Physics in the News

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Have physicists just disproved string theory?

via mysteriousuniverse

New measurements from the AMS experiment unveil new territories in the flux of cosmic rays

Upper plot shows the slope of positron fraction measured by AMS (red circles) and a straight line fit at the highest energies (blue line). The data show that at 275±32 GeV the slope crosses zero. Lower plot shows the measured positron fraction as function of energy as well as the location of the maximum. (Credit CERN)

Upper plot shows the slope of positron fraction measured by AMS (red circles) and a straight line fit at the highest energies (blue line). The data show that at 275±32 GeV the slope crosses zero. Lower plot shows the measured positron fraction as function of energy as well as the location of the maximum. (Credit CERN)

via interactions

Nuclear spins control current in plastic LED: Step toward quantum computing, spintronic memory, better displays

An organic light-emitting diode, or OLED, glows orange when electrical current flows through it. University of Utah physicists used this kind of OLED -- basically a plastic LED instead of a conventional silicon semiconductor LED -- to show that they could read the subatomic 'spins' in the center or nuclei of hydrogen isotopes and use those spins to control current to the OLED. It is a step toward 'spintronic' devices such as faster computers, better data storage and more efficient OLEDs for TV, computer and cell phone displays. (Credit: Andy Brimhall, University of Utah)

An organic light-emitting diode, or OLED, glows orange when electrical current flows through it. It is a step toward ‘spintronic’ devices such as faster computers, better data storage and more efficient OLEDs for TV, computer and cell phone displays. (Credit: Andy Brimhall, University of Utah)

via phys.org

New technology that guides light through glass, developed by researchers from Polytechnique Montréal, could make our smartphones even smarter (PDF)

his revolutionary work could open up new real estate in the phone by embedding the glass with layer upon layer of sensors, including ones that could take your temperature, assess your blood sugar levels if you're diabetic or even analyze DNA.

This revolutionary work could open up new real estate in the phone by embedding the glass with layer upon layer of sensors, including ones that could take your temperature, assess your blood sugar levels if you’re diabetic or even analyze DNA. (Credit: Jerome Lapointe, Mathieu Gagné, Ming-Jun Li, and Raman Kashyap)

via mediacastermagazine

Milky Way mysteries mapped

The NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope has produced this finely detailed image of the beautiful spiral galaxy NGC 6384. This galaxy lies in the constellation of Ophiuchus (The Serpent Bearer), not far from the centre of the Milky Way on the sky. The positioning of NGC 6384 means that we have to peer at it past many dazzling foreground Milky Way stars that are scattered across this image. In 1971, one member of NGC 6384 stood out against these bright foreground stars when one of its stars exploded as a supernova. This was a Type Ia supernova, which occurs when a compact star that has ceased fusion in its core, called a white dwarf, increases its mass beyond a critical limit by gobbling up matter from a companion star. A runaway nuclear explosion then makes the star suddenly as bright as a whole galaxy. While many stars have already come to the ends of their lives in NGC 6384, in the centre, star formation is being fuelled by the galaxy’s bar structure; astronomers think such galactic bars funnel gas inwards, where it accumulates to form new stars. This picture was created from images take with the Wide Field Channel of Hubble’s Advanced Camera for Surveys. An image taken through a blue filter (F435W, coloured blue) was combined with an image taken through a near-infrared filter (F814W, coloured red). The total exposure times were 1050 s through each filter and the field of view is about 3 x 1.5 arcminutes. (Credit NASA)

The NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope has produced this finely detailed image of the beautiful spiral galaxy NGC 6384. This galaxy lies in the constellation of Ophiuchus (The Serpent Bearer), not far from the centre of the Milky Way on the sky. The positioning of NGC 6384 means that we have to peer at it past many dazzling foreground Milky Way stars that are scattered across this image. (Credit NASA/ESA)

via nationalgeographic

Very large telescope findings could force physicists to rethink the Big Bang

he problem was first identified some time ago. Dubbed the “cosmological lithium discrepancy,” the issue is very simple: everything we know about the Big Bang, supernovae, and the dynamics of stars, tells us that we should find a very specific concentration of lithium in the universe at large — but the universe actually seems to contain far less than that amount. (Credit: NASA, HUbble)

via geek.com

Asteroid tracking program has only 10 percent chance of success

European Space Agency's Giotto probe returned 2333 images during the Comet Halley encounter of March 13-14, 1986. All were recorded before the closest approach of 596 km at 00:03:02 UTC on 14 March 1986; the last from a distance of 1180 km, 15 seconds before closest approach. (Credit: MPAE, Dr H.U. Keller.

European Space Agency’s Giotto probe returned 2333 images during the Comet Halley encounter of March 13-14, 1986. All were recorded before the closest approach of 596 km at 00:03:02 UTC on 14 March 1986; the last from a distance of 1180 km, 15 seconds before closest approach. (Credit: MPAE, Dr H.U. Keller.

via inquisitr

Mystery U.S. government satellite is now in orbit

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An Atlas V rocket lifts off with the mysterious CLIO satellite. The rocket was carrying a satellite known only as CLIO, which it delivered into an unidentified (though probably geosynchronous) orbit. (Credit: ULA)

via forbes

Physics team uses pixel sensitivity of smartphone as a random generator for encryption

Random number generator setup: a camera is fully and homogeneously illuminated by a LED. The raw binary representation of pixel values are concatenated and passed through a randomness extractor. This extractor outputs quantum random numbers. (Credit: arXiv:1405.0435 [quant-ph])
Random number generator setup: a camera is fully and homogeneously illuminated by a LED. The raw binary representation of pixel values are concatenated and passed through a randomness extractor. This extractor outputs quantum random numbers. (Credit: arXiv:1405.0435 [quant-ph])
via phys.org

What is the Universe? Physics has some mind-bending answers

Science says the universe could be a hologram, a computer program, a black hole or a bubble—and there are ways to check (NASA, ESA, SAO, CXC, JPL-Caltech, and STScI)

Science says the universe could be a hologram, a computer program, a black hole or a bubble—and there are ways to check. (Credit: NASA, ESA, SAO, CXC, JPL-Caltech, and STScI)

via smithsonianmag
 

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