Physics news

Chandler Wobbles and the Moon

Every now and again Tall Bloke's Work Shop posts a piece to set the commenters tapping at their keyboards and their brains go into overdrive, and this post by astrophysicist Ian Wilson seem to fall into that bracket - see http://tallbloke.wordpress.com/2013/03/05/ian-wilson-solar-system-timing... ... which began life as a long comment to an earlier post by Tall Bloke.

The mysterious nature of dark matter is in the news again

At www.dailygalaxy.com/my_weblog/2013/01/gravitinos-will-they-unlock-the-my... .... is a post on the ongoing search to discover what exactly dark matter is (if it is anything) and why it is invisible. Ari Raklev of the University of Oslo thinks it is made of gravitinos, a rather out of favour particle, the hypothetical supersymmetric partner of the hypothetical particle, graviton.

New discoveries on ozone depletion

At www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2013-01/uoy-nsr011113.php ... scientists at the universities of York and Leeds have made a significant discovery about what might be involved in the destruction of ozone - over the oceans. It involves ozone depleting iodide oxide observed in particular regions of ocean geography and derives from hypoiodous acid, a gas released from ocean water. The presence of iodine in the atmosphere is thought to arise from emissions of organic compounds from phytoplankton - microscopic marine plants. Iodine and bromine combine to destroy large amounts of ozone.

An Ocean of Air

Quoting somebody who visualised humans as living beneath an ocean of air, the atmosphere, Gabrielle Walker has the opposite point of view - fully committed to the consensus as far as AGW is concerned. Her book, An Ocean of Air; A Natural History of the Atmosphere, Bloomsbury:2007, is an altogether nice overview of not simply the science but how the scientists themselves arrived at their positions, and what hurdles were jumped.

The Water World

At http://chiefio.wordpress.com/interesting-cosmic-rays-paper/ .... EM Smith is addressing his version of atmospheric science, the Water World. In doing so he expands by quoting Nur Shaviv at www.phys.huji.ac.il/~shaviv/Ice-ages/GSAToday.pdf who says, 'global climate possesses a stabilising negative feedback. A likely candidate for such a feedback is cloud cover (quoting Lindzen 1997 and Ou 2001). If so, it could imply that the water cycle is the thermostat of climate dynamics, acting both as a positive (water vapour) and negative (clouds) feedback ...'.

Gravity in question

Erik Verlinde, professor of Theoretical Physics, and dabbler in String Theory, in a recent book, On the Origin of Gravity and the Laws of Newton, challenged the prevailing consensus opinion on gravity - see www.dailygalaxy.com/my_weblog/2012/11/gravity-doesnt-exist-is-gravity-an.... In fact, can gravity, and even the Big Bang, be an illusion, and Verlinde struggles, it seems, with dark matter, dark energy, and space within space. Likewise, he says it is illogical to think there was nothing and then it exploded, and we had lots of everything.

Glitch

This post appears to use the word glitch in ways it was not intended - strangling a nuance or two. At http://phys.org/print275050837.html ... 'Researchers find a glitch in pulsar glitch theory' is the headline. Again, it is the intrepid people at the University of Southampton that are pushing out the rowing boats on a fishing expedition, calling into question a 40 year old theory that purported to explain periodic speeding up or glitching of pulsars.

Wow

Wow. From super-massive black holes to ultra-massive black holes - the monsters in space are growing all the time - see http://phys.org/print275069018.html How do they measure these things? By the amount of X-rays and radiowaves they generate. Ultra-massive black holes were predicted to exist to explain the most powerful outbursts. Sort of circular logic, on the face of it, but no doubt quite reasonable when looked at without fear or favour.

How did the Bang get into the Big One?

At http://phys.org/print274954301.html ... we learn University of Chicago researchers (Nov 2012) in a paper in Earth and Planetary Science Letters, say there is no evidence of an exploding star that might have kick-started the Big Bang version of the origin of our universe. Fred Hoyle might have coined the term, a jest perhaps, but it was a phrase rapidly adopted by mainstream and is well established as consensus science opinion.