Physics

A mathematical study of the famous Dirac equation that describes particles

In 1928 the British physicist Paul Dirac put forward one of the fundamental equations that we use today to mathematically describe a spin one-half particle from a relativistic point of view. The mathematical representation that Dirac came up with enables certain particles, including the electron, to be better understood. Nevertheless, much more remains to be discovered.

How do you know if you ran through a wall? Testing the nature of dark energy and dark matter

(Phys.org)—Researchers from Canada, California, and Poland have devised a straightforward way to test an intriguing idea about the nature of dark energy and dark matter. A global array of atomic magnetometers – small laboratory devices that can sense minute changes in magnetic fields – could signal when Earth passes through fractures in space known as domain walls. These structures could be the answer to the universe's darkest mysteries.

NASA's NuSTAR Catches Black Holes in Galaxy Web

NASA's Nuclear Spectroscopic Telescope Array, or NuSTAR, set its X-ray eyes on a spiral galaxy and caught the brilliant glow of two black holes lurking inside.

Galaxy's Gamma-Ray Flares Erupted Far From Its Black Hole

In 2011, a months-long blast of energy launched by an enormous black hole almost 11 billion years ago swept past Earth. Using a combination of data from NASA's Fermi Gamma-ray Space Telescope and the National Science Foundation's Very Long Baseline Array (VLBA), the world's largest radio telescope, astronomers have zeroed in on the source of this ancient outburst.

New Chandra Movie Features Neutron Star Action

Unlike with some blockbuster films, the sequel to a movie from NASA's Chandra X-ray Observatory is better than the first. This latest movie features a deeper look at a fast moving jet of particles produced by a rapidly rotating neutron star, and may provide new insight into the nature of some of the densest matter in the universe.

New antimatter method to provide 'a major experimental advantage'

(Phys.org)—Researchers have proposed a method for cooling trapped antihydrogen which they believe could provide 'a major experimental advantage' and help to map the mysterious properties of antimatter that have to date remained elusive.

How the kilogram has put on weight

Using a state-of-the-art Theta-probe XPS machine experts at Newcastle University, UK, have shown the original kilogram is likely to be tens of micrograms heavier than it was when the first standard was set in 1875. And they say a suntan could be the key to helping it lose weight.

From the Amazon rainforest to human body cells: Quantifying stability

The Amazon rainforest, energy grids, and cells in the human body share a troublesome property: They possess multiple stable states. When the world's largest tropical forest suddenly starts retreating in a warming climate, energy supply blacks out, or cells turn carcinogenic, complex-systems science understands this as a transition between two such states. These transitions are obviously unwanted.

New phase in reading photons

A new photodetector can cleanly discriminate among four states, not just the standard two states of binary logic.

A temperature below absolute zero: Atoms at negative absolute temperature are the hottest systems in the world

On the absolute temperature scale, which is used by physicists and is also called the Kelvin scale, it is not possible to go below zero – at least not in the sense of getting colder than zero kelvin. According to the physical meaning of temperature, the temperature of a gas is determined by the chaotic movement of its particles – the colder the gas, the slower the particles. At zero kelvin (minus 273 degrees Celsius) the particles stop moving and all disorder disappears. Thus, nothing can be colder than absolute zero on the Kelvin scale.

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