31 March 2015

The story behind your Wi-Fi: A beautiful tribute

Today, when you use your cell phone or, over the next few years, as you experience super-fast wireless Internet access (via something called "long-term evolution" or "LTE" technology), you'll be using an extension of the technology a 20- year-old actress first conceived while sitting at dinner with Hitler.
A small tribute to this lady who is the face of the evolution of technology.

Journey from Actress to Scientist…

In 1933, a beautiful, young Austrian woman took off her clothes for a movie director.  She ran through the woods, naked.  She swam in a lake, naked.  Pushing well beyond the social norms of the period.
-The most popular movie in 1933 was King Kong. But everyone in Hollywood was talking about that scandalous movie with the gorgeous, young Austrian woman.

-Louis B. Mayer, of the giant studio MGM, said she was the most beautiful woman in the world. The film was banned practically everywhere, which of course made it even more popular and valuable.  Mussolini reportedly refused to sell his copy at any price.

-The star of the film, called Ecstasy, was Hedwig Kiesler. She said the secret of her beauty was "to stand there and look stupid." In reality, Kiesler was anything but stupid. She was a genius. She'd grown up as the only child of a prominent Jewish banker. She was a math prodigy. She excelled at science. As she grew older, she became ruthless, using all the power her body and mind gave her.

-Between the sexual roles she played, her tremendous beauty, and the power of her intellect, Kiesler would confound the men in her life including her six husbands, two of the most ruthless dictators of the 20th century, and one of the greatest movie producers in history.

-Her beauty made her rich for a time. She is said to have made - and spent - $30 million in her life.

-But her greatest accomplishment resulted from her intellect, and her invention continues to shape the world we live in today.

-You see, this young Austrian starlet would take one of the most valuable technologies ever developed right from under Hitler's nose.  After fleeing to America, she not only became a major Hollywood star, her name sits on one of the most important patents ever granted by the U.S. Patent Office.

An insight into, why she was what she was..

-At the time she made Ecstasy, Kiesler was married to one of the richest men in Austria. Friedrich Mandl was Austria 's leading arms maker. His firm would become a key supplier to the Nazis.

-Mandl used his beautiful young wife as a showpiece at important business dinners with representatives of the Austrian, Italian, and German fascist forces. One of Mandl's favorite topics at these gatherings - which included meals with Hitler and Mussolini - was the technology surrounding radio-controlled missiles and torpedoes.

-Wireless weapons offered far greater ranges than the wire-controlled alternatives that prevailed at the time.

Developing the technology..

But Kiesler cared far more about fighting the Nazis than about making movies.  At the height of her fame, in 1942, she developed a new kind of communications system, optimized for sending coded messages that couldn't be "jammed."  She was building a system that would allow torpedoes and guided bombs to always reach their targets.  She was building a system to kill Nazis.

By the 1940s, both the Nazis and the Allied forces were using the kind of single-frequency radio-controlled technology Kiesler's ex-husband had been peddling.  The drawback of this technology was that the enemy could find the appropriate frequency and "jam" or intercept the signal, thereby interfering with the missile's intended path.

Kiesler's key innovation was to "change the channel."  It was a way of encoding a message across a broad area of the wireless spectrum.  If one part of the spectrum was jammed, the message would still get through on one of the other frequencies being used.  The problem was, she could not figure out how to synchronize the frequency changes on both the receiver and the transmitter.  To solve the problem, she turned to perhaps the world's first techno-musician, George Anthiel.

Anthiel was an acquaintance of Kiesler who achieved some notoriety for creating intricate musical compositions.  He synchronized his melodies across twelve player pianos, producing stereophonic sounds no one had ever heard before. Kiesler incorporated Anthiel's technology for synchronizing his player pianos.  Then, she was able to synchronize the frequency changes between a weapon's receiver and its transmitter.

On August 11, 1942, US Patent No. 2,292,387 was granted to Antheil and "Hedy Kiesler Markey," which was Kiesler's married name at the time.

How she continues to be an inspiration..

Most of you won't recognize the name Kiesler.  And no one would remember the name Hedy Markey.  But it's a fair bet that anyone reading this of a certain age will remember one of the great beauties of Hollywood's golden age - Hedy Lamarr.

That's the name Louis B Mayer gave to his prize actress.  That's the name his movie company made famous.

Meanwhile, almost no one knows Hedwig Kiesler – aka Hedy Lamarr - was one of the great pioneers of wireless communications. Her technology was developed by the U.S.Navy, which has used it ever since.

You are probably using Lamarr's technology, too.  Her patent sits at the foundation of "spread spectrum technology," which you use every day when you log on to a wi-fi network or make calls with your Bluetooth-enabled phone.  It lies at the heart of the massive investments being made right now in so-called fourth-generation "LTE" wireless technology.  This next generation of cell phones and cell towers will provide tremendous increases to wireless network speed and quality, by spreading wireless signals across the entire available spectrum.  This kind of encoding is only possible using the kind of frequency switching that Hedwig Kiesler invented.

And now you know the rest of the story.

18 March 2015

Teleportation: Not so fictious anymore!

How we dream about teleporting ourselves from one end of the world to the other, from a boring party to the beach on Miami etc etc. These thoughts were majorly inspired by science fiction movies creating quite a mess there, producing inside out baboons, gene-spliced monsters and dematerialized madmen like nobody’s business.In reality, however the experiments are way less disgusting and quite promising, contrary to common belief.

Fun facts 

Gathered from various sources, here's a compilation from some fun facts and believes from all over the internet: 
·        In 1998, physicists at the California Institute of Technology , along with two European groups, made IBM's teleportation theory a reality by successfully teleporting a photon (particle that is responsible for light) 

Recipe :
1.     Read the atomic structure of a photon,
2.      sent this information across 3.28 feet (about 1 meter) of coaxial cable
3.     created a replica of the photon on the other side.
Conclusion : As predicted, the original photon no longer existed once the replica appeared.
Theories involved:

·        the Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle : this principle states that you cannot simultaneously know the location and the momentum of a particle.
“ It's also the main barrier for teleportation of objects larger than a photon.”

How did they overcome the obstacles?

But if you can't know the position of a particle, then how can you engage in a bit of quantum teleportation?
As explained and stated in many articles, this is what Caltech physicists have believed to have done: 
In order to teleport a photon without violating the Heisenberg Principle, the Caltech physicists used a phenomenon known as entanglement. In entanglement, you need at least three photons to achieve quantum teleportation:
1.     Photon A: The photon to be teleported
2.     Photon B: The transporting photon
3.     Photon C: The photon that is entangled with photon B
·        If researchers tried to look too closely at photon A without entanglement, they'd bump it, and thereby change it.
·        By entangling photons B and C, researchers can extract some information about photon A, and the remaining information would pass on to B by way of entanglement, and then on to photon C.
·        When researchers apply the information from photon A to photon C, they create an exact replica of photon A.
 However, photon A no longer exists as it did before the information was sent to photon C.
IN STAR TREK TERMS: In other words, when Captain Kirk beams down to an alien planet, an analysis of his atomic structure passes through the transporter room to his desired location, where it builds a Kirk replica. Meanwhile, the original dematerializes.”


·        Since 1998, scientists haven't quite worked their way up to teleporting baboons, as teleporting living matter is infinitely tricky. Still, their progress is quite impressive.
·        In 2002, researchers at the Australian National University successfully teleported a laser beam
·        In 2006, a team at Denmark's Niels Bohr Institute teleported information stored in a laser beam into a cloud of atoms about 1.6 feet (half a meter) away. Which Is a step further into the research in this field because it involves teleportation between light and matter, two different objects! Where one is the carrier of information (laser beam) and other is the storage medium(atoms)
·        In 2012, researchers at the University of Science and Technology of China made a new teleportation record. They teleported a photon 60.3 miles (97 kilometers), 50.3 miles (81 kilometers) farther than the previous record

·        In 2014, European physicists were able to teleport quantum information through an ordinary optical fiber used for telecommunications.

Let’s go Hollywood style

·        Jumper 

·        Star Trek

·        Willy Wonka & The Chocolate Factory

·        Doctor Who

·        Blake’s 7

·        X2: X-men United

·        The Tomorrow People

·        The Prestige

·        The Fly

·        Dante’s Cove

·        Zeta One

What’s the future of it?

Given these advancements, you can see how quantum teleportation will affect the world of quantum computing far before it helps your morning commute time. These experiments are important in developing networks that can distribute quantum information at transmission rates far faster than today's most powerful computers.

It all comes down to moving information from point A to point B. But will humans ever make that quantum jaunt as well?

8 March 2015


Unboil a boiled egg, say what??
Given my interests for new innovations in the field of science, I have a nasty habit of poking around people and searching the internet for new stuff to write about. Recently, I was just surfing the internet when I read a heading that instantly caught my eye.
 What if I told you..“Scientists found a new way to unboil a boiled egg”! Exactly my reaction- I read it, and then I read the heading again, because I just couldn’t believe my eyes. This was like, falsifying all the chemistry I had learnt back in junior school, where they taught us about physical and chemical processes; and I clearly remember boling an egg was a chemical irreversible process. After reading this article the ground had shifted from beneath my feet. What’s next? Unburning a burnt matchstick? Innovations like these make me wonder, are scientists actually so talented and innovative or are they just so idle that they wake up in the morning and think, “Oh! A new morning, let’s just try hanging upside down from the ceiling today and make the blood flow to the feet instead of the brain!; or maybe let’s just have an omelette of an unboil(ed) boiled egg today!”. Whatever the case is this research is going to be a breakthrough in the field of medical sciences, specially for treatment of cancer.

(Un)boil the recipe!
So, you must’ve heard doctors saying how good it is to have eggs, and how much proteins they have in them, and all the beautiful things in the world, to convince you to have eggs even when you don’t like them. Well these proteins are what fold up to form aggregates when an egg is boiled; recovery of these proteins is inefficient and challenging for large-scale industrial processes.
Step 1:  One way to separate these perfectly folded protein molecules, from the aggregates, are to rotate the solution at very high rotational speeds.The solution starts to form micrometer-thick, thin fluid films, which flow with the same speed and direction as the wall of the glass tube; this generates a velocity gradient within the thin fluid film, which introduces shear stress into the solution. It’s like putting a slimy ball in a glass and rotating the glass with high rotational speeds; such that the slimy ball starts to rotate with the speed of the glass inside it, and it starts separates into the contents of the slime.
Step 2: Now, this shear helps dissemble the aggregates. One of the basic concepts of science is, when bonds are formed or when molecules join together, transfer of energy takes place- in the form of gain or loss of heat energy. Now, to recover folded protein molecules from these aggregates we require energy which is facilitated by the high rotational speeds. The “soft” energy in the thin film of solution helps to recover the folded protein molecules, without actual heating of the solution.
 Again relating to the ball of the slime in the rotating glass- in normal conditions, it would require heat or some kind of energy to separate the contents of this slimy ball, which in this case is provided by the high rotational speeds.
Next step in the recipe..
This research could help in the field of cancer treatment and specifically cells which aggregate to form the tumours.Let’s just hope that we have machines that could unboil boiled eggs; maybe we could just boil a few eggs when needed, stuff them inside bags- while travelling- and unboil them when we reach the destination. This way we don’t have to worry about the eggs breaking maybe; It’s a win-win situation!