Physics in the News

Friday, September 26, 2014

New molecule found in space connotes life origins

The vibrant, starry stream of the Milky Way frames radio telescopes of the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array - known as the ALMA Observatory - in Chile’s Atacama Desert. (Credit: Y. Beletsky/ESO)
The vibrant, starry stream of the Milky Way frames radio telescopes of the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array – known as the ALMA Observatory – in Chile’s Atacama Desert. (Credit: Y. Beletsky/ESO)
via cornell

Black holes declared non-existent again.

Two international teams of astronomers using the Hubble Space Telescope and ground-based telescopes in Australia and Chile have discovered the first examples of isolated stellar-mass black holes adrift among the stars in our galaxy. (Credit: NASA/ESA, D. Bennett)
via backreaction

First Quantum Logic Operation For An Integrated Photonic Chip

The first teleportation of a photon inside a photonic chip illustrates both the potential for quantum computation and the significant challenges that lay ahead.
The first teleportation of a photon inside a photonic chip illustrates both the potential for quantum computation and the significant challenges that lay ahead.
via technologyreview

Cold Atom Laboratory Chills Atoms to New Lows

rtist's concept of an atom chip for use by NASA's Cold Atom Laboratory (CAL) aboard the International Space Station. CAL will use lasers to cool atoms to ultracold temperatures. (Credit: NASA)
rtist’s concept of an atom chip for use by NASA’s Cold Atom Laboratory (CAL) aboard the International Space Station. CAL will use lasers to cool atoms to ultracold temperatures. (Credit: NASA)
via jpl

A dramatic recent “discovery” in physics is looking rather dodgy

 A paper just released by the team behind Planck, a European space telescope, casts serious doubt on the BICEP-2 result. (Credit: D. Simonds)
A paper just released by the team behind Planck, a European space telescope, casts serious doubt on the BICEP-2 result. (Credit: D. Simonds)
via economist

Craig Nelson claims that the atomic era is in its twilight years

"The atomic age is an incredible epoch, filled with people we think we know already—from Marie Curie and Albert Einstein to Ronald Reagan and the plant workers of Fukushima—but they all turn out to be a lot more complicated and interesting than any of us could’ve imagined," says Nelson.(Credit: Helvio Faria)
“The atomic age is an incredible epoch, filled with people we think we know already—from Marie Curie and Albert Einstein to Ronald Reagan and the plant workers of Fukushima—but they all turn out to be a lot more complicated and interesting than any of us could’ve imagined,” says Nelson. (Credit: Helvio Faria)
via scitation

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
 

Physics in the News

Wednesday, September, 17, 2014

Dwarf galaxy’s ‘giant dark heart’: Supermassive black hole spotted in a star cluster 500 times smaller than Milky Way

via utah.edu

Penn State team helps explain mystery of rare five-hour space explosion

The X-ray image from the Swift X-ray Telescope of the gamma-ray burst GRB 130925. The white object in the center is the gamma-ray burst.  The large diffuse region to the right is a cluster of galaxies. The other objects are X-ray-emitting celestial objects, most likely supermassive black holes at the centers of distant galaxies. The full image is approximately the size of the full moon. (Credit: Phil Evans/ University of Leicester)
The X-ray image from the Swift X-ray Telescope of the gamma-ray burst GRB 130925. The white object in the center is the gamma-ray burst. The large diffuse region to the right is a cluster of galaxies. The other objects are X-ray-emitting celestial objects, most likely supermassive black holes at the centers of distant galaxies. The full image is approximately the size of the full moon. (Credit: Phil Evans/ University of Leicester)
via psu

Violent origins of disc galaxies probed by ALMA

via spacefellowship

Ambulance-chasing Large Hadron Collider collisions

via theguardian

Neutrino experiment that reaches for the sun has Princeton roots

The Borexino collaboration, which announced the detection of an elusive solar neutrino in August, involved several scientific contributions from Princeton over its 25-year history. The detector consists of two massive transparent nylon balloons filled with a petroleum-based liquid called "scintillator," which emits a flash of light when it detects a neutrino. These flashes are picked up by an array of sensors embedded in a stainless steel sphere that surrounds the balloons. (Credit: Borexino collaboration)
The Borexino collaboration, which announced the detection of an elusive solar neutrino in August, involved several scientific contributions from Princeton over its 25-year history. The detector consists of two massive transparent nylon balloons filled with a petroleum-based liquid called “scintillator,” which emits a flash of light when it detects a neutrino. These flashes are picked up by an array of sensors embedded in a stainless steel sphere that surrounds the balloons. (Credit: Borexino collaboration)
via princeton

Synopsis: Relativity is right on time, again

The experiment effectively measures the shift in the laser frequencies relative to what these transition frequencies are for ions at rest. The combination of two frequency shifts eliminates uncertain parameters and allows the team to validate the time dilation prediction to a few parts per billion, improving on previous limits. The result complements other Lorentz violation tests that use higher precision atomic clocks but much slower relative velocities.  (Credit: Botermann, et al., Schirber)
The experiment effectively measures the shift in the laser frequencies relative to what these transition frequencies are for ions at rest. The combination of two frequency shifts eliminates uncertain parameters and allows the team to validate the time dilation prediction to a few parts per billion, improving on previous limits. The result complements other Lorentz violation tests that use higher precision atomic clocks but much slower relative velocities. (Credit: Botermann, et al., Schirber)
via aps.org

Dark Matter as the “OS” of the Universe –“It’s a quantum fluid governing the formation of the structure of the cosmos”

The image above is a comparison of the radial density profiles of the galaxies which the researchers have created by displaying the soliton in the centre of each galaxy with a halo surrounding it. The solitons are broader but have less mass in the smaller galaxies. (Credit: /kipac.stanford.edu/kipac/media)
The image above is a comparison of the radial density profiles of the galaxies which the researchers have created by displaying the soliton in the centre of each galaxy with a halo surrounding it. The solitons are broader but have less mass in the smaller galaxies. (Credit: /kipac.stanford.edu/kipac/media)
via dailygalaxy

No, the ‘God Particle’ Is Not Going to Kill Us All

via boston

9,096 Stars in the Sky – Is That All?

The sky facing south at nightfall in late September from a dark, light-pollution-free site with stars visible to magnitude 6.5, the naked eye limit. (Credit: Stellarium)
The sky facing south at nightfall in late September from a dark, light-pollution-free site with stars visible to magnitude 6.5, the naked eye limit. (Credit: Stellarium)
via skyandtelescope

Quantum entanglement and superconductivity: Live Webcast delves into “spooky action at a distance”

Artistic rendering of the generation of an entangled pair of photons by spontaneous parametric down-conversion as a laser beam passes through a nonlinear crystal. Inspired by an image in Dance of the Photons. (Credit: A. Zeilinger)
Artistic rendering of the generation of an entangled pair of photons by spontaneous parametric down-conversion as a laser beam passes through a nonlinear crystal. Inspired by an image in Dance of the Photons. (Credit: A. Zeilinger)
via newswise