Thursday, February 14, 2013

Jim Al-Khalili and the Quantum Robin
We've known for some time that certain animals can navigate the Earth using it's magnetic fields, but the methods by which they do this have remained largely unknown. However, an emerging field known as quantum biology is shedding light on this area and suggests that nature maybe taking advantage of quantum mechanics to develop its biological compass systems.
Physicist Jim Al-Khalili looks at one bird in particular, the European Robin, and how this species of migratory bird may be relying on the strange rules of quantum entanglement to find its way south each year.
Watch Jim's Friday Evening Discourse on the subject of Quantum Biology to find out more about the weird intersection between quantum mechanics and biology:

See Also:

Proton Tunneling in DNA and its Biological Implications by Per-Olov Lowdin

Proton Tunneling in DNA and its Biological Implications by Per-Olov Lowdin

See Also:

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Quantum Biology

The frequency of vibration of an object is, among other things, a function of mass: A heavy guitar string vibrates more slowly than a light one and produces a lower tone. These tiny cantilevers vibrate at radio frequencies, in the 1 to 15 megahertz range, and because they are so small to begin with, adding just a tiny bit more mass will make a measurable change in frequency.
For cell detection, the researchers coated their cantilevers with antibodies that bind to E. coli bacteria, then bathed the devices in a solution containing the cells. Some of the cells were bound to the surface, and the additional mass changed the frequency of vibration. In one case just one cell happened to bond to a cantilever, and it was possible to detect the mass of the single cell.
‘Nano’ Becomes ‘Atto’ and Will Soon Be ‘Zepto’ for Cornell - New Technology

As soon as you use the word "quantum" there is a easy assessment for a scientist who deals with reduction-ism to have it sorted out as to what levels of perception are being forced upon  a definition and understanding. A measurable quantity of something? For us lay people, it is never that easy.

 quan-tum (kwntm)
n. pl. quan·ta (-t)
1. A quantity or amount.
2. A specified portion.
3. Something that can be counted or measured.
4. Physics
a. The smallest amount of a physical quantity that can exist independently, especially a discrete quantity of electromagnetic radiation.
b. This amount of energy regarded as a unit.
Relating to or based upon quantum mechanics.

[Latin, from neuter of quantus, how great; see quantity.]

So suffice is it to say that by demonstrating this scalable reference to the values and options in recognition of the Powers of Ten,  we realize the depth with which we need participation. That through use of manufacture,  as for any of us to say such a thing that which is not observable normally, can we say then exists for us? We have all taken it for granted, even a scientist perhaps to realize how one can divvy up their day as to say at times our perception was much deeper in to the reality then previously confirmed?

Have we gotten so far into our assumptions of the world that we would not further entertain the idea that consciousness emerges from something. Consciousness that is so subtle that we have not really to this date been able to reproduce what consciousness actually looks like. Categorized consciousness at this wanted measurable level of perception that is needed.

Can we say we have always measured around it, and can shows signs of something going on in terms of biological exchange, but have as yet not been able to assess this function as nothing more then some abstract creature of design that we lack for distinct measurable quantities?

Quantum biology refers to applications of quantum mechanics to biological objects and problems. Usually, it is taken to refer to applications of the "non-trivial" quantum features such as superposition, nonlocality, entanglement and tunneling, as opposed to the "trivial" applications such as chemical bonding which apply to biology only indirectly by dictating quantum chemistry.
Austrian born physicist and theoretical biologist Erwin Schrödinger was one of the first scientists to suggest a study of quantum biology in his 1946 book "What is Life?"



Many biological processes involve the conversion of energy into forms that are usable for chemical transformations and are quantum mechanical in nature. Such processes involve chemical reactions, light absorption, formation of excited electronic states, transfer of excitation energy, and the transfer of electrons and protons (hydrogen ions) in chemical processes such as photosynthesis and cellular respiration.[1] Quantum biology uses computation to model biological interactions in light of quantum mechanical effects.[2]
Some examples of the biological phenomena that have been studied in terms of quantum processes are the absorbance of frequency-specific radiation (i.e., photosynthesis[3] and vision[4]); the conversion of chemical energy into motion;[5] magnetoreception in animals,[6][7] DNA mutation [8] and brownian motors in many cellular processes.[9]
Recent studies have identified quantum coherence and entanglement between the excited states of different pigments in the light-harvesting stage of photosynthesis.[10][11] Although this stage of photosynthesis is highly efficient, it remains unclear exactly how or if these quantum effects are relevant biologically.[12]


  1. ^ Quantum Biology. University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Theoretical and Computational Biophysics Group.
  2. ^ Science Daily Quantum Biology: Powerful Computer Models Reveal Key Biological Mechanism Retrieved Oct 14, 2007
  3. ^ Quantum Secrets of Photosynthesis Revealed
  4. ^ Garab, G. (1999). Photosynthesis: Mechanisms and Effects: Proceedings of the XIth International Congress on Photosynthesis. Kluwer Academic Publishers. ISBN 978-0-7923-5547-2.
  5. ^ Levine, Raphael D. (2005). Molecular Reaction Dynamics. Cambridge University Press. pp. 16–18. ISBN 978-0-521-84276-1.
  6. ^ Binhi, Vladimir N. (2002). Magnetobiology: Underlying Physical Problems. Academic Press. pp. 14–16. ISBN 978-0-12-100071-4.
  7. ^ Erik M. Gauger, Elisabeth Rieper, John J. L. Morton, Simon C. Benjamin, Vlatko Vedral: Sustained quantum coherence and entanglement in the avian compass, Physics Review Letters, vol. 106, no. 4, 040503 (2011) (abstract, preprint)
  8. ^ Lowdin, P.O. (1965) Quantum genetics and the aperiodic solid. Some aspects on the Biological problems of heredity, mutations, aging and tumours in view of the quantum theory of the DNA molecule. Advances in Quantum Chemistry. Volume 2. pp213-360. Acedemic Press
  9. ^ Harald Krug; Harald Brune, Gunter Schmid, Ulrich Simon, Viola Vogel, Daniel Wyrwa, Holger Ernst, Armin Grunwald, Werner Grunwald, Heinrich Hofmann (2006). Nanotechnology: Assessment and Perspectives. Springer-Verlag Berlin and Heidelberg GmbH & Co. K. pp. 197–240. ISBN 978-3-540-32819-3.
  10. ^ Sarovar, Mohan; Ishizaki, Akihito; Fleming, Graham R.; Whaley, K. Birgitta (2010). "Quantum entanglement in photosynthetic light-harvesting complexes". Nature Physics 6 (6): 462–467. arXiv:0905.3787. Bibcode 2010NatPh...6..462S. doi:10.1038/nphys1652.
  11. ^ Engel GS, Calhoun TR, Read EL, Ahn TK, Mancal T, Cheng YC et al. (2007). "Evidence for wavelike energy transfer through quantum coherence in photosynthetic systems.". Nature 446 (7137): 782–6. Bibcode 2007Natur.446..782E. doi:10.1038/nature05678. PMID 17429397.
  12. ^ Scholes GS (2010). "Quantum-Coherent Electronic Energy Transfer: Did Nature Think of It First?". Journal of Physical Chemistry Letters 1: 2–8. doi:10.1021/jz900062f.

Further reading

External links

Photos By: Illustration by Megan Gundrum, fifth-year DAAP student

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Monday, February 11, 2013

The Emerging Physics of Consciousness

This is an interesting post for me because of what I wanted to portray as the signs and length scale used in the determinations of quantum effects associated with the use of consciousness. As well to understand the historical beginnings and questions about what began in this area was preceded by the thoughts and likes of Schrodinger in his article displayed in the post previous. This consensus for me was about the understanding as biological systems whose definition sought to seek such quantum affects as methods used by or status as human beings to demonstrate such abilities.

There are three broad kinds of experiments that one can devise to test hypotheses involving the relevance of quantum effects to the phenomenon of conscious ness. The three kinds address three different scale ranges associated roughly with tissue-to-cell (1cm-10 μ m), cell-to- protein (10 μ m-10nm) and protein-to-atom (10nm-1Å) sizes. Note that we are excluding experiments that aim to detect quantum effects at the “whole hum an” or even “society” level as these have consistently given either negative results or been plagued by irreproducibility and bad science (e.g. the various extra sensory perception and remote viewing experiments [4]). TOWARDS EXPERIMENTAL TESTS OF QUANTUM EFFECTS IN CYTOSKELETAL PROTEINS

First on my mind is and was the idea of the Olfactory experience. As well,  the idea of a photosynthesis as a capability and recognition of such an ability "as a distributor of of such quantum effects." Bird navigation using the earths magnetic feild.

You must understand that by no means do I pretend to know all of the answer, is  more to demonstrate the learning that is going on toward dealing with some of the things that are demonstrative of understanding quantum effects as a  measurable things. A measurable thing,  that we as conscious beings make use of. A measurable thing in which we wish to emulate in quantum computing effects as measurable things to increase our depths of perception. Too Robotize.

We are creating machines with which to extend our perceptions in space and on Mars. Space travel and designated satellite space craft with which to examine that environment.

Big Ideas presents Seth Lloyd of the Massachusetts Institute for Technology on Quantum Life, how organisms have evolved to make use of quantum effects.

Also too then is the idea that such progress to provide sensor data which extends our range of perspective,  as  measures also help us to see consciousness as a useful thing.  Consciousness's layers,  which help to provide depth and understanding,  using such data observation.

Statistical and applied probabilistic knowledge is the core of knowledge; statistics is what tells you if something is true, false, or merely anecdotal; it is the "logic of science"; it is the instrument of risk-taking; it is the applied tools of epistemology; you can't be a modern intellectual and not think probabilistically—but... let's not be suckers. The problem is much more complicated than it seems to the casual, mechanistic user who picked it up in graduate school. Statistics can fool you. In fact it is fooling your government right now. It can even bankrupt the system (let's face it: use of probabilistic methods for the estimation of risks did just blow up the banking system).THE FOURTH QUADRANT: A MAP OF THE LIMITS OF STATISTICS [9.15.08]  By Nassim Nicholas Taleb

Such depths are required to analyze the economic functions in society, as  requiring more sensitive fundamental measures since being betray by political influence. This is so as to see the economy "as tool to influence." Greater then is the question to identify aspects of these models with which consciousness uses,  so as to demonstrate aspect and dealings "as attributes" in that society. It requires a greater depth of perception then ever required before? So shall we say then that the economy suffers from no quantum effects at all?

Nassim Nicholas Taleb - What is a "Black Swan?"

Of course, I am not going to be most perfect in the science understanding which always begs for those that are the willing in science to help correct any mistakes that I may be perpetrating as a science enthusiast. Again caution here as to my status as a layman.

Saturday, February 09, 2013

What is Life?


First published 1944 What is life? 

The Physical Aspect of the Living Cell. Based on lectures delivered under the auspices of the Dublin Institute for Advanced Studies at Trinity College, Dublin, in February 1943.

What Is Life? is a 1944 non-fiction science book written for the lay reader by physicist Erwin Schrödinger. The book was based on a course of public lectures delivered by Schrödinger in February 1943, under the auspices of the Dublin Institute for Advanced Studies at Trinity College, Dublin. The lectures attracted an audience of about 400, who were warned "that the subject-matter was a difficult one and that the lectures could not be termed popular, even though the physicist’s most dreaded weapon, mathematical deduction, would hardly be utilized."[1] Schrödinger's lecture focused on one important question: "how can the events in space and time which take place within the spatial boundary of a living organism be accounted for by physics and chemistry?"[1]

In the book, Schrödinger introduced the idea of an "aperiodic crystal" that contained genetic information in its configuration of covalent chemical bonds. In the 1950s, this idea stimulated enthusiasm for discovering the genetic molecule. Although the existence of DNA had been known since 1869, its role in reproduction and its helical shape were still unknown at the time of Schrödinger's lecture. In retrospect, Schrödinger's aperiodic crystal can be viewed as a well-reasoned theoretical prediction of what biologists should have been looking for during their search for genetic material. Both James D. Watson,[2] and independently, Francis Crick, co-discoverers of the structure of DNA, credited Schrödinger's book with presenting an early theoretical description of how the storage of genetic information would work, and each respectively acknowledged the book as a source of inspiration for their initial researches.[3]



The book is based on lectures delivered under the auspices of the Institute at Trinity College, Dublin, in February 1943 and published in 1944. At that time DNA was not yet accepted as the carrier of hereditary information, which only was the case after the Hershey–Chase experiment of 1952. One of the most successful branches of physics at this time was statistical physics, and quantum mechanics, a theory which is also very statistical in its nature. Schrödinger himself is one of the founding fathers of quantum mechanics.
Max Delbrück's thinking about the physical basis of life was an important influence on Schrödinger.[4] Geneticist and 1946 Nobel-prize winner H.J. Muller had in his 1922 article "Variation due to Change in the Individual Gene"[5] already laid out all the basic properties of the heredity molecule that Schrödinger derives from first principles in What is Life?, properties which Muller refined in his 1929 article "The Gene As The Basis of Life"[6] and further clarified during the 1930s, long before the publication of What is Life?[7] [verification needed] But the role of the macromolecule DNA as the genetic material was not yet suspected in 1929, rather, some form of protein was expected to be the genetic material at that time.


In chapter I, Schrödinger explains that most physical laws on a large scale are due to chaos on a small scale. He calls this principle "order-from-disorder." As an example he mentions diffusion, which can be modeled as a highly ordered process, but which is caused by random movement of atoms or molecules. If the number of atoms is reduced, the behaviour of a system becomes more and more random. He states that life greatly depends on order and that a naive physicist may assume that the master code of a living organism has to consist of a large number of atoms.

In chapter II and III, he summarizes what was known at this time about the hereditary mechanism. Most importantly, he elaborates the important role mutations play in evolution. He concludes that the carrier of hereditary information has to be both small in size and permanent in time, contradicting the naive physicist's expectation. This contradiction cannot be resolved by classical physics.

In chapter IV, Schrödinger presents molecules, which are indeed stable even if they consist of only a few atoms, as the solution. Even though molecules were known before, their stability could not be explained by classical physics, but is due to the discrete nature of quantum mechanics. Furthermore mutations are directly linked to quantum leaps.
He continues to explain, in chapter V, that true solids, which are also permanent, are crystals. The stability of molecules and crystals is due to the same principles and a molecule might be called "the germ of a solid." On the other hand an amorphous solid, without crystalline structure, should be regarded as a liquid with a very high viscosity. Schrödinger believes the heredity material to be a molecule, which unlike a crystal does not repeat itself. He calls this an aperiodic crystal. The aperiodic nature allows to encode an almost infinite number of possibilities with a small number of atoms. He finally compares this picture with the known facts and finds it in accordance with them.
In chapter VI Schrödinger states: matter, while not eluding the "laws of physics" as established up to date, is likely to involve "other laws of physics" hitherto unknown, which however, once they have been revealed, will form just as integral a part of science as the former.
He knows that this statement is open to misconception and tries to clarify it. The main principle involved with "order-from-disorder" is the second law of thermodynamics, according to which entropy only increases in a closed system (such as the universe). Schrödinger explains that living matter evades the decay to thermodynamical equilibrium by homeostatically maintaining negative entropy (today this quantity is called information[8]) in an open system.

In chapter VII, he maintains that "order-from-order" is not absolutely new to physics; in fact, it is even simpler and more plausible. But nature follows "order-from-disorder", with some exceptions as the movement of the celestial bodies and the behaviour of mechanical devices such as clocks. But even those are influenced by thermal and frictional forces. The degree to which a system functions mechanically or statistically depends on the temperature. If heated, a clock ceases to function, because it melts. Conversely, if the temperature approaches absolute zero, any system behaves more and more mechanically. Some systems approach this mechanical behaviour rather fast with room temperature already being practically equivalent to absolute zero.

Schrödinger concludes this chapter and the book with philosophical speculations on determinism, free will, and the mystery of human consciousness. He believes he must reconcile two premises: (1) the body fully obeys the laws of quantum mechanics, where quantum indeterminacy plays no important role except to increase randomness at the quantum scale; and (2) there is "incontrovertible direct experience" that we freely direct our bodies, can predict outcomes, and take responsibility for our choice of action. Schrödinger rejects the idea that the source of consciousness should perish with the body because he finds the idea "distasteful". He also rejects the idea that there are multiple immortal souls that can exist without the body because he believes that consciousness is nevertheless highly dependent on the body. Schrödinger writes that, to reconcile the two premises,
The only possible alternative is simply to keep to the immediate experience that consciousness is a singular of which the plural is unknown; that there is only one thing and that what seems to be a plurality is merely a series of different aspects of this one thing...
Any intuitions that consciousness is plural, he says, are illusions. Schrödinger is sympathetic to the Hindu concept of Brahman, by which each individual's consciousness is only a manifestation of a unitary consciousness pervading the universe - which corresponds to the Hindu concept of God. Schrödinger concludes that "...'I' -am the person, if any, who controls the 'motion of the atoms' according to the Laws of Nature. However, he also qualifies the conclusion as "necessarily subjective" in its "philosophical implications." In the final paragraph, he points out that what is meant by "I" is not the collection of experienced events but "namely the canvas upon which they are collected." If a hypnotist succeeds in blotting out all earlier reminiscences, he writes, there would be no loss of personal existence - "Nor will there ever be."[9]

Schrödinger's "paradox"

In a world governed by the second law of thermodynamics, all isolated systems are expected to approach a state of maximum disorder. Since life approaches and maintains a highly ordered state - some argue that this seems to violate the aforementioned Second Law implicating a paradox. However, since life is not an isolated system, there is no paradox. The increase of order inside an organism is more than paid for by an increase in disorder outside this organism. By this mechanism, the Second Law is obeyed, and life maintains a highly ordered state, which it sustains by causing a net increase in disorder in the Universe. In order to increase the complexity on Earth - as life does - you need energy. Most of the energy for life here on Earth is provided by the Sun.


See also



  1. ^ a b Margulis, Lynn. & Sagan, Dorion. (1995). What Is Life? (pg. 1). Berkeley: University of California Press.
  2. ^ Watson, James D. (2007), Avoid Boring People: (Lessons from a life in science), New York: Knopf, p. 353, ISBN 978-0-375-41284-4. Page 28 details how Watson came to appreciate the significance of the gene.
  3. ^ Julian F. Derry (2004). "Book Review: What Is Life? By Erwin Schrödinger". Human Nature Review. Retrieved 2007-07-15.
  4. ^ Dronamraju KR (November 1999). "Erwin Schrödinger and the origins of molecular biology". Genetics 153 (3): 1071–6. PMC 1460808. PMID 10545442.
  5. ^ American Naturalist 56 (1922)
  6. ^ Proceedings of the International Congress of Plant Sciences 1 (1929)
  7. ^ Schwartz, James (2008). In Pursuit of the Gene. From Darwin to DNA. Cambridge: Harvard University Press. ISBN 978-0-674-02670-4.
  8. ^ Shannon, Claude; Weaver, Warren (1949), The Mathematical Theory of Communication, ISBN 0-252-72546-8
  9. ^ Schrödinger references The Perennial Philosophy by Aldous Huxley as a "beautiful book" leveling with the view he has taken in the last chapter.


Other cited literature


External links

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Robotic Development for Space

 WASHINGTON -- NASA has demonstrated robotic fluid transfer in space, an objective that will help inform the development of robotic technology to refuel satellites. The first-of-its-kind demonstration was performed during the Robotic Refueling Mission (RRM) aboard the International Space Station.

"This achievement is a major step forward in servicing satellites," said Frank Cepollina, associate director of the Satellite Servicing Capabilities Office at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Md. "RRM gives NASA and the emerging commercial satellite servicing industry the confidence to robotically refuel, repair and maintain satellites in both near and distant orbits -- well beyond the reach of where humans can go today."

A joint effort with the Canadian Space Agency, RRM uses the International Space Station as test bed for the research and development of robotic satellite-servicing capabilities. During six days of activity last month, controllers on the ground at NASA's Johnson Space Center in Houston used the space station's remotely operated Dextre, a robotic space handyman, to cut wires, remove and stow caps and perform tasks necessary to refuel satellites not designed to be refueled.

The cutting-edge technologies that RRM is demonstrating could extend the lives of many of the hundreds of satellites currently in geosynchronous Earth orbit. These are satellites that deliver essential services such as weather reports, cell phone communications, television broadcasts, government communications and air traffic management.

RRM tasks scheduled to be performed later this year include thermal blanket cutting and fastener and electronic termination cap removals. NASA anticipates RRM technologies may help boost the commercial satellite-servicing industry in the future. Such servicing capabilities could greatly expand options for government and commercial fleet operators.
See:NASA'S Refueling Demonstration Proves Viability Of Satellite-Servicing Technologies

The first movement of Robonaut 2 on the International Space Station during one of the initial checkout tests with Astronaut Mike Fossum
In February 2010, Robonaut 2 (R2) was revealed to the public. R2 is capable of speeds more than four times faster than R1, is more compact, more dexterous, and includes a deeper and wider range of sensing.[11] It can move its arms up to 2 m/s, has a 40 lb payload capacity and its hands have a grasping force of roughly 5 lbs. per finger. There are over 350 sensors and 38 PowerPC processors in the robot.[12]
Station crew members will be able to operate R2, as will controllers on the ground; both will do so using telepresence. One of the improvements over the previous Robonaut generation is that R2 doesn’t need constant supervision. In anticipation of a future destination in which distance and time delays would make continuous management problematic, R2 was designed to be set to tasks and then carry them through autonomously with periodic status checks.[10] While not all human range of motion and sensitivity has been duplicated, the robot's hand has 12 degrees of freedom as well as 2 degrees of freedom in wrist.[13][14] The R2 model also uses touch sensors at the tips of its fingers.[15]

R2 was designed as a prototype to be used on Earth but mission managers were impressed by R2 and chose to send it to the ISS.[10] Various upgrades were made to qualify it for use inside the station. The outer skin materials were exchanged to meet the station’s flammability requirements, shielding was added to reduce electromagnetic interference, processors were upgraded to increase the robot’s radiation tolerance, the original fans were replaced with quieter ones to accommodate the station’s noise requirements, and the power system was rewired to run on the station’s direct current system rather than the alternating current used on the ground.[10]

Robonaut 2 was launched on STS-133 on February 24, 2011, and delivered to the ISS. On August 22, R2 was powered up for the first time while in low earth orbit.[16] This was called a "power soak" which is a power system test only with no movement. On October 13, R2 moves for the first time while in space.[17] The conditions aboard the space station provide a proving ground for robots to work shoulder to shoulder with people in microgravity. Once this has been demonstrated inside the station, software upgrades and lower bodies may be added, allowing R2 to move around the interior of the station and perform maintenance tasks, such as vacuuming or cleaning filters.[10] Climbing legs and a battery backpack are planned to be delivered to the ISS in late 2013.[18]

Further upgrades could be added to allow R2 to work outside in the vacuum of space, where R2 could help space walkers perform repairs, make additions to the station or conduct scientific experiments. There are no plans to return the launched R2 back to earth.[10]

NASA's experience with R2 on the station will help them understand its capabilities for possible deep space missions.

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Powerful Nor'easter Coming Together

Credit: NASA
A massive winter storm is coming together as two low pressure systems are merging over the U.S. East Coast. A satellite image from NOAA's GOES-13 satellite on Feb. 8 shows a western frontal system approaching the coastal low pressure area.
The satellite image, captured at 9:01 a.m. EST, shows clouds associated with the western frontal system stretching from Canada through the Ohio and Tennessee valleys, into the Gulf of Mexico. The comma-shaped low pressure system located over the Atlantic, east of Virginia, is forecast to merge with the front and create a powerful nor'easter. The National Weather Service expects the merged storm to move northeast and drop between two to three feet of snow in parts of New England. See: Nasa-Image of the Day

Thursday, February 07, 2013

The Nano Guitar

Modulating Phases States:Neural Correlates to Consciousness

Dustin W. Carr, under the direction of Professor Harold G. Craighead, created the nano guitar in the Cornell Nanofabrication Facility in 1997. The idea came about as a fun way to illustrate nanotechnology, and it did capture popular attention.[1] It is disputed as to whether the nano guitar should be classified as a guitar, but it is the common opinion that it is in fact a guitar.[2]

Nanotechnology miniaturizes normal objects, in this case a guitar. It can be used to create tiny cameras, scales and listening devices. An example of this is smart dust, which can be either a camera or a listening device smaller than a grain of sand.[3] A nanometer is one-billionth of a meter. For comparison, a human hair is about 200,000 nanometers thick. The nano guitar is about as long as one-twentieth of the diameter of a human hair, 10 micrometers or 10,000 nanometers long. The six strings are 50 nanometers wide each. The entire guitar is the size of an average red blood cell. The guitar is carved from a grain of crystalline silicon by scanning a laser over a film called a 'resist'. This technique is called Electrobeam Lithography. It can be played by tiny lasers in an atomic force microscope, and these act as the pick. The Nano Guitar is 17 octaves higher than a normal guitar. Even if its sound were amplified, it could not be detected by the human ear.[4]

The nano guitar illustrates inaudible technology that is not meant for musical entertainment. The application of frequencies generated by nano-objects is called sonification. Such objects can represent numerical data and provide support for information processing activities of many different kinds that producing synthetic non-verbal sounds.[5] Since the manufacture of the nano-guitar, researchers in the lab headed by Dr. Craighead have built even tinier devices. One thought is that they may be useful as tiny scales to measure tinier particles, such as bacteria, which may aid in diagnosis.[6] More recently, physicists at the University of Washington published an article discussing the hope that the technique will be useful to test aspects of what until now has been purely theoretical physics, and they also hope it might have practical applications for sensing conditions at atomic and molecular scales.[7]


  1. ^ Payne J, Phillips M, The World’s Best Book. Running Press, 2009. ISBN 0-7624-3755-3, p. 109
  2. ^ Schummer J, Baird D. Nanotechnology Challenges: implications for philosophy, ethics and society. World Scientific, 2006. ISBN 981-256-729-1, pp. 50–51; Nordmann A. Noumenal Technology: Reflections on the incredible tininess of nano. Techne: Research in Philosophy and Technology 8(3), 2005 read online, accessed August 15, 2010
  3. ^ Piddock, Charles. Future Tech. Creative Media Applications, Inc. 2009. ISBN 978-1-4263-0468-2, pp. 35–39
  4. ^ Physics News Update 659(3), October 28, 2003, The High and Low Notes of the Universe read online (accessed 15 August, 2010)
  5. ^ Barrass S, Kramer G. Using sonification. Multimedia Systems 7:23–31, 1999.
  6. ^ “Nano becomes ‘atto’ and will soon be ‘zepto’ for Cornell.” Azonanotechnology, April, 2004. read online, accessed 15 August, 2010
  7. ^ Wang Z. et al. Phase transitions of adsorbed atoms on the surface of a carbon nanotube. Science 327:552, 2010 DOI 10.1126/science.1182507 read article online, accessed August 15, 2010

Further reading on nanotechnology

  • Drexler, K. Eric, Nanosystems, Molecular Machinery, Manufacturing and Computation. P. 254-257. John Wiley and Son Inc. Canada. 1992. ISBN 0-471-57518-6.
  • Mulhall, Douglas, Our Molecular Future. Prometheus Books. 59 John Glenn Drive, Amherst, NY. 2002. ISBN 1-57392-992-1
  • Piddock, Charles. Future Tech. P. 35-39 Creative Media Applications, Inc. 2009. ISBN 978-1-4263-0468-2
  • Sargent, Ted. The Dance of Molecules. Thunder’s Mouth Press, New York, NY. 2006. ISBN 1-56025-809-8
  • Storrs Hall Ph.D., J., Nanofuture. P. 9-10. Prometheus Books. 59 John Glenn Drive, Amherst, NY. 2005. ISBN 1-59102-287-8

External links

Cornell University researchers already have been able to detect the mass of a single cell using submicroscopic devices. Now they're zeroing in on viruses. And the scale of their work is becoming so indescribably small that they have moved beyond the prefixes "nano" "pico" and "femto" to "atto." And just in sight is "zepto."

Members of the Cornell research group headed by engineering professor Harold Craighead report they have used tiny oscillating cantilevers to detect masses as small as 6 attograms by noting the change an added mass produces in the frequency of vibration.

Their submicroscopic devices, whose size is measured in nanometers (the width of three silicon atoms), are called nanoelectromechanical systems, or NEMS. But the masses they measure are now down to attograms. The mass of a small virus, for example, is about 10 attograms. An attogram is one-thousandth of a femtogram, which is one-thousandth of a picogram, which is one-thousandth of a nanogram, which is a billionth of a gram.‘Nano’ Becomes ‘Atto’ and Will Soon Be ‘Zepto’ for Cornell - New Technology

See Also:

Saturday, February 02, 2013

Delving Deeper into the Subject of Binaural Beats

Scheme showing the course of the fibers of the lemniscus; medial lemniscus in blue, lateral in red. (Superior olivary nucleus is labeled at center right.) The superior olivary nucleus is considered part of the pons and is a part of the auditory system, aiding the perception of sound.

It is important that people understand that I hold no credentials in terms of physiology or credentials as a scientist. This is purely from a layman subjective questionings,  as to the viability of what helps to produce effective layering of consciousness's  abilities to explore.

Why is this effective and what is accomplished?


The sensation of binaural beats is believed to originate in the superior olivary nucleus, a part of the brain stem. They appear to be related to the brain's ability to locate the sources of sounds in three dimensions and to track moving sounds, which also involves inferior colliculus (IC) neurons.[17] Regarding entrainment, the study of rhythmicity provides insights into the understanding of temporal information processing in the human brain. Auditory rhythms rapidly entrain motor responses into stable steady synchronization states below and above conscious perception thresholds. Activated regions include primary sensorimotor and cingulate areas, bilateral opercular premotor areas, bilateral SII, ventral prefrontal cortex, and, subcortically, anterior insula, putamen, and thalamus. Within the cerebellum, vermal regions and anterior hemispheres ipsilateral to the movement became significantly activated. Tracking temporal modulations additionally activated predominantly right prefrontal, anterior cingulate, and intraparietal regions as well as posterior cerebellar hemispheres.[18] A study of aphasic subjects who had a severe stroke versus normal subjects showed that the aphasic subject could not hear the binaural beats whereas the normal subjects could.[19]

It is healthy to retain some  skepticism as a method for sounding  the process for discovery about truth in the quest for what affects can be established. So while retaining these questions in mind,  the effect of what can be gained from the idea of Binaural beat as a tool for development of consciousness is an important one to me.

I am of course drawn to those comments that deal directly with the explanations of science and physiology .

Studies have shown a neurological basis of binaural beats perception which have assisted in identifying subcortical regions associated with processing phase differences between sounds. These have been found to be generated by neurons in the inferior colliculus, auditory cortex [15], [16] and the medial olivary nucleus, all of which are thought to be involved in processing and integration of auditory stimuli [17]. The effect of binaural beats on psychological and biological aspects however has been somewhat less clear.

A final consideration is the use of pink noise, overlaid music or sound, to generate some sort of effect. One study [33] compared music with an embedded binaural beat to music without one and generated a significant decrease in pain medication both during and after an operation, however the study was not controlled as participants were allowed to choose their own music. Also, other studies using pink noise [8], [18] have not detected entrainment, but have found psychological changes previously discussed. Comparing pink noise with a binaural beat, without and a control and subsequent effects on electrophysiological and psychological factors may be of interest.

In conclusion, this study aimed to examine if binaural beats were able to alter psychological processes and entrain cortical frequencies. Furthermore it aimed to examine if personality traits modulated entrainment. No statistically significant changes or relationships were detected between binaural beat stimulation at Beta and Theta frequencies and white noise control conditions in any personality trait, the vigilance task or EEG power spectra analysis. These results suggest that relatively short presentation steady state binaural beat stimulation at Beta and Theta frequencies are insufficient to generate entrainment and in turn this lack of entrainment does not seem to be related to personality traits. Additionally it appears that short presentation stimulation of binaural beats is ineffective at altering vigilance.A High-Density EEG Investigation into Steady State Binaural Beat Stimulation


Brainwave entrainment (BWE), which uses rhythmic stimuli to alter brainwave frequency and thus brain states, has been investigated and used since the late 1800s, yet many clinicians and scientists are unaware of its existence. We aim to raise awareness and discuss its potential by presenting a systematic review of the literature from peer-reviewed journals on the psychological effects of BWE.A comprehensive review of the psychological effects of brainwave entrainment.

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