Physics news

The CLOUD experiment

theComments on the CLOUD experiment results and a paper in Nature this week, August 25th, are somewhat revealing. Andrew Mountford, author of The Hockey Stick Illusion, at his blog sets the tone of the blogosphere flavour by running through some reactions. For example, the internet home of The Team, Real Climate, says the results don't really matter because cosmic ray levels haven't changed, while Nature, hand on heart, says cosmic rays do cause change, but ...

Higgs bosun

Previous upbeat press releases from the CERN laboratory near Geneva have now been superceded by a hint of pessimism - see and However, according to research director Sergio Bertolucci, if the Higgs exists the LHC experiments will soon find it. If it does not, its absence will point the way to new physics.


At ... a paper published in the Journal of Geophysical Research (Aug 2011) has been looking at tides in the early to mid Holocene and they have discovered some serious differences with the tides of today. For example, on the east coast of North America tides were 10 to 20 feet high compared with 3 to 6 feet of  today, and tides in the Bay of Fundy, which are now very extreme, at 55 feet, were much less 5000 years ago. At that time tides on the coast of the Carolinas south to Florida were much higher than today.

dark energy - what is it?

At we are told that zombie stars are the key to measuring dark energy. At we are informed there is a cosmic Axis of Evil. Astronomers, it seems, are puzzled by the announcement that the masses of the largest objects in the universe appear to depend on which method is used to estimate their mass. At we are told there is proof dark matter actually does exist.

Dark Matter, Triton, the eating habits of black holes and rogue black holes

At June 8th, there is a post on Dark Matter - the invisible stuff that is thought to fill the universe. It refuses to interact with light - and cannot be seen by optical instruments, does not reflect, emit, or absorb light. However, one garoup of scientists say they can see dark matter - searching for it in deep mines in Europe and North America. Rather, they think they have discovered a heartbeat - that may be dark matter.

The Sun and the climate

At which is a post that leans heavily on a paper in the Journal of Atmospheric and Solar-Terrestrial Physics. It claims current global warming is very similar in extent to earlier episodes and an increased in solar activity over the last 400 years can explain it without invoking the greenhouse model. There are links to video and other web sites focussed on solar flares - and the enormity of them.

The Big Bang dissenter

At is a review of Eric Lerner's book, The Big Bang Never Happened - a refutation of the Dominant Theory of the Origins of the Universe (Random House:1991). The review is somewhat negative and written in the context of defend the consensus at any cost, and damn the radicals, which is amusing really as the review was published in a journal with the hopeful title, The Skeptical Enquirer.

Decay Rates

An interesting piece at 'Do nuclear decay rates depend on our distance from the Sun?' ... is a question that came up in a recent Study Group meeting in London. Decay rates of elements have always been thought to be constant regardless of ambient conditions. However, at the same time it is long known that decay rates can be influenced by powerful electrical fields - and we can all see electricty in the atmosphere in the form of lightning.

Holographic Dark Information Energy

This story with the same title is at comes from Universe Today - which is a touch sceptical. A chap called Gough has suggested that in an expanding universe there is, concomitant, a loss of information. As such, this should release dissipated energy - and the dissipated energy is the dark energy component that is thought to exist in space. However, what is exactly being mathematically modelled?

Olivine falling as rain

At ... tiny crystals of a green mineral called olivine are falling down like rain on a star observed by NASAs Spitzer Space Telescope. Astronomers aren't sure how such crystals got to be where they are - but jets of gas are projected as a likely culprit.