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Keyword: physics

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  • Sievert, Gray, Rem, and Rad - Why are there so many different ways to measure radiation exposure?

    03/29/2011 6:39:07 PM PDT · by neverdem · 11 replies
    Slate ^ | March 28, 2011 | Brian Palmer
    Japan's unfolding nuclear disaster has introduced Americans to the confusing practice of measuring radiation exposure. According to some stories, the water nearby to the No. 2 Fukushima reactor has a radioactivity level of 1,000 millisieverts per hour. But other articles describe radiation levels in terms of millirem per year. And a few sources have referred to exposure in terms of millirad or nanogray per hour. Why don't all radiation experts just use the same unit? Because some people are afraid to switch to the metric system. As with distance, weight, and temperature, doses of radiation can be expressed in either...
  • 12-Year-Old Genius Expands Einstein's Theory of Relativity, Thinks He Can Prove It Wrong

    03/29/2011 3:09:31 PM PDT · by Free ThinkerNY · 57 replies
    Time Magazine ^ | March 29, 2011 | Michelle Castillo
    Could Einstein's Theory of Relativity be a few mathematical equations away from being disproved? Jacob Barnett of Hamilton County, Ind., who is just weeks shy of his 13th birthday, thinks so. And, he's got the solutions to prove it. Barnett, who has an IQ of 170, explained his expanded theory of relativity — in a YouTube video. His mother Kristine Barnett, who admittedly flunked math, did what every other mother would do if her genius son started talking mathematical gibberish. She told him to explain the whole thing slowly while she taped her son explaining his take on the theory....
  • The Tevatron

    01/22/2011 8:27:33 AM PST · by La Lydia · 20 replies
    New York Times ^ | January 22, 2010
    In Batavia, Ill. — just west of Chicago — you can walk along trails through a thousand-acre restored prairie filled with rare species like compass plant and rattlesnake master. From the edge of the prairie, you can see, as well, a four-mile ring of concrete and steel. That is the berm above the Tevatron, a high-energy subterranean racetrack for particle beams and the heart of the Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory, or Fermilab. Since 1983, scientists have been using the Tevatron to create spectacular collisions between subatomic particles whose ghostly traces have helped reveal the fundamental constituents of matter, like the...
  • Really Hot Doin's Discovered on the Sun

    01/10/2011 4:23:39 PM PST · by neverdem · 14 replies · 1+ views
    ScienceNOW ^ | 6 January 2011 | Richard A. Kerr
    Enlarge Image In the eye of the beholder. Sharper views of the sun at a variety of wavelengths are revealing small jets from the solar surface that are helping heat the overlying corona to 1 million˚C. Credit: Bart De Pontieu The mystery of the solar corona is obvious enough. The vanishingly thin atmosphere of the sun—the wispy stuff that can be glimpsed faintly during total solar eclipses—simmers at 1 million˚C, 200 times hotter than the "fire" beneath it. What gives? Researchers now believe they have caught the sun in the act of heating bits of itself to coronal temperatures...
  • The Pioneer Anomaly, a 30-Year-Old Cosmic Mystery, May Be Resolved At Last

    12/16/2010 10:38:08 PM PST · by ErnstStavroBlofeld · 35 replies
    Popular Science ^ | 12/15/2010 | Natalie Wolchover
    Thirty years ago, NASA scientists noticed that two of their spacecraft, Pioneer 10 and Pioneer 11, were veering off course slightly, as if subject to a mysterious, unknown force. In 1998, the wider scientific community got wind of that veering—termed the Pioneer anomaly—and took aim at it with incessant, mind-blowingly detailed scrutiny that has since raised it to the physics equivalent of cult status. Now, though, after spawning close to 1000 academic papers, numerous international conferences, and many entire scientific careers, this beloved cosmic mystery may be on its way out. Slava Turyshev, a scientist at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory...
  • Promises of Electric Vehicles?

    12/11/2010 3:38:13 PM PST · by editor-surveyor · 106 replies
    Contra Costa Times | December 11, 2010 | Vlado Bevc
        Promises of Electric Vehicles?  Vlado BevcSynergy Research Institute, P.O.Box 561, San Ramon, California 94583  The promotion of General Motors Chevy Volt by three mayors (Contra Costa Times, November 6, 1010) merits some mundane evaluation from the energy standpoint. Electric vehicles –with an internal combustion engine assist – are compared to a “typical car” using 13 cents of $3.00/gallon gasoline per mile, that is one that makes 23 miles per gallon. (13/300 = 0.0433 gallon/mile) In a conventional car 25 percent of 37 kWh from a gallon of gasoline gets into traction (because of losses in the engine and drive train)....
  • Mercury serves up a nuclear surprise - The discovery of a new type of fission turns a...

    12/04/2010 10:40:33 AM PST · by neverdem · 31 replies
    Nature News ^ | 1 December 2010 | Eugenie Samuel Reich
    The discovery of a new type of fission turns a tenet of nuclear theory on its head. The observation of an unexpected nuclear reaction by an unstable isotope of the element mercury has thrown up a rare puzzle. The enigma is helping theorists to tackle one of the trickiest problems in physics: developing a more complete model of the atomic nucleus. Nuclear fission, the process in which a nucleus heavier than that of iron breaks into pieces, is generally observed to be symmetric, with the resulting fragments being roughly equal in size. Although instances of asymmetric fission are known, they...
  • Physicists Discover "Violation of a Fundamental Symmetry of the Universe"

    11/04/2010 12:31:54 PM PDT · by lbryce · 110 replies · 1+ views
    i09.com ^ | November 3, 2010 | Staff
    Today physicists announced that they may have found the key to explaining dark matter in the universe. It all has to do with the potential discovery of a "sterile neutrino." According to a release about the new study: Neutrinos are neutral elementary particles born in the radioactive decay of other particles. The known "flavors" of neutrinos are the neutral counterparts of electrons and their heavier cousins, muons and taus. Regardless of a neutrino's original flavor, the particles constantly flip from one type to another in a phenomenon called "neutrino flavor oscillation." An electron neutrino might become a muon neutrino, and...
  • Experts Say CAFE Still Kills Despite Congressional Support

    11/02/2010 11:08:57 AM PDT · by MichCapCon · 10 replies
    Capitol Confidential ^ | 11/2/2010 | Jarrett Skorup
    In a questionnaire put out by the Associated Press last week, Michigan congressmen Fred Upton (R-7th District), Mark Schauer (D-8th District) and Gary Peters (D-9th District) all expressed support for "stronger emission controls and fuel efficiency standards on cars and trucks." But some transportation experts say this will lead to higher fatality rates in Michigan and nationally. "There have been many studies showing that these standards will result in more deaths," said Steven Milloy, an adjunct scholar at the Competitive Enterprise Institute and the author of the book Green Hell. "Lighter cars are associated with higher fatalities, period." All three...
  • Breaking curveball too good to be true

    10/14/2010 3:40:23 PM PDT · by bunkerhill7 · 81 replies · 1+ views
    R&D Daily ^ | Thursday, October 14, 2010 | Carl Marziali
    Breaking curveball too good to be true Curveballs curve and fastballs go really fast, but new research suggests that no pitcher can make a curveball “break” or a fastball “rise.”
  • Nobel Prize for physics goes to Manchester University scientists (for creating Graphene)

    10/05/2010 6:31:35 AM PDT · by WebFocus · 21 replies
    The Guardian ^ | 10/05/2010 | Ian Sample
    wo scientists at Manchester University have won the 2010 Nobel prize for physics for creating the thinnest possible flakes of carbon. The news that Andre Geim, 51, and Konstantin Novoselov, 36, had received the 10m Swedish-kronor (£1m) prize was announced today by the Nobel Assembly at the Karolinska Institute in Stockholm. Novoselov is the youngest Nobel laureate since 1973. Geim and Novoselov were both born in Russia and collaborated as PhD supervisor and student in the Netherlands before moving to Manchester University, one of Britain's top physics institutes. The scientists' breakthrough came from a deceptively simple experiment in 2004 that...
  • Gauging High-Speed Spin Inside a Lilliputian World

    09/28/2010 10:51:41 PM PDT · by neverdem · 7 replies
    NY Times ^ | September 27, 2010 | JOHN MARKOFF
    SAN FRANCISCO — I.B.M. scientists have modified a scanning-tunneling microscope, making it possible to observe dynamic processes inside individual atoms on a time scale one million times faster than has previously been possible. The researchers have perfected a measurement technique in which they use an extremely short voltage pulse to excite an individual atom and then follow with a lower voltage to read the atom’s magnetic state, or spin, shortly afterward. The resulting data produces the equivalent of a high-resolution, high-speed movie of the atom’s behavior. The advance, reported Thursday in the journal Science, has potential applications in fields including...
  • Parting the waters: Computer modeling applies physics to Red Sea escape route (Physics of Moses)

    09/22/2010 7:16:05 AM PDT · by SeekAndFind · 19 replies
    UCAR ( University Corporation for Atmospheric Research) ^ | 09/22/2010 | Carl Drews and Weiqing Han
    September 21, 2010 BOULDER—The biblical account of the parting of the Red Sea has inspired and mystified people for millennia. A new computer modeling study by researchers at the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR) and the University of Colorado at Boulder (CU) shows how the movement of wind as described in the book of Exodus could have parted the waters. The computer simulations show that a strong east wind, blowing overnight, could have pushed water back at a bend where an ancient river is believed to have merged with a coastal lagoon along the Mediterranean Sea. With the water...
  • Ye cannae change the laws of physics (or can you?)

    09/02/2010 7:16:48 PM PDT · by Tolerance Sucks Rocks · 39 replies · 1+ views
    The Economist ^ | September 2, 2010 | The Economist
    RICHARD FEYNMAN, Nobel laureate and physicist extraordinaire, called it a “magic number” and its value “one of the greatest damn mysteries of physics”. The number he was referring to, which goes by the symbol alpha and the rather more long-winded name of the fine-structure constant, is magic indeed. If it were a mere 4% bigger or smaller than it is, stars would not be able to sustain the nuclear reactions that synthesise carbon and oxygen atoms. One consequence would be that squishy, carbon-based life would not exist. Why alpha takes on the precise value it does, so delicately fine-tuned for...
  • Rethinking Einstein: The end of space-time

    08/09/2010 7:25:58 AM PDT · by LibWhacker · 43 replies
    NewScientist ^ | 8/9/10 | Anil Ananthaswamy
    Physicists struggling to reconcile gravity with quantum mechanics have hailed a theory – inspired by pencil lead – that could make it all very simpleIT WAS a speech that changed the way we think of space and time. The year was 1908, and the German mathematician Hermann Minkowski had been trying to make sense of Albert Einstein's hot new idea - what we now know as special relativity - describing how things shrink as they move faster and time becomes distorted. "Henceforth space by itself and time by itself are doomed to fade into the mere shadows," Minkowski proclaimed, "and...
  • "The Spacecraft Flyby Mystery" - Is Dark Matter the Culprit or is There a New Physics ...

    08/03/2010 12:48:20 PM PDT · by LibWhacker · 56 replies · 17+ views
    Daily Galaxy ^ | 8/3/10 | Casey Kazan
    When scientists send their spacecraft across the universe, they save fuel by performing “slingshot fly-bys”. This is where, rather than firing up the thrusters, the craft changes its trajectory by harnessing the enormous gravitational pull of a planet. However, this trick has had an unexpected side-effect: it seems to produce a change in speed that no one, since it was first discovered in the early 1990's, can account for. Experts are intrigued by the fact that while the acceleration is tiny and has no significant effect on NASA missions, it holds great interest because no explanation based on conventional physics...
  • Shields up! Force fields could protect Mars missions

    07/30/2010 2:20:57 PM PDT · by LibWhacker · 6 replies · 2+ views
    NewScientist ^ | 7/28/10 | Marcus Chown
    Interplanetary adventurers must contend with deadly solar radiation – but the moon's magnetic memories may hold the key to safe space flightBORED on their six-month journey to Mars? Not a bit of it. Whenever the astronauts look out of the window, they find themselves mesmerised by the glowing, shimmering sphere of plasma that surrounds their spacecraft. Hard to believe that the modest electromagnet at the heart of their ship can produce something so beautiful. Not that the magnet's raison d'être is aesthetic, of course. Its main function is to keep the astronauts from a slow, horrible death by radiation sickness....
  • Quantum time machine 'allows paradox-free time travel'

    07/26/2010 1:28:23 AM PDT · by LibWhacker · 43 replies · 1+ views
    Telegraph ^ | 7/22/10 | Tom Chivers
    Quantum physicists at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology believe it is possible to create a time machine which could affect the past without creating a "grandfather paradox".Scientists have for some years been able to 'teleport' quantum states from one place to another. Now Seth Lloyd and his MIT team say that, using the same principles and a further strange quantum effect known as 'postselection', it should be possible to do the same backwards in time. Lloyd told the Technology Review: "It is possible for particles (and, in principle, people) to tunnel from the future to the past."
  • Quantum mechanics flummoxes physicists again

    07/24/2010 5:35:11 PM PDT · by LibWhacker · 82 replies · 3+ views
    Nature ^ | 7/22/10 | Jon Cartwright
    A fresh take on a classic experiment makes no progress in unifying quantum mechanics and relativity. If you ever want to get your head around the riddle that is quantum mechanics, look no further than the double-slit experiment. This shows, with perfect simplicity, how just watching a wave or a particle can change its behaviour. The idea is so unpalatable to physicists that they have spent decades trying to find new ways to test it. The latest such attempt, by physicists in Europe and Canada, used a three-slit version — but quantum mechanics won out again. In the standard double-slit...
  • Can Physics Prove the Existence of God?

    07/20/2010 6:09:03 PM PDT · by firerosemom · 73 replies · 1+ views
    Magis Center of Reason and Faith ^ | July 23, 2010 | Spitzer, Robert
    The last few years have seen several books championing agnosticism or atheism making their way into the popular press. These books leave most informed readers quite baffled, because they ignore the vast majority (if not the entirety) of the considerable evidence for theism provided by physics and philosophy during the last few decades. This evidence is capable of grounding reasonable and responsible belief in a super-intelligent, transcendent, creative power that stands at the origins of our universe or any hypothetically postulated multiverse. The main purpose of this book is to give a brief synopsis of this evidence to readers who...