Like a beautiful sunset, the wobble of the moon, or the formation of a cloud, simple systems we are familiar with cannot be predicted because they are sensitive to small variations in their present conditions. This unpredictable behavior is called chaos.
Before the 20th century, these unpredictable behaviors were known to be consistent with classical or Newtonian theory, but we now know these theories are incomplete. Quantum theory has been found to account for a much wider range of phenomena, including atomic and smaller phenomena that classical theory got wrong, so quantum physics is thought to underlie all physical processes. Yet it’s not immediately apparent how quantum physical laws allow for chaotic systems’ sensitivity to their initial conditions.
Quantum chaos is the branch of physics that studies the relationship between quantum mechanics and classical chaos. Researchers are taking the conditions that cause chaotic behavior in these simple systems and are studying them on the atomic level. Quantum chaos is being used as a launching point for discovery and to create new models in the exotic, quantum world to further understand the familiar, classical models of physics throughout our universe.
Richard Phillips Feynman was one of the world’s great quantum physicists. He was best known for his research in the path integral formulation of quantum mechanics, the theory of quantum electrodynamics, the physics of superfluidity of supercooled liquid helium, and in particle physics for which he proposed the parton model. Many of his theories and inventions, such as the Feynman diagrams and microelectromechanical systems (MEMS), have evolved into techniques scientists use today. Feynman was able to think visually and invent problem-solving tools that forever altered the direction of theoretical physics. His extraordinary genius along with his blunt, mischievous, and eccentric personality made him a legend.
Many of Feynman’s brilliant ideas were not readily accepted. In the 1940s, Feynman introduced a graphical interpretation called Feynman diagrams to make sense of...
Each year, representatives of the Department of Energy (DOE) Scientific and Technical Information Program (STIP), led by the Office of Scientific and Technical Information (OSTI), convene for their annual meeting. At this year’s working meeting of STIP representatives, held in April and hosted by Los Alamos National Laboratory, there was something different in the air. Each year there is lively discussion, new contacts are made, and important information is shared, but this year's meeting had a different feel overall. Perhaps it was the record number of participants, perhaps it was the number of first-time participants who were eager to learn and gain insight from strong scientific and technical information (STI) management programs in place at other labs and offices, or perhaps it was the feeling of being part of something groundbreaking as the DOE STIP community works together to implement the Department of Energy Public Access Plan. In reflecting on the April meeting, I have concluded that it was “all of the above.”
Emerging mesoscale science opportunities are among the most promising for future research. The in-between world of the mesoscale connects the microscopic objects (atoms and molecules) and macroscopic assemblies (chemically and structurally complex bulk materials) worlds, giving a complete picture – the emergence of new phenomena, the understanding of behaviors, and the role imperfections play in determining performance. Because of the ever-accelerating advances in modern experimental, theoretical, and computational capabilities, Department of Energy (DOE) researchers are now realizing unprecedented scientific achievements with mesoscale science.
George Em Karniadakis is one of the notable mesoscale researchers who are changing what we know about medicine. Dr. Karniadakis, a joint appointee with Pacific Northwest National Laboratory and Brown University, serves as principal investigator and director of the Collaboratory on Mathematics for Mesoscopic Modeling of Materials (CM4), a major project sponsored by the Applied Mathematics Program within the DOE’s Office of Advanced Scientific Computing Research (ASCR). CM4 focuses on developing rigorous mathematical foundations for understanding and controlling fundamental...
Cheers of celebration erupted in March 2015 as the High-Altitude Water Cherenkov (HAWC) Gamma- Ray Observatory was formally inaugurated on the slopes of the Sierra Negra volcano in the State of Puebla, Mexico. The inaugural ceremony marked the completion of HAWC, the latest tool for mapping the northern sky and studying the universe’s violent explosions of supernovae, which are neutron star collisions and active galactic nuclei that produce high-energy gamma rays and cosmic rays that travel large distances, making it possible to see objects and events far outside our galaxy.
This extraordinary observatory uses a unique detection technique that differs from the classical astronomical design of mirrors, lenses, and antennae. From its perch on top of the highest accessible peak in Mexico, HAWC observes TeV gamma rays and cosmic rays with an instantaneous aperture that covers more than 15% of the sky. The detector is exposed to two-thirds of the sky during a 24-hour period. The observatory's ability to operate continuously and its location at 14,000 feet above sea level allow HAWC to observe the highest energy gamma rays arriving anywhere within its field of view.