Physics in the News

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Cornell theorists continue the search for supersymmetry

The Tevatron, the particle accelerator used to find the oscillating Bs meson, has huge detectors surrounded by a cylindrical 'tracking chamber', shown here. (Credit: Fermilab)
The Tevatron, the particle accelerator used to find the oscillating Bs meson, has huge detectors surrounded by a cylindrical ‘tracking chamber’, shown here. (Credit: Fermilab)
via cornell

Planets with oddball orbits like Mercury could host life

On Mercury a solar day is about 176 Earth days long. During its first Mercury solar day in orbit the MESSENGER spacecraft imaged nearly the entire surface of Mercury to generate a global monochrome map at 250 meters per pixel resolution and a 1 kilometer per pixel resolution color map. (Credit: NASA/JHU APL/CIW)
On Mercury a solar day is about 176 Earth days long. During its first Mercury solar day in orbit the MESSENGER spacecraft imaged nearly the entire surface of Mercury to generate a global monochrome map at 250 meters per pixel resolution and a 1 kilometer per pixel resolution color map. (Credit: NASA/JHU APL/CIW)
via phys.org

Neutrino trident production may offer powerful probe of new physics

Parameter space for the Z’ gauge boson. The light gray area is excluded at 95% C.L. by the CCFR measurement of the neutrino trident cross section. The dark gray region with the dotted contour is excluded by measurements of the SM Z boson decay to four leptons at the LHC. The purple region is the area favored by the muon g-2 discrepancy that has not yet been ruled out, but future high-energy neutrino experiments are expected to be highly sensitive to this low-mass region. (Credit: Altmannshofer, et al. ©2014 American Physical Society)
Parameter space for the Z’ gauge boson. The light gray area is excluded at 95% C.L. by the CCFR measurement of the neutrino trident cross section. The dark gray region with the dotted contour is excluded by measurements of the SM Z boson decay to four leptons at the LHC. The purple region is the area favored by the muon g-2 discrepancy that has not yet been ruled out, but future high-energy neutrino experiments are expected to be highly sensitive to this low-mass region. (Credit: Altmannshofer, et al. ©2014 American Physical Society)
via phys.org

Viewpoint: Observing the great spin and orbital swap

The researchers observed for the first time coherent oscillations between two spin states: |e↑,g↓〉⇔|e↓,g↑〉. From the oscillation frequency, they determine the spin-exchange interaction strength. (Credit: APS/Ana Maria Rey)
The researchers observed for the first time coherent oscillations between two spin states: |e↑,g↓〉⇔|e↓,g↑〉. From the oscillation frequency, they determine the spin-exchange interaction strength. (Credit: APS/Ana Maria Rey)
via physics.aps

NASA inspector general blasts asteroid detection program

NASA has found about 95 per cent of the largest and potentially most destructive asteroids, those measuring about one kilometre or larger in diameter, but only 10 per cent of those 140 metres or larger in diameter. (NASA/JPL-Caltech/Canadian Press)
NASA has found about 95 per cent of the largest and potentially most destructive asteroids, those measuring about one kilometre or larger in diameter, but only 10 per cent of those 140 metres or larger in diameter. (NASA/JPL-Caltech/Canadian Press)
via cbslocal

Solar System Simulation Reveals Planetary Mystery

A montage of the planets and some of the moons in our solar system, not to scale. (Credit: NASA/JPL)
A montage of the planets and some of the moons in our solar system, not to scale. (Credit: NASA/JPL)
via spacedaily

Scientists explore landscape of absolute zero to probe quantum phase transitions

Rendering of the near–perfect crystal structure of the yttrium–iron–aluminum compound used in the study. The two–dimensional layers of the material allowed the scientists to isolate the magnetic ordering that emerged near absolute zero. (Credit:Brookhaven National Laboratory)
Rendering of the near–perfect crystal structure of the yttrium–iron–aluminum compound used in the study. The two–dimensional layers of the material allowed the scientists to isolate the magnetic ordering that emerged near absolute zero. (Credit:Brookhaven National Laboratory)
via azoquantum

 Ultrahard fullerite is almost twice as hard as diamond but new synthesis works at room temperature and lower pressure

Diamond anvils malformed during synthesis of ultrahard fullerite. Note the dent in the center. (Credit: Moscow Institute of Physics and Technology)
Diamond anvils malformed during synthesis of ultrahard fullerite. Note the dent in the center. (Credit: Moscow Institute of Physics and Technology)
via nextbigfuture

Calling all amateur astronomers

via skyandtelescope

Physics in the News

Monday, September 15, 2014

Why do particle physicists demand 99.9999% certainty before they believe a new discovery?

"I confess that in my early in my career as a physicist I was rather cynical about sophisticated statistical tools, being of the opinion that “if any of this makes a difference, just get more data”. That is, if you do enough experiments, the confidence level will be so high that the exact statistical treatment you use to evaluate it is irrelevant." (Credit: Michael Slezak)
“I confess that in my early in my career as a physicist I was rather cynical about sophisticated statistical tools, being of the opinion that “if any of this makes a difference, just get more data”. That is, if you do enough experiments, the confidence level will be so high that the exact statistical treatment you use to evaluate it is irrelevant.” (Credit: Jon Butterworth)
via theguardian

Curtain closing on Higgs boson photon soap opera

It was the daytime soap opera of particle physics. But the final episode of the first season ends in an anticlimax. The Higgs boson's decay into pairs of photons – the strongest yet most confusing clue to the particle's existence – is looking utterly normal after all. (Credit: D. Moir/Reurters, M. Slezak)
It was the daytime soap opera of particle physics. But the final episode of the first season ends in an anticlimax. The Higgs boson’s decay into pairs of photons – the strongest yet most confusing clue to the particle’s existence – is looking utterly normal after all. (Credit: D. Moir/Reurters, M. Slezak)
via newscientist

Three’s a charm: NIST detectors reveal entangled photon triplets

NIST chip containing a single-photon detector was made of superconducting nanowires. Four chips like this were used in the experiment that entangled three photons.  (Credit: Verma/NIST)
NIST chip containing a single-photon detector was made of superconducting nanowires. Four chips like this were used in the experiment that entangled three photons. (Credit: Verma/NIST)
via extremetech

How to turn the Moon into a giant cosmic ray detector

The new plan, proposed by researchers at the University of Southampton in England, is to eavesdrop on the faint nanosecond radio signals sent our way when cosmic rays hit edges of the Moon at a near-tangent. (Credit J. Hewitt, astrobiology.aob.rs)
The new plan, proposed by researchers at the University of Southampton in England, is to eavesdrop on the faint nanosecond radio signals sent our way when cosmic rays hit edges of the Moon at a near-tangent. (Credit J. Hewitt, astrobiology.aob.rs)
via extremetech

Are ‘ghost waves’ behind quantum strangeness?

"The key question is whether a real quantum dynamics, of the general form suggested by de Broglie and the walking drops, might underlie quantum statistics," Bush said. "While undoubtedly complex, it would replace the philosophical vagaries of quantum mechanics with a concrete dynamical theory," said  John Bush of MIT. (Credit: D. Harris/MIT, M. Byrne)
“The key question is whether a real quantum dynamics, of the general form suggested by de Broglie and the walking drops, might underlie quantum statistics,” Bush said. “While undoubtedly complex, it would replace the philosophical vagaries of quantum mechanics with a concrete dynamical theory,” said John Bush of MIT. (Credit: D. Harris/MIT, M. Byrne)
via motherboard

Comet probe finds elements of life

A composite photo of comet 67P/C-G showing gases escaping from the ‘neck’. The first jets of dust were detected spurting from the comet as Rosetta approached it in August but detailed photographs weren’t available until last week. (Credit: Emily Lakdawalla/ESA)
A composite photo of comet 67P/C-G showing gases escaping from the ‘neck’. The first jets of dust were detected spurting from the comet as Rosetta approached it in August but detailed photographs weren’t available until last week. (Credit: Emily Lakdawalla/ESA)
via forbes

Saturn is making and destroying mini-moons all the time

PIA18420
The spacecraft captured the views between July 20 and July 22, 2014, as it departed Titan following a flyby. Cassini tracked the system of clouds as it developed and dissipated over Ligeia Mare during this two-day period. Measurements of the cloud motions indicate wind speeds of around 7 to 10 miles per hour (3 to 4.5 meters per second). (Credit: NASA, Cassini)
via smithsonianmag

ULA aims for top-secret CLIO launch tomorrow

via americaspace

Where to grab space debris

via yumanewsnow

ESA’s Gaia observatory locates its first Supernova

Less than two months after it first began repeatedly scanning the sky, the ESA’s Gaia space observatory has discovered its first supernova – a powerful stellar explosion that had occurred in a distant galaxy located some 500 million light-years from Earth, the agency announced on Friday.  The above is an artist’s impression of a Type Ia supernova – the explosion of a white dwarf locked in a binary system with a companion star. (Credit: ESA/ATG medialab/C. Carreau, Bednar)
Less than two months after it first began repeatedly scanning the sky, the ESA’s Gaia space observatory has discovered its first supernova – a powerful stellar explosion that had occurred in a distant galaxy located some 500 million light-years from Earth, the agency announced on Friday. The above is an artist’s impression of a Type Ia supernova – the explosion of a white dwarf locked in a binary system with a companion star. (Credit: ESA/ATG medialab/C. Carreau, Bednar)
via redorbit

Phosphorus a promising semiconductor

Grain boundaries are rows of defects that disrupt the electronic properties of two-dimensional materials like graphene, but new theory by scientists at Rice University shows no such effects in atomically flat phosphorus. That may make the material ideal for nano-electronic applications. (Credit: Evgeni Penev/Rice University)
Grain boundaries are rows of defects that disrupt the electronic properties of two-dimensional materials, like graphene, but a new theory by scientists at Rice University shows no such effects in atomically flat phosphorus. That may make the material ideal for nano-electronic applications. (Credit: Evgeni Penev/Rice University)
via energy-daily

Curiosity rover reaches long-term goal: a massive Martian mountain

via theverge

Universe may be an illusion or hologram?

To find out if the universe is a hologram, scientists at the U.S. Department of Energy’s Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory have powered up their exotic holographic inferometer, or Holometer. The results of the Fermilab E-990 experiment could indeed indicate that the nature of the universe is holographic. (Credit: Baskin, M. Freiberger)
To find out if the universe is a hologram, scientists at the U.S. Department of Energy’s Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory have powered up their exotic holographic inferometer, or Holometer. The results of the Fermilab E-990 experiment could indeed indicate that the nature of the universe is holographic. (Credit: Baskin, M. Freiberger)
via guardianlv

Can we survive the end of the Universe?

The ultimate fate of the universe depends on the nature of dark matter and dark energy, about which we know almost nothing. (Credit: NASA)
The ultimate fate of the universe depends on the nature of dark matter and dark energy, about which we know almost nothing. (Credit: NASA)
via mysteriousuniverse

Physics in the News

Saturday, September 13, 2014

Discovery! First water ice clouds found beyond our Solar System

via space

Companion star hidden for 21 years in a supernova’s glare

This is an artist's impression of supernova 1993J, an exploding star in the galaxy M81 whose light reached us 21 years ago. The supernova originated in a double-star system where one member was a massive star that exploded after siphoning most of its hydrogen envelope to its companion star. After two decades, astronomers have at last identified the blue helium-burning companion star, seen at the center of the expanding nebula of debris from the supernova. The Hubble Space Telescope identified the ultraviolet glow of the surviving companion embedded in the fading glow of the supernova.
This is an artist’s impression of supernova 1993J, an exploding star in the galaxy M81 whose light reached us 21 years ago. The supernova originated in a double-star system where one member was a massive star that exploded after siphoning most of its hydrogen envelope to its companion star. After two decades, astronomers have at last identified the blue helium-burning companion star, seen at the center of the expanding nebula of debris from the supernova. The Hubble Space Telescope identified the ultraviolet glow of the surviving companion embedded in the fading glow of the supernova. (Credit: NASA)
via sciencedaily

Black Holes: Monsters of the Universe

The nearby galaxy Centaurus A as viewed at X-ray, radio, and optical wavelengths, showing jets powered by a massive black hole at the center of the galaxy. (Credit: NASA)
The nearby galaxy Centaurus A as viewed at X-ray, radio, and optical wavelengths, showing jets powered by a massive black hole at the center of the galaxy. (Credit: NASA)
via bigislandnow

Is there a smallest length?

via backreaction

Untethered soft robot that defies extreme conditions

via channeleye

Cryogenic on-chip quantum electron cooling leads towards computers that consume 10x less power

Researchers at UT Arlington have created the first electronic device that can cool electrons to -228 degrees Celsius (-375F), without any kind of external cooling. (Credit: S. Anthony)
Researchers at UT Arlington have created the first electronic device that can cool electrons to -228 degrees Celsius (-375F), without any kind of external cooling. (Credit: S. Anthony)
via extremetech

Purdue profs peer into final frontier

via wlfi

The search for extraterrestrial life is like hunting for pizza in a Dorm

"Our research strengthens the argument that methane and oxygen together, or methane and ozone together, are still strong signatures of life,” he said.That's because oxygen and methane abhor each other. An atmosphere heavy in one of these gases has to have its supplies of the other continually replenished, and the most reliable way that happens on Earth is through the mechanisms of life. (Credit: NASA, B. Richmond)
“Our research strengthens the argument that methane and oxygen together, or methane and ozone together, are still strong signatures of life. That’s because oxygen and methane abhor each other. An atmosphere heavy in one of these gases has to have its supplies of the other continually replenished, and the most reliable way that happens on Earth is through the mechanisms of life,” said Shawn Domagal-Goldman of NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center. (Credit: NASA, B. Richmond)
via motherboard

Astrophysics at the edge of the Earth

“When you get off the plane at the South Pole, there is a feeling like you’re out in the ocean,” says University of Chicago physicist John Carlstrom, the principal investigator for the South Pole Telescope team, who has logged 15 round trips to the South Pole over the past two decades. “It’s just a featureless horizon. The snow is so dry it feels like Styrofoam.” (Credit: J. Gallicchio, G. Roberts Jr.)
“When you get off the plane at the South Pole, there is a feeling like you’re out in the ocean,” says University of Chicago physicist John Carlstrom, the principal investigator for the South Pole Telescope team, who has logged 15 round trips to the South Pole over the past two decades. “It’s just a featureless horizon. The snow is so dry it feels like Styrofoam.” (Credit: J. Gallicchio, G. Roberts Jr.)
via symmetrymagazine

What makes a star starry? Is it me?

via npr

Physics in the News

September 10, 2014

The asteroid mining race begins

(Credit: Planetary Resources)
(Credit: Planetary Resources)
via bloombergview

A Black Hole doesn’t die — It does something a lot weirder

Chandra Observatory
If a particle and its antiparticle pop into being on the event horizon, one gets sucked in. The other gets away. If the antiparticle gets sucked into the black hole, and the particle breaks free, the particle no longer has a chance to annihilate. It is now real, and not virtual. Its presence and energy count in the universe. And real radiation leaking from a black hole means that the black hole itself is slowly shrinking. (Credit: Chandra Observatory, NASA, Inglis-Arkell)
via io9

China eyes first space station by around 2022

The U.S. Defense Department has highlighted China's increasing space capabilities, however, saying China was pursuing activities aimed at preventing its adversaries from using space-based assets during a crisis.(Credit: Jaime FlorCruz - CNN Beijing Bureau Chief)
The U.S. Defense Department has highlighted China’s increasing space capabilities, however, saying China was pursuing activities aimed at preventing its adversaries from using space-based assets during a crisis.(Credit: Jaime FlorCruz – CNN Beijing Bureau Chief)
via reuters

Evidence of forming planet discovered 335 light-years from Earth

This graphic is an artist’s conception of the young massive star HD100546 and its surrounding disk. (Credit: VP. Marenfeld & NOAO/AURA/NSF)
The new planet would be an uninhabitable gas giant at least three times the size of Jupiter, and the distance from the star would be about the same distance that Saturn is from the Sun. This graphic is an artist’s conception of the young massive star HD100546 and its surrounding disk. (Credit: VP. Marenfeld & NOAO/AURA/NSF)
via astronomy

Is the universe a stable quantum system?

If our understanding is correct, then the universe as a whole could be in a locally stable configuration, but it could also jump to a lower energy state through a process of quantum tunneling. If that happened, the universe would collapse and we'd all go bye bye. So to our best understanding, it is possible for the universe to collapse. (Credit: )
If our understanding is correct, then the universe as a whole could be in a locally stable configuration, but it could also jump to a lower energy state through a process of quantum tunneling. If that happened, the universe would collapse and we’d all go bye bye. So to our best understanding, it is possible for the universe to collapse. (Credit: )
via phys.org

Newly discovered ‘Tetraquark’ fuels quantum feud

Quarks have one of three “color charges,” which are analogous to the primary colors red, green and blue. Just as an atom strikes a balance between positive and negative electrical charges, particles made of quarks balance colors to reach a neutral state. In the color analogy, that means combining colors to make white. (Credit: Quanta Magazine)
Quarks have one of three “color charges,” which are analogous to the primary colors red, green and blue. Just as an atom strikes a balance between positive and negative electrical charges, particles made of quarks balance colors to reach a neutral state. In the color analogy, that means combining colors to make white. (Credit: Quanta Magazine)
via wired

Alcohol clouds in space

(Credit: HUbble)
There is a giant cloud of alcohol in outer space. It’s in a region known as W3(OH), only about 6500 light years away. Unfortunately it is methyl alcohol (commonly known as wood alcohol, though this stuff is not derived from wood), so it isn’t suitable for drinking. There is some ethyl alcohol (the drinkable kind).(Credit: Hubble)
via phys.org

Why is the Space Station launching satellites on its own?

Two tiny satellites escaping on their own doesn’t sound too bad … except it’s not the first time this has happened. On August 23rd, NASA reports that two other CubeSats set themselves free. OK, 4 out of 100 doesn’t sound too bad either … except only 12 have been launched so far, which means a quarter of the CubeSats un-tethered themselves. (Credit: NASA)
Two tiny satellites escaping on their own doesn’t sound too bad … except it’s not the first time this has happened. On August 23rd, NASA reports that two other CubeSats set themselves free. OK, 4 out of 100 doesn’t sound too bad either … except only 12 have been launched so far, which means a quarter of the CubeSats un-tethered themselves. (Credit: NASA)
via mysteriousuniverse

Black hole thermodynamics

Simulation of a black hole merger. (Credit: NASA/Chandra)
Classical black holes have “no hair”, meaning that they are simply described by their mass, charge and rotation. Because of this, you could toss an object (with a great deal of entropy) into a black hole, and the entropy would simply go away. (Credit: NASA/Chandra, B. Koberlein )
via phys.org

Physics in the News

Monday, Sept 8, 2014

Jupiter’s moon Europa could have tectonic plates, like Earth

Schematic sketch of the growth mechanics of a cycloid Note that the reversal in curvature of the second segment above cannot be explained by the previous model of cycloid formation. (Credit: Marshall & Kattenhorn (2005))
Schematic sketch of the growth mechanics of a cycloid Note that the reversal in curvature of the second segment above cannot be explained by the previous model of cycloid formation. (Credit: Marshall & Kattenhorn (2005))
via motherboard

A strange new theory of how Space-Time is emerging

“What Mark has done is put his finger on a key ingredient of how space-time is emerging: entanglement,” says Gary Horowitz, who studies quantum gravity at the University of California Santa Barbara. Horowitz says this idea has changed how people think about quantum gravity, though it hasn’t yet been universally accepted. “You don’t come across this idea by following other ideas. It requires a strange insight,” Horowitz adds. “He is one of the stars of the younger generation.”
via dailygalaxy

Weird comet is darker than charcoal

via libertariannews

Researchers part water: ‘Electric prism’ separates water’s nuclear spin states

Researchers have separated the nuclear spin states of water. In para water, the spins (depicted as arrows) of water's two hydrogen nuclei cancel out. They add up in ortho water. The scientists produced an ultracold, supersonic beam of water molecules -- a mixture of para and ortho water -- and sent it through an electric deflector (blue device on the left). The deflector acts as a prism for nuclear spin states, separating para and ortho water molecules in space (right). (Credit: Daniel A. Horke, CFEL/DESY)
Researchers have separated the nuclear spin states of water. In para water, the spins (depicted as arrows) of water’s two hydrogen nuclei cancel out. They add up in ortho water. The scientists produced an ultracold, supersonic beam of water molecules — a mixture of para and ortho water — and sent it through an electric deflector (blue device on the left). The deflector acts as a prism for nuclear spin states, separating para and ortho water molecules in space (right). (Credit: Daniel A. Horke, CFEL/DESY)
via phys.org

Part of an asteroid set to skim Earth fell and made a big crater

In this Sunday Sept. 7, 2014, publicly distributed handout photo provided by the Nicaraguan Army shows an impact crater made by a small meteorite in a wooded area near Managua's international airport and an air force base. Nicaraguan government spokeswoman Rosario Murillo said Sunday that a loud boom heard overnight by residents of the capital was a "relatively small" meteorite that "appears to have come off an asteroid that was passing close to Earth." (Credit: Nicaraguan Army/AP)
In this Sunday Sept. 7, 2014, publicly distributed handout photo provided by the Nicaraguan Army shows an impact crater made by a small meteorite in a wooded area near Managua’s international airport and an air force base. Nicaraguan government spokeswoman Rosario Murillo said Sunday that a loud boom heard overnight by residents of the capital was a “relatively small” meteorite that “appears to have come off an asteroid that was passing close to Earth.” (Credit: Nicaraguan Army/AP)
via newsweek

Astronaut trio to return after six months on International Space Station

Russian cosmonaut Alexander Skvortsov, performs maintenance and retrieves science experiment packages during a spacewalk on Aug. 18. Skvortsov, along with two other astronauts return to Earth on Sept. 10. (Credit: NASA)
Russian cosmonaut Alexander Skvortsov, performs maintenance and retrieves science experiment packages during a spacewalk on Aug. 18. Skvortsov, along with two other astronauts return to Earth on Sept. 10. (Credit: NASA)
via pbs

Long March 4B lofts Yaogan-21 in China’s surprise launch

As usual for this type of satellite, the Chinese media is referring to the new satellite as ‘a new remote sensing bird that will be used for scientific experiments, land survey, crop yield assessment, and disaster monitoring.’ (Credit: NASA)
As usual for this type of satellite, the Chinese media is referring to the new satellite as ‘a new remote sensing bird that will be used for scientific experiments, land survey, crop yield assessment, and disaster monitoring.’ (Credit: NASA)
via nasaspaceflight