Physics

Researchers say atomic clocks now good enough to measure Earth's geoid

(Phys.org)—Researchers from the University of Zurich say that atomic clock technology has sufficiently progressed to the point that it should now be feasible to use them to measure the Earth's geoid, thereby producing more accurate geophysical estimates of oil and mineral deposits, as well as water reservoirs.

Out There: Digging Up the Early Universe

Reconstructing ancient history is not easy to do. Just ask a paleontologist: No matter how many dinosaur skeletons or Neanderthal skulls scientists dig up, they still can tell only a small part of the story of what life on Earth was like millions, or even thousands, of years ago.

Nano-hillocks: Of mountains and craters

In the field of nanotechnology, electrically-charged particles are frequently used as tools for surface modification. Researchers were at last able to reconcile important issues concerning the effects of highly charged ions on surfaces.

Quantum physics: First images of Landau levels revealed

Physicists have directly imaged Landau Levels – the quantum levels that determine electron behavior in a strong magnetic field – for the first time since they were theoretically conceived of by Nobel prize winner Lev Landau in 1930.

NASA Awards Space Launch System Advanced Booster Contracts

NASA has awarded three contracts totaling $137.3 million to improve the affordability, reliability and performance of an advanced booster for the Space Launch System (SLS).

American Resupply Missions to the Space Station Progressing

Orbital Sciences Corporation Monday rolled the first stage of its Antares rocket to the launch pad of the nation's newest spaceport - the Mid-Atlantic Regional Spaceport at Wallops Island, Va. - while in Florida, Space Exploration Technologies (SpaceX) moves ahead with preparations for an Oct. 7 launch to the International Space Station for NASA's first Commercial Resupply Services (CRS) mission.

NASA Chief Technologist Visits Emergent Space Tech In Maryland Oct. 15

NASA Chief Technologist Mason Peck will visit Emergent Space Technologies Inc. of Greenbelt, Md., at 3:30 p.m. EDT Monday, Oct. 15. The visit is part of NASA's ongoing recognition of American small businesses, which create new technologies that enable future missions while also creating new products, services and jobs.

Discover Interview: Geoffrey West Finds the Physical Laws Embedded in Human Cities

The son of a dressmaker and a professional gambler, Geoffrey West was born just after the outbreak of World War II and raised in relative poverty in postwar England. From those humble beginnings, he went on to a brilliant career in theoretical physics, eventually helping found the Elementary Particles and Field Theory group at Los Alamos National Laboratory in New Mexico in 1974.

Shaking up biomolecules with light

(Phys.org)—In living organisms, biomolecules such as proteins are constantly in complex motion, bending and flexing in different ways at different points. Each molecule has its own vibrational dynamics which affects its propensity to bind to adjacent molecules, such as pharmaceuticals. The number and nature of a biomolecule's vibrational modes depends on numerous factors including conformational variety, hydration state, solvate environment, peptide sequence, crystalline order, and more.

Electrons confined inside nano-pyramids

Quantum dots are nanostructures of semiconducting materials that behave a lot like single atoms and are very easy to produce. Given their special properties, researchers see huge potential for quantum dots in technological applications. Before this can happen, however, we need a better understanding of how the electrons "trapped" inside them behave. Physicists have recently observed how electrons in individual quantum dots absorb energy and emit it again as light.

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