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Physics at the Edge

2 August 2012

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. Now, the theory has advanced somewhat, we are led to believe, as the Marjorana may form quasiparticles built from ordinary electrons in matter but under the appropriate conditions. The hope is that Marjorana quasiparticles will be found as they are seen as the building blocks of quantum computers. Such a device would have huge possibilities, dwarfing the capabiliities of humble digital computers.

At http://phys.org/print263033747.html … is an explanation of space where thin sheets divide the plasma, a charged gas consisting of ions and electrons. The thin sheets, which themselves have a charge, divide the morass of plasma and Swedish scientists have now measured the properties within those sheets that mix and accelerate the plasma (also published in Physical Review Letters).

At http://phys.org/print263013770.html … cosmic rays are the subject of this piece with a history of their discovery (see also www.physicsworld.com). Space telescopes are scouring the universe for the source of cosmic ray showers.

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