And I’m not happy with all the analyses that go with just the classical theory, because nature isn’t classical, damrnit, and if you want to make a simulation of nature, you’d better make it quantum mechanical, and by golly it’s a wonderful problem, because it doesn’t look so easy.
Richard Feynman from Simulating Physics with Computers (pdf), introductory lecture at the first conference on Physics and Computation at MIT, 1981
You are a victim of your own neural architecture which doesn’t permit you to imagine anything outside of three dimensions. Even two dimensions. People know they can’t visualise four or five dimensions, but they think they can close their eyes and see two dimensions. But they can’t. When you close your eyes and try to see two dimensions you’ll always see a surface embedded in three dimensions.
Is there something special about three dimensions? No. There is something special about your neural architecture. You evolved in a world where everything inside your brain is hooked up and geared to be able to see three dimensions and nothing else.
The destructive results of a powerful supernova explosion reveal themselves in a delicate tapestry of X-ray light, as seen in this image from NASA’s Chandra X-Ray Observatory and the European Space Agency’s XMM-Newton.
The image shows the remains of a supernova that would have been witnessed on Earth about 3,700 years ago. The remnant is called Puppis A, and is around 7,000 light years away and about 10 light years across. This image provides the most complete and detailed X-ray view of Puppis A ever obtained, made by combining a mosaic of different Chandra and XMM-Newton observations. Low-energy X-rays are shown in red, medium-energy X-rays are in green and high energy X-rays are colored blue.
These observations act as a probe of the gas surrounding Puppis A, known as the interstellar medium. The complex appearance of the remnant shows that Puppis A is expanding into an interstellar medium that probably has a knotty structure.
Supernova explosions forge the heavy elements that can provide the raw material from which future generations of stars and planets will form. Studying how supernova remnants expand into the galaxy and interact with other material provides critical clues into our own origins.
A paper describing these results was published in the July 2013 issue of Astronomy and Astrophysics and is available online. The first author is Gloria Dubner from the Instituto de Astronomía y Física del Espacio in Buenos Aires in Argentina.
Image credit: NASA/CXC/IAFE/G.Dubner et al & ESA/XMM-Newton
European Space Agency astronaut Alexander Gerst posted this photograph taken from the International Space Station to social media on Aug. 29, 2014, writing, “words can’t describe how it feels flying through an aurora. I wouldn’t even know where to begin….”
Crewmembers on the space station photograph the Earth from their unique point of view located 200 miles above the surface. Photographs record how the planet is changing over time, from human-caused changes like urban growth and reservoir construction, to natural dynamic events such as hurricanes, floods and volcanic eruptions. Crewmembers have been photographing Earth from space since the early Mercury missions beginning in 1961. The continuous images taken from the space station ensure this record remains unbroken.
On Tuesday, Sept. 9 aboard the space station, cosmonaut Max Suraev of Roscosmos takes the helm when Expedition 40 Commander Steve Swanson hands over control during a Change of Command Ceremony at 5:15 p.m. EDT. Suraev will lead Expedition 41 and stay in orbit until November with Gerst and NASA astronaut Reid Wiseman. Soyuz Commander Alexander Skvortsov, Swanson and Flight Engineer Oleg Artemyev will complete their mission Wednesday, Sept. 10 at 7:01 p.m. when they undock in their Soyuz TMA-12M spacecraft from the Poisk docking compartment for a parachute-assisted landing on the steppe of Kazakhstan a little less than 3.5 hours later.