Physics news

Child genius ... no big bang

At ... a twelve year old maths whizzkid has worked out the universe could not have been formed by the Big Bang. Its all to do with carbon.

The Sun awakes - or is it still slumbering?

At is a reference to the present X-flare and unsettled geomagnetic conditions (details derived from A flare on March 9th, following on from the big flare in late February, is what has generated the posting, as it sent a CME towards the earth. Funnily enough, or perhaps just a coincidence, two days later we have the Japanese earthquake.

Cosmic Rays - where do they come from?

At ... it is thought cosmic rays have an origin in distant supernova events - but is this true? An Italian physicist, at the University of Rome, in a paper in Science (March 3rd, 2011), says cosmic rays aren't actually rays, strictly so, they are fast moving particles that carry an extraordinary amount of energy and they continuously bombard the earth from every direction.

Plasma, magnetic holes and a mud volcano

At .... huge blobs of plasma known as coronal mass ejections cause probems when they collide with the magnetosphere of the earth. They produce aurorae for example, but also feature in comet tails (no this is not Wal speaking but a scientist from the Oak Ridge National Laboratory), solar wind and much of the spiralling material that appears to fall into black holes. Science is now trying to understand plasma.

Earth's core rotating faster than the rest of the planet

At there is a report on a paper due to be published in Nature Geoscience, a news release by the University of Cambridge. It was found in earlier studies that the core of the earth was rotating faster than the rest of the planet. It seems this new paper is going to say the same thing - except that it is not rotating as fast as previously calculated. For the research, seismic body waves were passed through the centre of the earth, and measured.

Electro-magnetism in the Ice Age

I stumbled on this web site after reading a commendation by a commenter on a forum at ... but usually avoid repeating stuff from there over here. Not a lot of point as SIS members are frequent visitors to that site in any case. In this instance, it is the site itself that is recommended and not anything in particular. In fact, for mathematicians among our members, and physicists too, this is a wonderful site in which to dip.

Origins of the Sun

Oliver Manuel has a paper, The Sun's Origin at which can be downloaded or read online. He visualises the Sun as a giant plasma 'diffuser' that sorts out elements and isotopes by their weight. Hence, lighter things such as hydrogen and helium are at the surface of the Sun but the interior is made up of things that can be found in meteorites, the earth, and on rocky planets in general.

Stephen Hawking

At 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 and 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 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.