string theory leads to the “first superstring revolution”, and it is first realized that string theory might be capable of describing all elemantry particles as well as the interactions between them.
  • 1995 - The American theoretical physicist Edward Witten and others develop M-theory, and spark a flurry of new research in string theory, sometimes called the “second superstring revolution”.
  • 1998 - Observations of distant Type 1a supernovas, both by the American astrophysicist Saul Perlmutter and by the Australians Nick Suntzeff and Brian Schmidt, indicate that they are actually further away from the Earth than expected, suggesting an accelerating expansion of the universe.
  • 2002 - The American physicist Paul Steinhardt and South African-British physicist Neil Turok propose another variation of the inflating universe known as the cyclic model, developed using state-of-the-art M-theory,superstring theory and brane cosmology, which involves an inflating universe expanding and contracting in cycles.

Friday, April 20, 2012

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Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Minerva Rewards

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Tuesday, April 17, 2012

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are your child's milk teeth break?

New Delhi .. What are your child's milk teeth break? As opposed to throwing them in the dental stem cell bank can be saved for future use. In the case of serious illnesses in the life of the child's tooth stem cells can be used in the construction.
Dental stem cell banking in India is new, but it Amblikl cord blood banking is believed to be a more effective alternative. Stem cell therapy in damaged tissue or lesion in the patient's body in a healthy and new cells are installed.
Founder and Managing Director Shailesh Gdere Stemed Biotech, said: "Amblikl good source of cord blood-related cells. Related illnesses such as blood can be used to treat blood cancer. It is said that only four percent of all illnesses are blood-related diseases. "
"The remaining 96 percent tissue-related diseases related to tissue stem cells may be a good source to extract the tooth. These cells can be used in all kinds of body tissue. For instance, in the brain in Alzheimer's disease, Parkinson's disease in the eye, cirrhosis of the liver, diabetes, the pancreas and in the case of fracture of the bones in the skin can also use them. "
Related tissue cells can be used in the reconstruction of the heart cells.
Children's teeth related diseases expert Savita Menon says that five to 12 years of age, children's milk teeth stem cells can be easily removed. When the baby began to move a tooth taken out from the stem cells without any surgery can be collected.
Dental stem cell banking facility in India that the number of companies are still very low. These include companies such as Stemed and Store Your Sales. Stem cells to preserve the 21-year period may cost around Rs 100,000.

Scientists are busy now in making of Human Brain

London: Scientists are now looking into making the human mind. For this, the world's most powerful computers are taking. The structure of the brain and are going to copy the system to work. They will use image Threedi through it will try to understand how the brain works.
An international team is engaged in the project. Prof Henry Markram of the Swiss are headed. The project is expected to be completed in 12 years.
The scientists say that man's mind has 100 billion neurons. The billions of calculations every second, each neuron. So the supercomputer billion - billion calculations need to be together. Similar to a nuclear power center will deliver the results.
Prof Markram says that if this study is successful, it will benefit the annual two billion people who suffer from Alzheimer's and Parkinson's like mental illnesses are. We need to understand what makes a man.


1)From Einstein’s general theory of relativity, predicted that space-time began at the big bang singularity and
would come to an end either at the big crunch singularity (if the whole universe recollapsed), or at a singularity inside
a black hole (if a local region, such as a star, were to collapse). Any matter that fell into the hole would be destroyed
at the singularity, and only the gravitational effect of its mass would continue to be felt outside.

2) when quantum effects were taken into account, it seemed that the mass or energy of the matter would eventually be
returned to the rest of the universe, and that the black hole, along with any singularity inside it, would evaporate
away and finally disappear.

        Could quantum mechanics have an equally dramatic effect on the big bang and big
crunch singularities? What really happens during the very early or late stages of the universe, when gravitational
fields are so strong that quantum effects cannot be ignored? Does the universe in fact have a beginning or an end?
And if so, what are they like?        

According to “Hot big bang model”, This assumes that the universe is described by a Friedmann model,
right back to the big bang. In such models one finds that as the universe expands, any matter or radiation in it gets
cooler. (When the universe doubles in size, its temperature falls by half.) Since temperature is simply a measure of
the average energy – or speed – of the particles, this cooling of the universe would have a major effect on the matter
in it. At very high temperatures, particles would be moving around so fast that they could escape any attraction
toward each other due to nuclear or electromagnetic forces, but as they cooled off one would expect particles that
attract each other to start to clump together. Moreover, even the types of particles that exist in the universe would
depend on the temperature. At high enough temperatures, particles have so much energy that whenever they collide
many different particle/antiparticle pairs would be produced – and although some of these particles would annihilate
on hitting antiparticles, they would be produced more rap-idly than they could annihilate. At lower temperatures,
however, when colliding particles have less energy, particle/antiparticle pairs would be produced less quickly – and
annihilation would become faster than production.

At the big bang itself the universe is thought to have had zero size, and so to have been infinitely hot. But as the
universe expanded, the temperature of the radiation decreased. One second after the big bang, it would have fallen
to about ten thousand million degrees. This is about a thousand times the temperature at the center of the sun, but
temperatures as high as this are reached in H-bomb explosions. At this time the universe would have contained
mostly photons, electrons, and neutrinos (extremely light particles that are affected only by the weak force and
gravity) and their antiparticles, together with some protons and neutrons. As the universe continued to expand and
the temperature to drop, the rate at which electron/antielectron pairs were being produced in collisions would have
fallen below the rate at which they were being destroyed by annihilation. So most of the electrons and antielectrons
would have annihilated with each other to produce more photons, leaving only a few electrons left over. The
neutrinos and antineutrinos, however, would not have annihilated with each other, because these particles interact
with themselves and with other particles only very weakly. So they should still be around today. If we could observe
them, it would provide a good test of this picture of a very hot early stage of the universe. Unfortunately, their
energies nowadays would be too low for us to observe them directly.

If neutrinos are not massless, but
have a small mass of their own, as suggested by some recent experiments, we might be able to detect them
indirectly: they could be a form of “dark matter,” like that mentioned earlier, with sufficient gravitational attraction to
stop the expansion of the universe and cause it to collapse again.

Within only a few hours of the big bang, the production of helium and other elements would have stopped. And after
that, for the next million years or so, the universe would have just continued expanding, without anything much
happening. Eventually, once the temperature had dropped to a few thousand degrees, and electrons and nuclei no
longer had enough energy to overcome the electromagnetic attraction between them, they would have started
combining to form atoms. The universe as a whole would have continued expanding and cooling, but in regions that
were slightly denser than average, the expansion would have been slowed down by the extra gravitational attraction.
This would eventually stop expansion in some regions and cause them to start to recollapse. As they were
collapsing, the gravitational pull of matter outside these regions might start them rotating slightly. As the collapsing
region got smaller, it would spin faster – just as skaters spinning on ice spin faster as they draw in their arms.
Eventually, when the region got small enough, it would be spinning fast enough to balance the attraction of gravity,
and in this way disklike rotating galaxies were born. Other regions, which did not happen to pick up a rotation, would
become oval-shaped objects called elliptical galaxies. In these, the region would stop collapsing because individual
parts of the galaxy would be orbiting stably round its center, but the galaxy would have no overall rotation.

the hydrogen and helium gas in the galaxies would break up into smaller clouds that would collapse
under their own gravity. As these contracted, and the atoms within them collided with one another, the temperature
of the gas would increase, until eventually it became hot enough to start nuclear fusion reactions. These would
convert the hydrogen into more helium, and the heat given off would raise the pressure, and so stop the clouds from
contracting any further. They would remain stable in this state for a long time as stars like our sun, burning hydrogen
into helium and radiating the resulting energy as heat and light. More massive stars would need to be hotter to
balance their stronger gravitational attraction, making the nuclear fusion reactions proceed so much more rapidly that
they would use up their hydrogen in as little as a hundred million years. They would then contract slightly, and as
they heated up further, would start to convert helium into heavier elements like carbon or oxygen.

The outer regions of the star may sometimes get blown off in a
tremendous explosion called a supernova, which would outshine all the other stars in its galaxy. Some of the heavier
elements produced near the end of the star’s life would be flung back into the gas in the galaxy, and would provide
some of the raw material for the next generation of stars. Our own sun contains about 2 percent of these heavier
elements, because it is a second- or third-generation star, formed some five thousand million years ago out of a
cloud of rotating gas containing the debris of earlier supernovas. Most of the gas in that cloud went to form the sun or
got blown away, but a small amount of the heavier elements collected together to form the bodies that now orbit the
sun as planets like the earth.

                                                                           (from :- A Brief History of Time - Stephen Hawking )