Physics news

Stephen Hawking

At www.physorg.com/news/2011-01-students-flock-legendary-physicist-stephen.html there is a story of students flocking to hear Stephen Hawking speak at Caltech in California. He can still draw a large crowd. His speciality is quantum gravity. In 1974 he predicted that black holes should thermally create and emit subatomic particles known as Bekenstein-Hawking radiation - until they exhaust their energy and dissipate.

Thunderstorms and Anti-matter

This story was sent in by two members, Gary and Lawrence, having picked it up from two different sources, being www.wired.com/wiredscience/2011/11/01/lightning-antimatter-physics/ and http://science.nasa.gov/science-news/science-at-nasa/ January 11th.

Oxygen in the Oceans

We have a paper just released telling us that a lack of oxygen in the oceans held back the beginnings of life, released today (see Physorg and Science Daily). Yesterday, at www.wired.com/wiredscience/2011/01/toxic-cambrian-oceans/ we had a story from Science that claimed a changing ocean environment was responsible for an early extinction event - between 490 and 520 million years ago. Marine animals, it says, were suffocated when oxygen levels dramatically fell.

Some results from the Large Hadron Collider

At www.physorg.com/print211983845.html ... the large hadron collider has found no signature of microscopic black holes produced in high energy proton-proton collisions. They are predicted to exist in some theoretical models that unify General Relativity with Qantum Mechanics.

Worlds in Collision

At www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/12/101209141130.htm .... worlds in collision - actually bashing up against each other - is one hypothesis of the early solar system now being floated. An object the size of Mars, it is said, smashed into the earth and ripped out its guts - producing the Moon. Until now it was thought the Moon owes its existence to one random collision event - but why be shy?

Update on the Sun from yesterday

At www.calderup.wordpress.com Nigel Calder has a post on the Nature paper (see yesterday) about the Sun - and he is like a lot of other commenters, critical of the paper. As co-author, with Henrik Svensmark, of the Chilling Stars, he makes the point the author of the paper has never gone along with the Svensmark hypothesis concerning cosmic rays governing low cloud cover, and has refused to focus on ultra-violet light from the Sun, which does vary more than visible light.

Graphene and Space Time

At www.dailygalaxy.com October 6th Casey Kazan asks - will the physics of graphene show that Space-Time is a mirage? Space time, it is thought, is a fabric that can be altered by the gravity of stars, planets, and matter - may be no more than a mirage according to Peter Horava (see earlier post in September's In the News on the subject of Relativity). The new magic ingredient of graphene may shed some light on the problem - if there is in fact a problem?

Low Sun activity does not diminish warming effects - so it would seem

At www.nature.com/news/101006/full/news.2010.519.html ... a paper in Nature shows that recent low activity on the surface of the Sun does not correlate with cooling. In fact, the amount of visible light reaching the Earth increased which by itself was a big enough factor to lead to further warming at the surface of the Earth. Lots of people are a bit bemused as it has been the consensus view for some time that low sun spot activity equals cooling weather on earth.

Graphene

At http://calderup.wordpress.com/2010/10/05/with-graphene-carbon-scores-again/ was prompted by the award of the Physics Nobel Prize this year to Geim and Novoselov for their work on graphene. Nigel Calder then lets rip into the field of 'buckyballs' and 'nanotubes' which is all about the potential of carbon as a superconductor resistant to the flow of electric currents.

A step closer to the Big Bang? and creating a black hole in the laboratory

At www.physorg.com/print204957530.html an analysis of what has been happening at the Large Hadron Collider in the last couple of months has been submitted to the Journal of High Energy Physics for publication. Physicists have observed a new phenomenon.