Category Archives: Physics

Quantum Computing Just Got Real


Quantum computing just took a big step forward, as engineers at the University of New South Wales (UNSW), in Sydney, successfully fabricated a quantum logic gate in silicon for the first time. The achievement represents the last physical component needed to realize silicon quantum computers, which utilize the behavior of subatomic particles to solve problems beyond the capabilities of today’s supercomputers.

“What we have is a game changer,” said team leader Andrew Dzurak, Scientia Professor and Director of the Australian National Fabrication Facility at UNSW.

It looks like he may be right.

Continue reading

Massive Measurement – Calculating the Size of Supermassive Black Holes

NGC 1097 observed in optical  light (ESO/R. Gendler)

NGC 1097 observed in optical light
(ESO/R. Gendler)

Astronomers recently measured the mass of a supermassive black hole at the center of a galaxy located approximately 45 million light-years away.

They used a new technique and one of the highest observatories in the world – the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA). In the process, they expanded the set of tools needed to understand how black holes influence galaxy formation.

The heart of a galaxy
Supermassive black holes are gargantuan – millions of times the mass of the Sun. Astronomers now believe that there’s a supermassive black hole at the center of every large galaxy. Some studies have found that their mass is correlated to the mass and to the orbital speeds of the galaxies that surround them.

Continue reading

Magnetosphere Movies – Imaging Plasma Structures in 3D

Artist's impression of tubular plasma structures (CAASTRO/Mats Bjorkland)

Artist’s impression of tubular plasma structures (CAASTRO/Mats Bjorkland)

“First ever” astronomy discoveries can come from new instruments, like the James Webb Space Telescope or the European Extremely Large Telescope (both still under construction).

They can also come from novel uses of existing instruments.

A team of astronomers has recently detected the existence oftubular plasma structures in Earth’s magnetosphere. And, through clever use of a radio telescope, they imaged these tube structures in 3D, verifying a 60-year-old theory.

Continue reading