Considering that Avengers: Infinity War is one of the longest super hero movies I have seen in quite some time, Continue reading “A Geeky Dad’s Movie Guide to Avengers: Infinity War (2018)”
This video gives you a chance to look BEHIND THE SCENES of: 0:11 Final Destination 5 Survivors of a suspension-bridge collapse learn there’s no way you can cheat Death. (IMDB) Production: New Line Cinema Practical Pictures Zide/Perry Productions Distributed by: Warner Bros. Pictures Budget: $40 million Box office: $158 Stars: Nicholas D’Agosto, Emma Bell, Miles Fisher
All credits of this video is Behind The Scenes channel: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCXGT…
Teenagers aren’t children anymore so drawing dad a crayon picture of the family for Father’s Day isn’t as appropriate as it was years ago. While teens aren’t yet adults, taking dad out to lunch might not also be the most appropriate way to show him how much you appreciate him. Instead, try these simple ways to show your father how much he means to you on Father’s Day that are just right coming from a teenager.
1. Books and movies
If your father has a particular genre of movie he likes to watch, pick out a movie from this category and sit down with him to watch it. Does he like to read? Perhaps an ebook reader is in order. Many fathers appreciate being entertained by a good story and it’s all the more fun if he has someone to share it with.
Does your dad like fishing, woodworking, or mechanics? Offer to help him in his shop or go with him out on the lake. He’d probably appreciate the help and the quality time together. Is he more of an indoor dad? If he prefers computer coding, try learning his favorite programming language and ask for his help when you get stuck on something. He might enjoy helping you with the challenge.
Most fathers don’t get a lot of time off. Instead of surrounding him with friends and family and food on Father’s Day, give him some peace. Let him lounge around in comfortable clothes and lose himself in an activity he enjoys.
4. Decorate his office
If you know someone at his workplace, bring some decorations to your father’s office to celebrate Father’s Day and remind him what a great dad he is. It wouldn’t be remiss to leave a letter on his desk putting it all into words.
Whether you tell your dad how much you appreciate him through a hug, a note, some simple words, or a card, just tell him. Letting your dad know how much you love him and appreciate having him for a father on Father’s Day can be one of the best possible gifts to receive. It’s especially true during those awkward teenage years when some teenagers forget to appreciate their family members and end up feeling embarrassed by them every now and then.
If your dad loves his car (and many fathers do), get it cleaned and detailed as a pleasant surprise. It’s not a gift he’s going to have to keep or put anywhere special. It’s not meant to last forever, nor does it tax his time or energy. It’s simply a present to help make his life a little easier… a little better. And what dad doesn’t want that on Father’s Day?
7. Enjoy time together
Father’s Day is a wonderful occasion to have lots of fun with your dad. Consider playing football, baseball or even golf. If Father’s Day will be a rainy day this year, bowling might be a good idea. No matter what you decide to do, make sure you and your dad have loads of fun.
Father’s Day is all about showing your dad how much you appreciate and love him. There are many ways to do that. I just mentioned a few ways, but I’m sure you have some other creative ideas to celebrate Father’s Day when you are a teen. What are you going to do on Father’s Day to show your dad you appreciate him?
If you used to celebrate the New Year’s Eve drinking a lot of alcohol and then you wake up with a hangover and tell yourself that you’ll never drink alcohol again, it is time to start spending the New Year in much healthier way! No matter what people may think, you can really enjoy celebrating the New Year’s Eve and feel healthier the next day. Here are 8 healthy ways to ring in the New Year.
1. Go skiing
Do you want to run away from everything, stay fit and have a fun New Year’s Eve? Then you should go to a ski resort. Most ski resorts host great parties for New Year’s Eve complete with a tasty buffet dinner and awesome fireworks to assure your night is one to remember. In addition, skiing is an ideal winter activity for burning those extra calories and being in shape, which means you can hit the buffet dinner later without feeling of guilt.
2. Throw a pampering party
One of the healthy ways to celebrate the New Year is to throw a pampering party. Rather than having the usual buffet and drinks, gather all your friends together for a place of pampering. If you can afford, you can hire a massage therapist or mobile beauty to provide some treatments for you and your friends, or buy manicure kits and some face masks. Prepare some healthy snacks such as raw vegetable and dips, and serve your friends healthy mocktails and smoothies.
3. Make healthy cocktails
If you can’t imagine the New Year’s Eve without a drink in hand, you may do it but in the healthiest way by making your own healthy cocktails, using juices and fresh fruits, and drinking in moderation. Making your own cocktails assure that you get some antioxidants and nutrients with your alcohol. It will also help to slow down your drinking.
4. Watch the sunrise
If you are not going to start the New Year indoors, grab a family member, friends or your partner and go out for an early morning stroll to watch the sunrise. It’s not only a great early morning exercise, but you start the New Year watching the sunrise with someone special. And it is more inspiring and leads to a healthy new beginning rather than waking up at midday with a terrible hangover!
5. Go dancing
Many people like dancing, and if you love to dance too, why not celebrate the New Year boogying away all night long? It could help you burn off hundreds of calories and stay fit this New Year. Sure, hitting the dance floor in a bar or club is a great option, but you can also dance at home, if you want to save some money.
6. Go for a midnight run
If you like running, why not start this New Year with healthy resolutions? You could join other runners of your city and go for a midnight run through a local park. If you don’t know any runners in your city, you could run at midnight with your family or some friends. It’s one of the healthiest ways to celebrate the New Year!
7. Play board games with your family
Research findings have shown that spending a lot of time with family and close friends can help you live longer, so why not ring in the New Year with someone special? Certainly, board games can be a little bit cheesy, but it’s a fun way to get the whole family involved. However, don’t get too competitive, everyone should be on speaking terms when the clock strikes a midnight!
8. Watch movies
If all these ways sound like a difficult work, you can celebrate the New Year lying on your comfortable sofa. I’m not going to tell you to watch TV, it’s not good for you. I’m talking about watching your favorite New Year’s movies, especially comedies! It’s beneficial for your mental well-being, immune system and heart, while snacking on popcorn will provide your body with fibre, nutrients and antioxidants.
There are many healthy ways to celebrate the New Year, and if you choose one of them you will forget about a hangover forever. What other healthy ways to start the New Year do you know? What’s your favorite way to ring in the New Year?
There are many worthy films about mental illness that inspire, inform and entertain. Here, we narrow down the list to nine movies featuring a lead character with bipolar disorder that you don’t want to miss!
#1 The Ghost and the Whale (2016)
Maurice Benard (Sonny of General Hospital) stars as Joseph Hawthorne, a man whose wife was lost overboard when they were sailing. The mystery of what really happened divides his town, makes enemies of his wife’s family, and draws the attention of a journalist. Joseph’s untreated bipolar leads to mania, melancholia, and discussions on the beach with a gray whale (voiced by Jonathan Pryce). Benard and his wife, Paula, produced the thriller. [click here to watch the trailer]
#2 Touched With Fire (2015)
Two people, each having bipolar (expertly played by Katie Holmes and Luke Kirby), meet in a psychiatric hospital and fall in love. Directed by Paul Dalio and produced by Spike Lee, Touched With Fire captures the intensity of their romance and the ebb and flow of beautiful highs and tormented lows. [click here to watch the trailer]
#3 Infinitely Polar Bear (2014)
Mark Ruffalo and Zoe Saldana play a mixed-race couple raising two daughters in 1970s Boston. The father doesn’t work because of his bipolar disorder, so the mother decides to accept a scholarship to graduate school in New York City so she can make more money for the family. The kids are left with their dad, who gives them lots of love but doesn’t always make the best parenting decisions. Writer and director Maya Forbes based the story on her own childhood. [click here to watch the trailer]
#4 Repentance (2013)
Forest Whitaker plays to stereotype in this psychological thriller. His character, a family man who also has bipolar disorder, is thrown off balance after his mother’s sudden death and he fixates on a self-help guru (played by Anthony Mackie) who has secrets in his past. Whitaker, who produced the violent drama, has said he was trying to explore loss, pain, healing, and the core of humanity in tortured souls. [click here to watch the trailer]
#5 Silver Linings Playbook (2012)
This romantic drama-comedy puts a sympathetic character with bipolar front and center—and surrounds him with other characters grappling with their own disorders. Bradley Cooper plays Pat Solitano, who is trying to get his life back together after a court-ordered psychiatric hospitalization. The main plotline concerns Pat’s efforts to win back his ex-wife by agreeing to enter a dance competition (it’s complicated). His dance partner, played by Jennifer Lawrence, is a widow whose grief led to a sex addiction. And his father, played by Robert De Niro, has obsessive-compulsive tendencies and a gambling problem that drives a lot of the action. Director David O. Russell says he was attracted to the project because his son has bipolar. [click here to watch the trailer]
#6 The Informant! (2009)
The Informant! is based on the saga of real life corporate whistleblower Mark Whitacre, played by Matt Damon. Whitacre was involved in a price-fixing scheme at the agribusiness giant Archer Daniels Midland. He agreed to tape his colleagues for the FBI— part of his own grandiose scheme to win promotion. The stress of his undercover ordeal worsened Whitacre’s bipolar disorder, which was later diagnosed and treated. [click here to watch the trailer]
#7 Michael Clayton (2007)
George Clooney takes center stage as the title character, a “fixer” for a New York law firm, but an attorney having a bipolar episode triggers the action in this thriller. When Arthur Edens (Tom Wilkinson) rants in court against the huge corporation his firm is defending in a class action suit, the firm sends Clayton to handle the situation. Clayton knows Edens has bipolar and has stopped taking his medications. When Edens later says his phone is being tapped, Clayton dismisses it as paranoia. After Edens is found dead, apparently of suicide, Clayton’s suspicions grow and he begins to investigate the corporate cover-up. [click here to watch the trailer]
#8 Mad Love (1995)
A somewhat sensationalized depiction of the highs and lows of bipolar, with Drew Barrymore playing a high school student who has been hospitalized after a suicide attempt. Her boyfriend (Chris O’Donnell) helps her escape and tries to cope with her increasingly intense emotions and actions as they head toward Mexico. In the end they return to Seattle, where she is readmitted to the psychiatric hospital and ultimately gets better. [click here to watch the trailer]
A surprisingly insightful portrait of euphoria, mania and depression as experienced by the main character, played by Richard Gere. Most of the movie involves his hospitalization and treatment by a psychiatrist (Lena Olin) who begins an unethical romantic relationship with him. There was a disconnect between the film’s sensitivity and its marketing tagline, though: “Everything that makes him dangerous makes her love him more.” [click here to watch the trailer]
Horror villain Freddy Krueger from A Nightmare On Elm StreetNew Line Cinema
In the mood for an unbridled gore fest? There’s bound to be a horror film to satisfy your appetite on popular streaming site, Netflix.
Perfect for themed sleepovers or if you’re brave enough, a solo binge watch experience, here are some of the best terror inducing movies that should be on your list.
A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night
Labelled “The first Iranian vampire Western,” this black and white horror offering from Iranian-American director Ana Lily Amirpour not only impressed the viewers but also received an applause from the critics. A stunning vampire in a chador spends her days listening to music and her nights walking the streets of an Iranian town called “Bad City,” where anyone unfortunate enough to be seduced are rewarded with her deadly fangs. Until she meets Arash, who somehow compels her to resist her vampire instincts.
It Follows was inspired by a recurring nightmare that director David Robert Mitchell had as a kid. The film is about a girl who has the ill-omened fate of being relentlessly followed by a scary invisible force until it catches her or she can transfer it to someone else through sexual contact. The perpetual fear of inevitable doom is what unsettles the mind of the viewer, making this film so riveting.
A Nightmare on Elm Street
The original film that gave rise to nine franchise films is finally on Netflix. Perhaps, the most famous horror film of all time, A Nightmare on Elm Street hovers right on top of every horror movie buffs’ favourite films list. Wes Craven gave the world a seminal horror villain in Freddy Krueger and Johnny Depp his Hollywood debut in this genre defining classic.
Jack Nicholson as Jack Torrance in The ShiningWarner Bros
The Shining is the inimitable Stanley Kubrick’s version of the 1977 novel by Stephen King. In a role of a lifetime, Jack Nicholson provides a chilling interpretation of a struggling writer under the influence of spiritual forces. There are some iconic quotes from the movie that has survived the test of times−”Heeeere’s Johnny” being one of them. Nicholson is said to have improvised the line which would later become one of the American Film Institute’s Top 100 Movie Quotes.
Zodiac tells the tale of a serial killer in San Francisco Bay Area in the late 60s and early 70s, leaving cryptic clues after each of his crimes. Although the film did not hit perform well at the box office like some of David Fincher’s other offerings like The Social Network, Fight Club and Seven, Zodiac is still considered a masterpiece by the director. Backed by a strong cast in Robert Downey Jr., Mark Ruffalo and Jake Gyllenhaal, the thriller is worth a watch even 10 years after it was first released.
The Invitation is about a dinner party that slowly builds up tension and treats the viewers with shocking surprises along the way. Karyn Kusama’s horror-thriller was reportedly supposed to have a notable cast including Luke Wilson, Zachary Quinto and Johnny Galecki, but Logan Marshall-Green totally holds his own as the lead until the very end.
The Sixth Sense
Cole Sears, played by Haley Joel Osment, is hounded by visions of the dead in his everyday life. M. Night Shyamalan has managed to create a spine-chilling film that’s capable of making grown men think twice about getting out of bed at night. The twist ending of The Sixth Sense is one of the most unexpected in film history.
The ending to The Sixth Sense is one of the most iconic twists to ever be revealed in a motion pictureGetty
Directed by genre maestro Bong Joon-ho and starring one of South Korea’s biggest superstars Song Kang-ho, The Host had success written all over it from the very beginning. Inspired by real events, a monster emerges when US military officials dump 200 bottles of formaldehyde in Seoul’s Han River. The story revolves around a man trying to retrieve his daughter from the clutches of the daunting creature.
An American Werewolf in London
A fantastic mix of horror and comedy, An American Werewolf in London still holds a strong appeal for viewers 36-years after it first hit the cinema. Directed by John Landis, the film tells the tale of two American college students on a tour in Britain when they are attacked by a werewolf. The transformation is still one of the best horror movie scenes ever.
What happens when the monster from your child’s creepy pop-up book comes to life? You get the ultimate scare-fest on screen. Touching on the frustrations of parenthood, The Babadook is an Australian film that feeds on the one bankable horror flick tool— anticipation. Foreboding really is the scariest factor in this movie with Essie Davis’ resolute performance also demanding a nod.
This Canadian psychological thriller is a bit of an unorthodox zombie film that actually works. It revolves around a small Ontario town where a deadly virus is quickly spreading through spoken language.
While not an all-out horror film, The Crow still manages to make our blood run cold. Brandon Lee plays Eric Draven who is brought back to life by a supernatural crow in order to seek revenge for the rape and murder of his fiancé. Lee, who gives a stellar performance, tragically died in an accident on set, further adding to the gothic aura of the movie.
We Are Still Here
As if the title itself wasn’t creepy enough, We Are Still Here provides some serious blood-curdling moments. When a grieving couple moves into a cursed house, they’re faced with some hellish confrontations with supernatural forces. The slow-pace might deter some in the beginning but the movie soon kicks the fear-factor it up a gear.
Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street
Johnny Depp and Helena Bonham Carter in Sweeney ToddDreamWorks Pictures / Warner Bros. Pictures
When you put Johnny Depp and Helena Bonham Carter together in a movie directed by Tim Burton you can bet it’s going to be a grand gothic fest. The film adaptation of the Tony Award winning musical doesn’t disappoint in any aspect. The story of Sweeney Todd “The Demon Barber of Fleet Street” and his accomplice Mrs. Lovett is a bloody jamboree that you’ll enjoy until the very end.
The Midnight Meat Train
As the title suggests The Midnight Meat Train is a gory horror flick that takes place on a late night train. Bradley Cooper plays Leon Kaufman a photographer who crosses path with a serial killer Mahogany played by Vinnie Jones. Mahogany is the master of macabre as he mercilessly butchers his victims picked from among subway commuters.
Never Sleep Again: The Elm Street Legacy
If you’re a die-hard fan of the Nightmare on Elm Street franchise, then this four hour long documentary is the stuff of your dreams. It covers the entire horror franchise except the 2010 A Nightmare on Elm Street remake.
Clive Barker’s adaptation of his own novella, Hellraiser, clearly isn’t for the fainthearted. Hardcore violence and butchery make for some very disturbing imagery. But that’s exactly how the film manages to keep audiences on the edge of their seats throughout.
We Are What We Are
This horror film is the story of Parker family with a very disturbing tradition— cannibalism. Fans of this Mexican remake can rejoice as both a prequel and a sequel of the film have been announced. Relive the horror on Netflix before they are released.
They Look Like People
This indie offering is one of the newest additions to Netflix. The story is about a young man who starts hearing voices about evil power soon taking over the world and having to decide a course of action that might involve saving his best friend. Despite its flaws, They Look Like People still makes for a rousing watch.
This 2016 Canadian film finds a group of people trapped in a run-down hospital where they have to fend off attack from hooded cult figures.
A still from the film JawsUniversal Pictures
Steven Spielberg’s undying classic, Jaws, has aged like a good old wine. The great white shark terrorising Amity Island is one petrifying thriller that makes for a fascinating watch every single time.
An animated feature of five of Edgar Allan Poe’s stories, you can watch Extraordinary Tales to try something different. While the film could’ve been better on many fronts, it’s still makes for an interesting watch when binge watching on horror flicks is the only plan for the day.
A definitive home invasion movie, Hush is about a deaf and mute writer who just wants to live a solitary life somewhere in the woods but is faced with a terrible struggle against a sadistic masked killer. Be prepared for some breathless action in one of the most imaginative horror films to hit the cinemas in recent years.
Another Tim Burton and Johnny Depp project, Sleepy Hollow follows the tale of police constable Ichabod Crane who has been sent to the village of Sleepy Hollow from New York to investigate a series of murders by the Headless Horseman. Depp is right on top of his game in the film, making it one of his many memorable performances.
This super entertaining haunted-house thriller was New Zealand’s finest movie export of 2014. It follows the hapless story of a woman sentenced to house arrest in a house infested with other worldly entities. At times funny and enduringly scary, Housebound has all the ingredients that fans of the genre seek.
STAR Wars makes me emotional. Like, really emotional.
I had what my husband identified as a “panic attack” during Star Wars: The Force Awakens. If that sounds hyperbolic to you (it definitely should), I will direct you to reaction videos of me losing my damn mind while watching the trailers for The Force Awakens and Star Wars: The Last Jedi. I cannot help it. My love for this franchises is coded into my DNA; if I were to have a child, odds are they would be born saying the phrase “My hands are dirty too, what are you afraid of?” Everyone at the hospital would find that disturbing, but I would know that my kid is legit.
There’s something about the cinematic experience of Star Wars that gets to me, deep down in my heart. So imagine my surprise when I found myself crying — no “I was actually just choking up” but full-on bawling — over a photo of a theme park.
This ain’t no movie, this ain’t no trailer, but this pic ain’t fooling around. That’s a to-scale Millennium Falcon, nestled within the beautifully lush and mountainous terrain of Disney’s upcoming Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge theme park. Disney parks on both coasts will each get a 14-acre addition that will transport hyperventilating visitors and their frustrated families to a totally new planet in Star Wars lore (presumably located on the edge of the galaxy).
Galaxy’s Edge, which is slated to open in 2019, will include two rides: one will drop you in the middle of a battle between the First Order and the Resistance on the hangar of a Star Destroyer, and the other allows you to pilot the Millennium Falcon on a mission. And in addition to the rides, the rest of those acres will be filled with creatures, droids, and characters from the SW universe as well as shops and restaurants selling/serving in-universe goods/food.
Galaxy’s Edge represents Disney rising to meet The Wizarding World of Harry Potter over at rival park Universal Studios. That themed area, styled mostly after the Harry Potter film series, changed the way people thought of theme parks when it opened in 2010. Basically, Universal totally upstaged Disney — and Disney scrambled. Disney looked around for hot properties to turn into a massive, Wizarding World-style experience and, since it was 2010, it saw … Avatar. Disney had no idea that:
1. They would acquire Lucasfilm and the Star Wars franchise just a few years later
2. Avatar filmmaker James Cameron would take FOREVER to get any of his bajillion Avatar sequels off the ground (Avatar 2 was bumped back from a 2014 release to a 2020 release)
3. Everyone would aggressively stop caring about Avatar
But once Disney’s plans were put in motion, they couldn’t stop them and the 12-acre Pandora — The World of Avatar attraction opened as part of Disney’s Animal Kingdom in May 2017. Considering how big a deal Harry Potter still is (three films have been released in the HP franchise since Avatar came out almost 8 years ago), Pandora just isn’t on the same level as the Wizarding World.
Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge, though? That’s real competition.
The Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Universal’s Orlando Resort. Picture: Zak SimmondsSource:News Corp Australia
And unlike the Wizarding World, Galaxy’s Edge isn’t just recreating what fans have seen on-screen or read in various books. Instead of taking tourists to Tatooine or Hoth, Galaxy’s Edge has been created to tell a totally new story on a new planet.
One of the main selling points is the (presumably) opt-in adventure you will go on just by stepping foot in the park; based on how well you do on the Millennium Falcon ride or how you interact with the characters around you, you — like, specifically you — will earn a reputation as either a hotshot pilot flush with credits or a troublemaker with a bounty on their head.
I always hear people say that video games are the future of movies, but Galaxy’s Edge, which reframes the actual world around your physical body, seems like the real deal. This isn’t just giving you control over an avatar on a screen; this park brakes through the screen and makes you the avatar. This even outdoes virtual reality; for the time you’re in Galaxy’s Edge, Star Wars will be your actual reality.
This is why I cried over a photo. This park is a literal dream come true. This park will allow me to physically interact with my favourite franchise of all time. It will put me in the cockpit of the Millennium Falcon, my favourite thing in all of existence. The closest I’ve come so far was seeing one of the actual models used during the original trilogy. No matter how hard I tried, I could not climb into this cockpit.
I love the movies, but Galaxy’s Edge is offering the kind of experience I have spent my entire life just assuming could never happen. If movie studios are looking to up fan engagement like never before, dropping the big bucks to create a totally immersive experience like Wizarding World, Pandora, and Galaxy’s Edge seems like the way to go. I could easily see the Marvel and DC shared cinematic universes getting similar attractions, and even non-sci-fi/fantasy series like Fast & Furious or James Bond. We could even get to experience a safe, theme park version of The Hunger Games before our world descends into the actual Hunger Games!
Members of the media get their first look at a detailed model of Star Wars land.Source:AP
Still, as awesome as these parks look, I actually don’t think they’re going to replace movies outright (the same way that video games will never totally replace film). The main reason I love Star Wars is the story and characters. I don’t love the Millennium Falcon because of how it looks. I love it because of its role in the films and the heroes and moments it holds within its kitbashed corridors. And I know that whatever Rian Johnson has in store for Luke, Rey, Leia, and the rest in The Last Jediwill be light-years more engaging than whatever I bumble into while wandering around a wonderfully immersive theme park.
I think it’s more accurate to say that Galaxy’s Edge is the future of theme parks. It’s no longer enough to slap a known property on top of an existing, decades-old ride (like the Tower of Terror’s Guardians of the Galaxy makeover). Theme parks are upping their game considerably, becoming movies that you can actually walk around inside. If that’s what it takes to draw in new visitors, then so be it. After all, I’ve never given much thought to flying to Orlando as an adult. Now, after the Galaxy’s Edge reveal, it’s practically all I can think about.
One of the most famous mind-twisters of the quantum world is the thought experiment known as “Schroedinger’s Cat,” in which a cat placed in a box and potentially exposed to poison is simultaneously dead and alive until someone opens the box and peeks inside.
Scientists have known for a long time that an atom or molecule can also be in two different states at once. Now researchers at the Stanford PULSE Institute and the Department of Energy’s SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory have exploited this Schroedinger’s Cat behavior to create X-ray movies of atomic motion with much more detail than ever before.
The first test of this idea, at SLAC’s Linac Coherent Light Source (LCLS) X-ray laser, created the world’s most detailed X-ray movie of the inner machinery of a molecule – in this case, a two-atom molecule of iodine. The results, based on an experiment led by SLAC staff scientist Mike Glownia, were reported in a paper that’s been posted on the arXiv online repository and accepted for publication in Physical Review Letters.
An animation explains the basic concept behind using ‘Schroedinger’s Cat’ states to make a molecular movie. (SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory)
Zooming in on Atomic Vibrations
The team was able to see details of the molecule’s behavior as small as .3 angstrom – less than the width of an atom – and as brief as 30 millionths of a billionth of a second, a timescale that captures the vibrations of atoms and molecules. What’s more, they say their method can be retroactively applied to data from past experiments, not just to future studies.
“Our method is fundamental to quantum mechanics, so we are eager to try it on other small molecular systems, including systems involved in vision, photosynthesis, protecting DNA from UV damage and other important functions in living things,” said Phil Bucksbaum, a professor at SLAC and Stanford University and director of PULSE, which is jointly operated by the lab and the university.
The new technique is based on the fact that when a molecule absorbs a short burst of energy, it splits into two versions of itself – one excited, the other not. A follow-up burst of X-ray laser light scatters off both versions of the molecule and recombines to form an X-ray hologram that, after some clever processing, reveals the excited state of the molecule in stunning detail. By stringing together a series of these X-ray snapshots, scientists can make a stop-action movie.
“Our movie, which is based on images from billions of iodine gas molecules, shows all the possible ways the iodine molecule behaves when it’s excited with this amount of energy,” Bucksbaum said.
“We see it start to vibrate, with the two atoms veering toward and away from each other like they were joined by a spring. At the same time, we see the bond between the atoms break, and the atoms fly off into the void. Simultaneously we see them still connected, but hanging out for a while at some distance from each other before moving back in. As time goes on, we see the vibrations die down until the molecule is at rest again. All these possible outcomes happen within a few trillionths of a second.”
This movie, derived from LCLS data, shows an iodine molecule moving in the first 2 trillionths of a second after being excited by a laser pulse. The clouds of blue dots represent the molecule’s two atoms, at top and bottom, which are joined by a bond through the middle. As the molecule starts to vibrate, the atoms oscillate back and forth. In some cases the bonds break and the atoms fly away. Clouds of red dots represent atoms in the unexcited state of the molecule, which exists simultaneously with its excited state in a Schroedinger’s Cat-like quantum paradox. (J.M. Glownia et al., Physical Review Letters)
Using Cat States to Make a Movie
Although the initial laser pulse hits only 4 or 5 percent of the molecules in the iodine gas cloud, it would be incorrect to say that only this small fraction was excited and the rest were not, Bucksbaum added. In quantum mechanical terms, every single molecule was excited a little bit, like a Schroedinger’s Cat that’s both dead and alive.
This dual state was key to making the molecular movie. It allowed the X-rays to bounce off both states of a molecule at once and recombine to form a hologram – a pattern of concentric rings that are brighter where the two signals reinforce each other and darker where they cancel each other out. The fact that this pattern formed in the LCLS detector proves that the excited and unexcited states were simultaneously present in each and every molecule, Bucksbaum said; if they had been separated by even a tiny distance, the pattern could not have formed.
The team used mathematical techniques borrowed from atomic physics to amplify the signal from the excited state, which would form the basis of the movie. But the signal from the unexcited state also played an important role, serving as a reference point that helped them reconstruct the behavior of the excited molecule in three dimensions in a process known as “phasing.”
Any group of molecules hit with a laser pulse will respond the same way, splitting into the equivalent of live and dead cats, Bucksbaum said. But the process can only be clearly and directly observed with intense, ultrashort pulses of coherent light like those from an X-ray laser, and until now no one had thought to take advantage of the Schroedinger’s Cat connection to sharpen images taken with X-rays.
“The X-ray diffraction community had never used these tools the way we did,” said Adi Natan, a PULSE research associate and experimental physicist who led that part of the project. He said the team is already applying their method to data from previous experiments at LCLS to see if they can create more molecular movies.
LCLS is a DOE Office of Science User Facility. The research was funded by the DOE Office of Science and included scientists from PULSE, LCLS and Stanford.
Ultrashort bursts of electrons have several important applications in scientific imaging, but producing them has typically required a costly, power-hungry apparatus about the size of a car.
In the journal Optica, researchers at MIT, the German Synchrotron, and the University of Hamburg in Germany describe a new technique for generating electron bursts, which could be the basis of a shoebox-sized device that consumes only a fraction as much power as its predecessors.
Ultrashort electron beams are used to directly gather information about materials that are undergoing chemical reactions or changes of physical state. But after being fired down a particle accelerator a half a mile long, they’re also used to produce ultrashort X-rays.
Last year, in Nature Communications, the same group of MIT and Hamburg researchers reported the prototype of a small “linear accelerator” that could serve the same purpose as the much larger and more expensive particle accelerator. That technology, together with a higher-energy version of the new “electron gun,” could bring the imaging power of ultrashort X-ray pulses to academic and industry labs.
Indeed, while the electron bursts reported in the new paper have a duration measured in hundreds of femtoseconds, or quadrillionths of a second (which is about what the best existing electron guns can manage), the researchers’ approach has the potential to lower their duration to a single femtosecond. An electron burst of a single femtosecond could generate attosecond X-ray pulses, which would enable real-time imaging of cellular machinery in action.
“We’re building a tool for the chemists, physicists, and biologists who use X-ray light sources or the electron beams directly to do their research,” says Ronny Huang, an MIT PhD student in electrical engineering and first author on the new paper. “Because these electron beams are so short, they allow you to kind of freeze the motion of electrons inside molecules as the molecules are undergoing a chemical reaction. A femtosecond X-ray light source requires more hardware, but it utilizes electron guns.”
In particular, Huang explains, with a technique called electron diffraction imaging, physicists and chemists use ultrashort bursts of electrons to investigate phase changes in materials, such as the transition from an electrically conductive to a nonconductive state, and the creation and dissolution of bonds between molecules in chemical reactions.
Ultrashort X-ray pulses have the same advantages that ordinary X-rays do: They penetrate more deeply into thicker materials. The current method for producing ultrashort X-rays involves sending electron bursts from a car-sized electron gun through a billion-dollar, kilometer-long particle accelerator that increases their velocity. Then they pass between two rows of magnets — known as an “undulator” — that converts them to X-rays.
In the paper published last year — on which Huang was a coauthor — the MIT-Hamburg group, together with colleagues from the Max Planck Institute for the Structure and Dynamics of Matter in Hamburg and the University of Toronto, described a new approach to accelerating electrons that could shrink particle accelerators to tabletop size. “This is supposed to complement that,” Huang says, about the new study.
Franz Kärtner, who was a professor of electrical engineering at MIT for 10 years before moving to the German Synchrotron and the University of Hamburg in 2011, led the project. Kärtner remains a principal investigator at MIT’s Research Laboratory of Electronics and is Huang’s thesis advisor. He and Huang are joined on the new paper by eight colleagues from both MIT and Hamburg.
The researchers’ new electron gun is a variation on a device called an RF gun. But where the RF gun uses radio frequency (RF) radiation to accelerate electrons, the new device uses terahertz radiation, the band of electromagnetic radiation between microwaves and visible light.
The researchers’ device, which is about the size of a matchbox, consists of two copper plates that, at their centers, are only 75 micrometers apart. Each plate has two bends in it, so that it looks rather like a trifold letter that’s been opened and set on its side. The plates bend in opposite directions, so that they’re farthest apart — 6 millimeters — at their edges.
At the center of one of the plates is a quartz slide on which is deposited a film of copper that, at its thinnest, is only 30 nanometers thick. A short burst of light from an ultraviolet laser strikes the film at its thinnest point, jarring loose electrons, which are emitted on the opposite side of the film.
At the same time, a burst of terahertz radiation passes between the plates in a direction perpendicular to that of the laser. All electromagnetic radiation can be thought of as having electrical and magnetic components, which are perpendicular to each other. The terahertz radiation is polarized so that its electric component accelerates the electrons directly toward the second plate.
The key to the system is that the tapering of the plates confines the terahertz radiation to an area — the 75-micrometer gap — that is narrower than its own wavelength. “That’s something special,” Huang says. “Typically, in optics, you can’t confine something to below a wavelength. But using this structure we were able to. Confining it increases the energy density, which increases the accelerating power.”
Because of that increased accelerating power, the device can make do with terahertz beams whose power is much lower than that of the radio-frequency beams used in a typical RF gun. Moreover, the same laser can generate both the ultraviolet beam and, with a few additional optical components, the terahertz beam.
According to James Rosenzweig, a professor of physics at the University of California at Los Angeles, that’s one of the most attractive aspects of the researchers’ system. “One of the main problems you have with ultrafast sources like this is timing jitter between, say, the laser and accelerating field, which produces all sorts of systematic effects that make it harder to do time-resolved electron diffraction,” Rosezweig says.
“In the case of Kärtner’s device, the laser produces the terahertz and also produces the photoelectrons, so the jitter is highly suppressed. You could do pump-probeexperiments where the laser is the driver and the electrons would be the probe, and they would be more successful than what you have right now. And of course it would be a very small-sized and modest-cost device. So it might turn out to be very important as far as that scenario goes.”
The researchers’ work was funded by the U.S. Air Force Office of Scientific Research and by the European Research Council. Ronny Huang was supported by a National Defense Science and Engineering Graduate fellowship.
Children with cancer could be spared dozens of doses of general anaesthesia by projecting a video directly on to the inside of a radiotherapy machine during treatment, according to research presented at the ESTRO 36 conference.
Although cancer is rare in children, worldwide there are approximately 215,000 new cases in the under 15s each year. Around a sixth of these children require treatment with radiotherapy, including those with brain tumours, and bone and soft tissue sarcomas such as Ewing sarcoma and rhabdomyosarcoma.
Catia Aguas, a radiation therapist and dosimetrist at the Cliniques Universitaires Saint Luc, Brussels, Belgium, told the conference that using video instead of general anaesthesia is less traumatic for children and their families, as well as making each treatment quicker and more cost effective.
She explained: “Being treated with radiotherapy means coming in for a treatment every weekday for four to six weeks. The children need to remain motionless during treatment and, on the whole, that means a general anaesthesia. That in turn means they have to keep their stomach empty for six hours before the treatment.
“We wanted to see if installing a projector and letting children watch a video of their choice would allow them to keep still enough that we would not need to give them anaesthesia.”
The study included 12 children aged between one and a half and six years old who were treated with radiotherapy using a Tomotherapy® treatment unit at the university hospital. Six were treated before a video projector was installed in 2014 and six were treated after.
Before the video was available, general anaesthesia was needed for 83% of children’s treatments. Once the projector was installed, anaesthesia was only needed in 33% of treatments.
Aguas continued: “Radiotherapy can be very scary for children. It’s a huge room full of machines and strange noises, and the worst part is that they’re in the room alone during their treatment. Before their radiotherapy treatment, they have already been through a series of tests and treatments, some of them painful, so when they arrive for radiotherapy they don’t really feel very safe or confident.
“Since we started using videos, children are a lot less anxious. Now they know that they’re going to watch a movie of their choice, they’re more relaxed and once the movie starts it’s as though they travel to another world.
“Sponge Bob, Cars and Barbie have been popular movie choices with our patients.”
As well as avoiding some of the risks inherent to general anaesthesia, the research also showed that treatments that used to take one hour or more, now take around 15 to 20 minutes. This is partly because of the time saved by not having to prepare and administer anaesthesia, but also because the children who know they are going to watch videos are more cooperative.
Aguas said: “Now in our clinic, video has almost completely replaced anaesthesia, resulting in reduced treatment times and reduction of stress for the young patients and their families.”
She also told the conference that the projector was inexpensive and simple to install: “In radiotherapy, everything is usually very expensive but in this case it was not. We bought a projector and, with the help of college students, we created a support to fix the device to the patient couch. Using video is saving money and resources by reducing the need for anaesthesia.”
Aguas and her colleagues continue to study children who have been treated since the projector was installed and they are extending the project to include adult patients who are claustrophobic or anxious.
President of ESTRO, Professor Yolande Lievens, head of the department of radiation oncology at Ghent University Hospital, Belgium, said: “The success of this project is good news for young patients, their families and their medical teams. Simply by installing a projector and showing videos, the team have reduced the need for anaesthesia and reduced anxiety for these children. For parents this means they no longer have to watch their child going under a general anaesthetic and then in to the recovery room after treatment every day for weeks on end. In addition, the use of videos had a positive impact on the workflow in paediatric radiotherapy, which further increased the positive effect observed by the caregivers as well.”