A picture paints more than a petabyte of data
In the age of the petabyte, we all need help digesting and understanding massive amounts of information. In this month’s Physics World, a series of features celebrates the ascendance of visual methods that are being used to make meaning of the mountains of scientific data.
Scientific visualizations can play a key role in fundamental physics, particularly when it comes to depicting the outcome of particle collisions at CERN’s massive new Large Hadron Collider, but they can also shed light on much more everyday research.
A feature written by Cesar A Hidalgo, a physicist at the Centre for International Development, Harvard University, US, explains why ‘network science’ could be a useful tool in both national economic planning and in medical research.
In medical research, a database of medical records from a large population of elderly US citizens has been used to build a ‘disease network’ to show how various disease associations are distributed and, among other things, alert doctors to health risks closely associated to any particular ailment.
A similar project, called the Product Space produced in collaboration with a team of economists, maps out the kind of tradeable products that tend to emerge together in national economies and highlights areas where economies may have great difficulty diversifying.
On providing easily understandable information that deals with very complex subjects, Barry Sanders, iCORE chair of quantum information science and director of the Institute for Quantum Information Science at the University of Calgary, Canada, writes about the work he has undertaken with a team of researchers and animators to produce a “movie” that explains how quantum computers work, Solid state quantum computer in silicon.
Acknowledging the need to delicately balance scientific accuracy and aesthetic appeal, Sanders writes, “Visualization of scientific knowledge is not easy or cheap, but it is rewarding and useful. Animated films are valuable tools for explaining difficult, abstract concepts such as quantum computing in the classroom.”
Also in this issue:
•Feast of visualization – a gallery of stunning images from New Journal of Physics
•A picture of the cosmos – Mark SubbaRao and Miguel Aragon-Calvo explain how astronomers are using the Sloan Digital Sky Survey to create accurate maps of the universe
•New Journal of Physics celebrates 10 years of open-access publishing
Joe Winters | alfa
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MPQ scientists achieve long storage times for photonic quantum bits which break the lower bound for direct teleportation in a global quantum network.
Concerning the development of quantum memories for the realization of global quantum networks, scientists of the Quantum Dynamics Division led by Professor...
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Tiny pores at a cell's entryway act as miniature bouncers, letting in some electrically charged atoms--ions--but blocking others. Operating as exquisitely sensitive filters, these "ion channels" play a critical role in biological functions such as muscle contraction and the firing of brain cells.
To rapidly transport the right ions through the cell membrane, the tiny channels rely on a complex interplay between the ions and surrounding molecules,...
The miniaturization of the current technology of storage media is hindered by fundamental limits of quantum mechanics. A new approach consists in using so-called spin-crossover molecules as the smallest possible storage unit. Similar to normal hard drives, these special molecules can save information via their magnetic state. A research team from Kiel University has now managed to successfully place a new class of spin-crossover molecules onto a surface and to improve the molecule’s storage capacity. The storage density of conventional hard drives could therefore theoretically be increased by more than one hundred fold. The study has been published in the scientific journal Nano Letters.
Over the past few years, the building blocks of storage media have gotten ever smaller. But further miniaturization of the current technology is hindered by...
With innovative experiments, researchers at the Helmholtz-Zentrums Geesthacht and the Technical University Hamburg unravel why tiny metallic structures are extremely strong
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