Digest of sci-fi news for the week, about which we did not write anything

Distant black hole marked the beginning of the absorption of matter in a sharp flash

Astronomers just sawas a supermassive black hole from the far reaches of the observable universe suddenly flared up and came to life.

A bright light blazing 10 billion years ago indicates that a compact object suddenly began to feed on a huge amount of material. According to scientists, this is one of the most dramatic examples of this kind of events that we have ever seen.

A team led by astronomer Samantha Oates of the University of Birmingham (UK) presented their discovery at the UK’s annual National Astronomical Meeting. Job will also be published in the Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society and is currently available on the arXiv preprint server. The flare was named J221951-484240, or J221951 for short.

“In recent years, our understanding of the various things that supermassive black holes can do has expanded significantly: stellar bursts and accreting black holes with huge variable luminosity have been discovered,” says astrophysicist Matt Nicholl from Queens University in Belfast (Ireland). “J221951 is one of the most extreme examples of a black hole taking us by surprise.”

Physicists create complex structures with light

PhD Piotr Steindl creates complex structures of light using single photons. “Put simply, a quantum dot is a small island of semiconductor material,” says Steindl. – Since it is only a few nanometers in size, it experiences quantum effects, just like an atom@. The researcher places this quantum dot in an optical microwave in order to manipulate it more efficiently.

“You can think of this cavity as two mirrors facing each other. Laser light jumps back and forth between them. The quantum dot doesn’t like to interact with light, but the optical cavity makes this more likely because the laser passes through the dot many times.”

This ingenious device can be used to create single photons, Steindl explains. “A resonant laser excites an electron in a quantum dot from its ground energy state to a higher one. When it returns to the ground state, the quantum dot emits one photon. A microfracture conveniently directs this photon to the rest of our setup. However, the challenge is to separate this photon from the laser radiation. It will have the same wavelength as the laser, but a slightly different polarization. You can use this property to isolate a photon. During my doctoral dissertation, I researched and perfected this technique.”

Scientists have figured out how to use music to help a child improve math grades

Scientists from Belek University of Antalya provedthat music lessons help improve math grades in children and adolescents. Study published in the journal Educational Studies.

For analysis, scientists selected the results of 55 high-quality studies, which involved nearly 78,000 children and adolescents from around the world, from kindergarten students to university students.

The students took math tests before and after participating in the music lesson. Their math test scores were compared with those of a control group that did not participate in music lessons.

About 69% of students who learned to play musical instruments and 58% of students who had regular music lessons (which included listening to music and singing) improved their scores more than students who did not receive musical intervention.

Solar astronomers have discovered never-before-seen meteor-like fireballs in the sun’s corona

Astronomers noticed never-before-seen meteorite streaks that look like rain on the surface of the Sun. “If humans were creatures capable of living on the surface of the Sun, we would be constantly rewarded with amazing views of shooting stars, but we would need to take care of our heads!” Patrick Antolin, a solar physicist at Northumbria University in London and lead author of the discovery, said in a statement.

These solar shooting stars are very different from the shooting stars that appear above the Earth, which are fragments of cosmic dust, rocks, or small asteroids that enter the atmosphere at high speed and burn up, creating streaks of light. Solar shooting stars are giant blobs of plasma that fall on the surface of a star at incredible speed.

Perhaps the features of the formation of the Sun saved us from a supernova explosion

Stars are thought to form inside huge filaments of molecular gas. Areas where one or more of these filaments converge, known as nodes, are where massive stars form.

These massive stars nearby could have put the early solar system at risk of a massive supernova. This risk is not just hypothetical; a research team from the National Astronomical Observatory of Japan led by astrophysicist Doris Arzumanyan studied isotopes found in ancient meteorites and uncovered possible evidence of a massive star’s violent death.

Why did the solar system survive? It seems that the gas inside the thread is able to protect it from a supernova and an onslaught of radioactive isotopes. “The filament can protect the young solar system from stellar feedback both during the formation and evolution of stars (stellar flow, wind and radiation) and at the end of their life (supernovae),” Arzumanian and her colleagues said in a study recently published in The Astrophysical Journal Letters.

Microsoft introduced an analog optical computer

An interdisciplinary team of researchers at the Microsoft Research Lab in Cambridge, UK, set a task create a new kind of computer that overcomes the limitations of binary systems in quickly solving complex problems. However, the willingness to ask important questions such as “What is the nature of this tool that we are developing?” and “What ‘nail’ can we hammer in with it?” was the key to success in building a computer capable of solving practical problems at the speed of light.

To begin with, they built the first of its kind, an 8-variable optical computer. A computer uses different light intensities to perform calculations in the same place where information is stored. The researchers called the device they created AIM – Analog Iterative Machine.

“It always happens that if you get some kind of technological achievement, then, as a rule, at first it is not entirely clear how to use it in practice,” says Christos Gkantzidis, one of the three main researchers on the project. He recalls how they originally hoped to use AIM as a tool to speed up machine learning. “A small study is underway to find out which practical applications they are more naturally suited to.”

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