Physics in the News

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

New Results from Planck: It Doesn’t Look Good For BICEP2

Dust map of the Universe. The region studied by BICEP2 is indicated by the rectangle in the right circle. (Credit: Planck Collaboration)
Dust map of the Universe. The region studied by BICEP2 is indicated by the rectangle in the right circle. (Credit: Planck Collaboration)
via universetoday

Artificial Atoms Talk … and Scientists Listen

n this illustration, the artificial atom on the right side of the image sends out sound waves that are picked up by the microphone on the left. (Credit: Philip Krantz)
n this illustration, the artificial atom on the right side of the image sends out sound waves that are picked up by the microphone on the left. (Credit: Philip Krantz)
via livescience

What’s Next for Inflation Cosmology – New Updates

(Credit: Andrei Linde)
A serious challenge to the discovery of gravity waves by the BICEP2 2014 results has appeared: the researchers had underestimated the amount of interstellar dust that could be contaminating their data. (Credit: MacRobert, Andrei Linde)
via skyandtelescope

Clear skies reveal water on distant Neptune-sized planet

Scientists have found definitive traces of water on a relatively small exoplanet. HAT-P-11b is the size of Neptune and has copious amounts of both water vapor and hydrogen in its atmosphere. (Credit: NASA)
Scientists have found definitive traces of water on a relatively small exoplanet. HAT-P-11b is the size of Neptune and four times the size of Earth. The exoplanet has copious amounts of both water vapor and hydrogen in its atmosphere. (Credit: NASA)
via bbc

Hugh Everett: The man who gave us the multiverse

via newscientist

What is the geometry of the universe?

Our current model of the early inflationary period predicts that the universe should be flat, and so far that has held up. If the universe actually is curved, then the inflationary period must have been more complex than we have thought. (Credit: Koberlien)
Our current model of the early inflationary period predicts that the universe should be flat, and so far that has held up. If the universe actually is curved, then the inflationary period must have been more complex than we have thought. (Credit: Koberlien)
via phys.org

Robot Octopus Takes to the Sea

via spectrum

Physics in the News

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Brian Cox: ‘Multiverse’ makes sense

via bbc.com

UNC professor says black holes can’t exist (PDF)

Evolution of pressure-free collapse with Hawking radiation. For easy of plotting, the luminosities are scaled by a factor of 1000. The thin dashed lines in the upper panel represent the respective quantities in a pure Oppenheimer-Snyder collapse of the same initial conditions.
Evolution of pressure-free collapse with Hawking radiation. For easy of plotting, the luminosities are scaled by a factor of 1000. The thin dashed lines in the upper panel represent the respective quantities in a pure Oppenheimer-Snyder collapse of the same initial conditions. (Credit: Mersini-Houghton, Pfeier)
via uncnews

Einstein’s Greatest Legacy

Einstein, like no other physicist before or after him, demonstrated how the power of human thought alone, used skillfully, can allow us to consider experiments that could never be practically performed. This line of thinking, these experiments performed only in our imaginations, showed we little humans often have the power to deduce equations that govern the natural world by logical deduction alone.(Credit: Siegel, Luis Royo Fantasy Art, via Photobucket user mikenolan78)
Einstein, like no other physicist before or after him, demonstrated how the power of human thought alone, used skillfully, can allow us to consider experiments that could never be practically performed. This line of thinking, these experiments performed only in our imaginations, showed we little humans often have the power to deduce equations that govern the natural world by logical deduction alone. (Credit:E. Siegel, Luis Royo Fantasy Art, via Photobucket user mikenolan78)
via medium

It’s okay: electromagnetic force hasn’t changed in 10 billion years

Astronomers find the strength of the electromagnetic force hasn’t changed in ten billion years. “We didn’t see any difference between electromagnetism in these three distant galaxies and here on Earth, so we don’t support that previous finding,” says Associate Professor Michael Murphy of Swinburne University. (S. Garry, Michael Murphy/Swinburne )
via abc

How cloud chambers revealed subatomic particles

Photograph of a cloud chamber showing the first discovered positron. (Credit: Carl D. Anderson)
Photograph of a cloud chamber showing the first discovered positron. (Credit: Carl D. Anderson)
via phys.org

Evidence for cosmic inflation wanes

Planck’s new microwave maps cast doubt on earlier results. (Credit: ESA/NASA/JPL-Caltech)
Planck’s new microwave maps cast doubt on earlier results. (Credit: ESA/NASA/JPL-Caltech)
via sciencemag

India’s Mars Orbiter Mission could make history tomorrow

On Wednesday, Sept. 24, India could join the ranks of NASA, the European Space Agency and Russian Federal Space Agency having a successful mission to Mars. (Credit: AFP / Files / Manjunath Kiran)
via salon

When research worlds collide

via symmetrymagazine

Physics in the News

Saturday, September 20, 2014

Special relativity aces time trial

Few scientists doubt that Einstein was right. But the mathematics describing the time-dilation effect are “fundamental to all physical theories”, says Thomas Udem, a physicist at the Max Planck Institute for Quantum Optics in Garching, Germany, who was not involved in the research. “It is of utmost importance to verify it with the best possible accuracy.”
Few scientists doubt that Einstein was right. But the mathematics describing the time-dilation effect are “fundamental to all physical theories”, says Thomas Udem, a physicist at the Max Planck Institute for Quantum Optics in Garching, Germany, who was not involved in the research. “It is of utmost importance to verify it with the best possible accuracy.” (Credit: A. Witze, Martin Poole/Getty)
via nature

Is Martian soil actually good for farming?

A NASA rendering of farming in Martian greenhouses.

via vox

Einstein makes an appearance in superheavy chemistry

Graphic representation of a seaborgium hexacarbonyl molecule on the silicon dioxide covered detectors of a COMPACT detector array. (Credit: Alexander Yakushev (GSI) / Christoph E. Düllmann)
Graphic representation of a seaborgium hexacarbonyl molecule on the silicon dioxide covered detectors of a COMPACT detector array. (Credit: Alexander Yakushev (GSI) / Christoph E. Düllmann)
via newscientist

A nano-sized hydrogen generator

A transmission electron microscopic image of titanium dioxide plates resting on a near-invisible sheet of graphene. (Credit: Rozhkova et. al.)
A transmission electron microscopic image of titanium dioxide plates resting on a near-invisible sheet of graphene. (Credit: Rozhkova et. al.)
via anl.gov
There have been recent near misses – an explosion over Russia, a mysterious crater in Nicaragua. But what would we do in the event of an actual meteor strike?  A simulated meteor strike at a training facility in Texas. (Credit: Nick Ballon)
There have been recent near misses – an explosion over Russia, a mysterious crater in Nicaragua. But what would we do in the event of an actual meteor strike? A simulated meteor strike at a training facility in Texas. (Credit: Nick Ballon)
via theguardian

Astrophysicist sees positive signs science ‘is trendy’

via kearneyhub

Enormous black hole resides at core of tiny galaxy

ITTY BITTY LIVING SPACE  The tiny galaxy M60-UCD1 (circled in white) harbors a black hole with the mass of around 21 million suns. M60-UCD1 may be a remnant of a larger galaxy torn apart by the massive galaxy M60 (center), which is also pulling in a nearby spiral galaxy (upper right). (Credit: NASA, ESA)
ITTY BITTY LIVING SPACE The tiny galaxy M60-UCD1 (circled in white) harbors a black hole with the mass of around 21 million suns. M60-UCD1 may be a remnant of a larger galaxy torn apart by the massive galaxy M60 (center), which is also pulling in a nearby spiral galaxy (upper right). (Credit: NASA, ESA)
via sciencenews

‘Solid’ light could compute previously unsolvable problems about the behavior of matter

Scientists are a step closer to creating quantum computers after making light behave like crystal. At first, photons in the experiment flow easily between two superconducting sites, producing the large waves shown at left. After a time, the scientists cause the light to 'freeze,' trapping the photons in place. (Credit: Stanford)
The illustration shows how oscillating photons create an image of frozen light. At first, photons in the experiment flow easily between two superconducting sites, producing the large waves shown at left. After a time, the scientists cause the light to ‘freeze,’ trapping the photons in place. Fast oscillations on the right of the image are evidence of the new trapped behavior. (Credit: James Raftery et al.)
via princeton

Pakistan to join the CERN club

Pakistan is a signing ceremony away from becoming the associate member of the European Organisation for Nuclear Research. Above photo is of  CERN Labs on the Swiss-French border.  (Credit: CERN)
Pakistan is a signing ceremony away from becoming the associate member of the European Organisation for Nuclear Research. Above photo is CERN Labs on the Swiss-French border. (Credit: CERN)
via dawn

Quasicrystals and the Whimsy of Nature

The quasicrystals formed 4.5 billion years ago in a violent collision between two rocks, among the asteroids that coalesced into planets. The rock with the quasicrystals landed in Chukotka as a meteorite. “They’re part of the primal stuff that formed our solar system,” Dr. Steinhardt said. The above is A penteract (5-cube) pattern using 5D orthographic projection to 2D using Petrie polygon basis vectors overlaid on the diffractogram from an Icosahedral Ho-Mg-Zn quasicrystal. (Credit: NYTimes)
The quasicrystals formed 4.5 billion years ago in a violent collision between two rocks, among the asteroids that coalesced into planets. The rock with the quasicrystals landed in Chukotka as a meteorite. “They’re part of the primal stuff that formed our solar system,” Dr. Steinhardt said. The above is A penteract (5-cube) pattern using 5D orthographic projection to 2D using Petrie polygon basis vectors overlaid on the diffractogram from an Icosahedral Ho-Mg-Zn quasicrystal. (Credit: NYTimes)
via nytimes

Physics in the News

Friday, September 19, 2014

An anomaly in satellites’ flybys confounds scientists

An artist's rendition of Rosetta probe during a flyby. (Credit: ESA/C.Carreau)
When space probes, such as Rosetta and Cassini, fly over certain planets and moons, in order to gain momentum and travel long distances, their speed changes slightly for an unknown reason. A researcher has now analyzed whether or not a hypothetical gravitomagnetic field could have an influence. However, other factors such as solar radiation, tides, or even relativistic effects or dark matter could be behind this mystery. An artist’s rendition of Rosetta probe during a flyby. (Credit: ESA/C.Carreau)
via sciencedaily

Particle detector finds hints of dark matter in space

The starboard truss of the International Space Station while Space Shuttle Endeavour docked with the station. The newly installed Alpha Magnetic Spectrometer (AMS) is visible at center left. (Credit: NASA)
The starboard truss of the International Space Station while Space Shuttle Endeavour docked with the station. The newly installed Alpha Magnetic Spectrometer (AMS) is visible at center left. (Credit: NASA)
via mit

Finding dark energy in the details

The dome of the Blanco Telescope, which houses DECam, the 570-megapixel CCD camera used for the Dark Energy Survey, at the Cerro Tololo Inter-American Observatory in Chile. (Credit: Reidar Hahn)
The dome of the Blanco Telescope, which houses DECam, the 570-megapixel CCD camera used for the Dark Energy Survey, at the Cerro Tololo Inter-American Observatory in Chile. (Credit: Reidar Hahn)
via simonsfoundation

The lonely landscape of Rosetta’s comet

The lonely landscape of Rosetta's comet
The lonely landscape of Rosetta’s comet – Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko from a distance of just 29 kilometers (Credit: ESA)
via abc

Miranda: An icy moon deformed by tidal heating

Mosaic of southern hemisphere of Miranda, the innermost regular satellite of Uranus, with radius of 236 km. Projection is orthographic, centered on the south pole. Visible from left to right are Elsinore, Inverness, and Arden coronae. (Credit: NASA/Jet Propulsion Laboratory/Ted Stryk)
Mosaic of southern hemisphere of Miranda, the innermost regular satellite of Uranus, with radius of 236 km. Projection is orthographic, centered on the south pole. Visible from left to right are Elsinore, Inverness, and Arden coronae. (Credit: NASA/Jet Propulsion Laboratory/Ted Stryk)
via science2.0

Physical constant is constant even in strong gravitational fields

Picture of the laser system with which the hydrogen molecules were investigated on earth. (Credit: LaserLaB VU University Amsterdam/Wim Ubachs)
An international team of physicists has shown that the mass ratio between protons and electrons is the same in weak and in very strong gravitational fields. Pictured above is the laser system with which the hydrogen molecules were investigated on earth. (Credit: LaserLaB VU University Amsterdam/Wim Ubachs)
via phys.org

NASA’s Maven spacecraft will arrive at Mars this weekend

via nypost

Shrink-wrapping spacesuits

The MIT BioSuit, a skintight spacesuit that offers improved mobility and reduced mass compared to modern gas-pressurized spacesuits. (Credit: Jose-Luis Olivares/MIT)
The MIT BioSuit, a skintight spacesuit that offers improved mobility and reduced mass compared to modern gas-pressurized spacesuits. (Credit: Jose-Luis Olivares/MIT)
via mit

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

av_clio_l3917201432422AM63-1552x1940
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