Physics news

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.

Some results from the Large Hadron Collider

At ... 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 .... 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 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 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 ... 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.