In this video, Robert Lang explains how combining origami, math, and engineering principles can produce almost any shape imaginable. Some applications include folding up mirrors for transport into space and folding up stents to fit into blood vessels. Click this to watch the video
Courtesy JGordonHey Buzzketeers. I have to apologize—I understand that some of you set your watches and schedule your insulin injections by JGordon’s regular postings… and here I am, contributing nothing to the Buzz in, what, over a week? Yes, over a week.
So I’m sorry. I hope you all have support networks that helped you set your watches and administer insulin. I have some good excuses though. Seriously.
Excuse A: JGordon has been working through some personal issues. I think we’re all close enough now that I can elaborate on this a little bit. I mean, it’s complicated, of course, but the long and short of it is that my grandmother hit me in the head with a hammer. She’s way old, and can’t swing a hammer worth carp, but still… it’s more of a trust thing. Knowing that someone who loves you would smack you in the noggin with a claw hammer given the chance… It’s a lot to deal with, OK?
Excuse B: I’m on vacation, remember? (Sort of. Dealing with the hammer attack has made this feel a lot less like a vacation. Technically a vacation still, though.) It turns out that I’m in Hawaii, and it turns out that Hawaii has all sorts of interesting sciencey things. And it turns out that I have a little video camera with me. And while it turns out that I haven’t felt much like video taping my vacation, it also turns out that I can’t go very long without things getting a little sciencey. Quasi-sciencey, at least.
So let’s see… how do I get this thing to work… is this the right button?
For most of us, the first thing we think of when we hear the word "vacuum" is the common household appliance. However, that is not the only kind of "vacuum" that exists. To help expand "vacuums" beyond the common household definition, we, the Mentor Buzz team, have created a series of multimedia presentations on the word or theme of vacuums. As defined by the ever-venerable Wikipedia, a vacuum "is a volume of space that is essentially empty of matter, such that its gaseous pressure is much less than atmospheric pressure." A simpler definition of "vacuum" that we created is that a vacuum is a space that basically doesn't have air or has very little air in relation to how big the space or container is. Based on this definition, we split up into three groups and created three different projects that will hopefully explain some aspect of the science of vacuums: a video, a series of step-by-step experiments, and a game. Here is what we have created.
Forty years ago the crew of Apollo 8 delivered a live, televised Christmas Eve broadcast after becoming the first humans to orbit another space body.
"The vast loneliness is awe-inspiring, and it makes you realize just what you have back there on Earth," Lovell said. Wired
Speaking of famous Christmas eve broadcasts, it's worth remembering that Reginald Fessenden made what is generally recognized as the first public voice-over-radio broadcast on Dec. 24, 1906.
Courtesy Claudio Rocchini Surfer dude, Garrett Lisi lives in his van on a beach in Maui. Using a type of algebra he calls E8, Garrett has developed an exceptionally simple theory of everything -- a grand unified theory that explains all the elementary particles, as well as gravity. (link to pdf of paper found below)
Lisi describes how gravity, the standard model bosons, and three generations of fermions can be unified as parts of an E8 superconnection. This unified field theory attempts to describe all fundamental interactions that physicists have observed in nature, and stands as a possible theory of everything, unifying Albert Einstein's general relativity with the standard model of particle physics.
"I think the universe is pure geometry - basically, a beautiful shape twisting and dancing over space-time. Since E8 is perhaps the most beautiful structure in mathematics, it is very satisfying that nature appears to have chosen this geometry."
"This is an 'all or nothing' kind of theory -- meaning it's going to end up agreeing with and predicting damn near everything, or it's wrong. At this stage of development, it could go either way." Garrett Lisi
Warning, even though I have a degree in physics education, the material presented was way over my head. I will watch it again though, because it does give me a glimpse of how mathematics can lead to understanding, perhaps even someday making possible something like electrogravity. Click this link if the video below does not work
Garrett Lisi forum frequently asked personal questions
Garrett Lisi forum frequently asked questions about E8 and Theory of Everything
31 page paper (pdf) An exceptionally simple theory of everything