Vermeer and the Masters of Genre Painting: Inspiration and Rivalry

4 Oct

Johannes Vermeer is best known for his meticulously rendered images of women in light-filled domestic interiors. A slow and methodical painter, Vermeer produced relatively few paintings (34 have been attributed to him) but was a modest celebrity in his hometown of Delft during his lifetime. After he died, he fell into obscurity until the 19th century when he was rediscovered by German art historian Gustav Friedrich Waagen and French journalist and art critic Théophile Thoré-Bürger. Vermeer is now considered one of the greatest painters of the Dutch Golden Age. [from https://www.artsy.net/artist/johannes-vermeer]

The exhibition, Vermeer and the Masters of Genre Painting: Inspiration and Rivalry opens on October 22 at the National Gallery of Art and closes January 21, 2018.
Useful resources for Art collecting and information is offered by the Artsy team, at the site https://www.artsy.net, Artsy’s mission is to make all the world’s art accessible to anyone with an Internet connection.
Jan_Vermeer_-_The_Art_of_Painting_-_Google_Art_Project

Vermeer’s Art of Painting or The Allegory of Painting (c. 1666–68), Image credit: Wikipedia

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Colin Maclaurin popularized the physico-mathematical work of Isaac Newton

17 Feb

newtonadam-smith

Colin Maclaurin (1698-1746), in Scottish Gaelic his name pronounce Cailean MacLabhruinn, was a Scottish mathematician who made important contributions to mathematics, in special, he is known by his Maclaurin series. He was the first one to popularize the physico-mathematical work of sir Isaac Newton publishing An Account of Isaac Newton’s Philosophical Discoveries (see link below). This publication raised a so great interest and admiration that for some it constituted the “great intellectual affair of the century: …the application of the experimental and geometrical method of Newton to the study of human nature, now stripped of the trappings of theology”[2].

Sir Isaac Newton contributed decisively to the Enlightenment (reason as the primary source of authority and legitimacy). There is great evidence, and several historians of science soustain the argument, that Adam Smith and other intellectuals had the “secret ambition” to make parallelism of his theories, to imitate Newton, and Adam Smith work shows is efforts to discover general laws of economy, inspired by the success of Newton and his discovery of the natural laws of motion

 

REF:

[1] An Account of Isaac Newton’s Philosophical Discoveries, by Colin Maclaurin

[2] Political Economy in the Mirror of Physics: Adam Smith and Isaac Newton, by Arnaud Diemer and Hervé Guillemin, Revue d’histoire des sciences, 2011/1 (Volume 64)

 

When all are equal, can one make the difference?…

23 Sep

max

Scientific research can help society to progress, but can also be deceptively dangerous… Research in the field of statistical physics shows that the collective behavior of population can have a ‘giant response’ if an individual is properly tuned. So, the task of social media is to avoid, or strongly reduce the possibility for this situation to happen… Then “spontaneous symmetry breaking” occurs and “someone, no matter who, has to do the job”… The work done by Federico Corberi, a Researcher at the Salerno University, in Italy, was published in Journal of Physics A: Mathematical and Theoretical. [1]

REF:

[1] When all are equal, one can be very different [http://iopscience.iop.org/journal/1751-8121/labtalk/article/63268]

 

Can we survive after-death?…

12 Jun

Can we (i.e. our soul, our consciousness, our spirit, our élan vital,…) survive after death?…A scientific study points for that possibility… At least, and for now, according to Dr. Parnia, in the interview stated: “The evidence thus far suggests that in the first few minutes after death, consciousness is not annihilated. Whether it fades away afterwards, we do not know, but right after death, consciousness is not lost.

funny-life-after-death-www_grayee_blogspot_com_

We know the brain can’t function when the heart has stopped beating. But in this case conscious awareness appears to have continued for up to three minutes into the period when the heart wasn’t beating, even though the brain typically shuts down within 20-30 seconds after the heart has stopped. This is significant, since it has often been assumed that experiences in relation to death are likely hallucinations or illusions, occurring either before the heart stops or after the heart has been successfully restarted. but not an experience corresponding with ‘real’ events when the heart isn’t beating. Furthermore, the detailed recollections of visual awareness in this case were consistent with verified events”.

The important research accomplished may represent the first step towards the “proof” that our soul, conscience, spirit, survive after our body dies…

Learn more here: after-death scientific study

References:

[1] – AWARE—AWAreness during REsuscitation—A prospective study

[2] Video famous cardiac surgeon talk about his experience.

Why is there something in the universe instead of nothing?…

7 May

 

“The Principles of Nature and Grace, Based on Reason” (1714):

“…now we…make use of the great…principle that nothing takes place without a sufficient reason; in other words, that nothing occurs for which it would be impossible for someone who has enough knowledge of things to give a reason adequate to determine why the thing is as it is and not otherwise. This principle having been stated, the first question which we have a right to ask will be, ‘Why is there something rather than nothing?’…. Further, assuming that things must exist, it must be possible to give a reason why they should exist as they do and not otherwise.”

We all know that Leibniz attributes the final reason for things to God. But, God, an entity that possibly exists but we don’t grasp the entire meaning, is not sufficient reason for a scientific explanation for why there’s a lack of something, why there is large “holes” in space, called the bootes void. These holes are not completely empty, some contain a few random galaxies, but the vast majority don’t have stars, galaxies, planets, or any kind of visible matter. Curiously enough, our Milky Way galaxy (member of the Local Group), is locates at the edge of one of these voids, which is called the “local void.”

But there is this bigger void, approximately 25 million light years in diameter, covering about 0.27% of the entire diameter of the known universe. With only 60 galaxies, instead f the average 10,000 galaxies, nobody knows for sure why they exist. However, several “explanations” were advanced, one of them is akin to a science-fiction novel. Maybe they exist due to the existence of a highly advanced civilization , a Type 3 civilization, that have created a dynasphere around stars [1] and is actually extracting a huge amount of energy to run their power plants {1}.

universe_hole

Among other scientific explanations is the “inflation theory” [2] suggesting that in the first fractions of a second after the universe come into existence by the big bang, matter was not equally distributed in spacetime due to cosmic fluctuations, and this resulted in voids. These are mapped in the cosmic microwave background radiation, the left-over thermal radiation after the big bang and also known by the big bang “afterglow”, cooled by the expansion of the Universe to just 2.725 degree above the absolute zero, appearing not as visible light, but in the form of short-wavelength  radio waves (principally microwaves) {2}.

cbr

The cosmic microwave background radiation with the biggest voids observed. Image credit: ESA Planck collaboration.

Whatever these voids represent, they are among the most mysterious facts of our universe.

REFERENCES:

Books:

[1] – Freeman Dyson, Search for Artificial Stellar Sources of Infrared Radiation, Science, Vol. 131, June 3, 1960, pp. 1667-1668.

[2] – Ian G. Moss, quantum theory, black holes and inflation (John wiley & Sons, New York, 1996)

Sites:

{1} – http://mkaku.org/home/articles/the-physics-of-extraterrestrial-civilizations/

{2} – http://www.ctc.cam.ac.uk/outreach/origins/inflation_zero.php

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30 Jun

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Tribalistic Science – what it is?…

25 Jun

It is hard to believe, but Science is becoming a tribalistic activity, with hub inside groups of people with similar interests and that defend themselves and their publication like we were living in a doomsday era. Yes, we have a new type of science: the TRIBALISTIC SCIENCE. The index that institutions and governments use to measure the level of interestingness in tribalistic science are pseudo-indexes that measure:

  • the number of publications, disregarding the number of authors (those working at CERN can publish 100 or more papers in one year, among hundreds of co-authors, a must for scientific career)
  • the number of papers on the same subject, even if continued during a time life guarantee to the authors a place in the podium and possibly the Nobel Prize (this level is much harder to attain due to the related politics and involvement of governments and institutions, eager of prestige)
  • the way authors in the same exact field cite each others, increasing exponentially the number of citations, disregarding the real usefulness of the work (some of them explicitly ask you to cite them for better impact on their institutions)
  • …really don’t measure the real future impact of new ideas, their potential, or if the author is alone striving to invent or develop new concepts that may, in the future, or right now, contribute to the welfare of humanity.
  • possibly, more significant items could be added, it’s up to you, reader.

This is my definition of the new type of science that is being done worldwide with huge success, even if destroying the public fate in science…

Since the Bomb exploded over Hiroshima, the prestige of science in the United States has mushroomed like na atomic cloud. In schools and colleges, more students than ever before are choosing some branch of science for their careers. Military budgets earmarked for scientific research have never been so fantastically huge. Books and magazines devoted to science are coming off the presses in greater numbers than at any previous time in history. Even in the realm of escape literature, science fiction threatens seriously to replace the detective story. – Martin Gardner, in Fads and Fallacies in the name of science.

References:

[1] – Martin Gardner, Fads and Fallacies in the name of Science.

[2] – Mario J. Pinheiro, The Art of Academia Guerrilla – how Academia can help society to progress (ISBN-13: 978-1514370612 (CreateSpace-Assigned)

Mechanical gears in Nature

26 Mar

The Issus is a plant-hopping insect living in gardens all across Europe (Fig.1). Now, scientists found they have in their legs gear mechanisms previously thought to be man-made and used on every bicycle and car gear-box. Their discoverers from the University of Cambridge said that this is the “first observation of mechanical gearing in a biological structure”, and published their findings in the journal Science.

As it is clearly seen on Fig.2, the gear teeth on the opposing hind-legs lock together. The legs move within 30 microsecond of each other, securing complete synchronicity in leg movement, otherwise would result in “yaw rotation” and putting the insect spinning out of control.
It is hard to understand how random mutation could provide the Issus with a so complex and perfect mechanism, but the authors said: “These gears are not designed; they are evolved – representing high-speed and precision machinery evolved for synchronisation in the animal world.”  It is worth to mention that the mechanistic gears are only found in the insect’s juvenile – or ‘nymph’ – stages; they are lost in adulthood. The authors apparently suggest that the risk of breaking one tooth on the gear due to systematic use (entropy!) may be the reason why nature prefers another solution.

 

Fig. 1 – The Issus. Image credit: Cambridge University.

 

Fig. 2 - Gears inside the Issus. Image credit: Cambridge University

Fig. 2 – Gears inside the Issus. Image credit: Cambridge University

REF.
{1} – Site Cambridge University

Mars

22 Mar


Come my friend

‘Tis not too late to seek a newer world-

Alfred, Lord Tennyson”

Mars is on the mind of scientists for the reason addressed by Lord Tennyson. There is noticeable differences between Earth and Mars. The Earth’s crust is formed by tectonic plates that move slowly, driven by convection currents in the molten core. But on Mars there are no tectonic plates. The surface of Mars is shaped by volcanoes, cratering and vast magma upheavals similar to the ones that created The Tharsis bulge and the Valley Marinensis (Fig.1). Mars has the largest volcano in the Solar system: Olympus Mons, covering na área 600 km in diameter and 27 km high.

800px-Tharsis_-_Valles_Marineris_MOLA_shaded_colorized_zoom_32

The Tharsis region. Image credit: Wikipedia.

A martian day is only 3 % longer than Earth’s day, while the year is equivalent to 687 Earth’s day. Due to its eccentricity (the most one after Pluto), see Fig.2, the solar input varies significantly during the martian year.

Mars eccentricity is higher than Earth. Image credit: http://www.windows2universe.org/mars

Mars eccentricity is higher than Earth. Image credit: http://www.windows2universe.org/mars

There is water in vapour form in the atmosphere and in the ice caps at poles; evidence exists that water in liquid form was present before on Mars. Probably due to Mars eccentricity the southern hemisphere has very little water vapor (0 to 0.3 precipitable micrometer, but in contrast the northern hemisphere shows a significant amount of water (up to 75 micrometers at 70-80 ^o N). On the basis of the abundance of water vapor in the polar region, an estimate of the lower limit on the atmospheric temperature can be given, being about 205 K (or -68 ^oC). This is an indication that the permanente polar cap is made of water ice (confirmed by Viking spacecraft) with a tickness between 1 meter and 1 kilometer. The atmosphere contains concentrations of nitrogen, árgon, carbon dioxide, molecular oxygen, atomic oxygen, and nitric oxide that are detectable. However, the thiness of the Martian atmosphere was disappointing, with a value one-tenth of Earth’s. According to Anders and Owen, five processes working in combination may have been responsible for the thin atmosphere: i) a small endowment of volatiles gases; ii) incomplete outgassing from the interior; iii) recondensation or trapping in surfasse regions; iv) catostrophic loss of the early atmosphere; v) gradual escape of the lighter constituents.

Olympus mons on Mars. Image credit: http://annesastronomynews

Olympus mons on Mars. Image credit: http://annesastronomynews

But this situation results, too, because Mars has only half Earth’s diameter, 11% its mass and 38% its gravity, increasing the probability of gas escape at the upper layers of the original atmosphere.

The gravity on Mars is lower than on Earth; a person weighing 100 kg on our planet would have 38 kg on the surface of Mars…

See this wonderful movie prepared by NASA showing the intricacies of a mission to the Red Planet. Astounding!

REF:
[1] – Expedition Mars, by Martin J.L. Turner

The Laws of Causality and… Synchronicity

21 Jun

Human opinions are children’s toysHeraclitus

All matter originates and exists only by virtue of a force which brings the particle of an atom to vibration and hold this must minute solar system of the atom together. We must assume behind this force the existence of a consciousness and intelligent Mind. This Mind is the matrix of all matter. – Max Planck, Nobel Prize speech in 1944.

Oswald Spengler (1880-1936) gave a vivid account of the causal thinking that we, humans, are proud of.

 With his hand, his weapon, and his personal thinking man became creative. All that animals do remains inside the limits of their genus-activity   and does not enrich life at all. Man, however, the creative animal, has spread   such a wealth of inventive thought There is already activity in the existence of the animals, but deeds begin only with Man.   Nothing is more enlightening in this connexion than the story of fire. Man   sees (cause and effect) how a fire starts, and so also do many of the beasts. But Man alone (end and means) thinks out a process   of starting it. No other act so impresses us with the sense of creation as this one. One of the most uncanny, violent, enigmatic phenomena   of Nature — lightning, forest fire, volcano — is henceforth called into   life by Man and action all over the world that he seems perfectly   entitled to call his brief history “world-history” and to regard his entourage as “humanity,”   with all the rest of Nature as a background, an object, and a means.The act of   the thinking hand we call a deed. himself, against Nature. What it must have been to man’s soul, that first   sight of a fire evoked by himself! – Oswald Spengler [1]

The discovery of fire is the first instance when humankind understood the cause and effect kind of law, and from that moment this law serve as a guide to us. Quite interestingly, fire was discovered by human species well before what previously was thought. Researchers recently discovered evidence of human use of fire dating back about 1 million years ago, in the Wonderwerk Cave, in South Africa, a massive cavern located near the edge of the Kalahari Desert.

Every problem contains its own solution, and it is part of human life to be repeatedly confronted with sources of difficulties that requires a solution. In fact, these situations are the ones that keep us alert, sharpens our senses and challenges our rational mind.

We live in a materialistic world bound by a narrow logic, and constrained “physical laws” that restrain the appealing of the mysterious in us.

The usual causal thinking follows a linear trail, where events A,B,C follow one after the other, C takes place because of B, and B is due to A. Jung hypothesized that causal effects have place with transmission of energy from cause to effect. However, there are some effects that apparently occur without Exchange of energy, and the event was called acausal by Carl Jung. A well-known physical effect representing an acausal effect is the Einstein-Podolsky-Rosen effect, which is also a non-local effect.

I am therefore using the general concept of synchronicity in the special sense of a coincidence in time of two or more causally unrelated events which have the same or similar meaning…Synchronicity therefore means the simultaneous occurrence of a certain psychic state with one or more external events which appears as meaningful parallels to the momentary subjective state-and, in certain cases, vice-versa. – Carl Jung, p. 251 Ref. [3].

Chinese philosophy thought occurrence of events differently from us. We usually ask: what causes this? Classic chinese texts ask: what likes to occur with what?…

But there is mysterious and inexplicable coincidences in our lives that we feel are full of meaning, although we don’t understand if we follow the stringent logic of reason, as teached by Aristotle and others in the West. These coincidences are what Carl Jung called “meaningful coincidences”, James Joyce’s “epiphanies”, and those that experienced them (and we all did) feel as they are occasions when a bridge are formed in order to connect the inner and outer worlds. We quote now the very funny text wrote by James Joyce and entitled “Stephen Hero” where he gave his definition of epiphany {FN1}:

He [Stephen Hero] was passing through Eccles’ St one evening, one misty evening, with all these thoughts dancing the dance of unrest in his brain when a trivial incident set him composing some ardent verses which he entitled a “villanelle of the Temptress.” A young lady was standing on the steps of one of those brown brick houses which seem the very incarnation of Irish paralysis. A young gentleman was leaning on the rusty railings of the area. Stephen as he passed on his quest heard the following fragment of colloquy out of which he received an impression keen enough to afflict his sensitiveness very severely.

The Young Lady-(drawling discreetly) … 0, yes … I was … at the … cha … pel …

The Young Gentleman- (inaudibly) … I … (again inaudibly) … I …

The Young Lady-(softly) … 0 … but you’re … ve … ry … wick … ed .

This trivialit*y made him think of collecting many such moments together in a book of epiphanies. By an epiphany he meant ‘ a sudden spiritual manifestation, whether in the vulgarity of speech or of gesture or in a memorable phase of the mind itself. He believed that it was for the man of letters to record these epiphanies with extreme care, seeing that they themselves are the most delicate and evanescent of moments. He told Cranly that the clock of the Ballast Office was capable of an epiphany. Cranly questioned the inscrutable dial of the Ballast Office with his no less inscrutable countenance:

-Yes, said Stephen. I will pass it time after time, allude to it, refer to it, catch a glimpse of it. It is only an item in the catalogue of Dublin’s street furniture. Then all at once I see it and I know at once what it is: epiphany.

 -What?

-Imagine my glimpses at that clock as the gropings of a spiritual eye which seeks to adjust its vision to an exact focus. The moment the focus is reached the object is epiphanised. It is just in this epiphany that I find the third, the supreme quality of beauty.

-Yes? said Cranly absently.

What we see here, is the apparent lack of rational explanation in terms of the usual methods that are currently teached in school, in terms of causal links and connections that hide a fabric of underlying patterns where the mental and the material coincide in what seems to be connectors with potential to transform our lives. The transformative power of synchronicities led the outstanding physicist Wolfgang Pauli to explore the deep connections between the psyche and matter in the book “Resurrection of Spirit within the World of Matter” [2]{3}.

Why a great physicist, as Wolfgang Pauli was, become interested in Synchronicity and the role of the psychic life, may be found in the tragedy that attained him when his mother committed suicide, after knowing about his father’s infidelity. This tragedy accompanied Pauli all his entire life, and the series of dreams that so much have perturbed him, lead him to Carl Jung, and from the therapeutics sessions he had with Jung, it followed an intense collaboration and sharing of thoughts about these matters, that culminated in Jung’s book “Psychology and Alchemy”. One recurrent dream that Pauli had, called “The World Clock”. Pauli recurrently saw two clocks with a common axis, but one clock was at 90 degrees with other, connecting two different patterns of movement, and apparently showing a link between the real time and the complex time, since complex numbers can be represented since Euler, Wessel and D’Argand in a kind of Cartesian frame where the Ox axis represents real numbers and the Oy axis the complex numbers (see Complex Plane).

Wolfgang Pauli 45's birthday.

Wolfgang Pauli 45’s birthday.

Pauli’s mind was full of strange dreams that reflect his deep interest about all this world we are living in. He was deeply interest in a dimensionless constant of physics that is near the cabalistic number “137” (the fine-structure constant representing the coupling of light to matter). We may say here that Pauli was na outstanding physicist, maybe greater than Albert Einstein, but instead to be willing at the front with other succesful physicists, he choose to stay behind, thinking and giving ideas to others. He died in a hospital room number 137…

Another strange dream that was reported about Pauli involves a Persian figure. Pauli asks: “Are you my shadow?” The Persian replies: “I am between you and the light, hence you are my shadow. Not the other way around.” Pauli: “Are you studying physics?” The Persian: “Your language thereof is too difficult for me, but in my language you would not understand physics.”{4}

As David Peat wrote in his inspiring book “Synchronicity: the Bridge between Matter and Mind and the Resurrection of Spirit in the World” [4]:

The universe was perceived not so much in terms of separately distinct objects connected by forces but through sympathies, influences, humors, resonances and patterns that belong together. It was not that movements of the planets causally influenced events on earth, but that an essential harmony was maintained between the patterns of heaven and earth. Within such a world-view, synchronicity is perfectly natural.

The concept of Causal relationships implies a linear concept of time, introduced with the rise of banking and commerce, when lending money implies accumulating interest. With the Renaissance, all other concepts of time (including the idea of a circular time, the eternal return) were definitively banned, and replaced with a “time” used for prediction, control, accumulation rates, and wealth. With this time it followed the concept of biological evolution (Krishnamurty and David Bohm they don’t believe on this concept, see important interview), and the general idea that pervades our societies that linear time lead us all to progress.

It is progressively clear that Science is not serving humanity the way it should. Since the Atomic Bombs and the horror provoked in Hiroshima and Nagasaki, the Cold War and its sequels, the use of science (including fractal geometries) to finance that ultimately led us to the bankruptcy, and the end of the dream, the use of technology to submit man to powerful people who the only good they seek is money and power, is not a good asset for our future. Scientists must depart in a new journey, developing a new Science where the soul and qualities are treated  equally, finishing with the general mechanistic view, and thinking about what kind of Science is good for all of us. Otherwise, Science risks to become a real danger, or at minimum no more an interesting subject with important outcomes for Society (for example, David Bohm and even Einstein, they wouldn’t choose the same profession, if reborn). In a way, I believe that a new Era for humanity is already beginning, scientists (including me) are committed to explore new paths, aiming to serve humanity, helping us to more deeply what means to be a human being, and for what purpose we are here on this little planet.

We recall here Pauli, again, as reported in his autobiography by the brilliant Dutch theoretician H.B.G. Casimir who discover an important proof of the existence of the vacuum as having an internal structure: “We are living in curious times. Christianity has lost its grip on humanity. Other times should come. I think that I know, what will come. I know it quite certain. But I won’t tell anyone, because otherwise they will think that I am crazy.”

REFERENCES:

[1] Oswald Spengler, Man and Technic

[2] David Peat, Synchronicity

[3] Jung and the Postmodern: the interpretation of Realities, by Christopher Hauke

[4] “Synchronicity: the Bridge between Matter and Mind and the Resurrection of Spirit in the World”, by F. David Peat, Edited by Robert jon Religa

[5] H.B.G. Casimir, Haphazard Reality: Half a Century of Science, 1984, Harper Collins.

SITES:

{1} Hot Find! Humans Used Fire 1 Million Years Ago, Charles Choi, LiveScience Contributor

{2} Excerpt of James Joyce’s Stephen Hero.

{3} Listen to Sting, singing together with The Polices, the theme Synchronicity

{4} Towards One World

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