Thursday, May 21, 2009

Where's Nick Wheeler when you need him? (Swinburne's 5 dimensional data storage)

When I took freshman physics at Reed College, our lectures were delivered by Professor Nicholas Wheeler. Wheeler was a mathematical physicist, and as a result his lectures sometimes verged into the theoretical realm. He was fond of talking about things in 17-dimensional space. This would make me dizzy, and I found myself valuing Professor David Griffiths, who led our smaller sessions (conferences) and who was able to speak to us in a more practical manner.

I didn't become a physicist (that freshman physics course was the last science course that I ever took), and to this day I usually stay within three dimensions, only going to the fifth dimension in a musical sense. So when I saw this item, I was wondering what was going on.

Five-Dimensional Data Storage

A new material could eventually be used to store vast amounts of data on a disc.

Then I found the explanation:

Now researchers have for the first time demonstrated what they call a five-dimensional optical material. It can record data in three spatial dimensions and in response to different wavelengths and polarizations of laser light.

The material is being developed by researchers led by Min Gu, director of the Centre for Micro-Photonics at the Swinburne University of Technology in Victoria, Australia.

More here.
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