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Solar Cells Integrated In Microchips 38

cylonlover writes "In a new, more efficient approach to solar powered microelectronics, researchers have produced a microchip which directly integrates photovoltaic cells. While harnessing sunlight to power microelectronics isn't new, conventional set-ups use a separate solar cell and battery. What sets this device apart is that high-efficiency solar cells are placed straight onto the electronics, producing self-sufficient, low-power devices which are highly suitable for industrial serial production and can even operate indoors."

Entanglement Could Be a Deterministic Phenomenon 259

KentuckyFC writes "Nobel prize-winning physicist Gerard 't Hooft has joined the likes of computer scientists Stephen Wolfram and Ed Fredkin in claiming that the universe can be accurately modeled by cellular automata. The novel aspect of 't Hooft's model is that it allows quantum mechanics and, in particular, the spooky action at a distance known as entanglement to be deterministic. The idea that quantum mechanics is fundamentally deterministic is known as hidden variable theory but has been widely discounted by physicists because numerous experiments have shown its predictions to be wrong. But 't Hooft says his cellular automaton model is a new class of hidden variable theory that falls outside the remit of previous tests. However, he readily admits that the new model has serious shortcomings — it lacks some of the basic symmetries that our universe enjoys, such as rotational symmetry. However, 't Hooft adds that he is working on modifications that will make the model more realistic (abstract)."

The Universe As Hologram 532

Several readers sent in news of theoretical work bolstering the proposition that the universe may be a hologram. The story begins at the German experiment GEO600, a laser inteferometer looking for gravity waves. For years, researchers there have been locating and eliminating sources of interference and noise from the experiment (they have not yet seen a gravity wave). For months they have been puzzling over a source of noise they could not explain. Then Craig Hogan, a Fermilab physicist, approached them with a possible answer: that GEO600 may have stumbled upon a fundamental limit where space-time stops behaving like a smooth continuum and instead dissolves into "grains." The "holographic principle" suggests that the universe at small scales would be "blurry," its smallest features far larger than Planck scale, and possibly accessible to current technology such as the GEO600. The holographic principle, if borne out, could help distinguish among competing theories of quantum gravity, but "We think it's at least a year too early to get excited," the lead GEO600 scientist said.

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