Physics news

The birth of black holes

At ... a paper in Nature purports to have discovered the origin of the universe's first super massive black hole - by computer simulation of dark matter, stars, gas, and black holes. They were born when early galaxies collided and fused together - quite simple really. However, it is not quite simply simple as it means the old hypothesis that gravity draws small pieces of matter together and these then go on to form large structures is - well, redundant.

Neutrinos and decay rates - ongoing

At --- which is the story that broke a few days ago concerning research that seemed to show a variation in radioactive decay rates on earth - is being reopened after a cascade of criticism. The real shocker is they attributed it to solar neutrinos - and they aren't supposed to react with matter and ar particularly difficult to detect. In fact, they might even not exist.

Magnetic Monopoles

At the io9 website ( ) there is a feature, ask the scientist. In this instance, it is Physicist David Sparks who poses as teacher and knowledge bringer, and the question asked is, what happened to magnetic monopoles? Are they still out there in space?

Solar Flare and radio-active elements on earth

At ... researchers at Stanford have discovered a link between solar flares and the inner life of radio-aactive elements on earth, which sparked a hunt to find out why as it was important for the wellbeing of space walking astronauts of the future. The radioactive decay of some elements on earth seemed to be influenced by activity within the Sun - but why? It is generally thought the decay rate of radioactive materials is a constant.

Anti-matter going bang

At August 21st (see also BBC News) .... anti-matter can create huge explosions is an accurate statement but anti-matter meeting matter isn't actually an explosion - it is dubbed an annihilation. A space search for anti matter via a particle detector onboard the space shuttle Endeavour, is set to launch in september where it will be transferred to the International Space Station and operate over the next 18 years. The hope is that they will find this elusive property.

What makes a Black Hole?

This is one of those uncomfortable pieces of emerging evidence that might result in an upset. At is a story that is being widely reported - it's just too good to ignore. European astronomers have demonstrated that a magnetar, an unusual form of a neutron star, was formed from a star with at least 40 times the mass of our Sun. The result presents a challenge as a star as enormous as this was thought to become a black hole - but that did not happen.

Galactic volcanoes

At we have an image of a galactic volcano - erupting. Of course, it isn't a real volcano but it is likened to one (see also August 21st for a slightly different slant). The image comes from NASAs Chandra X-ray Observatory and happened 50 million light years away - in the centre of the Virgo cluster.

Probing Dark Energy

At August 19th (NASA newsletter) ... claims astronomers hav e devised a method to measure dark energy - the mysterious force purported to be pushing the universe apart at an ever increasing speed. They homed in on a huge cluster of galaxies at the extreme point of vision of the Hubble Space Telescope and they hope to be able to calculate the speed of energy involved - accurately. In turn, they hope this will eventually lead to an explanation of what dark energy actually is.

Bose-Einstein condensates and superatoms

At August 18th .. Nigel Calder looks at very cold rubidium atoms combining together to make superatoms known as Bose-Einstein condensates. A team in Germany added more rubidium atoms and this brought order and a neater pattern which was probably aided and abetted by reason the superatoms became wider overall.


At a press release from the Pacific NW National Laboratory outlines the current status of Fermilab's search for the Higgs Boson particle. Scientists have now ruled out about a quarter of the Higgs mass rays allowed in earlier experiments in order to narrow it down. It will be a year or so before they can say whether the Higgs Boson particle is fact - or fiction.