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Ztolk
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(Originally posted on: 03-18-08 07:13:02 PM)
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There's a history thread going on so why not a science thread. I know we have quite a few physics majors here but we can also talk about biology and other sciences. People can also ask questions in the hope that people in the know will answer them. I'll open some topics of discussion.

Quantum entanglement: Two particles are entangled when their total spin is constant, meaning they each have to take opposite values (this is like saying two coins have to be one heads, one tail, and never both). This means that if you observe the spin of one (e.g. spin up) you instantaneously know the spin of the other (spin down). However, each particle doesn't actually have a stable spin until it's observed, so the information for the second particle to be spin down is transfered instantaneously when the first one is measured. This isn't just eggheads on a blackboard, this is confirmed experimentally. What's up with that? Faster than light. Unfortunately you can't actually send any information that way.

Chemistry: Is it possible to have two quadruply bonded carbon atoms? Why not?

Biology: We learn that during mitosis, the nucleus dissolves and the chromasomes go to either side, then the cell cleaves down the middle and the nuclei reform. But what about the other organelles? Do they just randomly go to either side? Also, do mitochondria and chloroplasts have their own mitosis?
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emtilt

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Reply 1 of 297 (Originally posted on: 03-18-08 08:40:04 PM)
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I've been staring at quantum homework for a while so I'll refrain from commenting on that.

Quoted from Ztolk:
Chemistry: Is it possible to have two quadruply bonded carbon atoms? Why not?

No. This is obvious if you think about the geometry of the orbitals. The bonds would have to be hybrid orbitals, but there aren't enough bonding orbitals in the n=2 energy level for four bonds. That means you'd need a hybrid orbital from the n=1 level to an n level greater than 2. That would require some sort of massive energy and would never be stable. (It may not even be possible; I've never heard of it.) I'm not a chemist though, that's just me thinking it through.


There's been some neat astronomy news lately. The Large Binocular Telescope took its first images with all mirrors functioning a week or so ago. That makes it the 'strongest' telescope operating right now. Also, NASA released the 5 year results from the WMAP probe, and the results are just fantastic. They got the age of the universe accurate to within 120 million year, which is crazy accurate. It also showed that the geometry of spacetime is flat to within 2%. And there were lots of other neat results too.
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This reply was last edited on 03-18-08 08:49:11 PM by emtilt.
Ryan
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Reply 2 of 297 (Originally posted on: 03-18-08 10:31:25 PM)
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Why does the bio sciences building of the university here keep a large vault door that says "Explosive Material" unlocked during the off hours?

Because seriously, I just went in there with a friend and there are a lot of cool chemicals in that fridge.

Also, if a tree falls in a forest, and nobody is there to witness it, does it both make a sound and not make a sound simultaneously?
This reply was last edited on 03-18-08 11:06:07 PM by Ryan.
Sith
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Reply 3 of 297 (Originally posted on: 03-19-08 05:43:22 AM)
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Quote:
Chemistry: Is it possible to have two quadruply bonded carbon atoms? Why not?


Quote:
No. This is obvious if you think about the geometry of the orbitals. The bonds would have to be hybrid orbitals, but there aren't enough bonding orbitals in the n=2 energy level for four bonds. That means you'd need a hybrid orbital from the n=1 level to an n level greater than 2. That would require some sort of massive energy and would never be stable. (It may not even be possible; I've never heard of it.) I'm not a chemist though, that's just me thinking it through.


In theory it could be done, but in practice it would be so unstable that it would instantly revert to something else under most conditions simply because of the strain of the bonds; unlike a triple C-C bond, the fourth bond 'wants' to be pointing in the complete opposite direction, which is why the strain is so high.

It's nothing to do with the orbitals from n=1 and n=2 hybridising (the energy levels for that are too great for hybridisation to occur; it can't actually happen), but because quadruple bond would also mean promoting 2 electrons from the 2s antibonding orbital to the 2px bonding orbital, which is a very large increase in energy.

MO Diagram for C-C

If you look at that MO diagram for dicarbon, you can see that to get a fourth bonding pair it means promoting 2 electrons from 2s σ* to 2pxσ.

Not impossible, but exceptionally unlikely. And as above, not to mention unstable.


(I'm studying degree level Chemistry by the way)
This reply was last edited on 03-19-08 07:24:32 AM by Sith.
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Reply 4 of 297 (Originally posted on: 03-19-08 05:46:38 AM)
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I dont have time to talk about it I have to go to statistical mechanics and then electromagnetism and then do some work at IQC MAGUSMAGUSMAGUSMAGUS


I get to sit-in on a shitload of crazy quantum lectures at IQC. Every week we have two guest speakers, usually talking about quantum information. I usually don't understand what they are talking about, but there's free food so I never miss it.
Ztolk
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Reply 5 of 297 (Originally posted on: 03-19-08 06:58:01 AM)
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Yeah we have weekly colloquia, where some guy talks about his research. I practically have a degree in physics and I usually lose track about 1/4 of the way through.

BTW tart, what do you know about McNamara?
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Snook
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Reply 6 of 297 (Originally posted on: 03-19-08 07:13:55 AM)
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Quoted from Ztolk:
Biology: We learn that during mitosis, the nucleus dissolves and the chromasomes go to either side, then the cell cleaves down the middle and the nuclei reform. But what about the other organelles? Do they just randomly go to either side? Also, do mitochondria and chloroplasts have their own mitosis?


It's been a while since bio for me but I believe that mitochondria are almost separate entities unto themselves. They have their own DNA and, yes, replicate as well. Also, I would assume that the organelles move randomly to either side and end up balancing out by producing more if they're short.
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Reply 7 of 297 (Originally posted on: 03-19-08 10:47:29 AM)
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Quoted from Ztolk:
BTW tart, what do you know about McNamara?

He's a decent enough guy. I've never had him as a teacher, but I've had a few conversations with him, and he's nice enough. Doesn't seem like he'd be too big of a dick as a supervisor.
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Reply 8 of 297 (Originally posted on: 03-21-08 01:24:58 AM)
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For those of you that have physics majors what do you do or plan do with with that kind of degree?
Snook
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Reply 9 of 297 (Originally posted on: 03-21-08 01:31:52 AM)
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Quoted from Byronic Hero:
For those of you that have physics majors what do you do or plan do with with that kind of degree?


Go to grad school.
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Ztolk
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Reply 10 of 297 (Originally posted on: 03-21-08 06:47:01 AM)
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Quoted from Snook:
Quoted from Byronic Hero:
For those of you that have physics majors what do you do or plan do with with that kind of degree?


Go to grad school.


Yup. I also have a job interview on monday.
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emtilt

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Reply 11 of 297 (Originally posted on: 03-21-08 10:47:42 AM)
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Quoted from Byronic Hero:
For those of you that have physics majors what do you do or plan do with with that kind of degree?


Grad school, probably in astrophysics. And then remain in academic life forever as a professor or some such nonsense.
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Reply 12 of 297 (Originally posted on: 03-21-08 02:31:26 PM)
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Quoted from Byronic Hero:
For those of you that have physics majors what do you do or plan do with with that kind of degree?


I don't know MAGUSMAGUSMAGUSMAGUSMAGUSMAGUSMAGUSMAGUSMAGUSMAGUSMAGUSMAGUS: (: (: (
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Reply 13 of 297 (Originally posted on: 03-21-08 04:28:39 PM)
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Quoted from Byronic Hero:
For those of you that have physics majors what do you do or plan do with with that kind of degree?
Pretty much what emtilt said. I'm not majoring in Physics, but minoring in it rather. I'm a Computer Science major, so I'd like to end up doing some kind of computational mathematics or physics later on, though I'd probably have to take higher level classes than what my minor requires to really get into any kind of computational physics positions as a CS major.

I pretty much want to stay in the academic/research field as a researcher or professor or both. The last thing I want to do is just be a code monkey bound to some corporation reliving Office Space on a daily basis with no greater purpose than to beat the clock, that just seems soulcrushing to me. Though I imagine at some point in my life I'll have to do that temporarily, but definitely not permanently.
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Reply 14 of 297 (Originally posted on: 03-21-08 04:32:03 PM)
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You should learn to program in LabView, Sandamnit. It's really easy (a visual language), but from what I've learned, it's the standard software for experimentation, particularly in Physics.

I've had to use it on my research project, and it's pretty fucking sweet for interacting with external devices like you need to in experiments.
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Reply 15 of 297 (Originally posted on: 03-21-08 10:26:10 PM)
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Quoted from Tartarus:
You should learn to program in LabView, Sandamnit. It's really easy (a visual language), but from what I've learned, it's the standard software for experimentation, particularly in Physics.

I've had to use it on my research project, and it's pretty fucking sweet for interacting with external devices like you need to in experiments.

I've used LabView in a bunch of different labs. Its cool I guess? Better than nothing.
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Reply 16 of 297 (Originally posted on: 03-22-08 09:39:49 AM)
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It's just really easy to learn, so it's super practical for physicists and engineers. It's a good thing to have on a resume if you're applying for science/engineering type jobs.
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Reply 17 of 297 (Originally posted on: 03-22-08 09:58:04 AM)
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Oh Labview, so annoying yet we have to use it. I've used it at Fisher Price as well. It's a great program to collect data from various amounts of instruments.
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emtilt

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Reply 18 of 297 (Originally posted on: 03-22-08 10:11:16 AM)
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I don't think it's a good idea to use LabView for research (mostly for the reasons that the wikipedia article summarizes), but I'm just a lowly undergrad so my opinion doesn't count. I've never thought closed, proprietary standards that require activation by a third party were a good idea for science, which is supposed to be open.
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Reply 19 of 297 (Originally posted on: 03-22-08 10:37:54 AM)
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So I'm going into Geophysics, anyone else have experience with it?
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Reply 20 of 297 (Originally posted on: 03-22-08 10:40:42 AM)
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Yea, I guess the fact that it costs 4000 dollars to purchase legally is a bit of a turnoff.



We use LabView extensively at IQC, so I'm willing to bet that the problems you mentioned emtilt are greatly overpowered by the benefits. Pretty much all of the people I know that are doing undergrad research with instrument experimentation use LabView.



Aside from LabView, you should learn Matlab too. It's harder to learn, since it's actually programming, but I'm sure a comp-sci major would find it easy to pick up. It's also kind of a standard for professional research.
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Reply 21 of 297 (Originally posted on: 03-22-08 10:43:59 AM)
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Quoted from Snook:
So I'm going into Geophysics, anyone else have experience with it?

One of my friends does this for a living. His parents own a geophysics firm, and basically he spends his time flying over landscape in northern Canada taking magnetic field readings of the ground below him, trying to look for minerals to mine, or something like that.

One of my other friends got a coop placement at ALERT NUNAVUT, which is literally the furthest north you can possibly be on Earth and still be on dry land. He was doing some kind of geophysics there, although I'm not 100% sure what exactly. I think it something to do with ice-flow.


But yea, the moral of story is that you can get jobs, you just might have to be in the middle of bum-fuck nowhere. May not be terrible though....you'll get to see some crazy landscapes and nature I'm sure.
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Reply 22 of 297 (Originally posted on: 03-22-08 10:46:38 AM)
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Quoted from Tartarus:
But yea, the moral of story is that you can get jobs, you just might have to be in the middle of bum-fuck nowhere. May not be terrible though....you'll get to see some crazy landscapes and nature I'm sure.


Which is why it attracts me. I'm interested enough in geology and physics, and I like being outdoors so it seems to mesh nicely. Plus the job seems to pay well.
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Ztolk
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Reply 23 of 297 (Originally posted on: 03-22-08 11:05:45 AM)
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MATLAB is fun because it does the hard stuff and actual programming for you.
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Snook
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Reply 24 of 297 (Originally posted on: 03-22-08 11:16:45 AM)
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Actually I'm curious why we have so many physics majors here...
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