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Albert Einstein was inspired to propose his Theory of Relativity after reading the works of a 18th century Scottish philosopher, it has emerged. A new letter, discovered at the University of Edinburgh shows that the German-born theoretical physicist had studied David Hume’s A Treatise of Human Nature just before proposing special relativity in 1905. The groundbreaking theory suggested that the speed of light remained the same even if the observer was speeding up or slowing down, suggesting that time and space therefore could not be constant. Yet it was Hume who had first questioned whether space and time were in fact fixed, and independent of each other, and had called for further scientific investigation to find out. In a Treatise of Human Nature, published in 1738, Hume wrote: “The chief objection against all abstract reasoning is derived from the ideas of Space and Time. Ideas in everyday life may appear clear and intelligible, but when they pass through the scrutiny of the profound Sciences...they seem full of absurdity and contradiction.” In Einstein’s letter, written to Moritz Schlick, Professor of Physics at Vienna, in December 1915 he admits that it was Hume’s work which inspired general relativity. “You have correctly seen that this line of thought was of great influence on my efforts and indeed Ernst Mach and still much more Hume, whose treatise on understanding I studied with eagerness and admiration shortly before finding relativity theory.” David Hume Credit: Allan Ramsay He goes on to write that “It is very possible that without these philosophical studies I can not say that the solution would have come.” The new letter was discovered by Professor David Purdie, if the Institute of Advanced Studies at the University of Edinburgh. He said: “I was talking to the rector of Princeton University last year about how the Scottish scientists James Clerk Maxwell had been a huge inspiration for Einstein, and he said: “You know Hume was as well don’t you?” “I was absolutely thrown. I have read all the Einstein papers and there is no mention of Hume. So he sent me to dig out the old letters of Einstein and there he was, filed away and forgotten. I had no idea. “Einstein said that Hume more than anyone else had inspired him. It’s amazing to think that someone who lived 100 years before, in an entirely different place, could have had such an impact.” In his twenties, Einstein worked as a clerk in the Swiss federal Patent Office in Bern while developing his theories of relativity and was part of a group called The Olympic Academy which met weekly to discuss physics and philosophy. It was here that Einstein was introduced to David Hume’s Treatise of Human Nature. The work is generally considered to be one of the most important philosophical studies ever published and the first to seriously question God, and man’s place in the world, ahead of Darwin.
Ren also said the arrest of his daughter and Huawei’s chief financial officer Meng Wanzhou is politically motivated. Meng was arrested in Vancouver in December on a U.S. extradition request alleging fraud. Huawei has denied any wrongdoing.
Scientists on Monday said they have decoded the genome of Earth's largest predatory fish, detecting numerous genetic traits that help explain its remarkable evolutionary success, including molecular adaptations to enhance wound healing as well as genomic stability such as DNA repair and DNA damage tolerance. In theory, large genomes with a lot of repeated DNA, like this shark possesses, and its large body size should promote a high incidence of genome instability, with much more DNA and many more cells seemingly vulnerable as targets for damage through an accumulation of routine mutations. Just the opposite seems to be the case for this shark, thanks to adaptations in genes involved in preserving genome integrity.
Japanese have easy access to new medicines, whose prices are decided by the government and subsidized by the country's public health insurance system. Japan, confronted with the ballooning cost of caring for an aging population, is introducing a cost-effectiveness test for drugs as a means of capping prices. Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's economic council in December proposed considering cost in determining whether to approve treatments.
MIAMI (Reuters) - U.S. President Donald Trump on Monday warned members of Venezuela's military who are helping President Nicolas Maduro to stay in power that they are risking their future and their lives and urged them to allow humanitarian aid into the country. Speaking to a cheering crowd mostly of Venezuelan and Cuban immigrants, Trump said if the Venezuelan military continues supporting Maduro, "you will find no safe harbor, no easy exit and no way out. You’ll lose everything.” He said he wanted a peaceful transition of power in Venezuela but that all options remained open. ...
The plan, issued by Xinhua News Agency late Monday, said the government will seek to turn the area into a leading global innovation hub, boost infrastructure connectivity between cities, strengthen Hong Kong’s role as an international center of finance, shipping and trade as well as the center for the offshore yuan business. The Greater Bay Area is challenged by diverging social, legal and customs systems, which have impeded the free flow of resources, according to the outline plan text.
"If we Europeans don't want to have other Brexits and become trapped in a naive defense of status quo, we have to wake up." Macron's speech coincides with rising tensions in the West, which has been shaken by U.S. President Donald Trump's "America First" policies and Britain's departure from the EU. Macron's office said on Monday the speech will be at end of February or early March, although the exact date and location had not yet been fixed. The idea is to draw the lessons from Brexit," the source said.
Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau's principal secretary Gerald Butts resigned on Monday amid allegations Trudeau's office had pressured the former justice minister to help construction firm SNC-Lavalin avoid criminal prosecution. Trudeau has faced criticism since Jody Wilson-Raybould quit Trudeau's cabinet unexpectedly.
From allowing companies to hold super-voting rights to letting key shareholders buy stock in IPOs, tech companies are lobbying Hong Kong Exchanges & Clearing Ltd. for changes or waivers that would help their businesses, according to people familiar with the matter. With intense competition from exchanges in New York and elsewhere to win listings, and many multibillion-dollar Chinese companies poised to go public, pressure is building on Hong Kong to maintain its position as a financial center. In one instance, Maoyan Entertainment threatened to walk away from Hong Kong if it couldn’t get permission for investor Tencent Holdings Ltd. to buy more shares in its IPO, said the people familiar with the matter, who asked to not be identified as they weren’t authorized to speak on the matter.
An Israeli space project backed by American billionaire casino mogul Sheldon Adelson is set to make history by launching the first ever private spacecraft to the moon this week. The private aircraft will be launched on Thursday from Florida, propelled by a Falcon rocket from Elon Musk's space company SpaceX. The eight-year space venture by SpaceIL and state-owned Israel Aerospace Industries is also backed by Israeli entrepreneur Morris Kahn. The spacecraft, which weighs 180 kilograms, was contained in a temperature controlled shipping container, was shipped to the US last month. It is equipped with instruments to measure the moon's magnetic field and contains a copy of the Bible. If this project is successful, Israel will be the fourth nation to successfully land on the moon after the US, Russia and China. In a press conference on Monday Ido Anteby, chief executive of SpaceIL, told journalists that the spacecraft will slingshot around the Earth at least six times to reach the moon and land on its surface on April 11. SpaceIL, which was founded in 2011 to compete in a now-defunct Google sponsored space competition, is hoping to create a new "Apollo Effect" to inspire the next generation of children in Israel to think differently about science, engineering, technology and maths. Aerospace expects this project to open up "multiple opportunities" for Israel in science education for the next generation, advancing scientific research as well as demand for Israeli engineering.
Our Sun is the most readily available source of energy we have available to us, but harnessing its incredible power is something humanity is still a challenge. Solar farms placed in sunny areas of the Earth do a good job of converting sunlight into usable energy, but major drawbacks remain.For one, solar panels placed on the planet can only collect sunlight for a portion of the day, and weather can dramatically hinder their ability to create electricity. Now, China thinks it has a solution to both of those problems, and it's going to test its idea within the next few years.In a new report from China's Science and Technology Daily, as spotted by the Sydney Morning Herald, the country's plans for a space-based solar farm are revealed. Rather than a power-gathering installation on Earth, China plans to launch an energy-gathering solar station into Earth orbit.Using a space solar station instead of one on the ground not only eliminates weather as a factor but also allows the station to remain in full sunlight 24 hours a day. According to the report, China envisions a system by which the spacecraft collect solar power and then send it down to receiving stations on the Earth as a laser or microwave beam. The power would then be fed into the power grid as electricity.According to the report, the country plans to test out the concept between 2021 and 2025 with small-scale orbital power stations and then take the next step to a megawatt-level solar station around 2030. Eventually, a gigawatt-capable spacecraft is planned, but that's a few decades down the road.It's a very interesting idea and, if China can get it working reliably it might be a viable and relatively green energy solution, but there's still lots of work to be done before such a judgement can be made.
Immune cells which could fight all kinds of influenza virus have been discovered by scientists, raising hope for a universal vaccine which does not need to be update annually. Researchers from the Peter Doherty Institute for Infection and Immunity and Monash University found that some killer T cells are able to fight off all forms of the virus. Most immune cells only target individual strains, but researchers discovered parts of the virus that were common across all types of flu and then looked for cells in humans which could latch on to those areas. The type of killer T cells exist in half of the world’s population, giving them a much better natural immunity, when the immune system is functioning fully. But researchers believe they may be able to use the cells to create a vaccine to boost the cell activity or retrain the immune system. “Influenza viruses continuously mutate to evade recognition by our immune system, and they are vastly diverse, making it nearly impossible to predict and vaccinate against the strain that will cause the next influenza pandemic,” said first author Dr Marios Koutsakos. “We have identified the parts of the virus that are shared across all flu strains, and sub-strains capable of infecting humans, and then investigated if we could find robust responses to those viral parts in healthy humans, and influenza-infected adults and children.” Cold and flu symptoms | What's the difference? University of Melbourne Professor Katherine Kedzierska, study leader and laboratory head at the Doherty Institute, said it was an exciting discovery that clearly showed killer T cells provide unprecedented immunity across all flu viruses, a key component of a potential universal vaccine. “Influenza B immunology particularly has remained largely understudied because it doesn’t have pandemic potential,” she said. “However, it is a serious virus that can lead to death and severe illness, mostly in children, and was one of the missing pieces of the universal flu protection puzzle,” Professor Kedzierska said. The research team also conducted tests on human lung tissue and in mice, injnecting peptides which activated the killer T cells. “Our immunisation studies with the peptide responsible for activating the killer T cells revealed remarkably reduced levels of flu virus and inflammation in the airways,” Mr Koutsakos said. The research was published in Nature Immunology.
NIH Funding Opportunities
- Development, Implementation, and Management of a Funding System to support the Grade A Milk Safety Program and National Shellfish Sanitation Program (U18)
- Notice of Correction to RFA-CA-19-008 "The Experimental Therapeutics Clinical Trials Network (ETCTN) Pharmacokinetic Resource Laboratories (U24 Clinical Trial Not Allowed)"
- Development of Standard Core Clinical Outcomes Assessments (COAs) and Endpoints (UG3/UH3 Clinical Trial Optional)
- Notice of Removal of Matching Requirement Instructions for RFA-EB-18-003 "HEAL Initiative: Translational Development of Devices to Treat Pain (U18 Clinical Trial Not Allowed)"
- Notice of Intent to Publish a Funding Opportunity Announcement for Trans-Agency Blood-Brain Interface Program (R61/R33 - Clinical Trials Not Allowed)