Physics news

Einstein Theory

At ... an international team of scientists has been looking at extreme stars known as pulsars, through seven radio telescopes around the world. They set out to challenge Einstein's theory of general relativity. It is thought the theory breaks down at some points as it is incompatible with quantum mechanics - and the physics at the atomic level. Physicists are actively trying to test general relativity in order to open the door to a new unified theory. So far, the door has eluded them.

Strange anomaly in the core

William sent in the link to ... the temperature in the core of the earth is thought to be almost as hot as the surface of the Sun we are told. As the heat radiates outward it is absorbed by the liquid outer core, which churns around to create the earth's geomagnetic field. However, scientists have noticed the core is not fully responding to the theory. Seismic waves travelling through the planet's interior don't seem to conform to the model.

Plasma Accelerator

Tony Haynes would have liked this one. At ... an intense laser pulse in an ionised gas drives a bubble shaped plasma wave consisting of electrons. A bunch of electrons ride the wave like a surfer as it accelerates to high energies over a short distance. Plasma is coming of age as a source of cheap energy, it would seem. Scientists from the University of Hamburg used an accelerator to test a technique that allows energy distribution to be kept to a narrow band, and therefore potentially controllable.

Even Big Bang is Changing

This piece is sort of accusatory, critical of the reader, shall we say. If you thought the bang in the big bang was a bang and then you have misrepresented the Big Bang lobby. It is not them that have changed their  view of the bang but we folk who thought the bang was an explosion. Mainstream revise their consensus theories all the time - and now it is the turn of the astrophysists. However, instead of telling us there was a mystery all the time, one they didn't bother telling the audience about, we have a different kind of approach. It is our misconception that is at fault.

Nitrogen on Earth

Another study seeking to explain an anomaly. Did the nitrogen on earth have an origin in the rocks that make up the crust. See ... it is thought by astrophysicists, and constrained by cosmologists, that proto planetary volatile elements were separated into two reservoirs. The inner solar system material is thought to have had a lower nitrogen content than the outer solar system, mainly because it is thought the rocky planets and the environment they grew up in was just too hot for volatile elements to survive.

Wobbling Planet

At ... seems like Tall Bloke got his story from EOS - see ... the Earth's equivalent, we are told, is the Chandler Wobble, a not exactly well understood phenomenon. According to Wikipedia, the Chandler wobblke should die down within a matter of decades, but continues, there must be an influencer that continually re-excites it. This is thought to involve the slightly oblate shape of our planet.

Mystery of Oxygen

At ... we are told there were at least three oxygenisation events that gave rise to Earth's breathable atmosphere - and they happened spontaneously. Does anything happen spontaneously? Presumably the vector is an unknown quantity. Other studies have pointed a finger at tectonic events - or indeed the idea that oxygen has an origin in the innards of the Earth.

Methane Reservoir

At ... link forwarded by Robert (but see also ) ... which comes with some useful comments. New findings published in PNAS provide evidence of the formation and abundance of abiotic methane - methane formed by chemical reactions that do not involve organic matter. It shows that methane found on other planets and moons could well have a similar origin. It is no longer a mystery we are told. Abiotic methane exists.

3D Quantum Spin

At ... apparently, there is no way to prove that a three dimensional 'quantum spin liquid' exists. Physicists have come up with another way to persuade their fellows of such a discovery - single crystals of cerium zirconium pyrochlore that contained the right kind of stuff to qualify as the first 3D version of the long sought after state of matter.

Bottomonium Particles

One for the birds. At ... a few millionths of a second after Big Bang the universe was so dense and hot that quarks and gluons (that make up protons, neutrons and other hadrons) existed freely in what is known as the quark-gluon plasma. All hypothetical of course. Apparently, they aim to recreate this situation at the Large Hadron Collider (and some early results are said to be promising) via high energy collisions of heavy ions of lead.