Keyword: stringtheory

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  • Update on the universe: Top scientists gather in Dallas to dissect space, matter, time

    12/07/2013 8:34:53 PM PST · by gooblah · 27 replies
    Dallas Morning News ^ | December 7 2013 | Anna Kuchment
    An idea hatched around a Dallas swimming pool 50 years ago has blossomed into one of the world’s most prestigious scientific conferences. Starting Sunday, more than 450 experts on gravity, black holes and the newly discovered Higgs boson — the subject of this year’s Nobel Prize in physics — will gather at the Fairmont Hotel in downtown Dallas to discuss the newest findings and most pressing mysteries in their fields
  • Where Does Gravity Come From?

    12/05/2013 5:18:10 PM PST · by BenLurkin · 52 replies
    universetoday.com ^ | December 5, 2013 | Nancy Atkinson on
    The problem is that our understanding of both particle physics and the geometry of gravity is incomplete. “Having gone from basically philosophical understandings of why things fall to mathematical descriptions of how things accelerate down inclines from Galileo, to Kepler’s equations describing planetary motion to Newton’s formulation of the Laws of Physics, to Einstein’s formulations of relativity, we’ve been building and building a more comprehensive view of gravity. But we’re still not complete,” said Dr. Pamela Gay. “We know that there still needs to be some way to unite quantum mechanics and gravity and actually be able to write down...
  • Could Particle ‘Spooky Action’ Define The Nature Of Gravity?

    12/05/2013 5:24:00 PM PST · by BenLurkin · 17 replies
    universetoday.com ^ | December 5, 2013 | Elizabeth Howell on
    Sonner then set about to create quarks to see if he could watch what happens when two are entangled with each other. Using an electric field, he was able to catch pairs of particles coming out of a vacuum environment with a few “transient” particles in it. - Once he caught the particles, he mapped them in terms of space-time (four-dimensional space). Note: gravity is believed to be the fifth dimension because it can bend space-time [5th Dimension?], as you can see in these images of galaxies below. - Sonner then tried to figure out what would happen in the...
  • ‘Spooky action’ builds a wormhole between ‘entangled’ particles

    12/04/2013 8:21:43 AM PST · by Red Badger · 85 replies
    http://www.washington.edu ^ | December 3, 2013 | Vince Stricherz
    Quantum entanglement, a perplexing phenomenon of quantum mechanics that Albert Einstein once referred to as “spooky action at a distance,” could be even spookier than Einstein perceived. Physicists at the University of Washington and Stony Brook University in New York believe the phenomenon might be intrinsically linked with wormholes, hypothetical features of space-time that in popular science fiction can provide a much-faster-than-light shortcut from one part of the universe to another. But here’s the catch: One couldn’t actually travel, or even communicate, through these wormholes, said Andreas Karch, a UW physics professor. Quantum entanglement occurs when a pair or a...
  • How NASA might build its very first warp drive

    11/29/2013 7:24:42 PM PST · by EveningStar · 115 replies
    io9 ^ | November 26, 2013 | George Dvorsky
    A few months ago, physicist Harold White stunned the aeronautics world when he announced that he and his team at NASA had begun work on the development of a faster-than-light warp drive. His proposed design, an ingenious re-imagining of an Alcubierre Drive, may eventually result in an engine that can transport a spacecraft to the nearest star in a matter of weeks — and all without violating Einstein's law of relativity. We contacted White at NASA and asked him to explain how this real life warp drive could actually work.
  • Faster Than the Speed of Light?

    11/29/2013 7:58:18 PM PST · by Star Traveler · 65 replies
    The New York Times ^ | July 22, 2013 | Danny Hakim
    HOUSTON — Beyond the security gate at the Johnson Space Center’s 1960s-era campus here, inside a two-story glass and concrete building with winding corridors, there is a floating laboratory. Harold G. White, a physicist and advanced propulsion engineer at NASA, beckoned toward a table full of equipment there on a recent afternoon: a laser, a camera, some small mirrors, a ring made of ceramic capacitors and a few other objects. He and other NASA engineers have been designing and redesigning these instruments, with the goal of using them to slightly warp the trajectory of a photon, changing the distance it...
  • Novel X-ray device developed

    11/27/2013 1:44:56 PM PST · by Red Badger · 18 replies
    Phys.org ^ | 11-24-2013 | Provided by University of Nebraska-Lincoln
    Using a compact but powerful laser, a research team at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln has developed a new way to generate synchrotron X-rays. Although the high quality of synchrotron X-rays make them ideal for research ranging from the structure of matter to advanced medical images, access to the technology has been limited until now. Most traditional synchrotron X-ray devices are gigantic and costly, available only at a few sites around the world. As reported in this week's issue of the top-ranked optics journal Nature Photonics, researchers at UNL's Extreme Light Laboratory developed a novel method to generate research-quality X-rays using...
  • Mathematicians Are Making Major Breakthroughs In The Understanding Of Prime Numbers

    11/23/2013 5:57:05 PM PST · by BenLurkin · 74 replies
    businessinsider.com ^ | Nov. 21, 2013, 3:07 PM | Andy Kiersz
     Most mathematicians have a sense that the twin primes conjecture should be true — the positioning of the prime numbers appear to be more or less random, even though on average the gaps between primes get larger, and if one has an infinitely long list of random odd numbers, we should have an infinite collection of pairs in our list. If at some point, prime numbers are always more than two numbers away from each other, we have a non-random aspect to their distribution that goes against this intuition.
  • Scientists witness massive gamma-ray burst, don't understand it

    11/22/2013 7:53:51 AM PST · by Red Badger · 35 replies
    Christian Science Monitor ^ | November 21, 2013 | By Pete Spotts, Staff writer
    An exploded star some 3.8 billion light-years away is forcing scientists to overhaul much of what they thought they knew about gamma-ray bursts – intense blasts of radiation triggered, in this case, by a star tens of times more massive than the sun that exhausted its nuclear fuel, exploded, then collapsed to form a black hole. Last April, gamma rays from the blast struck detectors in gamma-ray observatories orbiting Earth, triggering a frenzy of space- and ground-based observations. Many of them fly in the face of explanations researchers have developed during the past 30 years for the processes driving the...
  • Ramesh Raskar: Imaging at a trillion frames per second

    11/22/2013 4:04:45 PM PST · by BulletBobCo · 26 replies
    Ramesh Raskar presents femto-photography, a new type of imaging so fast it visualizes the world one trillion frames per second, so detailed it shows light itself in motion. This technology may someday be used to build cameras that can look “around” corners or see inside the body without X-rays. Photography is about creating images by recording light. At the MIT media lab, professor Ramesh Raskar and his team members have invented a camera that can photograph light itself as it moves at, well, the speed of light.
  • Astronomy Picture of the Day -- Heavy Black Hole Jets in 4U1630-47

    11/20/2013 3:05:13 AM PST · by SunkenCiv · 8 replies
    NASA ^ | November 20, 2013 | (see photo credit)
    Explanation: What are black hole jets made of? Many black holes in stellar systems are surely surrounded by disks of gas and plasma gravitationally pulled from a close binary star companion. Some of this material, after approaching the black hole, ends up being expelled from the star system in powerful jets emanating from the poles of the spinning black hole. Recent evidence indicates that these jets are composed not only electrons and protons, but also the nuclei of heavy elements such as iron and nickel. The discovery was made in system 4U1630-47 using CSIRO’s Compact Array of radio telescopes in...
  • Scientists proud of dark matter study that turns up nothing

    11/12/2013 6:08:01 PM PST · by Tailgunner Joe · 28 replies
    upi.com ^ | October 31, 2013 | Caroline Lee
    Scientists at the Homestake Gold Mine in South Dakota running the biggest, most sensitive dark matter detector yet released its first round of results yesterday -- and they found nothing. The Large Underground Xenon dark matter experiment, or LUX, consists of a vat of 368 kilograms of liquid xenon to minus 110 degrees Celsius, surrounded by a tank of water. LUX sits 4,850 feet underground at the old mine, shielded from cosmic rays. An international team of researchers watched for three months to see if any WIMPS -- weakly interacting massive particles -- would pass through the rock and reveal...
  • This quasar should not exist -- and yet it does

    11/09/2013 11:07:04 PM PST · by SunkenCiv · 10 replies
    io9 ^ | November 9th, 2013 | George Dvorsky
    Astronomers from York University in Canada have identified an undocumented type of quasar where gas appears to be getting sucked into a black hole. This may not sound surprising, but current theories say that isn't supposed to happen. Quasars are hyperactive and extremely bright discs of hot gas that surround supermassive black holes. They're also known as galactic nucleuses. The Milky Way has one at its center. All the junk that's rapidly spinning down the drain hole forms a compact disc with a radius that's larger than Earth's orbit around the Sun and a temperature that's hotter than the surface...
  • Wireless device converts 'lost' energy into electric power [Galt's Motor?}

    11/08/2013 10:12:29 AM PST · by Red Badger · 62 replies
    Phys.Org ^ | 11-07-2013 | Provided by Duke University
    Using inexpensive materials configured and tuned to capture microwave signals, researchers at Duke University's Pratt School of Engineering have designed a power-harvesting device with efficiency similar to that of modern solar panels. The device wirelessly converts the microwave signal to direct current voltage capable of recharging a cell phone battery or other small electronic device, according to a report appearing in the journal Applied Physics Letters in December 2013. (It is now available online.) It operates on a similar principle to solar panels, which convert light energy into electrical current. But this versatile energy harvester could be tuned to harvest...
  • Quantum Leaps May Solve Impossible Problems

    10/10/2002 11:58:04 AM PDT · by sourcery · 42 replies · 1,057+ views
    NewsFactor Network ^ | October 7, 2002 | Mike Martin
    "It is widely accepted now that, without a doubt, information is physical and quantum physics provides the rules of that physical behavior," George Mason University computer science professor Richard Gomez told NewsFactor. Alan Turing might be considered the "John Forbes Nash of computer science" -- a troubled young Princeton genius who achieved prominence in the 1950s. Turing published one of the top 10 papers in all of 20th-century science -- "On the Computability of Numbers." He killed himself over a conviction for homosexuality at the height of his genius, but since his death, his definition of "computability" has stood untouched...
  • Gravitational Wavelengths Could Crack the Black Hole Code

    10/20/2013 7:35:47 AM PDT · by BenLurkin · 12 replies
    guardianlv.com ^ | October 20, 2013. | Jessica Rosslee on
    Okay, but what exactly is a gravitational wave and how could they help us crack the conundrum of the black hole code? A gravitational wave is akin to a ripple in space-time. Albert Einstein predicted that massive bodies changing speed or direction generate these gravitational waves. Picture bodies like a pair of black holes orbiting each other. This then creates a gravitational wave that ripples outwards, like a disturbance in a still pool of water after a leaf has dropped onto its surface and ripples are sent across the surface. Like star-crossed lovers, the black holes of two merging galaxies...
  • Astronomers find clues to decades-long coronal heating mystery [magnetic fields]

    10/19/2013 7:04:44 PM PDT · by SunkenCiv · 24 replies
    Astronomy ^ | Thursday, October 17, 2013 | Columbia University
    To understand the coronal heating problem, imagine a flame coming out of an ice cube. A similar effect occurs on the surface of the Sun. Nuclear fusion in the center of the Sun heats the solar core to 15 million degrees. Moving away from this furnace, by the time one arrives at the surface of the Sun, the gas has cooled to a relatively refreshing 10,800° Fahrenheit (6,000° Celsius). But the temperature of the gas in the corona, above the solar surface, soars back up to over 1.8 million degrees F (1 million degrees C). What causes this unexpected temperature...
  • Strongest Material Ever Found in Atom-Thick Carbyne Chains

    10/12/2013 12:44:48 PM PDT · by Straight Vermonter · 54 replies
    Science World Report ^ | Oct 11, 2013
    The strongest material ever could be carbyne, atom-thick chains of carbon, according to theoretical calculations by Rice University Physicists. The big question is now if and when anyone can make it in bulk. Carbyne is a chain of carbon atoms held together by either double or alternating single and triple atomic bonds. That makes it a true one-dimensional material, unlike atom-thin sheets of graphene, which have a top and a bottom, or hollow nanotubes, which have an inside and outside. These carbyne nanorods or nanoropes, if they can be made, would have a host of remarkable and useful properties, as...
  • Higgs Theorists Win Physics Nobel in Overtime

    10/10/2013 4:12:36 PM PDT · by neverdem · 5 replies
    ScienceNOW ^ | 8 October 2013 | Daniel Clery
    Wikimedia Commons, ULBPhysics laureates. Peter Higgs (left) and François Englert. The most eagerly anticipated and potentially controversial Nobel Prize for physics in many years was awarded today—following a nail-biting hourlong delay—exactly according to the expected script: The winners are Peter Higgs and his fellow theorist François Englert for, essentially, predicting the Higgs boson. The winners were much heralded following last year’s discovery of the Higgs by physicists at the CERN particle physics lab near Geneva, Switzerland, using its Large Hadron Collider (LHC).That finding put in place the last piece of the puzzle to complete the standard model of fundamental particles...
  • Astronomy Picture of the Day -- All the Colors of the Sun

    10/02/2013 3:37:32 AM PDT · by SunkenCiv · 15 replies
    NASA ^ | October 02, 2013 | (see photo credit)
    Explanation: It is still not known why the Sun's light is missing some colors. Here are all the visible colors of the Sun, produced by passing the Sun's light through a prism-like device. The spectrum was created at the McMath-Pierce Solar Observatory and shows, first off, that although our white-appearing Sun emits light of nearly every color, it does indeed appear brightest in yellow-green light. The dark patches in the above spectrum arise from gas at or above the Sun's surface absorbing sunlight emitted below. Since different types of gas absorb different colors of light, it is possible to determine...
  • How to see quantum gravity in Big Bang traces

    09/30/2013 11:28:55 PM PDT · by LibWhacker · 11 replies
    Nature ^ | 9/27/13 | Ron Cowen
    The cosmic microwave background sky, here mapped by NASA's Wilkinson Microwave Anisotropy Probe, has a polarization, represented by white bars. Future experiments might measure the polarization with enough sensitivity to prove the existence of gravitons, the quanta of gravity. Can a quantum of gravity ever be detected? Two physicists suggest that it can — using the entire Universe as a detector. Researchers think that the gravitational force is transmitted by an elementary particle called the graviton, just as the electromagnetic force is carried by photons. But most of them despair about ever recording individual gravitons. That is because gravity is...
  • Tiny Glass Chip Accelerators Pack the Punch of Huge Mile-Long Instruments

    09/28/2013 1:33:00 PM PDT · by BenLurkin · 12 replies
    latinospost.com ^ | Sep 28, 2013 04:08 PM EDT | Keerthi Chandrashekar
    A new advance in accelerator technology has scientists creating tiny glass chips smaller than a grain of rice that can power electrons up to speeds 10 times faster than present-day conventional technology. Experts from Stanford University and U.S. Department of Energy's (DOE) SLAC National Accelerator detailed their glass chip accelerator research in a study in the journal Nature. The researchers reveal that they are able to achieve such incredible acceleration in such small distances by using commercial lasers to speed up the electrons instead of microwaves, which are typically used. These new chips offer an unprecedented level of acceleration, clocking...
  • Goodbye Big Bang, hello black hole? A new theory of the universe's creation

    09/19/2013 6:56:01 PM PDT · by LibWhacker · 34 replies
    Phys.org ^ | 9/19/13 | Elizabeth Howell
    Goodbye Big Bang, hello black hole? A new theory of the universe's creation Enlarge Artist’s conception of the event horizon of a black hole. Credit: Victor de Schwanberg/Science Photo Library Could the famed "Big Bang" theory need a revision? A group of theoretical physicists suppose the birth of the universe could have happened after a four-dimensional star collapsed into a black hole and ejected debris. Before getting into their findings, let's just preface this by saying nobody knows anything for sure. Humans obviously weren't around at the time the universe began. The standard theory is that the universe grew from...
  • A Jewel at the Heart of Quantum Physics

    09/19/2013 5:59:05 AM PDT · by LibWhacker · 40 replies
    SimonsFoundation.org ^ | 9/17/13 | Natalie Wolchover
    A Jewel at the Heart of Quantum Physics Artist’s rendering of the amplituhedron, a newly discovered mathematical object resembling a multifaceted jewel in higher dimensions. Encoded in its volume are the most basic features of reality that can be calculated — the probabilities of outcomes of particle interactions. Physicists have discovered a jewel-like geometric object that dramatically simplifies calculations of particle interactions and challenges the notion that space and time are fundamental components of reality.“This is completely new and very much simpler than anything that has been done before,” said Andrew Hodges, a mathematical physicist at Oxford University who has...
  • Odd Peanut Mapped at the Heart of our Galaxy

    09/21/2013 5:55:29 PM PDT · by SunkenCiv · 27 replies
    Scientific Computing ^ | Wednesday, September 18, 2013 | ESO
    Two groups of astronomers have used data from ESO telescopes to make the best three-dimensional map yet of the central parts of the Milky Way. They have found that the inner regions take on a peanut-like, or X-shaped, appearance from some angles. This odd shape was mapped by using public data from ESO’s VISTA survey telescope along with measurements of the motions of hundreds of very faint stars in the central bulge. One of the most important and massive parts of the galaxy is the galactic bulge. This huge central cloud of about 10,000 million stars spans thousands of light-years,...
  • Hubble Finds Source of Magellanic Stream

    09/21/2013 10:32:43 AM PDT · by SunkenCiv · 18 replies
    Scientific Computing ^ | Thursday, September 19, 2013 | unattributed
    Astronomers using NASA's Hubble Space Telescope have solved a 40-year mystery on the origin of the Magellanic Stream, a long ribbon of gas stretching nearly halfway around our Milky Way galaxy. The Large and Small Magellanic Clouds, two dwarf galaxies orbiting the Milky Way, are at the head of the gaseous stream. Since the stream's discovery by radio telescopes in the early 1970s, astronomers have wondered whether the gas comes from one or both of the satellite galaxies. New Hubble observations reveal most of the gas was stripped from the Small Magellanic Cloud about two billion years ago, and a...
  • Doomsday? Universe's Fate Depends on True Mass of Tiny Particle

    09/13/2013 10:43:45 PM PDT · by LibWhacker · 39 replies
    Space.com ^ | 9/12/13 | Charles Q. Choi
    The universe may end in another 10 billion years or sooner if the heaviest of all the known elementary particles, the top quark, is even heavier than previously thought, researchers say. If the top quark is not heavier than experiments currently suggest, then an even stranger fate may await the cosmos: disembodied brains and virtually anything else could one day randomly materialize into existence. The protons and neutrons that make up the nuclei of atoms are made of elementary particles known as quarks. Protons and neutrons are made up of the lightest and most stable flavors of quark: the up...
  • Black Holes Feed On Quantum Foam, Says Cosmologist

    09/12/2013 6:29:02 PM PDT · by LibWhacker · 43 replies
    Nobody knows how the universe’s biggest black holes grow so large. Now one astrophysicist says it’s because they feed on the quantum foam that makes up the fabric of spacetime One of the more fascinating astrophysical discoveries in recent years is that almost all galaxies hide supermassive black holes at their cores. Indeed, astronomers believe that galaxies and black holes have a kind of symbiotic relationship so that one cannot form or grow without the other. The evidence comes from observations of galaxies both near and far—almost all contain huge black holes. But that raises an interesting question. We see...
  • Quantum steps towards the Big Bang

    09/03/2013 5:19:44 PM PDT · by LibWhacker · 27 replies
    A new approach to the unification of general theory of relativity and quantum theory Present-day physics cannot describe what happened in the Big Bang. Quantum theory and the theory of relativity fail in this almost infinitely dense and hot primal state of the universe. Only an all-encompassing theory of quantum gravity which unifies these two fundamental pillars of physics could provide an insight into how the universe began. Scientists from the Max Planck Institute for Gravitational Physics (Albert Einstein Institute) in Golm/Potsdam and the Perimeter Institute in Canada have made an important discovery along this route. According to their theory,...
  • 'We may be able to watch dark energy turn on': U-M involved in unprecedented sky survey

    09/03/2013 4:20:57 PM PDT · by LibWhacker · 5 replies
    U-Mich ^ | 9/3/13 | Nicole Casal Moore
    ANN ARBOR—Moonless nights outside the Cerro Tololo astronomical observatory in Chile are so dark that when you look down, you can't see your feet. "You can't see your hands," said David Gerdes, physics professor at the University of Michigan. "But you can hold them up to the sky and see a hand-shaped hole with no stars in it. It's really incredible." From this site in the Andes over the next five years, an international team will map one-eighth of the sky in unprecedented detail—aiming to make a time lapse of the past 8 billion years of a slice of the...
  • Theoretical physics: The origins of space and time

    08/28/2013 3:33:35 PM PDT · by LibWhacker · 50 replies
    Nature ^ | 8/28/13 | Zeeya Merali
    Many researchers believe that physics will not be complete until it can explain not just the behaviour of space and time, but where these entities come from.“Imagine waking up one day and realizing that you actually live inside a computer game,” says Mark Van Raamsdonk, describing what sounds like a pitch for a science-fiction film. But for Van Raamsdonk, a physicist at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver, Canada, this scenario is a way to think about reality. If it is true, he says, “everything around us — the whole three-dimensional physical world — is an illusion born from...
  • New Super-Heavy Element 115 Confirmed

    08/27/2013 10:16:35 PM PDT · by smokingfrog · 21 replies
    Live Science ^ | 8-27-13 | Megan Gannon
    Scientists say they've created a handful of atoms of the elusive element 115, which occupies a mysterious corner of the periodic table. The super-heavy element has yet to be officially named, but it is temporarily called ununpentium, roughly based on the Latin and Greek words for the digits in its atomic number, 115.   The atomic number is the number of protons an element contains. The heaviest element commonly found in nature is uranium, which has 92 protons, but scientists can load even more protons into an atomic nucleus and make heavier elements through nuclear fusion reactions. [Wacky Physics: The...
  • Engage! Warp Drive Could Become Reality with Quantum-Thruster Physics

    08/24/2013 8:14:33 PM PDT · by LibWhacker · 42 replies
    Space.com ^ | 8/21/13 | Miriam Kramer
    DALLAS — Warp-drive technology, a form of "faster than light" travel popularized by TV's "Star Trek," could be bolstered by the physics of quantum thrusters — another science-fiction idea made plausible by modern science. NASA scientists are performing experiments that could help make warp drive a possibility sometime in the future from a lab built for the Apollo program at NASA's Johnson Space Center in Houston. A warp-drive-enabled spacecraft would look like a football with two large rings fully encircling it. The rings would utilize an exotic form of matter to cause space-time to contract in front of and expand...
  • Flicker… A Bright New Method of Measuring Stellar Surface Gravity

    08/22/2013 8:01:58 AM PDT · by BenLurkin · 4 replies
    universetoday.com ^ | August 22, 2013 | Tammy Plotner on
    A simple, yet elegant method of measuring the surface gravity of a star has just been discovered. These computations are important because they reveal stellar physical properties and evolutionary state – and that’s not all. The technique works equally well for estimating the size of hundreds of exoplanets. Developed by a team of astronomers and headed by Vanderbilt Professor of Physics and Astronomy, Keivan Stassun, this new technique measures a star’s “flicker”. With an uncertainty ranging from 50 percent to 200 percent, astronomers have been eager to seize on a new way of measuring a star’s surface gravity which will...
  • Physicists levitate tiny diamonds in wild experiment

    08/16/2013 10:07:29 PM PDT · by 2ndDivisionVet · 26 replies
    Fox News ^ | August 15, 2013 | Laura Poppick
    In quite an eerie feat, physicists have floated microscopic diamonds in midair using laser beams. Researchers have already used lasers to levitate extremely small particles, such as individual atoms, but this is the first time that the technique has worked on a nanodiamond, which, in this case, measures just 100 nanometers (3.9 x 10-8 inches) across, or more than 1,000 times thinner than a fingernail. In the new study, the physicists from the University of Rochester relied on the fact that a laser beam, which is made up of photons, creates a tiny force that usually can't be felt.....
  • New force potentially stronger than gravity discovered ( With cosmic Dust )

    08/09/2013 12:21:13 PM PDT · by Ernest_at_the_Beach · 22 replies
    Vr-zone ^ | July 26, 2013 2:40 am | David Farrell
    The Blackbody force is a newly discovered force that attracts atoms and molecules to hot, opaque objects emitting blackbody radiation. Under certain circumstances, the new force is stronger than gravity.
  • Relativistic Baseball

    08/04/2013 9:27:49 AM PDT · by 1rudeboy · 47 replies
    What would happen if you tried to hit a baseball pitched at 90% the speed of light?Let’s set aside the question of how we got the baseball moving that fast. We'll suppose it's a normal pitch, except in the instant the pitcher releases the ball, it magically accelerates to 0.9c. From that point onward, everything proceeds according to normal physics.: The answer turns out to be “a lot of things”, and they all happen very quickly, and it doesn’t end well for the batter (or the pitcher). I sat down with some physics books, a Nolan Ryan action figure, and...
  • Spin rate of black holes pinned down

    08/08/2013 1:35:04 AM PDT · by LibWhacker · 12 replies
    Nature ^ | 8/6/13 | Eugenie Samuel Reich
    Black holes can be described by just two fundamental characteristics: mass and spin. Astronomers have been able to measure the objects’ mass for decades, by looking for gravitational effects on the orbits of nearby stars. But measuring spin, which records the angular momentum of the matter that falls into the holes, has proved troublesome, particularly for the supermassive black holes that lie at the centres of galaxies. No light emanates from the black holes’ spinning event horizons, so astronomers instead look for proxies that emit X-rays, such as the swirling disks of matter that feed into some holes. Such indirect...
  • Scientists to Discuss Universe's Strange Dense Spot Wednesday -

    08/02/2013 1:05:34 AM PDT · by lbryce · 24 replies
    Space.com ^ | July 30, 2013 | Clara Moskowitz
    Original title:Scientists to Discuss Universe's Strange Dense Spot Wednesday: Watch Live You can't watch it live anymore but you can watch the video of the event. This map shows the oldest light in our universe, as detected with the greatest precision yet by the Planck mission. The ancient light, called the cosmic microwave background, was imprinted on the sky when the universe was 370,000 years old. It shows tiny temperature fluctuations that correspond to regions of slightly different densities, representing the seeds of all future structure: the stars and galaxies of today. An odd dense spot in the universe populated...
  • Molten metal solidifies into a new kind of glass

    07/30/2013 6:47:57 AM PDT · by Red Badger · 32 replies
    07-30-2013 | Provided by Argonne National Laboratory
    (Phys.org) —When a molten material cools quickly, parts of it may have enough time to grow into orderly crystals. But if the cooling rate is too fast for the entire melt to crystallize, the remaining material ends up in a non-crystalline state known as a glass, with atoms caught in place essentially as a frozen liquid. Recently, a group of researchers at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) came across an unexpected reversal of this usual sequence of events. After cooling a molten alloy of aluminum, iron, and silicon, they found that glassy nodules of a non-crystalline solid...
  • Mysterious hum driving people crazy around the world

    07/27/2013 7:05:34 AM PDT · by shove_it · 121 replies
    nbcnews ^ | 26 Jul 2013 | Marc Lallanilla
    It creeps in slowly in the dark of night, and once inside, it almost never goes away. It's known as the Hum, a steady, droning sound that's heard in places as disparate as Taos, N.M.; Bristol, England; and Largs, Scotland. But what causes the Hum, and why it only affects a small percentage of the population in certain areas, remain a mystery, despite a number of scientific investigations...
  • Faster Than the Speed of Light?

    07/23/2013 8:17:19 PM PDT · by 2ndDivisionVet · 21 replies
    The New York Times ^ | July 22, 2013 | Danny Hakim
    HOUSTON — Beyond the security gate at the Johnson Space Center’s 1960s-era campus here, inside a two-story glass and concrete building with winding corridors, there is a floating laboratory. Harold G. White, a physicist and advanced propulsion engineer at NASA, beckoned toward a table full of equipment there on a recent afternoon: a laser, a camera, some small mirrors, a ring made of ceramic capacitors and a few other objects. He and other NASA engineers have been designing and redesigning these instruments, with the goal of using them to slightly warp the trajectory of a photon, changing the distance it...
  • Strange Particles Shape-Shift From One Flavor to Another

    07/23/2013 7:47:43 AM PDT · by BenLurkin · 21 replies
    livescience. ^ | July 22, 2013 04:26pm ET | Clara Moskowitz, Senior Writer | -
    Neutrinos come in three flavors — electron, muon and tau — and have been known to change, or oscillate, between certain flavors. Now, for the first time, scientists can definitively say they've discovered muon neutrinos changing into electron neutrinos.
  • Strange Particles Shape-Shift From One Flavor to Another

    07/23/2013 9:35:29 AM PDT · by SeekAndFind · 16 replies
    Live Science ^ | 07/23/2013
    Exotic particles called neutrinos have been caught in the act of shape-shifting, switching from one flavor to another, in a discovery that could help solve the mystery of antimatter. Neutrinos come in three flavors — electron, muon and tau — and have been known to change, or oscillate, between certain flavors. Now, for the first time, scientists can definitively say they've discovered muon neutrinos changing into electron neutrinos. The discovery was made at the T2K neutrino experiment in Japan, where scientists sent a beam of muon neutrinos from the J-PARC laboratory in Tokai Village on the eastern coast of Japan,...
  • Are Neutrinos Their Own Antiparticles?

    07/20/2013 4:35:01 PM PDT · by neverdem · 14 replies
    ScienceNOW ^ | 16 July 2013 | Edwin Cartlidge
    Enlarge Image Shining example. The GERDA experiment at the Gran Sasso lab in Italy has all but ruled out earlier claims for neutrinoless double-beta decay. Credit: The University of Tübingen A long-standing controversy among particle physicists looks to be settled—in the less exciting way—thanks to new data from an ultrasensitive particle detector deep underground. Physicists operating the GERmanium Detector Array (GERDA) 1400 meters down in Italy's Gran Sasso National Laboratory say that they see no signs of a hypothesized type of nuclear decay called neutrinoless double-beta decay that, were it conclusively observed, would almost certainly merit a Nobel Prize....
  • The Hardest Thing To Find In The Universe?

    07/12/2013 1:41:47 PM PDT · by nickcarraway · 42 replies
    NPR ^ | July 12, 2013 | ROBERT KRULWICH
    What is rarer than a shooting star? Rarer than a diamond? Rarer than any metal, any mineral, so rare that if you scan the entire earth, all six million billion billion kilos or 13,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 pounds of our planet, you would find only one ounce of it? What is so rare it has never been seen directly, because if you could get enough of it together, it would self-vaporize from its own radioactive heat? What is this stuff that can't be seen or found? Well, here's a hint. It's sitting modestly in a lower row in the Periodic Table, down on...
  • Jagged graphene edges can slice into cell membranes

    07/11/2013 3:37:24 PM PDT · by neverdem · 8 replies
    Biology News Net ^ | July 10, 2013 | NA
    Sharp corners and jagged edges on graphene sheets enable them to puncture cell membranes. Researchers from Brown University have shown how tiny graphene microsheets — ultra-thin materials with a number of commercial applications — could be big trouble for human cells. The research shows that sharp corners and jagged protrusions along the edges of graphene sheets can easily pierce cell membranes. After the membrane is pierced, an entire graphene sheet can be pulled inside the cell where it may disrupt normal function. The new insight may be helpful in finding ways to minimize the potential toxicity of graphene, said...
  • Space-Time Loops May Explain Black Holes

    07/11/2013 8:30:09 AM PDT · by BenLurkin · 60 replies
    SPACE.com ^ | 10 July 2013 Time: 07:00 AM ET | Clara Moskowitz,
    A black hole is created when a huge star runs out of fuel for nuclear fusion and collapses under its own gravity. The star's outer layers are expelled, and its core falls in on itself, with the pull of gravity becoming ever stronger, until what's left is the core's mass condensed into an extremely small area. According to general relativity, this area is a single point of space-time, and the density there is infinitely large — a singularity. But most scientists think singularities don't really exist, that they're just a sign that equations have broken down and fail to adequately...
  • ACS Video Focuses on Ancient Secrets of Alchemy

    07/10/2013 11:00:48 AM PDT · by null and void · 14 replies
    Scientific Computing ^ | Mon, 07/08/2013 - 4:20pm
    Courtesy of Kirk Zamieroski, American Chemical Society WASHINGTON — The pursuit that obsessed some of the world's greatest geniuses for centuries — alchemy and its quest for the “Philosopher’s Stone” that would transform lead and other base metals into gold — is the topic of a new episode in the American Chemical Society Bytesize Science video series. The video, from the world’s largest scientific society, is at www.BytesizeScience.com. It features Laurence Principe, Ph.D., a noted historian of science and expert on alchemy, which, far from being solely a misguided pseudoscience, helped set the stage for the emergence of modern science....
  • Signs of a Stranger, Deeper Side to Nature’s Building Blocks

    07/09/2013 6:13:17 PM PDT · by SunkenCiv · 20 replies
    Simon Foundation ^ | July 1, 2013 | Natalie Wolchover
    If each energy field pervading space is thought of as the surface of a pond, and waves and particles are the turbulence on that surface, then the new evidence strengthens the argument that a vibrant, hidden world lies beneath. For decades, the surface-level description of the subatomic world has been sufficient to make accurate calculations about most physical phenomena. But recently, a strange class of matter that defies description by known quantum mechanical methods has drawn physicists into the depths below... Of all the strange forms of matter, cuprates -- copper-containing metals that exhibit a property called high-temperature superconductivity...