Physics news


At ... the South Pole Telescope is being used to explain the mystery of dark energy. The paper is in the Astrophysical Journal and implies an accelerating universe by means of dark energy and neutrinos - thought to be the most abundant particles in the universe (see also and


The Italian physicist at the head of the team that made the unwelcome claim neutrinos may travel faster than the speed of light, thereby upsetting large numbers of other physicists seriously in thrawl of the Einstein theory, has resignedd after calls for him to be dismissed. They really did not like the idea it seems - see However, we are assured (but for how long I wonder) that another test is still on schedule for later in the year.

Who was Higgs - and what is the Boson?

At March 22nd there is a piece on the Higgs boson and the fact one physicist gave his name to the theoretical particle when there were other contenders actively writing papers and doing research in the same year, 1964. Peter Higgs has been credited with the discovery - or the original hypothesis (as it has yet to be discovered) and yet there were other teams working on a similar project (story comes from New Scientist).

The Sun is putting energy into the atmosphere

This story can  be found at a number of blogs but not necessarily in mainstream media - the BBC have ignored it for example. One to read, probably because it has a lot of comments, is and concerns the recent flurry of eruptions on the Sun - coinciding with nice weather across the UK. NASA scientists say the Sun dumped enough energy in the upper atmosphere to power every household in New York for two years. It is described as a big dose of heat - the biggest since 2005.

Some physics on the edge

At ... University of Chicago physicists have experimentally demonstrated that atoms chilled to temperatures near absolute zero may behave like seemingly unrelated natural systems of vastly different scale offering potential insights into links between the atomic realm and deep questions of cosmology - such as the gravitational dynamics of black holes (you have been warned). Article in Science, March 2nd.

At ... the subject is the origin of craters on the Moon.

Hawaii offshore and comets with gravel

At we learn that a submersible has discovered that deep canyons off the coast of Hawaii link up to river valleys. Detritus carried by the rivers enters the canyons and supports a rich variety of marine life. Does this mean more of Hawaii was once above sea level?

At there is a post that says comets possess an 'atmosphere', if that is the right word, that consists largely of gravel - shades of Velikovsky.

Buckyballs and Fulgarite

At ... news that NASAs Spitzer Space Telescope has discovered solid buckyballs in space. The real name, as mentioned in a post last year, is buckminster fullerenes as they resemble the geodesic dome of an American architect, Buckminster Fuller. In this instance, the lead author of a paper in the Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society, is one Nye Evans of Keele University.

When there really were more days in a year

Nature 217 (March 9th, 1968) had a paper that said that back in the Cretaceous (final era of the dinosaur age) there were some 370 days in a year, derived from ridges on the surface of fossil corals and other sea shells (annual growth patterns). Even further back in time fossil corals indicate there were 400 days in a year, a fact now encompassed in consensus thinking as it is supportive of uniformitarianism and suggests the spin of the earth is actually slowing down - very slowly.

The lunar dynamo theory, white earth, and magnetic graphite

At ... a paper in Science (Jan 27th, 2012) claims the Moon once had a molten, convecting core of liquid metal that generated a strong magnetic field - 3.7 million years ago. Its amazing what a few moon rocks can spawn but it all stems back to the Apollo mission in 1969. The rocks were magnetised - and scientists have been looking for an explanation. The idea is that the Moon's dynamo was powered by Earth's gravitational pull as millions os years ago the Moon was much closer to the Earth than today.

Polar Wandering

Sir Henry James in an article in a journal called The Athenaeum, in 1860, explained Ice Ages by the migration of the axis of rotation. The mechanism for this, he proposed, was the rapid elevation of the world's mountain chains which had disturbed the rotational balance. In fact, during the 19th century the idea of polar wandering was aired on many occasions - even during the early 20th century. It is rarely mentioned nowadays.