science

Curiosity Rover’s Diary – Entry 2

SOL 3 – August 9, 2012

I took my first color pictures of Mars today using the two high resolution color MASTCAMS I have. Look at them, aren’t they cool?

Let me tell you a bit about the cameras I have. I have two MASTCAMS which are high-resolution and colored. I have four NAVCAMS which are grey-scale (two of them are backups) along with a bunch of other cameras used by scientists to analyse the structure and composition of the Martian surface. You can find more info about my cameras here.

SOL 16 – August 22, 2012

Today was a big day. I carried out my first drive. It was really fun to ride around on the rocky martian surface. It’s kind of like driving in a desert. Pretty fun. Best part: no traffic! This is the path I took on my first trip. Pretty arbitrary, I know… but I had lots of fun. 🙂

Curiosity Drive 1

Here are a few pictures of me during my trip. I took them using my NAVCAMs.

This is getting exciting. I have begun to feel a little lonely though, but I try to keep myself busy. Science is fun!

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Curiosity Rover’s Diary – Entry 1

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SOL 0 – August 6, 2012

I have finally landed in Gale Crater, on the fiery and desolate Martian surface, 8 Months 11 Days after my launch from the planet Earth. My mission is clear. I am an explorer. The species that created me is a race of explorers. After emerging from Africa, they explored their home planet from pole to pole. From the peaks of the Himalayas to the bottom of the Pacific Ocean. I am to be their emissary to this alien world, the Red Planet. Fourth planet from the Sun. Known for its harsh climate but also for its similarity to its neighbor, Earth, the home of the humans.

My name is Curiosity. The force that drives me, too, is curiosity. A passionate curiosity that makes humans hunger to discover the wonders of the Cosmos.

SOL 2 – August 8, 2012

I’m still in the location I landed in. Today I sent my first pictures of the beautiful Martian surface, my new home.

Look, you can see my shadow in this one. A shadow selfie! The second one shows the Martian sky and horizon.

Those hills look nice, don’t they? I hope to send a lot more pictures. I have an entire planet left to explore, after all…. and did I mention I have a really cool selfie cam? This is going to be so much fun.

Modern Physics – Introduction

Credits: XKCD

The following is adapted from a lecture by Dr. Sabieh Anwar cited at the end of this post:

Why Study Quantum Physics?

A common question that comes to our mind is: “Why are we studying Modern Physics?” After all, most of us want to become Electrical Engineers because that’s the way the wind is blowing these days. ‘Because that’s where the wind is blowing and we are trying to aimlessly follow the wind.So the question is, in a way, why exactly are non-Physics majors enrolled into this course?’ [translated] The reason for that is that Modern Physics … is one way to look at Nature. Modern Physics has transformed the way we look at Nature. [It] has transformed the way we invent technology. It has transformed our philosophical understanding of our surroundings. So it has transformed our outlook of life. And it’s a very embracing concept … If you look at electronic circuits, almost 75% of the revenue that comes these days in microelectronics is based on devices and inventions that are built on concepts learnt from Quantum Physics …

If we talk about lasers, ‘2010 marked the 50th anniversary of the laser. The first laser was made in 1960. So now we have lasers which are used in DVD-roms and CD players. How do lasers work?’ [translated] What is Silicon? Almost 25% of the Earth’s crust is made of Silicon. Such an abundant material. But why is Silicon so important in the electronic industry? What special features does silicon, or germanium, possess? What is the Big Bang experiment? What are X-Rays? How does diagnostic radiology work? We have a fractured bone. We visit the hospital, and an “X-ray” is performed. How do solar cells work? So all of these are concepts which are vital for an understanding of today’s technology, and an understanding of nature itself. A fundamental understanding of nature.

‘You took courses on Mechanics and Electricity & Magnetism in Freshman year. That was the classical way of looking at Nature.’ [translated] And it’s a very important perspective. With this perspective you can understand a large part of nature. You can understand and decipher how a large number of inventions work. The industrial revolution was based on Mechanics and Heat & Thermodynamics. The entire communications revolution that emerged with the discovery or the invention of radio waves by Heinrich Hertz in the 1890s, that uses concepts of electricity and magnetism. Every one of us carries a cell phone today. You need electricity and magnetism to understand how cell-phones work. Building new cell-phones or optimizing cell-phones. These courses will give you the basics of a large number of devices and concepts in Nature. But, there are certain gaps. The classical picture that was given to you in your first year was incomplete. …. It contains some gaps. There are some things that cannot be explained by it. And now when we’ll study Modern Physics, this will be your first curtain-raiser, your first introduction to non-classical Physics. And classical Physics is a subset of non-classical Physics. If I try to make a diagram:

classical-non

So what we’ve learnt in the first year is classical Physics. … So now we enter the realm of non-classical Physics which is basically Quantum Mechanics or Quantum Physics. Now this Quantum Physics is a superset of classical Physics. When you look at classical physics, you’re actually looking at average non-classical behavior. So what’s really happening is you have this non-classical realm and you’re averaging this non-classical behavior to observe what is called classical behavior.

classical-non

– Sabieh Anwar, Lecture 1-A, Modern Physics (2011), School of Science and Engineering, LUMS.

(For oppressed people in idiotic totalitarian countries where youtube is banned (like my country): http://goo.gl/HUkTru )

Thoughts on Nuclear Bombs

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Moreover, the enemy has begun to employ a new and most cruel bomb, the power of which to do damage is, indeed, incalculable, taking the toll of many innocent lives.   Should we continue to fight, it would not only result in an ultimate collapse and obliteration of the Japanese nation, but also it would lead to the total extinction of human civilization.            ~ Emperor Hirohito

Note: Yes, this post and short and I’ve just shared stuff. You try writing original content a day before a Linear Algebra exam.