Physics at the Edge - the edge of what? Playing to the fanfare on the Higgs Boson release a paper in Physical Review Letters (see http://phys.org/print263038493.html) is getting publicity because it involves another elusive theoretical particle, the Marjorana. It is thought to exist at the boundary of matter and anti-matter and is a fairly important component of the universe. Some astrophysicists see it as a component of dark matter but in spite of searching for both for years they have both failed to materialise.
At http://phys.org/print262538410.html ... its ozone loss that is frightening some scientists it seems, according to a paper in the journal Science (July 27th 2012) - but where have we heard all this before? There is, apparently, we are told, a link between climate change and ozone depletion - and the latter implies more damaging ultra-violet radiation reaching the surface of the Earth. This, it is proclaimed loudly, causes skin cancer while water vapour injected into the stratosphere by thunderstorms converts 'stable' chlorine and bromine into free radicals.
At http://phys.org/print262508826.html ... new research on dark energy can deduce the End Times - the fate of the Universe, no less. The paper comes from the Chinese Academy of Sciences - and they have looked at the consensus model of the Big Bang which was developed to explain the origin of the Universe. However, to forecast the end of the Universe researchers have poked their toes into murky waters, and explored dark energy. There is actually no consensus on what exactly dark energy is - but plenty of ideas get bandied around, as they should.
At http://phys.org/print262258004.html .... the last volcanic eruption in Spain has now been dated to around 13,000 years ago, which is remarkably close to the Younger Dryas boundary event. The information is published in Geological Acta and the researchers reverted to C14 to pinpoint the general date of the eruption, using soil containing organic material which was found in a layer immediately prior to the eruption.
The News blurb on this appears to be a trifle exaggerated but the story can be found in www.cosmosmagazine.com/news/5795/seeing-a-new-direction ... it seems that Israeli scientists have found a way to see through walls, or solid materials. The research is published in Nature and is all about light - and the tricks it might play, or the way light can be manipulated. If they are on to something - what next? Looking inside eggs before they hatch?
At http://phys.org/print261650980.html .... some basics of what the CERN experiment was all about, and what it found, in an easy to understand description by Cliff Burgess, a theoretical particle physicist. A wave has been created in a vacuum, he says, which seems to mean vacuums have physical properties. Scientists have yet to explore the properties of the wave.
At www.thebunsenburner.com/news/an-impostor-particle-cern-scientists-may-no... and www.thebunsenburner.com/news/did-scientists-discover-the-higgs-boson-or-... ... CERN scientists were not willing to confirm the existence of the particle during their announcement last week but they did suggest that the data fits well with predictions. Yet, in the newly published report the CERN team say that it doesn't matter much if it is Higgs or not - they have a particle, possibly a 'shadow' Higgs, even an imposter.
Expectation preceding the wednesday announcement led to a raft of online pieces - for example see http://phys.org/print260590156.html ... where, it seems, finding the Higgs Boson would vindicate the Standard Model, Big Bang and all. It is considered a successful theory but in spite of this there are some gaps, one of which is why some particles have mass and others do not.
The big news is the 'near' discovery of the Higgs Bosun particle by scientists at CERN. More will come through the grape vine over the next couple of days but for the moment an Australian perspective will do for starters - see www.cosmosmagazine.com/news/5763/cern-"we-have-a-discovery" where it is established a new particle has been found, the heaviest ever found. The actual published paper on the subject has not actually been released as yet - but the excitement is obvious. Thunderbolts already has a blog on the Higgs Bosun and the BBC are bloveating as usual.
At www.livescience.com/21029-cosmic-background-radiation-big-bang.html ... are echoes of the Big Bang misinterpreted? Gerrit Verschuur, author and radio astronomer, has proposed that some of the the fine structures seen in the 'all sky' plot of the universe, and assumed to be cosmic microwave background, is really the imprint of our local interstellar neighbourhood. It has nothing to do with how the universe looked 380,000 thousand years after the Big Bang - the consensus view. It is rather how nearby clouds of of old hydrogen looked just a few hundred years ago.