Physics

NASA Joins Musician will.i.am, Discovery Education for Premiere of Song from Mars

NASA will hold an educational event to share findings about Mars with students and premiere a new song by musician will.i.am that will be broadcast from the surface of the Red Planet via the Curiosity rover.

The Algorithm That Finds Connections Scientists Never See

Here’s a thought experiment for you: 
If someone told you you had to drink just one kind of alcoholic beverage for the rest of your life, and you wanted that life to be long and healthy, what would you pick? Wine, right? After all, you’ve probably heard about the scientific studies showing that drinking wine is associated with better health in general, and a longer life span in particular.

Shaking the electron has strengthened quantum mechanics

Atomic orbital electrons react to change of nucleus electric charge following each beta decay and to flying nearby particles emitted from the nucleus. Physicists have simulated such processes for 6He nuclei. Theoretical calculations were recently confirmed.

Researchers probe invisible vacancies in fuel cell materials

Knowing the position of missing oxygen atoms could be the key to cheaper solid oxide fuel cells with longer lifetimes. New microscopy research is enabling scientists to map these vacancies at an atomic scale.

Bill Thurston | Cosmic Variance

Just a quick note here to say how sad I was to hear (via Terry Tao’s blog) of the death yesterday of Bill Thurston, whose work, particularly on 3-manifolds, endeared him to mathematicians and physicists and resulted in the 1982 Fields medal.

A Few Powers of Ten | Cosmic Variance

Via the endlessly enjoyable It’s Okay to Be Smart, here’s a gif image that zooms in by about three orders of magnitude. (Not sure of the original source.) We start by looking at an amphipod, a tiny shrimplike critter about a millimeter across.

New cancer scanner halves radiation

Particle physicists have developed a new medical technology that combines PET and MRI in one. Benefit: Improved image quality and less radiation.

Halo of neutrinos alters physics of exploding stars

Sparse halos of neutrinos within the hearts of exploding stars exert a previously unrecognized influence on the physics of the explosion and may alter which elements can be forged by these violent events.

Big picture of the universe confirmed, WiggleZ survey of more than 200,000 galaxies shows

We know that stars group together to form galaxies, galaxies clump to make clusters and clusters gather to create structures known as superclusters. At what scale though, if at all, does this Russian doll-like structure stop? Scientists have been debating this very question for decades because clustering on large scales would be in conflict with our 'standard model' of cosmology. The current model is based on Einstein's equations assuming everything is smooth on the largest scales. If matter were instead clumpy on very large scales, then the entire model would need to be rethought.

Gravitational Waves in Five Years | Cosmic Variance

LIGO, the gravitational-wave observatory, is currently on ice. After running successfully (although without actually detecting any gravitational waves) through 2007, it got a mini-upgrade and ran as Enhanced LIGO in 2009 and 2010. But in October 2010 it shut off, and the original detectors were disassembled.

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