learn science

Investing in science pays off thousands of times

I had a short talk a couple of months ago, on June 21st 2015, in BraČ™ov, Romania, about science and secular humanism. I argued that science gave us mobile phones and television and some kids from the last line started laughing: “how could science give us TVs”?

Well, how could it? Did you know that older CRT TVs, or tube TVs as they are called, are using an electronic cannon? It is not sci-fi, as I’m talking about the hot cathode which generates electrons because passing currents through it make it get so hot that it releases electrons inside the tube.

The science that goes in a simple CRT display is incredible and it is almost 100 years old, since the first CRT TV set was released in the 1920s.

In the video from above you can see that the MIT has created technologies in the 80s that we use now on a current basis, like touch screens, e-ink, GPS. And the science work paid off as there are billion dollar industries which use that tech today.

And why is science so powerful? I’ll let Vsauce answer that. I’m just adding here that science’s power relies on out endless curiosity and on our power to work on abstract problems which do not seem to have a practical meaning. But there is a goal to all this:

learn science

Learn about lasers

MIT has a comprehensive course about lasers in three parts in here. Of course, the course might seem daunting but it goes into the depths of physics and optics to explain you how a laser works and how to obtain it.

Lasers are obtained when you get a chain reaction in an object like a ruby crystal or a gas. That chain reaction effectively emits photons of a given wavelength in all directions. Two mirrors will then reflect the light that is parrallel to the axis that connects them and the light will then escape from one of these mirrors as one of them has less than 100% reflectivity.

This way, when the light exits the mirror you get a focused beam of light that is monochromatic and powerful.

Above is part I, and here are part II and part III.

You see see short versions of how lasers work below:
– short explanation from Bill Hammack

– Einstein animation that explains how lasers work

entertainment geek

Mind bending game: a slower speed of light from MIT Game Lab

MIT Game Lab has the purpose to create games that promote technology and science in a fun way. In A Slower Speed of Light they created a game where you have to collect sphere and, after you collect enough such spheres, you will see a different light around you because you will be moving close to the speed of light.

Things around the speed of light are slightly different and Einsteins Relativiy comes at play in this video game too. You will experience effects like Doppler effect, the searchlight effect, time dilation, Lorentz transformation, and the runtime effect.

Via [Rares Twitter Feed].