Physics news

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.

Solar Minimum and Noctilucent Clouds

Two interesting posts on noctilucent clouds and the solar minimum - we are currently at the end of one solar cycle and just entering another. It seems that during solar minimum the atmosphere shrinks and this is why this year, last year, and next year will have lots of noctilucent clouds (just after sunset). In the two links below, 2018 and 2019, there is each a video of the phenomenon, created by meteor smoke and water crystals high in the upper atmosphere.

Atmospheric Physicists

At ... Greek atmospheric physicists have cast doubt on climate change hysteria in a step by step dissection of the anthropogenic global warming hypothesis. There is a difference in what is hypothesized to occur atmospherically according to the AGW models and what has actually been observed from satellite measurements.