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Science

Physicists Attempting To Test 'Time Crystals' 231

Posted by Soulskill
from the where's-The-Doctor-when-you-need-him dept.
ceview writes "This story at Wired seems to have lots of people a bit confused: 'In February 2012, the Nobel Prize-winning physicist Frank Wilczek decided to go public with a strange and, he worried, somewhat embarrassing idea. Impossible as it seemed, Wilczek had developed an apparent proof of "time crystals" — physical structures that move in a repeating pattern, like minute hands rounding clocks, without expending energy or ever winding down. ... [A] Berkeley-led team will attempt to build a time crystal by injecting 100 calcium ions into a small chamber surrounded by electrodes. The electric field generated by the electrodes will corral the ions in a "trap" 100 microns wide, or roughly the width of a human hair. The scientists must precisely calibrate the electrodes to smooth out the field. Because like charges repel, the ions will space themselves evenly around the outer edge of the trap, forming a crystalline ring.' The experimental set up is incredibly delicate (Bose Einstein Condensate), so it implies this perpetual motion effect can't really be used to extract energy. What is your take on it? It's unlike to upend anything, as the article suggests, because at a quantum level things behave weirdly at the best of times. The heavy details are available at the arXiv."
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Physicists Attempting To Test 'Time Crystals'

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  • by backslashdot (95548) on Wednesday May 01, 2013 @01:22AM (#43598199)

    How the heck is it that Satyendar Nath Bose didn't get a Nobel prize?

    I guess back then they didn't know how awesome his ideas were?

    • They still don't now... I barely understand what is on his wiki page. It bears further research.

    • by fahrbot-bot (874524) on Wednesday May 01, 2013 @01:32AM (#43598243)

      How the heck is it that Satyendar Nath Bose didn't get a Nobel prize?
      I guess back then they didn't know how awesome his ideas were?

      Actually, he only created speakers. Generally awesome speakers, yes, but just speakers none-the-less.

      • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday May 01, 2013 @02:12AM (#43598395)

        Generally awesome speakers

        I was always under the impression that BOSE meant Buy Other Sound Equipment

    • by Daniel Dvorkin (106857) on Wednesday May 01, 2013 @01:55AM (#43598315) Homepage Journal

      Well, there are four sides to that question. It's going to take simultaneous 24-hour corner days to come up with an answer.

      • LOL .. that timecube .. time crystals .. hmm that dude could have been onto something.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by crutchy (1949900)

      if runaway government spending gets you a nobel prize in economics, i shudder to think what kind of experiment is required to win the physics category

      • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

        by tehcyder (746570)

        if runaway government spending gets you a nobel prize in economics, i shudder to think what kind of experiment is required to win the physics category

        I thought the trendy economists were all deranged fruitbat rightwing extreme free-marketeers at the moment? Or is Keynesianism coming back into fashion now that so-called austerity measures have been seen through by most normal people?

        In any event, the idea that economics is some sort of objective science outside politics is total crap. Whether you're left or right wing.

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by operagost (62405)

          I thought the trendy economists were all deranged fruitbat rightwing extreme free-marketeers at the moment?

          Nope. Pretty much only hear more belligerent Keynesian neofascism from Krugman these days.

      • by Bengie (1121981)
        Not sure, but most likely end up also getting a Darwin Award
      • by Muad'Dave (255648) on Wednesday May 01, 2013 @06:50AM (#43599081) Homepage

        I guess it would be similar to winning a Nobel Peace Prize by running an experiment in 'peace' by a president with a kill list and an apparent case of latent bloodlust.

  • by vistapwns (1103935) on Wednesday May 01, 2013 @01:26AM (#43598217)
    Can we get something more definite than that? I mean if the submitter doesn't know, and it sounds like he doesn't, why even say anything.
    • by ThePeices (635180)

      Thats what I was thinking too.

      Wouldn't it be best for them to announce something when they actually get the experiment working?

      It would stop everyone getting disappointed if it turns out not to work, and make the announcement more credible if it does work.

    • Can we get something more definite than that? I mean if the submitter doesn't know, and it sounds like he doesn't, why even say anything.

      it means they can finally build a lattice for the TimeCube. http://www.timecube.com/ [timecube.com]

    • by jfengel (409917) on Wednesday May 01, 2013 @01:14PM (#43602545) Homepage Journal

      Yeah, that sentence is bogus. The pure physics all by itself says that you can't extract energy from it.

      What the delicacy of the setup "implies" is that it's not immune to the second law of thermodynamics, or the first law of motion. The "time crystal" is only perpetual as long as nothing else impinges on it. Which is precisely the same as the frictionless pendulum you saw in first-year physics.

      The remarkable part of this experiment has zilch to do with perpetual motion, either in the "free energy" sense or the "first law of motion" sense. It's about a remarkable quantum effect involving transitions even at the lowest possible energy, which wouldn't be allowed by classical physics but is allowed by quantum mechanics. The rest is just mainstream science writers who don't know what they're talking about and are trying to make it sound like magic to attract eyeballs.

  • Newton? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by backslashdot (95548) on Wednesday May 01, 2013 @01:26AM (#43598221)

    From the article: "How can something move, and keep moving forever, without expending energy? It seemed an absurd idea — a major break from the accepted laws of physics. "

    Isn't that what Newton's first law of motion says? Every object in a state of uniform motion tends to remain in that state of motion unless an external force is applied to it. Clearly the article isn't explaining this properly.

    • Re:Newton? (Score:5, Informative)

      by Fluffeh (1273756) on Wednesday May 01, 2013 @01:32AM (#43598245)

      That makes sense if you don't take into account that these puppies will be going around in a circle - without the initial velocity. First law of motion works for orbits - the objects are effectively moving in a straight line but the curviture of space around the planet/body/star is making their straight line circular. From what I can understand of this article (I haven't read the arxiv version, nor will it likely make sense to me anyhow) the interesting thing is that the scientists aren't starting them in a spin - they expect that they will start spinning on their own.

      • Re:Newton? (Score:5, Informative)

        by shadowmas (697397) on Wednesday May 01, 2013 @02:22AM (#43598415)

        If i understand the article correctly it's not just going round in a circle like a planet but "jumping" around specific point around the circle like a clock hand. it appears from one point to the other without being in between. But rest of your point still applies.

        • by Fluffeh (1273756)

          Yeah, I think my brain just simply refused to comprehend that bit - and the article was exceptionally vague on the details - or perhaps my dumb kicked in and it just stopped making sense at that point. I figured I wouldn't repeat it here in case I was getting it wrong.

          • by Aighearach (97333)

            If you expect quantum effects to have an intuitive understanding at the human level, you'll be substantially disappointed.

        • by dgatwood (11270)

          If i understand the article correctly it's not just going round in a circle like a planet but "jumping" around specific point around the circle like a clock hand. it appears from one point to the other without being in between. But rest of your point still applies.

          Isn't that a bit like, to borrow a line from Stargate Atlantis, "looking through a microscope at a cell culture and seeing a thousand dancing hamsters?"

      • First law of motion works for orbits

        No it doesn't.
        It only applies when there is no net force on the object (as the law clearly states), and in orbit there is a gravitational force that constantly changes the velocity vector.
        What you are talking about is general relativity, not classical mechanics.

        • by Fluffeh (1273756)

          The gravity of the body at the center is pulling the object in, the velocity vector is pushing the orbiting body out, but as they are equally matched the net result is a nice perfect circular orbit (not accounting for the fact that true circular orbits probably only occur in theory and also avoiding all those horrible to write as formulas elliptical orbits). Isn't that the same thing?

          Or is the first law simply saying that a body with movement will continue to keep moving as long as nothing interacts with it

          • You are overthinking it.

            Remember that most of Newtonian physics is a description of what motion is observable on the scale of visibility to the human eye.

            The first law is basically just stating that at a human scale, if velocity changes, something caused it. Nothing will spontaneously change velocity without something acting upon it to effect that change in velocity.

          • The gravity of the body at the center is pulling the object in, the velocity vector is pushing the orbiting body out, but as they are equally matched the net result is a nice perfect circular orbit (not accounting for the fact that true circular orbits probably only occur in theory and also avoiding all those horrible to write as formulas elliptical orbits). Isn't that the same thing?

            No. While the amplitude of the velocity vector remains the same, its direction changes constantly, the result of the gravitational force.

            Or is the first law simply saying that a body with movement will continue to keep moving as long as nothing interacts with it?

            That is exactly what it says. Or in other words: the velocity vector only changes when a net force is applied to the object.

            If there are two opposite but equal forces being applied with a new force of zero, would that not be allowed to be the same thing?

            That is the case, but here there is only one real force working (gravity). The centrifugal force that balances the orbit is not a real force, but a result of the object's velocity.

      • Or they're attempting to stand still and the Earth is spinning. If it's a constantly spinning object that never slows down, it's immune to outside energy absorption and any friction that would slow it down or speed it up so it may also not want to travel in the unusual motion that the Earth is spinning at while moving around the sun. Wind in a tornado and water in a drain doesn't appear to want to go straight because it does want to go straight and the Earth doesn't, after all.
      • by Aighearach (97333)

        First law of motion works for orbits - the objects are effectively moving in a straight line but the curviture of space around the planet/body/star is making their straight line circular.

        Not so, orbits are based on there being a force, gravity, that is attracting the objects. This force bends the line. The bending of space is a tiny additional effect.

    • From what I can read in the linked article, the energy is supposed to be taken out of the system by laser cooling. At a low energy state the ions are then supposed to develop a cyclical motion, rather then a continuous one. Such that they wouldn't be moving at a constant velocity. Without adding energy this is not supposed to happen as we understand it. Or thats the idea behind the experiment, to see if it will. I don't grasp what made Wilczek think they would behave this way in the first place, other then

      • by Shavano (2541114)
        The laser cooling is to get enough energy out of the system to get it in the (ridiculously named) "time crystal" state, and to extract excess energy that is inevitably going to enter the system because you're keeping stuff below ambient temperature. But there's a rub there. The photons are continuously interacting with the system. If the system can't be maintained while turning the lasers off, it's not a stable system and any claims that it is some kind of analog of a crystal, which is VERY stable, are i
        • Aye, I thought about this too, I'm not sure. But I figured I would try to interpret the article anyway for my own sake and just for an informative response (yours). Thanks =)

    • Yeah, it might just be immune to all outside forces so it just keeps on keeping on. I think that's what they were getting at in the end about how it can't be used to generate energy. I'd still put my money on it absorbing one of the many sources of energy that would be available in an experiment like that. It could even run on radio waves for all they know.
    • Re:Newton? (Score:5, Informative)

      by DrProton (79239) on Wednesday May 01, 2013 @09:12AM (#43600125)

      From the article: "How can something move, and keep moving forever, without expending energy? It seemed an absurd idea — a major break from the accepted laws of physics. "

      This is a real groaner to a physicist. Is there any solid matter near you right now? Matter does seem to be real, doesn't it? In the classical regime, accelerating electrons radiate energy. According to Newton, matter should collapse into itself. The electrons should spiral in until they hit the nucleus.

      Electrons in atomic orbits move without losing energy. The orbits are stable. Negatively charged electrons are attracted to the positive nucleus, yet they don't combine. Matter does not collapse on itself. It's not Newton, it's quantum mechanics, in particular, Heisenberg's uncertainty principle. Heisenberg uncertainty explains the solidity of matter.

      What is different here is the size and mass scale has been upped by orders of magnitude from electron orbits in atoms and molecules in this supercooled atom trap. It remains to be seen if the experiment will produce results. The scientific jury is out.

      • "Electrons in atomic orbits move without losing energy."

        This intrigues me - wouldn't this, in essence, be an example of 'perpetual motion'? Wouldn't this prove, at least at this level, that perpetual energy is possible?
  • I didn't know that anyone had a problem with perpetual motion on frictionless surfaces. After all... isn't that how galaxies keep spinning forever? If there's no friction then there's no entropy and of course you can keep doing it.

    Am I missing something here?

    • Not sure if you meant what that says, but galaxies don't spin forever, they eventually end up in a black hole. Now that's a long time out, but this thing is supposed to actually spin *forever*, not get degraded by any other physical process, well that's how I read it anyway, I'm not a physicist.
    • by Joce640k (829181)

      I didn't know that anyone had a problem with perpetual motion on frictionless surfaces. After all... isn't that how galaxies keep spinning forever? If there's no friction then there's no entropy and of course you can keep doing it.

      Am I missing something here?

      Galaxies don't spin forever.

    • by JustinOpinion (1246824) on Wednesday May 01, 2013 @09:00AM (#43599995)
      Here's my understanding (I'm a physicist though not in a field at all related to the described work):

      As usual, the summary and the article somewhat mis-state the interesting part. They talk about 'perpetual motion' but there are lots of examples of things that move seemingly without end: e.g. a planet orbiting a star. However if you think about it a bit more, you'll realize that those kinds of motion can't be used to get "free energy" and actually are not even perpetual. If you try to extract energy from some kind of bound system that exhibits motion, you decrease the energy of the system and alter the motion. So you can extract energy from a planetary orbit (in principle), but then the planet will have less energy, and orbit more slowly (its orbit will decay). As other posters mention, all kinds of natural processes inherently perform this kind of "energy extraction": e.g. random collisision with space-dust, or tidal interactions between planetary bodies, will slowly alter these 'perpetual' orbits. Even if you imagine a highly idealized system (perfectly rigid objects orbiting one another in perfect vacuum), we have reason to believe that such a system will radiate away energy (slowly) by emitting gravitational waves.

      What this all amounts to is saying that the system has some 'extra energy' that could be extracted. In physics we would say that the system is not in its ground state [wikipedia.org], or "minimum energy state". This is the key phrase that the quoted physicists use which the article doesn't properly explain.

      The idea is that a system in its ground state will have lost all the energy it can possibly lose. There is no extra energy left. And, conventionally one would assume that a system in the ground state would no longer exhibit any kind of motion: because any motion is extra energy that could be extracted, obviously. So an idealized orbital system has motion, but is not in the minimum energy state. What Wilczek is proposing is that he's discovered kinds of systems which exhibit motion in their ground state. In other words, the system oscillates as a function of time, and yet one cannot extract energy from this oscillation. Cool!

      The analogy to crystals is this: as you cool atoms, they vibrate less and less, and eventually they settle into their minimum energy state. This state is usually a crystal, where all the atoms are frozen into perfect rows. This is the minimum energy state. Interestingly, at high-temperature the system was spatially homogeneous (a gas has atoms all over the place), whereas the ground state has spontaneously broken space-translational symmetry: the atoms exist in well-defined positions and don't occupy intervening points. Thus the ground state spontaneously breaks a symmetry (space-translation). Wilczek's proposed states, if they really exist, would upon cooling to their ground state (no excess energy left) settle into an arrangement where they are in motion. Thus along the time axis the system is not constant/homogeneous. The system has spontaneously broken time-translational symmetry. Hence this is like a crystal along the time axis: a 'time crystal'.

      I'm not qualified to say whether this is right or wrong. It would be exciting if true. But it doesn't seem to violate any known laws (e.g. you can't use it to violate conservation of energy, so no 'perpetual motion' in the 'free energy' sense), so it seems possible that these states could exist.
  • Wait. What? (Score:5, Funny)

    by fahrbot-bot (874524) on Wednesday May 01, 2013 @01:30AM (#43598235)

    What is your take on it?

    Yes, Any other Nobel Prize-winning physicists / Slashdoters with Bose Einstein Condensate experience please chime in.
    But first, let me get some pop corn ... /sarcasm

    • by six025 (714064) on Wednesday May 01, 2013 @02:12AM (#43598397)

      But first, let me get some pop corn ... /sarcasm

      Unlike the experiment, I predict a great deal of energy will be expended by lay people chiming in.

      Like the experiment, I proclaim this energy to be perpetual while at the same time achieving nothing. ;-)

    • Re:Wait. What? (Score:4, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday May 01, 2013 @02:26AM (#43598437)

      Reading TFA brought to mind phosphorescence [wikipedia.org]. Traditional thinking is that forbidden quantum states prevent rapid emission of stored energy. But (for example) very fine crystals of zinc sulfide with a copper activator might in fact be exibiting this "time crystal" effect. The break in the symmetry of time might be what allows the energy to escape.

      So in short, this research may lead to new phosphorescent chemicals or a better understanding of them.

  • by Nyder (754090) on Wednesday May 01, 2013 @01:42AM (#43598269) Journal

    I'll admit I'm not the brightest of people (public school education), but I can't figure exactly what this has to do with time. Any chance of you higher educated science folks want to explain this a bit better?

    • by H0p313ss (811249)

      Don't feel too bad, I have a bachelors degree in computer science, I took the first year physics courses for engineers, my father has a Phd in Metallurgy and a Masters in Engineering.

      Let's just say I've been steeped in science since I was 10.

      And that shit went right the fuck over my head.

    • by narcc (412956) on Wednesday May 01, 2013 @02:01AM (#43598349) Journal

      Well, after we produce 6 time crystals we can assemble the key to time. Frank Wilczek is really the Black Guardian in disguise, but the Berkeley physicist heading up the project won't figure this out until the last Slashdot article in the series.

    • A crystal's structure repeats through space - the bit at x+1 looks just like the bit at x. This thing's structure repeats through time - at t+1 it will look identical to how it did at t.
    • by akh (240886) <slashdot@al[ ]null.net ['eph' in gap]> on Wednesday May 01, 2013 @02:20AM (#43598409)

      IINAScientist but here's how I understand it. Three-dimensional crystals form a regular, repeating lattice in the three spacial dimensions. These lattices are stable and need no energy input to retain their structure. Hypothetically, time crystals extend that lattice into a fourth dimension (time), treating time more-or-less as a spacial dimension. Given that the structure is crystalline, no energy is needed to maintain it even though its 3-dimensional structure, dimensions, etc. may appear to vary over time. Such structures are so far only hypothetical; the goal of this experiment is to attempt to create one.

    • Well, a crystal is a repeating arrangement in space where each atom occurs in certain regular positions in the crystal structure. If you look along any direction in the crystal the crystal lattice is repeating and predictable. A time crystal is the same idea but it is repeating in the direction of time. For instance any shape that changes but repeats that same pattern over time in a regular and ordered way would be a time crystal. I'm sure this is a simplification. For instance, I suspect a simple mech
      • by Nyder (754090)

        Well, a crystal is a repeating arrangement in space where each atom occurs in certain regular positions in the crystal structure. If you look along any direction in the crystal the crystal lattice is repeating and predictable. A time crystal is the same idea but it is repeating in the direction of time. For instance any shape that changes but repeats that same pattern over time in a regular and ordered way would be a time crystal.

        I'm sure this is a simplification. For instance, I suspect a simple mechanical device (such as a clock) wouldn't constitute a time crystal any more than a tank full of loose balls would constitute a spacial crystal. In fact, I suspect the time crystal would need to be self organising in the same way that a spacial crystal self organises. In other words, the time crystal cycle is self perpetuating, hence the link to perpetual motion and the rather uncomfortable feeling that something might not be correct in the theory. In a spacial crystal it is the charges in the atoms and ionic bonds that self organise the crystal. For a time crystal (and I'm speculating here since I haven't read the arXiv article), maybe the transfer of energy or spin around the crystal would self organise the time crystal.

        Okay, I'm understanding what you are saying. Guess it just seems weird because it would seem time isn't solid, but what the article is suggesting that it is.

      • by Shavano (2541114)
        Isn't that colloquially called resonance?
    • by tehcyder (746570)
      The explanation is that if you can hint at time travel or faster than light travel in an article, it generates interest, and therefore pageviews, and therefore advertising revenue.
      • by H0p313ss (811249)

        The explanation is that if you can hint at time travel or faster than light travel in an article, it generates interest, and therefore pageviews, and therefore advertising revenue.

        Exactly, sufficiently advanced physics is indistinguishable from technical mumbo-jumbo to a layman.

    • If you think of regular crystals as "space crystals" instead and that they have a regular structure that repeats in space then "time crystals" doesn't sound so awkward a term. Indeed that's what the principle investigator suggested was his inspiration... eg if Einstein said space and time are really "space-time" then could we have the "space-time" equivalent of crystals but repeating in time instead? At least that's how I'm reading the article.

      Where I'm losing it... is that I never thought "space crystals"

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday May 01, 2013 @01:47AM (#43598283)

    It always saddens me when scientists are afraid of looking like fools. Fortunately this one over came his fear.

  • by shadowmas (697397) on Wednesday May 01, 2013 @02:24AM (#43598423)

    OMG the auditors [wikipedia.org] are back at it. Somebody find Susan.

  • Yuck (Score:4, Insightful)

    by oldhack (1037484) on Wednesday May 01, 2013 @03:14AM (#43598549)

    All these times we've been complaining how the "editors" were trolling with their crap story selection. And now, for once an editor selects an interesting and relevant story, and all the comments are at the level of 4chan crap.

    Slashdot really has fell off the cliff.

    • Re:Yuck (Score:4, Funny)

      by delt0r (999393) on Wednesday May 01, 2013 @04:51AM (#43598779)
      /. was always off the cliff. You just old enough to notice now.
    • by fnj (64210)

      I don't know, my impression is that the cream is as good as the cream ever was, and the crap is as bad as the crap always was, and it is not necessary for the cream to volumetrically overcome the crap in order for it to be informative and stimulating.

  • by Grantbridge (1377621) on Wednesday May 01, 2013 @03:55AM (#43598637)
    In all chemical bonds the ground state has non-zero energy which results in a vibration of the two atoms. They will vibrate backwards and forwards forever as there is no lower quantum state to lose energy to. This doesn't really seem all that different, other than they're making a rotating non-zero ground state.
    • by fnj (64210)

      Parent is highly informative. Quantum theory is difficult for me to follow (and, yes, difficult for me to accept - but not impossible), and this idea did not occur to me, but it makes sense.

    • by Richard Kirk (535523) on Wednesday May 01, 2013 @06:47AM (#43599069)

      Ok, I'll have a stab at it. First of all, ignore the 'crystals of time' hoopla. This is not helpful.

      Imagine a hydrogen atom with one electron and a fixed nucleus. The electron will be in a certain orbital. If you are thinking of the atom according to the Bohr model, the the electron is going around the nucleus like a planet around the sun. However, the position of the electron, or rather the probably of finding the electron in any particular position, is determined by a wave-function. This wave-function is a complex number that varies with space, and possibly with time too. You cannot measure this complex function directly, but if you can detect the particle somehow, you might learn something about the value the wave function had before the measurement started.

      Actually, the stable hydrogen atom wave-function is simple and calculable, and just like the simple harmonic oscillator, it does not change with time. The electron is in a stable orbit, and will need to lose energy or gain energy to go to a different orbit. The same is true for many much more complex wave-functions. If you have a current running in a superconducting loop, then all the electrons in the superconducting band can be described by a single giant wave-function. You still have all the individual electrons, but they are all moving in a coherent manner, so they are not losing energy. Indeed, they probably got into that state by taking energy from the giant wave-state, until it reached some local stable minimum. And even though you may have billions of electrons in the wave-state, the wave-function does not change with time unless something disturbs it.

      Okay, the idea of sucking out energy until a particle or a system reaches a stable state is pretty common, but it is not necessarily universal. You could have two hydrogen atoms, one with the electron in the ground state, and one with the electron in an excited state; and the second atom loses its energy to the first one, and after a while, the first atom gives it back to the second one again, and so it goes on. In real life, the atom would probably emit a photon that would not get caught by the other one, and that would be the end of it. But if you could somehow constrain the photon to just bounce between the two atoms, then you have two electron wave functions that are perpetually flipping between two states in such a way that energy is preserved. This cyclic flipping would mean that the whole system gets back to where it was a short while ago: it is something that happens at regular intervals in time, hence the 'crystals in time' bit. Ugh. Can we describe the whole system, including whatever it is that constrains it by a bigger wave-function that does not change with time, like our superconductors? It's a bit unlikely, because the jumping between states and emitting or absorbing a photon is a sudden transition, where the super-electron interactions were smooth and continuous. But there might be a way.

    • by femtobyte (710429)

      In all chemical bonds the ground state has non-zero energy which results in a vibration of the two atoms.

      Ground-state "vibration" of a quantum harmonic oscillator isn't exactly like what you might think of based on the "classical" limit like a swinging pendulum. Quantum harmonic oscillator energy level states (including the ground state) are time stationary: the particle has some probability distribution of being in various locations which does not change as a function of time. Only when you mix different "pure" energy eigenstates together do you get a time-varying probability distribution that "sloshes back a

  • Thiotimoline (Score:4, Informative)

    by djl4570 (801529) on Wednesday May 01, 2013 @03:55AM (#43598639) Journal
    Wasn't all of this in "The Endochronic Properties of Resublimated Thiotimoline" by Asimov?
    • by rocket rancher (447670) <themovingfinger@gmail.com> on Wednesday May 01, 2013 @06:20AM (#43598997)

      Wasn't all of this in "The Endochronic Properties of Resublimated Thiotimoline" by Asimov?

      heh...glad I'm not the only one who made that connection. That was a specific carbon compound, IIRC, that dissolved 1.12 seconds before water hit it, and Asimov's clever scientists and engineers figured out how to power a stardrive with it. Wonder what would happen if engineers figured out how to move energy into this time cube and then extract it later on. Might be a shipstone in the making... :) (I like Asimov a lot, but Heinlein is a better story teller.)

  • by dltaylor (7510) on Wednesday May 01, 2013 @04:12AM (#43598679)

    At the quantum level, a "ring around the rosie" dance of atoms (really just nodes of a complex wave function) in a BEC is a freebie, however delicately balanced. Provided the containment isn't perturbed, there's no input energy required to keep things "moving". However, any attempt to extract energy from the setup will cause it to collapse. Even extracting information, such as the spin of the BEC will have to provide all of the energy in the probe.

  • the term perpetual motion is used in different ways. usually to imply that something is a magical source of endless motion.

    There are actually plenty of physical systems that will move for ever. anything that moves with no friction. bodies in space is almost an example of this, but would actually be a small friction from interstellar (and intergalactic) gas and dust, and interaction with CMBR. also there are plenty of quantum 'motions' that could qualify. you can't extract energy from these systems without s

  • by davidbrit2 (775091) on Wednesday May 01, 2013 @06:09AM (#43598969) Homepage
    How exactly do they plan to first resurrect both Jim Henson and Madeline L'Engle?
  • by Coppit (2441) on Wednesday May 01, 2013 @07:39AM (#43599335) Homepage

    He also found that the crystals were cubes [timecube.com].

  • This sounds like a kinetic analog.
  • Magnets of every form are not a free form of energy. This is a trick using magnets. Maybe something very efficient will come out of it. Maybe it's just cool. Maybe it will lead to other things. What it won't lead to is a reversal of the laws of thermodynamics.
  • by Rixel (131146)

    So, it is sort of like the Windows 7 busy cursor. Goes round and round forever.

: is not an identifier

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