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The Electron-Ion Collider will unravel some of science’s greatest mysteries
The EIC is likely to deepen our understanding of the universe in ways we can’t fathom.
Where does 99% of an atom’s mass come from? This is one of the most compelling mysteries in quantum mechanics today. Finding out however, is going to take an incredible amount of energy and resources, not to mention some really precise equipment. That’s where the Electron-Ion Collider (EIC) comes in. This facility, two actually—which are currently being constructed, are likely to deepen our understanding of the universe in ways that we can’t predict nor fathom. Moreover, the Electron-Ion Collider (EIC) is expected to birth technological capabilities heretofore unimagined.
Physicists involved with the project say it’s analogous to how a greater understanding of electricity birthed the modern world in the last century. Cars, the electric light, airplanes, and computers (even your smart phone) all came about as a result. But what might a greater understanding of the forces inside a proton or neutron reveal? Two such facilities will be upgraded to create EICs.
One is at the Jefferson Lab in Newport News, Virginia. The upgrade there will cost $1 billion and will be operated by 100 physicists from 20 labs and universities across the globe. The other will occur at the Brookhaven National Lab in Upton, New York. That’ll cost $1.5 billion.
Each site will contain newly designed and as of yet, untested equipment, developed by JLab, Brookhaven, and MIT scientists. The original plan was thought up by the Nuclear Science Advisory Committee (NSAC), a panel of experts who write plans decades in advance and submit them to the National Science Foundation and the US Department of Energy.
Schematic of the JLab Electron-Ion Collider (JLEIC). This design would take advantage of the already existing Continuous Electron Beam Accelerator Facility (CEBAF). Image credit: The Brookhaven National Lab, US Dept. of Energy.
Nuclear physicist and chair of the NSAC Donald Geesaman, told Nature, “Until we have the EIC, there are huge areas of nuclear physics that we are not going to make progress in.” Each collider will contribute to the study of Quantum Chromodynamics (QCD). THis is the theory of how quarks and gluons comprise the nuclei of protons and neutrons. Gluons are the “glue” that hold quarks in place. What's remarkable is that through this act, gluons then hold all of the visible matter of the universe together. Perplexingly, the force exerted by gluons only accounts for 1% of the total mass of any object.
Two of the main goals of the project include: precision imaging of quarks and gluons to find out their spin, “flavor,” and spatial structure, and “definitive study of the universal nature of strong gluon fields in nuclei.” Experiments at each EIC may also help explain the spin of protons, a quantum mechanical mystery three decades old. The essential question is, what accounts for two-thirds of a proton’s spin? Only a third can be explained by the quarks held within it. Researchers will also investigate a rare state of matter containing only gluons.
The Brookhaven Lab currently has a Relativistic Heavy Ion Collider (RHIC), which investigates gluons and quarks, as does the Large Haldron Collider at CERN. In this way, scientists at each hope to recreate the energy conditions thought to have existed at the time of the early universe. These facilities do so by taking heavy ions or neutrons and crashing them into stationary material. The EIC would instead accelerate protons (ions) on one side and electrons on the other, each at nearly the speed of light, and slam them into one another with pinpoint accuracy.
Location of the new EIC currently under construction at the Jefferson Lab. Image Credit: Jefferson Lab, US Dept. of Energy.
Engineers at the Jefferson Lab are taking advantage of the Continuous Electron Beam Accelerator Facility (CEBAF) already there, and building upon it. In use for 15 years, the CEBAF acts like an enormous microscope. It’s able to examine things a million times smaller than an atom. Here, scientists take electrons containing extra energy and slam them into stationary atomic nuclei at almost the speed of light. Physicists have run such experiments on hydrogen, helium, carbon, and lead atoms.
To make it into an EIC, another particle accelerator is being built, one that intersects the existing one. Here, high energy electron beams and intense proton beams (or heavy atomic nuclei) would be steered into head-on collisions at nearly the speed of light. At Brookhaven too, another electron ring will be added, but in a different configuration, to accomplish this same feat.
According to the JLab’s website, the difference between their old facility and the new one is like “…the difference between a car crashing into a wall (speeding electrons into a stationary target), vs. a car crashing head-on into another car (speeding electrons into speeding ions).” These collisions are not only at higher energy, but are also more precise, allowing scientists to be able to study the wreckage and so the constituent parts of each particle, in far greater detail.
To learn more about the EIC, click here:
Sallie Krawcheck and Bob Kulhan will be talking money, jobs, and how the pandemic will disproportionally affect women's finances.
Can an orgasm a day really keep the doctor away?
- Achieving orgasm through masturbation provides a rush of feel-good hormones (such as dopamine, serotonin and oxytocin) and can re-balance our levels of cortisol (a stress-inducing hormone). This helps our immune system function at a higher level.
- The surge in "feel-good" hormones also promotes a more relaxed and calm state of being, making it easier to achieve restful sleep, which is a critical part in maintaining a high-functioning immune system.
- Just as bad habits can slow your immune system, positive habits (such as a healthy sleep schedule and active sex life) can help boost your immune system which can prevent you from becoming sick.
How masturbation affects your brain...<p>Orgasms are a very common human phenomenon. The physical and mental health benefits have been researched frequently as a result, and yet, there is still so much to be learned about how our bodies and brains react to the chemicals and hormones released during and after experiencing this type of sexual release.</p><p>"The amount of speculation versus actual data on both the function and value of orgasm is remarkable" explains Julia Heiman, director of the <a href="https://kinseyinstitute.org/" target="_blank">Kinsey Institute for Research in Sex, Gender, and Reproduction</a>.</p><p>Masturbation causes a rush of <a href="https://www.webmd.com/mental-health/what-is-dopamine" target="_blank">dopamine</a>, which is a chemical that is associated with our ability to feel pleasure. Along with the rush of dopamine that is released during an orgasm, there is also a release of a hormone called <a href="https://www.livescience.com/42198-what-is-oxytocin.html" target="_blank">oxytocin</a>, which is commonly referred to as the "love hormone."<br></p><p>This concoction of chemicals does more than just boost our mood, it also can play a key role in decreasing stress and promoting relaxation. Oxytocin decreases <a href="https://www.webmd.com/a-to-z-guides/what-is-cortisol" target="_blank">cortisol</a>, which is a stress hormone that is usually present (in high volumes) during times of anxiety, fear, panic, or distress. </p><p>According to BDSM and fetish researcher <a href="https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/therapists/dr-gloria-brame-colbert-ga/278388" target="_blank">Dr. Gloria Brame</a>, an orgasm is the biggest non-drug induced blast of dopamine that we can experience. </p><p>By boosting the oxytocin and dopamine levels and subsequently decreasing our cortisol levels, the brain is placed in a more relaxed, euphoric, and calm state. </p>
Masturbation boosts your immune system and raises your white blood cell count.<p>How do those effects on the brain from reaching orgasm translate to boosting our immune system and making our body healthier?</p><p>The increase of oxytocin and dopamine that causes a decrease in cortisol levels can help boost our immune system because cortisol (well-known for being a stress-inducing hormone) actually helps maintain your immune system if released in small doses. </p><p>According to <a href="https://www.health24.com/Sex/Great-sex/incredible-health-benefits-to-masturbating-20181030-2" target="_blank">Dr. Jennifer Landa</a>, a hormone-therapy specialist, masturbation can produce the right kind of environment for a strengthened immune system to thrive. </p><p><a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15316239" target="_blank">A study</a> conducted by the Department of Medical Psychology at the University Clinic of Essen (in Germany) showed similar results. A group of 11 volunteers were asked to participate in a study that would look at the effects of orgasm through masturbation on the white blood cell count and immune system.</p><p>During this experiment, the white blood cell count of each participant was analyzed through measures that were taken 5 minutes before and 45 minutes after reaching a self-induced orgasm. </p><p>The results confirmed that sexual arousal and orgasm increased the number of white blood cells, particularly the natural killer cells that help fight off infections. </p><p>The findings confirm that our immune system is positively affected by sexual arousal and self-induced orgasm and promote even more research into the positive impacts of sexual arousal and orgasm. </p>
Masturbation can ease and prevent pain, which allows you to achieve the restful sleep that helps your immune system stay strong and healthy.<p>The benefits of masturbation have long been debated, but the more research that is done on the topic the more we understand that there are many positive reactions that happen in our bodies and brains when we orgasm.</p><p>Orgasms can help prevent or mitigate pain, which boosts the immune system, preventing cold and flu symptoms. </p><p>According to neurologist and headache specialist Stefan Evers, about one in three patients experience relief from migraine attacks by experiencing sexual activity or orgasm. Evers and his team <a href="https://www.livescience.com/27642-sex-relieves-migraine-pain.html" target="_blank">conducted an experiment</a> with 800 migraine patients and 200 patients who suffered from cluster-headaches to see how their experiences with sexual activity impacted their pain levels. </p><p>The study showed that 60% of migraine sufferers experienced pain relief after participating in sexual activity that resulted in orgasm. Of the cluster-headache sufferers, about 50% said their headaches actually worsened after sexual arousal and orgasm. </p><p>Evers suggested in his findings that the people who did not experience pain relief from migraines of headaches during their sexual activity did not release as large amounts of endorphins as those who did experience pain relief. </p><p>According to <a href="https://www.sharecare.com/health/chronic-pain/chronic-pain-affect-immune-system" target="_blank">rheumatologist Dr. Harris McIlwain</a>, people who suffer from chronic pain have immune systems that are simply not functioning at full capacity - therefore, alleviating pain (through orgasm, as an example) can help boost the immune system. </p><p>Orgasms can also promote relaxation and make it easier to fall asleep. Serotonin, oxytocin, and norepinephrine are all hormones that are released during sexual arousal and orgasm, and all three are known for counteracting stress hormones and promoting relaxation, which makes it much easier for you to fall asleep.</p><p>There are <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/1233384" target="_blank">several studies</a> showing that serotonin and norepinephrine help our body cycle through REM and deep non-REM sleeping cycles. During these sleep cycles, the immune system releases proteins called <a href="https://www.sleepfoundation.org/articles/how-sleep-affects-your-immunity" target="_blank"><span id="selection-marker-1" class="redactor-selection-marker"></span>cytokines<span id="selection-marker-2" class="redactor-selection-marker"></span></a>, which target infection and inflammation. This is a critical part of our immune response. Cytokines are both produced and released throughout our bodies while we sleep, which proves the importance of a good sleep schedule to a healthy immune system.</p>
Masturbation promotes a high-functioning immune system; a healthy immune system prevents cold and flu.<p>The immune system is a balanced network of cells and organs that work together to defend you against infections and diseases by stopped threats like bacteria and viruses from entering your system. While there are many things we need to do to keep our immune systems functioning at optimal levels, masturbation (or other means of achieving orgasm) has proven to have positive effects on the immune system as a whole.</p><p>Just as bad habits (such as an inconsistent sleep schedule or harmful chemicals in your body) can slow your immune system, positive habits (such as a healthy sleep schedule and active sex life) can help boost your immune system. </p>
The word "learning" opens up space for more people, places, and ideas.
- The terms 'education' and 'learning' are often used interchangeably, but there is a cultural connotation to the former that can be limiting. Education naturally links to schooling, which is only one form of learning.
- Gregg Behr, founder and co-chair of Remake Learning, believes that this small word shift opens up the possibilities in terms of how and where learning can happen. It also becomes a more inclusive practice, welcoming in a larger, more diverse group of thinkers.
- Post-COVID, the way we think about what learning looks like will inevitably change, so it's crucial to adjust and begin building the necessary support systems today.
The coronavirus pandemic has brought out the perception of selfishness among many.
- Selfish behavior has been analyzed by philosophers and psychologists for centuries.
- New research shows people may be wired for altruistic behavior and get more benefits from it.
- Crisis times tend to increase self-centered acts.