Physics news

Hotting up the Solar Wind

At ... Dr Kareem Osman from Warwick University is looking at why solar wind is hotter than it should be - or why does it not conform with the consensus view. It gets hotter as it expands towards the outer solar system and her study will concentrate on unravelling plasma turbulence. Now, this doesn't appear to be the kind of turbulence in the dictionary definition, mainly associated with buffeting winds. Turbulence in astronomy is a feature of stars and stellar winds, accretion discs, galaxies, and even the material between the galaxies.

Electron beams from the Sun

Research at Los Alamos National Laboratory by Ruth Skaug, a space scientist, is hoping to find a link to weather on Earth, and the positioning of the Jet Streams. This smacks a bit of Piers Corbyn - see The Sun gives out light and heat. It is also always losing particles, losing mass if you like, and the study notes the outflow of the solar wind, punctuated by explosions of material, or coronal mass ejections. Skaug is studying yet another kind of particle flow - jets of high energy electrons known as 'electron strahl'

Physics at the Edge

Physics at the Edge - the edge of what? Playing to the fanfare on the Higgs Boson release a paper in Physical Review Letters (see is getting publicity because it involves another elusive theoretical particle, the Marjorana. It is thought to exist at the boundary of matter and anti-matter and is a fairly important component of the universe. Some astrophysicists see it as a component of dark matter but in spite of searching for both for years they have both failed to materialise.

Ozone holiness

At ... its ozone loss that is frightening some scientists it seems, according to a paper in the journal Science (July 27th 2012) - but where have we heard all this before? There is, apparently, we are told, a link between climate change and ozone depletion - and the latter implies more damaging ultra-violet radiation reaching the surface of the Earth. This, it is proclaimed loudly, causes skin cancer while water vapour injected into the stratosphere by thunderstorms converts 'stable' chlorine and bromine into free radicals.

Doing the maths to test End Times

At ... new research on dark energy can deduce the End Times - the fate of the Universe, no less. The paper comes from the Chinese Academy of Sciences - and they have looked at the consensus model of the Big Bang which was developed to explain the origin of the Universe. However, to forecast the end of the Universe researchers have poked their toes into murky waters, and explored dark energy. There is actually no consensus on what exactly dark energy is - but plenty of ideas get bandied around, as they should.

Volcanoes in Spain, dark matter in the heavens

At .... the last volcanic eruption in Spain has now been dated to around 13,000 years ago, which is remarkably close to the Younger Dryas boundary event. The information is published in Geological Acta and the researchers reverted to C14 to pinpoint the general date of the eruption, using soil containing organic material which was found in a layer immediately prior to the eruption.

Seeing Through Walls

The News blurb on this appears to be a trifle exaggerated but the story can be found in ... it seems that Israeli scientists have found a way to see through walls, or solid materials. The research is published in Nature and is all about light - and the tricks it might play, or the way light can be manipulated. If they are on to something - what next? Looking inside eggs before they hatch?

Higgs for Dummies

At .... some basics of what the CERN experiment was all about, and what it found, in an easy to understand description by Cliff Burgess, a theoretical particle physicist. A wave has been created in a vacuum, he says, which seems to mean vacuums have physical properties. Scientists have yet to explore the properties of the wave.

Higgs - are the nuts and bolts coming loose?

At and ... CERN scientists were not willing to confirm the existence of the particle during their announcement last week but they did suggest that the data fits well with predictions. Yet, in the newly published report the CERN team say that it doesn't matter much if it is Higgs or not - they have a particle, possibly a 'shadow' Higgs, even an imposter.

Higgs Boson ... all you need to know

Expectation preceding the wednesday announcement led to a raft of online pieces - for example see ... where, it seems, finding the Higgs Boson would vindicate the Standard Model, Big Bang and all. It is considered a successful theory but in spite of this there are some gaps, one of which is why some particles have mass and others do not.