The new technology is actually based on old technology; it flies by means of rotating discs surrounded by blades whose angle of attack can be altered in flight. The discs are spun by means of a conventional airplane engine. What’s new is the computer and software that controls the blades, allowing for very precise flying. The company says D-Dalus can hover next to a wall, maneuver though buildings or even lay still atop a moving bobbing ship in bad weather by pushing itself down against the deck.The power comes from its four 2200-rpm turbines and can be thrust in any of 360 degrees, allowing the D-Dalus to launch vertically, hover, dart around and to remain stable even in turbulent conditions. The company also says the craft requires very little maintenance and would be cheaper than current vertical takeoff aircraft and because of its new “friction free bearing at the points of high G force” the craft should be, according to the company, as quiet as a whisper.So far, the D-Dalus is still just a prototype, and has been flown only in a laboratory near Salzburg as a pilotless drone. In its current configuration, it has five foot (about a meter and a half) long turbines and is capable of carrying 150 pounds (70kg) of cargo. Information on the company website indicates that the initial primary use for such a vehicle would be to assist in search and rescue operations at sea or after disasters, or possibly for surveillance; though it leaves open the door to the possibility of scaling the aircraft up enough in size to accommodate passengers.IAT21 has formed a partnership with Cranfield University in the UK to work through flight certification. If all goes according to plan, the D-Dalus should be ready for viewing by others very soon. This document is subject to copyright. Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study or research, no part may be reproduced without the written permission. The content is provided for information purposes only. Puffin: the one-person electric aircraft (w/ Video) Explore further © 2010 PhysOrg.com (PhysOrg.com) — A firm from Austria, Austrian Innovative Aeronautical Technology (IAT21) has unveiled a new type of aircraft that flies without wings or rotors, at the Paris Air Show. Though not actually flown at the show, spokesmen for the new aircraft, named D-Dalus (no doubt after the tragic Greek figure Daedalus, who lost his son Icarus when his wings melted as he flew too close to the sun) claim the aircraft is capable of both hovering and flying forward as fast as a jet, all with very little noise. Citation: Austrian company debuts revolutionary wingless aircraft (2011, June 24) retrieved 18 August 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2011-06-austrian-company-debuts-revolutionary-wingless.html
RCA’s Airenergy charger converts WiFi energy to electricity Researchers from Nihon Dengyo Kosaku Co., Ltd, (DENGYO) a Japanese communications infrastructure company, have developed a device they call the “rectenna” that can convert radio waves moving around in the air, to electricity. The name comes from combining the word “rectifier” (a device that is normally used to convert AC power to DC, but can also be used to detect radio signals) with “antenna”. In the demonstration video, the researchers say that the rectenna can convert both WiFi and digital terrestrial broadcast signals, though the amount it converts depends of course on the amount of radio waves in the vicinity. The rectenna comes in two sizes, one for converting WiFi signals, the other for terrestrial. The WiFi version is small, just 12 mm thick, while the terrestrial version is 30 mm thick. Each looks like a plain soft-white pad.Engineers demoing the two devices say electricity produced by the WiFi version is in the microwatts at a distance of just 10cm from the source, not a lot of course, but enough to power a small sensor or tag, they say. As for the terrestrial version, they were able to generate about 1.2mV and 0.06µW of power inside the exhibition hall, where the video was made, at the Tokyo Big Sight. The signals received were from a digital terrestrial broadcast sent from the Tokyo Tower which was about 5.5km away.While neither device converts very much power, the team is confident that uses could be found for such converters, or perhaps new devices created that could take advantage of small amounts of power. They also note that in some areas, such as very near the Tokyo Tower, the rectenna is able produce much more power; in one case it was able to produce 6mW of power, at a distance of 3 or 4 kilometers from the tower.In practical terms it appears the devices might be useful for capturing radio waves in the home and using the electricity produced to power LED monitor lights or as sensors that wake-up other gadgets when someone wants to use them. If enough rectenna’s were connected in a home, consumers might even see lower power bills at the end of the month.Via DigInfo TV © 2010 PhysOrg.com Explore further Citation: Researchers develop “rectenna” to convert radio waves to electricity (2011, August 4) retrieved 18 August 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2011-08-rectenna-radio-electricity.html This document is subject to copyright. Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study or research, no part may be reproduced without the written permission. The content is provided for information purposes only.
Explore further Citation: Aerospace engineer proposes arm-equipped satellite to affix propellant kits to space junk to send it back home (2011, August 12) retrieved 18 August 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2011-08-aerospace-arm-equipped-satellite-affix-propellant.html (PhysOrg.com) — Over the past several years, many scientists and armchair enthusiasts alike have offered up a possible solution to the ever growing cloud of space junk circling the Earth; the result of leftover missions, collisions and inadvertent accidents. Image: NASA More information: Active space debris removal — A preliminary mission analysis and design, Acta Astronautica, Article in Press. doi:10.1016/j.actaastro.2011.04.017AbstractThe active removal of five to ten large objects per year from the low Earth orbit (LEO) region is the only way to prevent the debris collisions from cascading. Among the three orbital regions near the Earth where most catastrophic collisions are predicted to occur, the one corresponding to a sun-synchronous condition is considered the most relevant. Forty-one large rocket bodies orbiting in this belt have been identified as the priority targets for removal. As part of a more comprehensive system engineering solution, a space mission dedicated to the de-orbiting of five rocket bodies per year from this orbital regime has been designed. The selected concept of operations envisages the launch of a satellite carrying a number of de-orbiting devices, such as solid propellant kits. The satellite performs a rendezvous with an identified object and mates with it by means of a robotic arm. A de-orbiting device is attached to the object by means of a second robotic arm, the object is released and the device is activated. The spacecraft travels then to the next target. The present paper shows that an active debris removal mission capable of de-orbiting 35 large objects in 7 years is technically feasible, and the resulting propellant mass budget is compatible with many existing platforms. One such proposal even suggested a cloud of tungsten be sent up to coat the trash, causing it to grow heavy enough to fall to Earth. Now, a more practical approach is being offered by Italian aerospace engineer Marco Castronuovo of the Agenzia Spaziale Italiana. In his paper, published in the journal Acta Astronautica he suggests that a satellite carrying among other things a solid propellant that could be affixed to a large piece of space junk, be launched. The satellite would have two robotic arms he says; one to grab hold of the piece of junk (say a spent rocket part) the other to affix the propellant device that once activated, would guide the piece of junk towards Earth, where it would burn up (hopefully) in the atmosphere.Space junk is of growing concern to those who launch satellites and of course manned craft into space. Just last month evasive maneuvers had to be conducted to prevent the International Space Station from colliding with an object in its path. And while the amount already up there is of concern, what is even more troubling is the possibility of space and the debris up there falling prey to the Kessler Syndrome, a condition whereby pieces of space junk collide with one another, causing them to break into several smaller pieces. Those smaller pieces, because there would then be more of them would then have a greater chance of colliding with something else, thereby creating ever smaller pieces and on and on, until the number of minuscule pieces would total in the tens if not hundreds of millions of pieces, eventually creating such an inhospitable environment that functioning spacecraft couldn’t hope to survive. Castronuovo says such a satellite as he proposes, would be capable of de-orbiting 35 large objects over a 7 year period, which would be more practical than it sounds because it would target the forty-one large rocket bodies that are currently orbiting in the sun-synchronous orbital region near the Earth, which he says is where most of the catastrophic collisions in the near term are likely to occur. NASA proposes laser use to move space junk © 2011 PhysOrg.com This document is subject to copyright. Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study or research, no part may be reproduced without the written permission. The content is provided for information purposes only.
Explore further Increased productivity, not less energy use, results from more efficient lighting Faiman: I don’t make predictions. Generally, they all need to grow. In fact, their respective growth rates will depend upon the whim of politicians, followed by VCs.Phys.org: Do you think one of these alternative energy technologies will eventually become dominant to the same extent that oil, coal, and gas are now? Why or why not?Faiman: Probably, ONLY if the oil, coal, gas industry lets it happen, or if some powerful and independent government (e.g., that of China) makes it happen.Phys.org: Do you think we will ever become independent of oil, coal, and/or gas? Why or why not?Faiman: Technically we could. But whether we will depends on a host of political considerations.Phys.org: Twenty years from now, will most of our cars still be fueled by gasoline? If you think “yes,” what about in 50 years? What will be the most difficult part in making this transition?Faiman: I prefer to focus on what could happen: (1) Electric cars are an exciting potential for the near term, which, as has been amply demonstrated, is a practical possibility; (2) For the longer term, we need to develop liquid hydrogen as an alternative for hydrocarbon fuels. To this end, there are two fundamental scientific problems that must be solved: a physics problem (how to prevent the tiny hydrogen molecules from percolating out through the walls of their containment tank), and a chemistry problem (how to reduce the extreme flammability of this element).Phys.org: If you don’t mind really speculating, what do you think the world will look like 100 years from now, or more? Your thoughts may be influenced by your field of expertise, or may be more generally influenced by your life overall.Narendran: Lighting playing a much greater role in our daily life, completely changing the way we implement lighting within our built environments and how we light our spaces with LEDs and OLEDs, and people realizing their value. Faiman: One hundred years ago, there were two World Wars ahead of us. If we can prevent one more during the next 100 years, Dayenu!From my field of expertise: it would be nice if our great grandchildren would find it hard to believe that electricity was once generated by burning stuff that they dug out of the ground. From another part of my life: It would also be nice if the music and reputation of Giacomo Meyerbeer could be restored to where Berlioz, Bizet and Saint Saens placed them, viz, on a par with “Beethoven, Leonardo and Raphael” (Bizet), and not in the pit in which Wagner, Schumann and Mendelssohn [“That jew banker who happens to write music” (Wagner)] successfully buried them during the 20th century. (Phys.org)—As 2012 comes to a close, scientists and engineers are looking forward to molding the future, starting with the work they do in their own labs. Phys.org has interviewed a few of today’s leading researchers in the areas of energy and lighting, and asked them what they’re most excited about in their fields in the years to come. Dr. David Faiman, Director of Israel’s National Solar Energy Center and Chairman of the Department of Solar Energy & Environmental Physics at Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, specializes in the large-scale provision of electric power from solar energy.Professor Nadarajah Narendran, Director of Research at the Lighting Research Center at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, specializes in optics, optoelectronics, and lighting. His main area of research is solid-state lighting.Phys.org: To reflect on the past, in your opinion, what has been the most exciting part of your field over the past 10-15 years or so – especially if this is something that most people would not have predicted to be exciting 10-15 years ago?Narendran: Semiconductor light sources displacing traditional incandescent and gas discharge light sources in lighting applications.Faiman: First, that concentrator photovoltaics is capable of being cost-competitive with fossil fuel, in sunny parts of the world. Second, that solar and wind power could be as “cheap” as hospitals, schools and roads, if they were all paid for with our taxes.Phys.org: What do you predict will be one or some of the most exciting discoveries or advances in your field in the next 10-15 years? Narendran: Solid-state light sources catering to the dynamic lighting needs of people with very little energy use.Faiman: I don’t make predictions. But the most important area for research is electrical storage – in order to enable the intermittent output from solar and wind generators to be readily available for the needs of the electricity grid.Phys.org: Where do you see personal electronics going in the next 10-20 years? What kinds of devices might we have, and how will we interact with them?Narendran: Personal electronics (like smart phones) interacting and controlling appliances within and remote from the space one occupies.Phys.org: Which alternative energy generation technology (such as solar, concentrated solar, wind, geothermal, etc.) do you think will grow the most in the next 10 or 20 years? Why? Copyright 2012 Phys.org All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed in whole or part without the express written permission of Phys.org. Citation: Interview: What does the future hold for energy and lighting? (2012, December 28) retrieved 18 August 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2012-12-future-energy.html This document is subject to copyright. Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study or research, no part may be reproduced without the written permission. The content is provided for information purposes only.
Citation: Sperm whale clans found to change location in ways similar to humans (2016, October 19) retrieved 18 August 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2016-10-sperm-whale-clans-ways-similar.html More information: Mauricio Cantor et al. Cultural turnover among Galápagos sperm whales, Royal Society Open Science (2016). DOI: 10.1098/rsos.160615AbstractWhile populations may wax and wane, it is rare for an entire population to be replaced by a completely different set of individuals. We document the large-scale relocation of cultural groups of sperm whale off the Galápagos Islands, in which two sympatric vocal clans were entirely replaced by two different ones. Between 1985 and 1999, whales from two clans (called Regular and Plus-One) defined by cultural dialects in coda vocalizations were repeatedly photo-identified off Galápagos. Their occurrence in the area declined through the 1990s; by 2000, none remained. We reassessed Galápagos sperm whales in 2013–2014, identifying 463 new females. However, re-sighting rates were low, with no matches with the Galápagos 1985–1999 population, suggesting an eastward shift to coastal areas. Their vocal repertoires matched those of two other clans (called Short and Four-Plus) found across the Pacific but previously rare or absent around Galápagos. The mechanisms behind this cultural turnover may include large-scale environmental regime shifts favouring clan-specific foraging strategies, and a response to heavy whaling in the region involving redistribution of surviving whales into high-quality habitats. The fall and rise of sperm whale cultures off Galápagos reflect the structuring of the Pacific population into large, enduring clans with dynamic ranges. Long-lasting clan membership illustrates how culture can be bound up in the structure and dynamics of animal populations and so how tracking cultural traits can reveal large-scale population shifts. (Phys.org)—A small team of researchers with members from Dalhousie University, Aarhus University and the University of St. Andrews, has found that sperm whale clans living off the coast of the Galápagos Islands were replaced by two others over the course of a decade. In their paper uploaded to the open access site Royal Society Open Science, the team describes their study of the whales, what they learned and why they believe the behavior they observed suggests the whale clans have a form of culture. This document is subject to copyright. Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study or research, no part may be reproduced without the written permission. The content is provided for information purposes only. A mother sperm whale and her calf off the coast of Mauritius. The calf has remoras attached to its body. Credit: Gabriel Barathieu/Wikipedia/CC BY-SA 2.0 Explore further The researchers began studying the whales back in 1985, taking pictures of them to assist in identifying and tracking individual members and using sonar microphones to record the sounds they made to communicate with one another. After analyzing the recordings, the researchers concluded that the whales living in the area were actually two groups, or clans—each communicating in their own dialect, which the team calls their coda. They named the clans based on the recordings—the Regular Clan (because of their regular spaced clicks) and the Plus-One Clan (because their clicks were longer). The researchers continued to monitor the whales even they declined and then vanished altogether by 1999. The whales had not died, the researchers note; they simply emigrated to another part of the ocean off the coast of Chile and the Gulf of California. The researchers then began working on other projects until they heard reports in 2013 that the whales had returned. This caused the team to return to the islands to renew their study of the whales. But the group found that the whales living there were not the same ones that had been there before. There were two clans, but neither were members of the prior clans they had studied; both communicated with different dialects. As before, they named the clans based on their codas: the Short clan and the Four-Plus clan.The researchers do not know why the first two clans emigrated, but suggest it might have something to do with human hunting practices or changes in the food supply due to El Niño events. They also suggest that having one clan replace another that moved out of an area is a behavior that has only ever been seen before in humans. Journal information: Royal Society Open Science © 2016 Phys.org Study on Pacific sperm whales suggests culture isn’t just for humans
© 2018 Phys.org Citation: Did water-based life originate without water? (2018, January 30) retrieved 18 August 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2018-01-water-based-life.html Proposed process for formamide synthesis near radioactive mineral deposits on Earth’s surface. Credit: Adam et al. Published in Scientific Reports. Explore further This document is subject to copyright. Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study or research, no part may be reproduced without the written permission. The content is provided for information purposes only. “We are fascinated by the possibility that water-based life may have originated without water at all,” Zachary Adam, a researcher at Harvard University, told Phys.org.Adam and others have been investigating a leading candidate for a water alternative called formamide, a clear liquid that consists of hydrogen, oxygen, carbon, and nitrogen. Not only does formamide favor polymer bond formation more than water does, it also reacts with other molecules to form nucleobases, amino acids, and some of the other basic compounds needed to make nucleic acids. But there is a glaring problem with this proposal: formamide does not occur naturally in any significant quantity anywhere on Earth. Although formamide is widely used in industry as a solvent for making pharmaceuticals and pesticides, all of this formamide is synthetically produced. Formamide does exist in space, however, which has previously motivated researchers to suggest that it may have been transported to Earth via comets or meteors. But it is unlikely that this scenario could have produced the large, concentrated reservoirs of formamide needed for life’s precursors to form.Now in a new paper published in Scientific Reports, a team of researchers, led by Adam and coauthor Masashi Aono at Keio University and Tokyo Institute of Technology, have demonstrated the possibility that formamide may have been produced in abundance by radiation in some pockets of the early Earth.In experiments, the researchers irradiated hydrogen cyanide and acetonitrile—two chemicals present on early Earth—with gamma rays. They found that formamide was one of the major products.Although in their experiments the researchers used a cylinder of cobalt-60 to produce the gamma rays, they suggest that on early Earth the radiation may have come from radioactive mineral deposits (found today on beaches worldwide) or uranium fission zones. Only one region is currently known to contain evidence of a small handful of uranium zones that existed in Earth’s geologic history—the Oklo region in Gabon, Africa—but these zones only became active long after life originated. The researchers calculated that, if similar zones existed 4 billion years ago, a single site could have produced over 6 orders of magnitude more formamide over a given area than that estimated by delivery from comets and meteorites. The results suggest that radioactive mineral deposits can produce enough formamide to accumulate to high concentrations, which could have formed large formamide reservoirs in which nucleic acids could have formed as precursors to the first living organisms.”Often the problem of the origins of life is considered to be solved if we could understand how prototypical building blocks of life such as biopolymers and metabolites could form in plausible early-Earth environments,” Aono said. “But we are not satisfied with this way of thinking. Life should not be treated as a bag full of the building blocks, but should be understood as a complex network of chemical reactions.”As the researchers explain, radiation is particularly unique as an energy source for the origins of life compared to redox chemistry or simple heating. As Adam said, this is because radiation “drives an expansive network of reactions, not just an array of products for an array of inputs.”Of course, the researchers have only showed what could have happened, and not what did happen. In the future, they plan to continue studying all of the possible scenarios for the origins of life and examine the plausibility of each occurring, and see where the evidence leads.”We are now trying to assess whether the full network of the driven reactions exhibits attributes found across many different scales of complex living systems, such as cellular metabolic networks, population dynamics, and even ecological relationships,” Aono said. Water can be corrosive to life, so what about alternative solvents? When trying to understand the origins of life on Earth, researchers run into a paradox: while water is an indispensable solvent for all known life forms that exist today, water also inhibits the formation of string-like chains of nucleic acid polymers such as RNA that were likely precursors of life. This raises the question: how could the nucleic acids have formed in the first place? One solution to this “water paradox” is that life may have originated in something other than water, and only later adapted to the presence of water. , Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society A More information: Zachary R. Adam et al. “Estimating the capacity for production of formamide by radioactive minerals on the prebiotic Earth.” Scientific Reports. DOI: 10.1038/s41598-017-18483-8Zachary R. Adam et al. “Subsumed complexity: abiogenesis as a by-product of complex energy transduction” Philosophical Transactions of The Royal Society A. DOI: 10.1098/rsta.2016.0348Related video: Zachary Adam’s lecture on “Energy, Entropy, and Complexity on the Prebiotic Earth” Journal information: Scientific Reports
This document is subject to copyright. Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study or research, no part may be reproduced without the written permission. The content is provided for information purposes only. A planarian flatworm four hours after losing both its head (on the left) and its tail (on the right), stained for the actively-dividing stem cell response that follows injury. Credit: Wendy Scott Beane, Western Michigan University Flatworms are known for their regenerative capabilities—amputated parts will grow right back. In this new effort, the researchers wondered what would happen if they cut off parts of a flatworm’s body and then exposed it to a weak magnetic field (more than Earth’s field, but less than that exerted by strong magnets).Some in the biological community have theorized that exposure to weak magnetic fields could result in a process called radical pair recombination. This process could conceivably alter the spin direction of electrons located in the outer parts of atoms, disturbing molecular pairings and leading to the formation of free radicals. This could lead to the production of reactive oxygen species (ROS—chemically reactive species that contain oxygen), which might cause processes like faster wound healing or slowing cancer cell growth. To test the theory, the researchers used flatworms. In their lab, they sliced flatworms below and above their feeding tubes and then put the pieces in culture dishes that were placed inside a chamber shielded from outside magnetic interference. Inside the chamber, they placed a device capable of producing weak magnetic fields. They subjected the pieces to a variety of magnetic field intensities and observed the impact on regeneration times. A Schmidtea mediterranea planarian flatworm, the species used in this study. Credit: Alanna Van Huizen, Western Michigan University The researchers report that growth was slowed in blastema, cells that grow into new parts, when subjected to 100 to 400 µT magnetic fields. Growth sped up in fields greater than 500 µT. They also found ROS levels were altered—they were lower than they would have been under normal conditions in blastema exposed to the lower doses of magnetism, and higher in those exposed to fields greater than 500 µT. The researchers were unable to explain the different impacts they saw, but noted that a reduction in blastema growth was accompanied by reduced stem cell growth. A team of researchers from Western Michigan University and the University of Colorado Boulder has found that the regeneration rate for planaria flatworms can be impacted by a weak magnetic field. In their paper published in the journal Science Advances, the group describes experiments they conducted with flatworms exposed to weak magnetic fields and what they found. Following injury, planarians undergo a stem cell response (labeled in green) that leads to new tissue growth and the regeneration of missing structures (such as the head). Weak static magnetic fields can change stem cell responses to injury, as seen following exposure to a 200 μT field, which blocks stem cell activity and therefore regeneration. Credit: Luke Kinsey, Alanna Van Huizen, Marine Bolliet, and Wendy Beane, Western Michigan University Journal information: Science Advances Citation: Flatworms found to regenerate faster or slower when exposed to weak magnetic field (2019, January 31) retrieved 18 August 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2019-01-flatworms-regenerate-faster-slower-exposed.html Explore further © 2019 Science X Network More information: Alanna V. Van Huizen et al. Weak magnetic fields alter stem cell–mediated growth, Science Advances (2019). DOI: 10.1126/sciadv.aau7201 The effects of weak magnetic fields on cancer cells and other aspects of biology
More information: John M. McPartland et al. Cannabis in Asia: its center of origin and early cultivation, based on a synthesis of subfossil pollen and archaeobotanical studies, Vegetation History and Archaeobotany (2019). DOI: 10.1007/s00334-019-00731-8 Switzerland mulls studies on legal sale of cannabis © 2019 Science X Network Explore further Credit: CC0 Public Domain Cannabis is likely one of the most well-known plants on Earth because it produces cannabinoids—chemicals that have a pronounced impact on the human brain. Prior studies have suggested the plant likely originated somewhere in central Asia approximately 28 million years ago—the point where it diverged from an ancestor, the common hop. In this new effort, the researchers sought to more precisely pin down the most likely place where the plant got its start.The approach used by the researchers was to pore through prior studies, whether archaeological or geological, looking for mention of the famed plant—most notations referenced pollen because it is the part of the plant that can survive the longest. The researchers point out that identifying cannabis pollen at dig sites was not a trivial task, because in most tests, it appears identical to hop pollen. To get around that problem, they took note of other types of pollen that were found with the cannabis candidates. If the other pollen came from woodland plants, the researchers assumed they were hops, whereas if they came from steppes, the pollen was assumed to be from a cannabis plant—modern cannabis plants prefer the type of climate found in steppes. When the researchers zeroed in on the studies that mentioned cannabis (found with other steppe pollen) the earliest, they found references to parts of southern Russia and northern China. Further analysis led them to believe that the most likely place of origin was the Tibetan Plateau, perhaps near Qinghai Lake, which, the trio notes, is approximately 3200 meters above sea level. Interestingly, the researchers also note that the site is also near the place where evidence of Denisovans has been found—along with cannabis pollen. A trio of researchers with the University of Vermont, Middlebury College and the University of Nottingham, Ningbo, China, has found evidence that suggests cannabis originated in the Tibetan Plateau. In their paper published in the journal Vegetation History and Archaeobotany, John McPartland, William Hegman and Tengwen Long describe their analysis of prior studies of the plant and how they narrowed down the likely place where it first developed. Citation: Study results suggest cannabis originated in the Tibetan Plateau (2019, May 22) retrieved 18 August 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2019-05-results-cannabis-tibetan-plateau.html This document is subject to copyright. Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study or research, no part may be reproduced without the written permission. The content is provided for information purposes only.
You’ve reached a roadblock on a project at work, so you go home in frustration. While cooking dinner, you suddenly figure out a solution to the obstacle you left at the office. Recent findings from the University of California, Santa Barbara indicate that some of our most inventive ideas unfold like this — especially if we work in a profession that requires a lot of creativity. Gable, S.L., Hopper, E.A., & Schooler, J.W. (2019). When the muses strike: Creative ideas of physicists and writers routinely occur during mind wandering. Psychological Science. doi.org/10.1177/0956797618820626 In a pair of studies, psychological scientists Shelly L. Gable, Elizabeth A. Hopper, and Jonathan Schooler recruited two types of people whose livelihoods depend on innovation—theoretical physicists and professional writers. The first study involved 45 physicists at a research institute and 53 writers — including screenwriters, novelists, and nonfiction writers. Every evening over a 2-week period, the participants received a survey email that asked about any creative idea they had related to their profession and what they were doing when they had the idea. Specifically, they reported whether they were working on the problem at hand, on another work-related problem, or on something unrelated to work (such as paying bills).In addition, participants reported whether the idea related to some kind of impasse or ongoing project, and whether it felt like an “aha” moment. Lastly, they rated the level of creativity and importance of the idea.About 6 months later, the participants received a follow-up survey containing the ideas that they had listed in the earlier surveys. Once again, they rated each idea’s level of creativity and importance.The second study followed the same procedure, but with a slightly smaller number of participants and a follow-up survey at 3 months instead of 6.Across the two studies, participants reported that about 20% of their most important ideas occurred when they were thinking about something else, and they rated the ideas as being as equally important and creative as those formed while they were working on task.In the follow-up surveys, the participants rated their previous ideas as slightly more creative, but less important, compared with their earlier ratings. Overall, they were more likely to rate ideas generated during mind wandering as the coveted “aha” moments compared with ideas generated while working.The authors acknowledge some limitations in the research, including their reliance on the subjectivity of participants’ self-reports. But the findings are an indication that creative professionals routinely have some of their most inventive ideas outside of work. Reference