SCI-ART LAB

Science, Art, Litt, Science based Art & Science Communication

                                                                Interactive Science Series

Q: How could scientists find something inside a pyramid, without entering it?

Krishna: That is the beauty of science and its application!

Yes, last week a team of scientists working in Egypt announced a sensational discovery. They had detected a “void” roughly 100 feet wide and 26 feet high inside The Great Pyramid of Giza built 4,500 years ago during the reign of Pharaoh Khufu.

To conquer this realm physicists used special detectors that “see” high-energy subatomic particles called muons.

Known as muon tomography*,  the method is likely now to be used to reveal long-hidden passageways, tombs, and chambers at archaeological sites around the world.

Muons are created when cosmic rays from space slam into Earth’s atmosphere at nearly the speed of light. These charged particles are like electrons, but with a greater mass, and they’re constantly bombarding our planet’s surface. One muon passes through an area the size of your hand each minute.

When muons pass through stone and other solid matter, they lose energy. Some come to a stop. Detectors strategically placed in various locations underneath a thick structure — in this case a pyramid some 460 feet tall — can be used to generate a three-dimensional map showing spots where muons are flying through empty space.

Geologists use muon tomography to map changes occurring inside volcanoes before they erupt. Mining companies use it to map ore deposits deep underground. And now in archaeology, muon tomography is poised to reveal the secrets of large structures whose interiors are otherwise inaccessible.

There are other muographers at work on archaeological sites besides the Japanese-French team that investigated the Great Pyramid. Some scientists used muon tomography at the ancient city of Teotihuacan, near Mexico City — and discovered that the density differences within the 1,800-year-old Pyramid of the Sun there meant that the entire structure was at risk of collapsing like a dried-out sand castle.
Scientists working for the Maya Muon project at the University of Texas are looking for tombs and interior chambers in a previously unexplored pyramid in Belize. Others are using a variation of the technology called muon scattering — tech originally developed to detect nuclear weapons in cargo — to scan for cracks in the dome of the 600-year-old Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore in the Italian city of Florence.
This is what we call creative use of science and technology. 

* Muon tomography is a technique that uses cosmic ray muons to generate three-dimensional images of volumes using information contained in the Coulomb scattering of the muons. Since muons are much more deeply penetrating than X-rays, muon tomography can be used to image through much thicker material than x-ray based tomography such as CT scanning. The muon flux at the Earth's surface is such that a single muon passes through an area the size of a human hand per second. Since its development in the 1950s, muon tomography has taken many forms, the most important of which are muon transmission radiography and muon scattering tomography. Muon tomography imagers are under development for the purposes of detecting nuclear material in road transport vehicles and cargo containers for the purposes of non-proliferation. Another application is the usage of muon tomography to monitor potential underground sites used for carbon sequestration.

Q:  What qualifications do people need to understand science?

Krishna: It is a misconception that high qualifications make people understand science better.

No qualifications are needed if you are really interested. My illiterate servant maid and her school-going son fully understands what I say because they are really interested in learning things. Moreover, they don't have any ego issues. 

The other day I met a retired Post-graduate Engineer. He tried to pass off pseudo-science as science while telling me about our puranas. He shocked me to no end. I tried to explain him clearly what he 's trying to say was pseudo-science. He refused to see reason. He refused to consider what I said despite my hard trying. Because he thought an 'younger lady' cannot talk sense!  Then what he said shocked me more. This 's what he said: 

One cannot deny the fact that the solar system came out of the black hole in the milky way galaxy . The black hole so named because it is not allowing light to escape from it . Since it is the originator for billions of stars including our Sun people call it God . Since the stars come out in four streams He is personified with four arms . There is a disc of star group in one arm you can call as Chakra of Vishnu . Hinduism many times tell the science in story form which scientists have to decipher. This is not pseudo-science!

And this is my reply to him before moving away from him ...

What?! I am too shocked to even give an answer. Please read these articles and try to understand:

How Did the Solar System Form?

The Origin of the Solar System

I feel there is no use in continuing this if you refuse to consider what I say.  To continue any conversation, you need a shared praxis. The levels must meet. Otherwise it becomes a tragic comedy. Sorry. 

Some highly qualified people too either don't understand science because they are scientific illiterates, do biased reasoning because they are attached to something or too proud to even consider what a lady says! :)

How can I make this person consider what I say and analyze it neutrally is eating my brain now!

Q: What is the science behind wearing gem stones in rings and other ornaments?

Krishna: There is pseudo-science behind these beliefs. No real science. 

Q: According to science, Is wearing gemstones helpful?

Krishna: No! There is pseudo-science behind these beliefs. No real science.

Yes, you can sell them if you need immediate money in difficult situations and use it!

Q: What do you think of a researcher complaining about 'peer reviewing'?

Criticizing a Scientist’s Work Isn’t Bullying. It’s Science.

http://www.slate.com/articles/health_and_science/science/2017/10/cr...

Krishna: There are genuine reviewers and there are sexist reviewers too. http://www.sciencemag.org/news/2015/05/plos-one-ousts-reviewer-edit...

As a researcher one should have the courage to accept genuine reviews and constructive criticism. If you don't accept them, you are not fit to be in the field.

Q: Technology is gaining full control over us and our lives. When we are on line or on phone, it knows where we are, who we are, what we do or when we do it, our friends, relatives, our address, phone number, our intentions, interests, opinions, views. Aren't you afraid? Why do you support science and technology still?

Krishna: :)

Who is giving the tech this control? You, yourself! Who asked to give it? You, yourrself! 

If you don't know how to hoodwink the tech or how to use it properly, why blame it?  

I don't talk about the most important things of my life on the net. I never share my secrets or selfies on phone. I am mysterious. Okay the tech you are talking about knows I am interested in science, art, literature or only a few things I want the world to know. Nothing more. 

No, I am not afraid. Because The choice is yours!


Art work by Dr. Krishna Kumari Challa

( http://www.kkartfromscience.com )

Some people complain that science also brings with it a few bad things like commercial GM crops, nuclear bombs etc. along with the good it does to the mankind. But according to the scientific community – science is like a knife. A knife can be used to cut throats and spill blood. It can also be used for good purposes like cutting fruits and vegetables. It depends on the person who uses it. Likewise science (represented by a test tube in the painting) can also be used for the benefit of living beings as well as for their destruction. Which way it goes is in the hands of the person who uses it. The choice is definitely yours, Homo sapiens.

Q: I am very poor in maths. How can I study science then?

Krishna: Do you know Albert Einstein too was not good in maths? :)

Then how could he write down a theory that most scientists at that time didn't understand due to mathematical complexity? Well, he had  taken help from someone. 

Einstein's  friend and class-mate,  Marcel Grossman, was a brilliant mathematician of that time. Einstein used to borrow lecture notes in maths in college from his friend. Grossman first gave the insight of using Differential Geometry to describe his theory properly and even taught Einstein how to play with tensors. Without Grossman it was definitely not possible for Einstein alone to finish the theory at that time. Even though we forget the contributions of this brilliant friend in the maths of General Relativity, “Einstein-Grossman collaboration” is well known amongst the scientific  community.

So don't worry about maths and statistics. You can get help from people who are brilliant in those subjects. Only thing you have to do is - remove the mind blocks. Then everything will be alright!

Now watch this video ... it shows how easily you can calculate things ...

Q: What makes someone a scientist? What is the definition of being a scientist? Is it arrogant to self-describe as a scientist?  

Krishna: Being a scientist is a state of mind, not a profession. Only a person who has this state of mind - who follows strict scientific methodology in everything s/he does- can call himself or herself a scientist.

Someone who gets paid to do some science in a lab need not be a scientist. Because I have seen some such scientists following and propagating pseudo-science. And they refuse to accept what they are doing is false. And they can publish their work too in dubious journals.

On the other hand I have seen people who subject everything that is brought to their mind’s attention to scientific scrutiny, eventhough they are not practicing scientists!

Now decide for yourself who strictly fits the bill.

Q; How can I become a Microbiologist?

Krishna : First do your PG and Ph.D. in Microbiology. Then you can think about a career in the field.

Q: Why do our eyes twitch? There are lots of superstitions around it. What does science say about it?

Krishna: Science says these things about eye twitching...

Scientifically known as a blepharospasm, eye twitching is the involuntary spasming of the eyelid muscle. This condition typically only lasts for a few minutes, and can affect anyone. Medically it is known as myokymia. The term myokymia describes different involuntary muscular movements. Most of them show electromyographic (EMG) evidence of spontaneous group discharges. 

Reasons could be...


Stress: A twitching eye can be one sign of stress, especially when it is related to vision problems such as eye strain
Tiredness: A lack of sleep, whether because of stress or some other reason, can trigger a twitching eyelid.
Eye strain: Vision-related stress can occur if, for instance, you need glasses or a change of glasses. Even minor vision problems can make your eyes work too hard, triggering eyelid twitching.

Overuse of computers, tablets and smartphones also is a common cause of eyelid twitching. 

Caffeine: Too much caffeine when coffee, tea, chocolate and soft drinks  are consumed in excess can trigger eye twitching.

Alcohol: Drinking too much also can cause eyelids to twitch.

Dry eyes:Many adults experience dry eyes, especially after age 50. Dry eyes are also very common among people who use computers, take certain medications (antihistamines, antidepressants, etc.), wear contact lenses and consume caffeine and/or alcohol. If you are tired and under stress, this too can increase your risk of dry eyes.  Restoring moisture to the surface of your eye may stop the spasm and decrease the risk of twitching in the future.

Nutritional imbalances: According to some studies lack of certain nutritional substances, such as magnesium, can trigger eyelid spasms

Allergies: People with eye allergies can have itching, swelling and watery eyes. When eyes are rubbed, this releases histamine into the lid tissues and the tears. This is significant, because  evidence indicates that histamine can cause eyelid twitching.

When you take remedial measures, the twitching goes away. In rare cases, some eye twitching still persists

which  can be treated with Botox injections that help stop muscle contractions.

When there was no scientific knowledge about the condition, people weaved several stories around it as usual and feared it and became superstitious.

Now we have know why eye twitching happens. Therefore there is no need to worry about it anymore.

Don't believe in the superstitions. They are just stupid stories of the uninformed.

Q: Are all sciences derived from physics?

Krishna: All arenas of science are affiliated to all other ones. When you think of physics and feel everything else is derived from it, maths contests it!

Then you have Biology. Think about this: You might have a universe based on scientific principles (of maths, physics and chemistry and other related fields) without any living beings in it. But it becomes highly irrelevant and is as good as not being there! In that sense bio-centrism is important.

Without living beings and Biology that directs it, science becomes obsolete! Who knows about it?

Like Einstein, we feel like asking does the universe exist without living beings or the biologically derived beings ‘observing’ it? What is the use of having all the other fields without we, the living entities?

So living beings give ‘life’ to everything else! ! What we study originates in the human mind, though already written into this universe. But those living beings depend on not only on Biology but on all the fields of science!

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Replies to This Discussion

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https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Marcel_Grossmann

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Twitches are medically referred to as myokymia and are triggered in various ways:
1. Stress
Different bodies react differently to stress. Left eye twitching is one way for the body to respond to stress. This is more common if the stress is related to eye strain. Reducing stress can relive the twitching.
2. Tiredness

Lack of adequate sleep triggers eyelid twitching. Getting enough sleep can help. Maintain at least 7-8 hours of sleep per day is optimal.

3. Caffeine and alcohol
Experts believe excessive caffeine and alcohol intake can trigger left eye twitching. The remedy is cutting on the amount of alcohol or caffeine consumed.

4. Dry eyes
Dry-eyes, is a condition common in elderly people. Using computers and prescribed medication like antidepressants or antihistamines can also cause dry eyes. Stress also causes dry eyes. Visiting the optician is advisable as treatment is prescribed.

5. Straining the eyes
Left eye twitching can be caused by eye strain. This happens when the eyes try too hard to read. Overuse of computers, tablets or smart-phones cause eye strain.
Remedies: changing the glasses of your spectacles and taking eye exams is advised. Consider minimizing the time spent working at the computer. Take occasional breaks.

6. Allergies
Those with various eye allergies can experience twitching. Rubbing of eyes produces histamine, and this is a known cause of left eye lid twitching.
Remedies: a visit to the doctor can help relief the twitching. The doctor prescribes antihistamine tablets or eye drops.

7. Vitamin D deficiency
Vitamin D aids in the absorption of calcium which in turn aids in muscle contraction and relaxation. Lack of vitamin D reduces the absorption of calcium leading to twitching.
Remedies: visiting a doctor is advised for the correct dosage of vitamin D supplements. Consume foods high in Vitamin D including clod oliver oil, fish, oysters and dairy products.

8. Vitamin B12 deficiency
Lack of vitamin B12 leads to shaky movements as well as spasticity hence eye twitching.
Remedies: patients are put under maintenance doses of vitamin B12. Consistent deficiency of vitamin B12 can be an indication of an underlying medical problem.
Consume foods high in Vitamin B12 including fish, lamb, crab, and beef.

9. Eyelids or cornea inflammation
This condition is referred to as blepharitis. It is caused by bacteria overgrowth, blockage of the eyelid's oil glands as well as allergies. It causes itching, scaling and swelling of the eyelashes base.
Remedies: this condition cannot be cured but can be controlled and treated through caring for the eyelid. One can wipe the infected area with warm water.
Prevention: avoid hand eye contact before washing the hands. One needs to avoid sleeping with eye makeup. 

10. Neurological disorders such as basal ganglia
This is a dysfunction in the structure of the brain which is responsible for controlling movement. It is caused by injury to the brain through copper poisoning, carbon monoxide poisoning, head injury, drug overdose, infection, stroke, liver disease and tumors. Muscle spasms are some of the symptoms.

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