Physics in the News

Friday, September 5, 2014

The plan to make the Moon an enormous detector of cosmic rays

Artist impression of the Square Kilometer Array. If all goes according to plan in the next decade, we could see these small perturbations on the moon—and begin to solve some of the mysteries of space. (Credit: SKA)
Artist impression of the Square Kilometer Array. If all goes according to plan in the next decade, we could see these small perturbations on the moon—and begin to solve some of the mysteries of space. (Credit: SKA)
via gizmodo

NASA scientists study the Sun by listening to it

via popsci

What would it be like if you fell into a black hole?

via universetoday

Astronaut all-stars will visit China to talk space cooperation

China's first astronaut, Yang Liwei, is now vice director of the China Manned Space Engineering Office. (Credit: CMS)
Space travelers from around the world are headed to China this month for an international Planetary Congress, which will explore the possibilities for expanding human spaceflight cooperation among different countries. Pictured above is China’s first astronaut, Yang Liwei, is now vice director of the China Manned Space Engineering Office. (Credit: CMS)
via space

The ATLAS Humanoid Robot has advanced to the level of a lazy teenager

via gizmodo

AI: How Algorithms make systems smart

An animation of the quicksort algorithm sorting an array of randomized values. The red bars mark the pivot element; at the start of the animation, the element farthest to the right hand side is chosen as the pivot. (Credit: RonaldH)
An animation of the quicksort algorithm sorting an array of randomized values. The red bars mark the pivot element; at the start of the animation, the element farthest to the right hand side is chosen as the pivot. (Credit: RonaldH)
via wired

Google branches out from D-Wave in quantum computing initiative

rather than keeping all its eggs in D-Wave's basket, Google's "Quantum A.I. Lab" announced that it is starting a collaboration with an academic quantum computing researcher, John Martinis of the University of California-Santa Barbara. (Credit: Wiki, Timmer)
Rather than keeping all its eggs in D-Wave’s basket, Google’s “Quantum A.I. Lab” announced that it is starting a collaboration with an academic quantum computing researcher, John Martinis of the University of California-Santa Barbara. (Credit: Wiki, Timmer)
via arstechnica

Sep 5th: Mysterious outer solar system series – The Kuiper Belt

via cosmoquest

Space Station’s ‘Cubesat Cannon’ has Mind of its Own

In the grasp of the Japanese robotic arm, NanoRack’s CubeSat deployer releases a pair of miniature satellites last month. (Credit: NASA)
In the grasp of the Japanese robotic arm, NanoRack’s CubeSat deployer releases a pair of miniature satellites last month. (Credit: NASA)
via discovery

Physics in the News

Thursday, September 4, 2014

New map locates Milky Way in neighborhood of 100,000 galaxies

A new map places the Milky Way (black dot) within a large supercluster of galaxies (white dots) by tracing the gravitational pull of galaxies toward one another. White filaments reveal the paths of galaxies moving toward a gravitational center in the new supercluster, dubbed "Laniakea." (Blue, low galaxy density; green, intermediate; red, high.) SDvision interactive visualization software by DP at CEA/Saclay, France)
A new map places the Milky Way (black dot) within a large supercluster of galaxies (white dots) by tracing the gravitational pull of galaxies toward one another. White filaments reveal the paths of galaxies moving toward a gravitational center in the new supercluster, dubbed “Laniakea.” (Blue, low galaxy density; green, intermediate; red, high.) (Credit: DP at CEA/Saclay, France)
via nationalgeographic

Small asteroid to safely pass close to Earth Sunday

via nasa

Researcher advances a new model for a cosmological enigma — dark matter

This three-dimensional map offers a first look at the web-like large-scale distribution of dark matter, an invisible form of matter that accounts for most of the Universe's imaginary mass. The map reveals a loose network of dark matter filaments, gradually collapsing under the relentless pull of gravity, and growing clumpier over time. The three axes of the box correspond to sky position (in right ascension and declination), and distance from the Earth increasing from left to right (as measured by cosmological redshift). Note how the clumping of the dark matter becomes more pronounced, moving right to left across the volume map, from the early Universe to the more recent Universe.
This three-dimensional map offers a first look at the web-like large-scale distribution of dark matter, an invisible form of matter that accounts for most of the Universe’s imaginary mass. The map reveals a loose network of dark matter filaments, gradually collapsing under the relentless pull of gravity, and growing clumpier over time. The three axes of the box correspond to sky position, and distance from the Earth increasing from left to right. Note how the clumping of the dark matter becomes more pronounced, moving right to left across the volume map, from the early Universe to the more recent Universe. (Credit: NASA/ESA/Richard Massey)
via ku.edu

Dark energy hunt gets weird

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Cosmologists have revealed intruiging new ways to probe the mystery of whether dark energy exists and how it might be accelerating the universe’s growth. (Credit: Picturegarden/Getty)
via newscientist

Watching ‘the clock’ at the LHC

As time ticks down to the restart of the Large Hadron Collider, scientists are making sure their detectors run like clockwork.Photo by Antonio Saba, CERN
As time ticks down to the restart of the Large Hadron Collider, scientists are making sure their detectors run like clockwork.  (Credit: Antonio Saba, CERN)
via symmetrymagazine

Mind-blowing science explained: Neutron stars “are basically atoms as big as mountains”

via salon

Ultracold atoms juggle spins with exceptional symmetry

Schematic representation of a spin-exchanging collision. Two atoms in different orbitals (blue and green) and different spin orientations (black arrows) collide. The two atoms exiting the collision have swapped their spins after interacting. Crucially, the process is independent of the two specific initial spin states. Credit: LMU-München / MPQ, Quantum Many Body Systems Division Read more at: http://phys.org
Schematic representation of a spin-exchanging collision. Two atoms in different orbitals (blue and green) and different spin orientations (black arrows) collide. The two atoms exiting the collision have swapped their spins after interacting. Crucially, the process is independent of the two specific initial spin states. (Credit: LMU-München / MPQ, Quantum Many Body Systems Division)
via phys.org

How the enormous mirrors on the world’s largest telescope are made

The Giant Magellan Telescope (GMT) is a ground-based extremely large telescope planned for completion in 2020.[5] It will consist of seven 8.4 m (27.6 ft) diameter primary segments,[6] with the resolving power of a 24.5 m (80.4 ft) primary mirror and collecting area equivalent to a 22.0 m (72.2 ft) one,[7] (which is about 368 square meters) (Credit: wiki, Tarantola)
via gizmodo

Cosmic forecast: Dark clouds will give way to sunshine

via phys.org

Do exoplanets transform between classes?

A new analysis suggests that hot super-Earths might be the skeletal remnants of hot Jupiters stripped of their atmospheres. The above image is an artist’s depiction of an early stage in the destruction of a hot Jupiter by its star. (Credit: NASA / GSFC / Reddy, S. Hall)
via skyandtelescope

Physics in the News

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Researchers discover new clues to determining the solar cycle

Magnetic stripes of solar material – with alternating south and north polarity – march toward the sun's equator. Such observations may change the way we think about what's driving the sun's 22-year solar cycle. (Credit:  S. McIntosh)
Magnetic stripes of solar material – with alternating south and north polarity – march toward the sun’s equator. Such observations may change the way we think about what’s driving the sun’s 22-year solar cycle. (Credit: S. McIntosh)
via nasa

Finding the ‘Holy Grail’ of making smarter robots

via abcnews

Do most cosmologists accept the reality of the cosmic fine tuning?

via winteryknight

DARPA’s experimental space plane XS-1 starts development

via dailycaller

How the space craft Dawn will get the low-down on the first dwarf planet ever discovered

This image illustrates Dawn’s spiral transfer from high altitude mapping orbit (HAMO) to low altitude mapping orbit (LAMO). The trajectory turns from blue to red as time progresses over two months. Red dashed sections are where ion thrusting is stopped so the spacecraft can point its main antenna toward Earth. (Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech)
This image illustrates Dawn’s spiral transfer from high altitude mapping orbit (HAMO) to low altitude mapping orbit (LAMO). The trajectory turns from blue to red as time progresses over two months. Red dashed sections are where ion thrusting is stopped so the spacecraft can point its main antenna toward Earth. (Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech)
via nasa

Japan’s decade long mission to mine an asteroid

The little mushroom cap between the two high-gain antennas is the X-band low-gain antenna. The little blue thing is DCAM3, a deployable camera that will hopefully take pictures of the explosion and impact of Hayabusa's "Small Carry-on Impactor" while the mothership hides safely in the shadow of the asteroid.
The little mushroom cap between the two high-gain antennas is the X-band low-gain antenna. The little blue thing is DCAM3, a deployable camera that will hopefully take pictures of the explosion and impact of Hayabusa’s “Small Carry-on Impactor” while the mothership hides safely in the shadow of the asteroid. (Credit: Lakdawalla)
via gizmodo

Phase change memory lets a single bit act as different logic gates

Phase change materials can switch between two forms depending on how quickly they're cooled. Cool them quickly and you get an amorphous form, which provides significant resistance to the flow of electrons. Cool them slowly and they will allow electrons to flow more readily. Once cooled, these two forms remain stable, locking the differences in conduction in place. (Credit: Columbia University)
Phase change materials can switch between two forms depending on how quickly they’re cooled. Cool them quickly and you get an amorphous form, which provides significant resistance to the flow of electrons. Cool them slowly and they will allow electrons to flow more readily. Once cooled, these two forms remain stable, locking the differences in conduction in place. (Credit: Columbia University, Timmer)
via arstechnica

Rosetta set for ‘capture’ manoeuvres

Rosetta scientists will be heading to Lisbon, Portugal, next week to present their early impressions of the comet to their peers.
Rosetta scientists will be heading to Lisbon, Portugal, next week to present their early  impressions of the comet to their peers.
via bbc

Deflecting near Earth asteroids with paint

The Yarkovsky Effect: The daylight side absorbs the solar radiation. As the object rotates, the dusk side cools down and hence emits more thermal photons than the dawn side. It may be possible to exploit this effect for planetary defense.
The Yarkovsky Effect: The daylight side absorbs the solar radiation. As the object rotates, the dusk side cools down and hence emits more thermal photons than the dawn side. It may be possible to exploit this effect for planetary defense.
via thespacereview

The beginning of extra-galactic Neutrino astronomy

 An event in the IceCube neutrino telescope. Photomultipliers attached to strings buried deep in the Antarctic ice detect the bursts of light emitted when a neutrino collides with the ice and produces a muon. The event shown was generated by an upward moving muon, which was produced by an upward moving muon neutrino that passed through the Earth.  APS/Joan Tycko;
An event in the IceCube neutrino telescope. Photomultipliers attached to strings buried deep in the Antarctic ice detect the bursts of light emitted when a neutrino collides with the ice and produces a muon. The event shown was generated by an upward moving muon, which was produced by an upward moving muon neutrino that passed through the Earth. APS/Joan Tycko;
via physics.aps

Is it the era of racing for colliders’ physics?

A 1974 photo of the part named Intersection 5 (I5) of the ISR of CERN's old PS, clearly shows the layout of the magnets and the crossing of the two beams pipes. (Credit: Salem)
A 1974 photo of the part named Intersection 5 (I5) of the ISR of CERN’s old PS, clearly shows the layout of the magnets and the crossing of the two beams pipes. (Credit: Salem)
via onislam

Design completed for prototype fast reactor

Russian power engineering R&D institute NIKIET has completed the engineering design for the BREST-300 lead-cooled fast reactor.  (NIKIET)
Russian power engineering R&D institute NIKIET has completed the engineering design for the BREST-300 lead-cooled fast reactor. (NIKIET)
via world-nuclear-news

Physics in the News

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Tragedy: Russia’s orbiting zero-g sex geckos have all died

These aren't our illustrious orbiting sex geckos, but they are the experiment's ground-based control sex geckos, and that's almost as good!
These aren’t our illustrious orbiting sex geckos, but they are the experiment’s ground-based control sex geckos. (credit: imbp.ru)
via arstechnica

Out of this world! Astronaut captures release of Cygnus spacecraft in incredible timelapse from International Space Station

via slate

Time travel simulation resolves “Grandfather Paradox”

Entering a closed timelike curve tomorrow means you could end up at today. Credit: Dmitry Schidlovsky
Entering a closed timelike curve tomorrow means you could end up at today.
Credit: Dmitry Schidlovsky
via scientificamerican

Geometric meaning of the black hole horizon (PDF)

The event horizon is the boundary between a black hole and the rest of the universe. Any matter that spirals in toward the black hole and crosses the event horizon disappears. Ann Feild, Space Telescope Science Institute
Recent proposals postulate the existence of a “firewall” at the event horizon that may incinerate an infalling observer. These proposals face an apparent paradox if a freely falling observer detects nothing special in the vicinity of the horizon. (Credit: Moffat, Toth, Feild)
via mathoverflow

Google partners with UCSB to build quantum processors for artificial intelligence

photo: Erik Lucero / University of California, Santa Barbara
Google is going beyond using other people’s hardware. “With an integrated hardware group, the Quantum AI team at Google will now be able to implement and test new designs for quantum optimization and inference processors based on recent theoretical progress and insights from the D-Wave quantum annealing architecture,” says Hartmut Neven, Google’s Director of Engineering. (Credit: E. Lucero(UCSB), Lardinois)
via techcrunch

Research aimed at the heart of the Sun

 Inside the Borexino detector used to detect neutrinos from the sun. Credit Borexino Collaboration
Inside the Borexino detector used to detect neutrinos from the sun. Credit Borexino Collaboration
via nytimes

Watch a beautiful, powerful solar eruption

via latimes

Physics in the News

Monday, September 1, 2014

The ordinary weirdness of quantum mechanics

The spook and the weirdness, they stand in for non-locality and contextuality, they replace correlations and entanglement, pure and mixed states, non-commutativity, error correction, path integrals or post-selection. Unfortunately, all too often the technical vocabulary is entirely absent rather than briefly introduced. This makes it very difficult for interested readers to dig deeper into the topic. (Credit: C. Reed, S. Hossensfelder)
via backreaction

Mixing in star-forming clouds explains why sibling stars look alike

This is an image from a computer simulation shows a collision of two streams of interstellar gas, leading to gravitational collapse of the gas and the formation of a star cluster at the center. In this image, the gas streams were labeled with blue and red "tracer dyes," and the purple color indicates thorough mixing of the two gas streams during the collapse. Credit: Y. Feng and M. Krumholz
This computer simulation shows a collision of two streams of interstellar gas, leading to gravitational collapse of the gas and the formation of a star cluster at the center. In this image, the gas streams were labeled with blue and red “tracer dyes,” and the purple color indicates thorough mixing of the two gas streams during the collapse. (Credit: Y. Feng and M. Krumholz)
via phys

Laser pulse turns glass into a metal

Computer simulations show the electron flux from one atom to the others.
Scientists at the Vienna University of Technology have been able to change the properties of quartz glass into metal for very brief moments using laser pulses.  (Credit: Vienna University of Technology)
via pbs

The power of hidden patterns

Interfaces between solid materials are surfaces with intricate, internal structure (shown on the left). To control that structure, and to use it for specific applications, researchers model it a simplified way (shown on the right). Image: Niaz Abdolrahim and Jose-Luis Olivares/MIT
Interfaces between solid materials are surfaces with intricate, internal structure (shown on the left). To control that structure, and to use it for specific applications, researchers model it a simplified way (shown on the right). (Credit: Niaz Abdolrahim and Jose-Luis Olivares/MIT)
via mit

Asteroid 1950 DA’s Encounter with Earth in 2880(PDF)

(29075) 1950 DA is a near-Earth asteroid. Among asteroids more than 1 km in diameter, it is notable for having the highest known probability of impacting Earth.
(29075) 1950 DA is a near-Earth asteroid. Among asteroids more than 1 km in diameter, it is notable for having the highest known probability of impacting Earth. (Credit: Stocktrek Images Inc./Alamy)
via scientificamerican

Fermilab builds holometer to look for jitter in spacetime

central-clean-room
The Fermilab Holometer is a new kind of instrument designed to study the quantum character of space itself. It measures the quantum coherence of location with unprecedented precision. (Credit: Fermi)
 via fermi