Physics news

Core Rotation

At ... new research from the Australian National University has revealed the centre of Earth is out of sync with the rest of the planet, frequently speeding up and slowing down. The inner core also rotates at a different rate from the mantle - but the speed varied. Consensus theory is that the rotation rate of the inner core is constant. Consensus likes constants and dislikes uncertainty.

Icebergs and Dark Matter

At ... ten years ago many astronomers or particle physicists disagreed that dark matter was important but now, that has changed. The post is about comments made by R Kolb and M Turner, authors of The Early Universe, a book that has become a standard textbook for students of cosmology and physicists alike. In the Galaxy piece they outline the way they think of dark matter and dark energy.

Elegant Equations

Prof. Trevor Palmer sent in the following piece, gleaned from the New Scientist 'special issue' of 2nd March. The headline on the cover asks, 'We've run out of explanations for the Universe. What's next?'. In the first article, 'Roots of Reality' Brain Greene, a theoretical physicist at Columbia University, New York, asks, 'what makes us so sure that mathematics can reveal nature's deepest workings?' He adds, 'deciding which mathematics to take serious is as much art as it is science'.

Electric heartbeat in the atmosphere

The size of clouds can vary under the influence of a global 'electrical heartbeat' in the atmosphere, University of Reading researchers have claimed. They looked at ten years of data fron the north and south poles, after becoming aware of the daily global ebb and flow of an electrical current in the atmosphere, the so called Carnegie Curve. The electricity came from electrified storms across the world and appears to affect the formation of clouds, or their thickness.

Ismail Bullialdus

At keeper-of-the-inverse-square-law-of-gravitation/ ... a post under the heading of geomagnetism, gravity, solar physics and solar dynamics. Lots of science history. See also HH Ricker at ... did Kepler think in terms of a magnetic force which drove planets in their own orbits, towards the Sun and around the Sun? Hans Jelbring replied, the gravitational force proportional to the inverse distance squared is only working at two moments in one orbital circuit.

Chandler Wobbles and the Moon

Every now and again Tall Bloke's Work Shop posts a piece to set the commenters tapping at their keyboards and their brains go into overdrive, and this post by astrophysicist Ian Wilson seem to fall into that bracket - see ... which began life as a long comment to an earlier post by Tall Bloke.

The mysterious nature of dark matter is in the news again

At .... is a post on the ongoing search to discover what exactly dark matter is (if it is anything) and why it is invisible. Ari Raklev of the University of Oslo thinks it is made of gravitinos, a rather out of favour particle, the hypothetical supersymmetric partner of the hypothetical particle, graviton.

New discoveries on ozone depletion

At ... scientists at the universities of York and Leeds have made a significant discovery about what might be involved in the destruction of ozone - over the oceans. It involves ozone depleting iodide oxide observed in particular regions of ocean geography and derives from hypoiodous acid, a gas released from ocean water. The presence of iodine in the atmosphere is thought to arise from emissions of organic compounds from phytoplankton - microscopic marine plants. Iodine and bromine combine to destroy large amounts of ozone.

An Ocean of Air

Quoting somebody who visualised humans as living beneath an ocean of air, the atmosphere, Gabrielle Walker has the opposite point of view - fully committed to the consensus as far as AGW is concerned. Her book, An Ocean of Air; A Natural History of the Atmosphere, Bloomsbury:2007, is an altogether nice overview of not simply the science but how the scientists themselves arrived at their positions, and what hurdles were jumped.