Thursday, August 8, 2019

How Does Classical Reality Emerge from Quantum Environments?

Quantum computing concept. Digital communication network.
Technological abstract. Getty Image/Forbes.

Quantum Darwinism is an approach is largely promoted by Wojciech Zurek of Los Alamos National Lab, who has long been associated with the idea of decoherence (picking up on work by Heinz-Dieter Zeh), in which environmental interactions are responsible for destroying quantum superpositions leading to the single observed outcomes of classical measurements. Quantum Darwinism is an outgrowth of this, which springs from the recognition that the most essential characteristic of classical reality is its objectivity: everybody agrees about the state of a classical object.

Zurek notes that in order for multiple observers to agree about the state of a quantum object, they each must be getting some information about its state from its larger environment, which is built up of a lot of other quantum objects. Interactions between the quantum object and each of the individual components of the quantum environment lead to their states becoming entangled: the state of the quantum object of interest and the state of a particular component of the environment are correlated in such a way that measuring one gives you information about the other. That entanglement is the source of the information that individual observers are using to determine the state of the quantum object of interest. (Full story)

Resurrected detector will hunt for some of the strangest particles in the universe

The ICARUS detector, seen being placed at Fermilab
in Batavia, Illinois,  will hunt for a particle called the
sterile neutrino. REIDAR HAHN/FERMILAB.

After four days Lazarus rose from the grave, but physicists here at Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory (Fermilab) are resurrecting a massive particle detector by lowering it into a tomblike pit and embalming it with a chilly fluid. In August 2018, workers eased two gleaming silver tanks bigger than shipping containers, the two halves of the detector, into a concrete-lined hole. Hauled from Europe 2 years ago, ICARUS—an outdated acronym for Imaging Cosmic And Rare Underground Signals—will soon start a second life seeking perhaps the strangest particles physicists have dreamed up, oddballs called sterile neutrinos.

The first experimental hint of sterile neutrinos came from the Liquid Scintillator Neutrino Detector (LSND), which ran from 1993 until 1998 at Los Alamos National Laboratory in New Mexico. Researchers shot protons into a target to generate a beam of pure muon neutrinos. But they spotted dozens of electron neutrinos in their detector 30 meters away, far more than they were expecting for such a short distance. The result suggested muon neutrinos were quickly morphing into heavier sterile neutrinos and then into electron neutrinos, in a kind of flavor-changing shortcut. The sterile neutrino's higher mass would make the oscillation happen more quickly. (Full story)

Foreshocks Could be Big Development in Predicting Earthquakes

Scientists have discovered that, out of nearly 2 million earthquakes surveyed, foreshocks preceded about 75 percent of quakes that struck in Southern California.

The revelations could be a huge advancement earthquake forecasting.

For more, KCBS's Rebecca Corral spoke with  Daniel Trugman, Seismologist at Los Alamos National Laboratory. (Full story)

Curiosity Has Now Been on Mars For 7 Years, So Here Are 7 Amazing Things It Has Seen


On 6 August 2012, after an epic six-month journey, NASA rover Curiosity finally arrived at her new home on Mars. This week marks seven Earth years since touchdown. here are seven amazing things it has shown us about Mars, including the discovery of Boron, which was found Using the ChemCam Instrument created at Los Alamos National Laboratory.

Boron is a chemical signature of evaporated water, and while we still don't know if Mars once hosted life, the discovery is further evidence that the planet was once plentiful with water, and therefore habitable. (Full story)