Physics & Astronomy News

<p>XUV absorption from the core shell to vacancies in the valence shell are element specific and sensitive to the local chemical environment around the reporter atom. | Fig. MBI</p>
Attosecond Science opens new Avenues in Femtochemistry
Attosecond Science is a new exciting frontier in contemporary physics, aimed at time-resolving the motion of electrons in atoms, molecules and solids on their natural timescale.
<p>'If confirmed by further experiments, this discovery of a possible fifth force would completely change our understanding of the universe,' says UCI professor of physics & astronomy Jonathan Feng, including what holds together galaxies such as this spiral one, called NGC 6814. ESA/Hubble & NASA; Acknowledgement: Judy Schmidt</p>
Physicists Confirm Possible Discovery of Fifth Force of Nature
Recent findings indicating the possible discovery of a previously unknown subatomic particle may be evidence of a fifth fundamental force of nature.

<p>The image above shows vortex laser on a chip. Because the laser beam travels in a corkscrew pattern, encoding information into different vortex twists, it’s able to carry 10 times or more the amount of information than that of conventional lasers.<br />
Credit: University at Buffalo.</p>
Vortex Laser Offers Hope For Moore’s Law
The optics advancement may solve an approaching data bottleneck by helping to boost computing power and information transfer rates tenfold
<p>This artist’s impression shows the strange object AR Scorpii. In this unique double star a rapidly spinning white dwarf star (right) powers electrons up to almost the speed of light. These high energy particles release blasts of radiation that lash the companion red dwarf star (left) and cause the entire system to pulse dramatically every 1.97 minutes with radiation ranging from the ultraviolet to radio.</p>

<p>Credit: M. Garlick/University of Warwick, ESA/Hubble</p>
White Dwarf Lashes Red Dwarf With Mystery Ray
New type of exotic binary star, a rapidly spinning white dwarf star is powering electrons up to almost the speed of light.

Jupiter's Great Red Spot Heats Planet's Upper Atmosphere
Jupiter's Great Red Spot may provide the mysterious source of energy required to heat the planet's upper atmosphere to the unusually high values observed.
Knots In Chaotic Waves
New research, using computer models of wave chaos, has shown that three-dimensional tangled vortex filaments can in fact be knotted in many highly complex ways.
Wearable Thin-Film Transistors Developed
KAIST develops ultrathin, transparent oxide thin-film transistors for wearable display.

Science Facts

The Fourth State of Matter

by NASA Marshall Space Flight Center and

: Image Courtesy NASA There are three classic states of matter: solid, liquid, and gas; however, plasma is considered by some scientists to be the fourth state of matter. The plasma state is not related to blood plasma, the most common usage of the word; rather, the term has been used in physics since the 1920s to represent an ionized gas. Space plasma physics became an important scientific discipline in the early 1950s with the discovery of the Van Allen radiation belts. Lightning is commonly seen as a form of plasma.

Matter changes state as it is exposed to different physical conditions. Ice is a solid with hydrogen (H2) and oxygen (O) molecules arranged in regular patterns, but if the ice melts, the H2O enters a new state: liquid water. As the water molecules are warmed, they separate further to form steam, which is a gas. In these classic states, the positive charge of each atomic nucleus equals the total charge of all the electrons orbiting around it so that the net charge is zero. Each entire atom is electrically neutral.

When more heat is applied, the steam may be ionized: an electron will gain enough energy to escape its atom. This atom is left one electron short and now has a net positive charge; now it is called an ion. In a sufficiently heated gas, ionization happens many times, creating clouds of free electrons and ions; however, not all the atoms are necessarily ionized, and some may remain completely intact with no net charge. This ionized gas mixture, consisting of ions, electrons, and neutral atoms, is called plasma.

The Wilkinson Microwave Anisotropy Probe (WMAP)

The cosmic microwave background (CMB) radiation is the radiant heat left over from the Big Bang. It was first observed in 1965 by Arno Penzias and Robert Wilson at the Bell Telephone Laboratories in M ...
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Venice as photographed by crew members aboard Space Station Alpha.
Astronaut Photography

Astronauts are trained in scientific observation of ecological, geological, geographic, oceanographic, environmental, and meteorological phenomena. They are also instructed in the use of photographic ...
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The Equivalence Principle

Four hundred years ago--or so the story goes--Galileo Galilei started dropping things off the Leaning Tower of Pisa: Cannon balls, musket balls, gold, silver and wood. He might have expected the heavi ...
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Science Quote

'A theory with mathematical beauty is more likely to be correct than an ugly one that fits some experimental data. God is a mathematician of a very high order, and He used very advanced mathematics in constructing the universe.'

Paul Dirac

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