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    a man standing in front of a mirror posing for the camera: Albert Einstein stands with a student, circa 1945. The theoretical physicist was known to correspond with random people who wrote to him, according to researchers of a new study describing a letter he wrote to an engineer in the British Royal Navy.

    © Provided by Live Science Albert Einstein stands with a student, circa 1945. The theoretical physicist was known to correspond with random people who wrote to him, according to researchers of a new study describing a letter he wrote to an engineer in the British Royal Navy.

    In a newly discovered letter written by Albert Einstein, the renowned physicist suggested there could be a link between the migrations of birds and “unknown” physical processes — many decades before researchers realized that birds might use quantum physics to navigate over long distances.

    The typewritten letter by Einstein, then at the Institute for Advanced Studies at Princeton in New Jersey, was addressed to a former radar engineer in the British Royal Navy who lived in Bournemouth, England; its contents show both Einstein’s extraordinary perception and his willingness to engage with the public about his work, said Adrian Dyer, a vision scientist at the Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology in Australia. 

    “It was clear that Einstein received a good number of letters from the general public, and that he very frequently took the time to write back,” Dyer told Live Science. “This is one of the elite researchers of the 20th century, but he was very much into open research — that you have to share your knowledge and talk to people.”

    Related: The 18 biggest unsolved mysteries in physics

    Dyer and his colleagues detailed their research on the previously unknown letter in an open access study published May 10 in the Journal of Comparative Physiology A.

    The researchers first became aware of the existence of the letter after publishing research in 2019 in the journal Science Advances that suggests bees are capable of elementary mathematics, including addition and subtraction.

    A member of the public in the United Kingdom, retiree Judith Davys, heard a story about their research on the radio and found an article about it online. She then contacted the researchers to explain that Einstein had written to her husband in 1949 expressing similar ideas, Dyer said.Einstein letter

    Dyer and his colleagues were astonished to learn about the 72-year-old Einstein letter and asked to see it. Researchers at the Albert Einstein Archives at Hebrew University in Jerusalem, where Einstein bequeathed his notes, letters and records after his death, then authenticated the letter.

    The typewritten letter from Einstein to Judith Davys’ now-deceased husband Glyn Davys is relatively short — only a few sentences — but it shows Einstein’s thinking about how some types of animal behavior could be caused by unknown physical processes.

    Dyer said the original letter from Davys to Einstein — which appears to be lost — seems to have raised the issues of echolocation by bats and the perception of polarized light by bees. Glyn Davys’ ideas may have been inspired by scientific articles at that time on research into the perception of bees by scientist Karl von Fritsch, who was personally known to Einstein, Dyer said.

    Davys had worked on early radar systems in the Royal Navy during World War II, and seems to have expressed the idea that some animals could use similar methods to navigate.

    “We presume Glyn Davys was a pretty smart engineer, and that he wrote to Einstein in that context, asking about animal senses and navigation,” Dyer said. “That letter is lost, so we had to reverse engineer from the evidence what was plausible.”Famed scientist

    Much of Einstein’s work underpins the fundamental technologies of the 21st century, including his theory of general relativity that enables corrections for the GPS system used on smartphones and also governs the large-scale structure of the universe. 

    Related: 8 ways you can see Einstein’s theory of relativity in real life

    He was also an early proponent of the concepts of quantum physics, but he was uncomfortable with its implications. “God does not throw dice,” he once famously wrote in 1926 to express his dissatisfaction with ideas of quantum mechanical randomness.

    Einstein, who was Jewish, left Germany in 1933 after the rise of the Nazi party there; he worked for a time in an office in the mathematics department of Princeton University and in 1939 moved to the Insitute of Advanced Studies.

    His letter to Davys suggests the possibility that studies of the navigational abilities of some birds during long-distance migrations could “one day lead to the understanding of some physical process which is not known.”

    Dyer notes that scientists have only recently suggested — for instance in 2005 in the journal Genome Biology — that a magnetic sense in birds that seems to enable them to navigate during migrations might be based on quantum physical processes in proteins called cryptochromes — many decades after Einstein’s letter to Davys.

    Although Einstein couldn’t have known then that bird migrations might exploit quantum physical processes, his letter to Davys shows traces of the exceptional perception of ideas that he was famous for, Dyer said.

    Former Navy pilot reveals daily sightings of UFOs that defy physics

    Former Navy F/A-18 pilot says crews observed UFOs daily(Getty/iStock)

    A former Navy pilot says flight crews saw UFOs maneuvering in restricted airspace off Virginia every day for years.

    Lieutenant Ryan Graves claims that he and other members of his F/A-18 fighter squadron all detected unidentified flying objects for two years, beginning in 2015.

    The former serviceman called the objects a security threat in an interview with 60 Minutes that aired on CBS on Sunday.

    He is one of a number of former military personnel to talk publicly about the experiences with what the Pentagon now calls unidentified aerial phenomena or UAP.

    Lt Graves told the TV show that the sightings were so common that crews eventually took them for granted.

    “I am worried, frankly. You know, if these were tactical jets from another country that were hanging out up there, it would be a massive issue,” said Lt Graves.

    “But because it looks slightly different, we’re not willing to actually look at the problem in the face. We’re happy to just ignore the fact that these are out there, watching us every day.”

    He told the show that pilots have speculated that what they have seen could be secret US technology or an enemy spy platform.

    Lt Graves watched an unclassified unidentified aerial phenomena (UAP) video and added: “This is a difficult one to explain. You have rotation, you have high altitudes. You have propulsion, right? I don’t know. I don’t know what it is, frankly.

    “I would say, you know, the highest probability is it’s a threat observation program.”

    The Senate Intelligence Committee has ordered the Director of National Intelligence and the secretary of Defence to put together a report on unidentified aerial phenomena and deliver it next month.

    Luis Elizondo, a former Department of Defence official who investigated UAP for nearly a decade, claims that the technology on display is much more advanced than anything currently used by the US military.

    “Imagine a technology that can do 600 to 700 G-forces, that can fly 13,000 miles an hour, that, that can evade radar and can fly through air and water and possibly space, and oh, by the way, has no obvious signs of propulsion, no wings, no control surfaces and yet still can defy the natural effects of Earth’s gravity. That’s precisely what we’re seeing,” he said.

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    Blursday: How physics can shake you out of your pandemic slump

    The disruption caused by the pandemic may be helping us better grasp the true nature of time, Susanne Paola Antonetta said.

    © Provided by CNN The disruption caused by the pandemic may be helping us better grasp the true nature of time, Susanne Paola Antonetta said.

    Now that we’ve ticked past the one-year mark of Covid-19 safety restrictions, the calendar is scrolling once more through the same holidays that punctuated the early pandemic. Yet again, curtailed Purim and St. Patrick’s Day celebrations teed up a round of socially distant Passover Seders and virtual Nowruz, Easter and Ramadan gatherings.

    As the seasons slog on, it’s easy to think of time as an arrow, beginning at birth and launching ever onward until death do us part. But many physicists have long begged to differ with that portrayal. Now, even we nonphysicists who have been stuck in seemingly endless lockdown loops are increasingly aware of a different sort of time.

    French respondents reported experiencing a “slowing down of time,” in a survey conducted March 31 to April 12, 2020.

    Since then, others have pointed out how days seem to run together in a merging of minutes dubbed “Blursday.” Could it be that quarantine is revealing time’s less linear and more authentic plastic, elastic nature?

    “The pandemic has made time very like a Dali-esque clock, both distorted and heavy yet slipping away from us,” explained author Susanne Paola Antonetta.

    In her new book, “The Terrible Unlikelihood of Our Being Here,” she intertwines family stories of séances, seaside cottages and skinny-dipping with insights on time that help illuminate the passage of these peculiar days.

    While the mid-pandemic “sameness of our time may be a struggle,” Antonetta said, it also opens up other ways to imagine that “this feeling of time’s recurrent nature may be literally true and ultimately comforting.”

    This conversation has been edited and condensed for clarity.

    CNN: You didn’t write this book during or about Covid-19, yet it tackles questions about time, life and death that feel particularly relevant now. What has this extraordinary year revealed?

    Susanne Paola Antonetta: We’re living in a paradoxical time. There’s a “Groundhog Day” sense that we just get up and do the same things — put on our coffee, have our Zoom meetings. But there’s also this push forward with: “I can’t believe it’s been a whole year.”

    When life feels slowed down or stretched out or oddly compressed or folded in on itself, the irony is we’re experiencing something that’s closer to reality. As Albert Einstein discovered, time is not linear; instead it gets warped and rippled by gravity. Space-time (the four-dimensional continuum that fuses time and three-dimensional space) is itself a curving thing. In a strange way, this moment could be granting us a window into time’s true nature.

    CNN: Has your work on this book helped you process losses, including the deaths of your mother and grandmother?

    Antonetta: Learning about time fundamentally changed how I thought about the tragedy of those two deaths. It was very healing to connect my own personal experiences with what we know about the universe.

    In a letter to the family of his closest friend, Einstein wrote that the man’s dying meant nothing because “people like us, who believe in physics, know that the distinction between past, present and future is only a stubbornly persistent illusion.”

    I find comfort in that idea, along with physicist Julian Barbour’s notion of time as an endless series of “nows” that are always existent. He, and many other physicists, see each individual moment as distinct, whole, complete and everlasting, arrayed like Polaroids laid out on a table, all together.

    Many spiritual traditions call upon us to live in the present moment to give ourselves the gift of experiencing our lives in an immediate way. I see those as connected.

    The last scene in “Terrible Unlikelihood” shows my grandmother still existing in the world and having existed through the events that followed her death. I find comfort in the possibility that the “chaos of time” has allowed her to have been here always — and still.

    CNN: So many people are grieving lost loved ones. How might examining the fundamental forces of the universe offer comfort?

    Antonetta: I can’t in any way try to diminish someone’s grief. It’s real. It’s terrible. But when I go back to Einstein, I understand that my perception of my very real grief may not be the end of the story. I want to offer people a way of looking at this marvelous universe and what that gives us in terms of how we can interpret our lives and our losses. It’s kind of a meditative practice. I think about the world we live in and I find my mother and grandmother still really present.

    I asked Barbour, “What do your physics beliefs do for you as a human being?” He answered that it made him aware that despite life’s difficulties, there is peace in knowing that the way we experience our lives is not disconnected, but part of these universal processes.

    Many of the physicists I interviewed spoke of the beauty of our relationship with the universe. Because we’re not separate, our lives have a real fundamental meaning. Each of us has existed, interconnected with the most basic level of reality. Nothing, not even death, can take that away. That is where the hope comes in.

    That thinking doesn’t negate my grief. The loss is very real, but there’s more going on here than loss. The universe has made us out of stardust, literally. And the universe doesn’t waste a thing.

    CNN: Your book highlights the fact that both physicists and spiritualists work to reveal what you call “hidden and bendable worlds.” How do you see the overlaps between science and spirituality?

    Antonetta: Scientists are often really uncomfortable with that connection. The fact that spiritualists are going on intuition and not proof puts them on a very different plane from somebody who is relying on the equations that demonstrate how the universe is fine-tuned to support life. It is really humbling to know that we’re here, however you explain our existence.

    Yet the existence of our real, human bodies and the inevitable aging process makes it difficult to see that time is an illusion. We are part of larger processes that are more than we are, and that are also as real.

    CNN: Are you saying there are realities beyond those we experience on a day-to-day level?

    Antonetta: Absolutely. Space and time seem like the most fundamental things, but they’re not unmoving or stable in the way we often experience them because we are material. If I said, “From now on, as you walk through the world, imagine the space around you curving,” you wouldn’t be able to do that. But that doesn’t mean the space around you isn’t capable of curving.

    In fact, we know it is because of Einsteinian calculations, which actually enable your GPS to work. The satellites have to account for the bending of space-time to be accurate. These are not esoteric things; they’re part of how we live.

    We also know, because of entanglement, that particles may be able to influence each other even from far apart. But that can also be difficult to imagine.

    CNN: Some people struggle with how unreal pandemic time can feel. Does what you have learned change how you experience daily life, especially during quarantine?

    Antonetta: Considering the fact that we exist as conscious beings in this universe that’s provided an astonishing ability to sustain life helps me work against the feeling that the days no longer matter.

    The days matter tremendously. We are so deeply and fundamentally embedded in this amazing universe. Life feels so much more precious when you really understand those things. Maybe someday we’ll develop an ability to experience time in a way that’s more aligned with physics time.

    Meanwhile, one positive legacy of Covid might be how we’ve learned to create moments that will continue to matter. I look at the sunset so much more. I get glued to watching a meteor shower. I want to create distinct moments that will continue to stand out within my own time.

    graphical user interface: One of the themes Susanne Paola Antonetta explores in "The Terrible Unlikelihood of Our Being Here" is the concept of time and our perception of it.

    © Courtesy Mad Creek Books One of the themes Susanne Paola Antonetta explores in “The Terrible Unlikelihood of Our Being Here” is the concept of time and our perception of it.

    a woman sitting on a bench: Susanne Paola Antonetta said understanding space-time can help shape our views on loss and provide comfort.

    © Courtesy Jessica Longbottom Photography Susanne Paola Antonetta said understanding space-time can help shape our views on loss and provide comfort.

    Physics – Wikipedia

    physics | Definition, Branches, & Importance | Britannica

    Physics – Simple English Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

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