Physics and Astronomy News Archive: February 2004
Producing a material that is harder than natural diamond has been a goal of materials science for decades. Now a group* headed by scientists at the Carnegie Institution’s Geophysical Laboratory in Washington, D.C., has produced gem-sized diamonds that are harder than any other crystals.
Large diamonds made from gas are the hardest yet
Source: CarnegieInstitution Posted: 2/25/04
Penn State environmental engineers have shown, for the first time, that a microbial fuel cell (MFC) can generate electricity while simultaneously cleaning the wastewater that you flush down the drain or toilet.
Microbial fuel cell cleans water, generates electricity
Source: PSU Posted: 2/24/04
Scientists at the Canadian Institute for Theoretical Astrophysics (CITA) and NASA have captured unprecedented details of the swirling flow of gas hovering just a few miles from the surface of a neutron star, itself a sphere only about ten miles (16 km) across.
Scientists watch 'movie' of neutron star explosion in real-time
Source: NASA/GSFC Posted: 2/24/04
An international team of astronomers may have set a new record in discovering what is the most distant known galaxy in the Universe. Located an estimated 13 billion light-years away, the object is being viewed at a time only 750 million years after the big bang, when the Universe was barely 5 percent of its current age.
Hubble and Keck find farthest known galaxy in the Universe
Source: ESA Posted: 2/16/04
NASA's Spirit has returned to full health and resumed doing things never attempted on Mars before. 'Our patient is healed, and we're very excited about that,' said Jennifer Trosper of NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, Calif., mission manager for Spirit.
Healthy Spirit Cleans a Mars Rock; Opportunity Rolls
Source: NASA/JPL Posted: 2/9/04
An MIT device that makes the world’s most precise rulers—with "ticks" only a few hundred billionths of a meter apart—could impact fields from the manufacture of computer chips to space physics.
Nanoruler a promising line of work
Source: MIT Posted: 2/3/04
Oxygen and carbon have been found in an extrasolal planet's atmosphere, evaporating at such an immense rate that the existence of a new class of extrasolar planets – ‘the chthonian planets’ or ‘dead’ cores of completely evaporated gas giants - has been proposed.
Oxygen and carbon discovered in exoplanet atmosphere ‘blow-off’
Source: NASA/ESA Posted: 2/3/04
SPEAR3 (Stanford Positron Electron Asymmetric Ring) was formally opened at a dedication ceremony at the Stanford Linear Accelerator Center (SLAC) on Jan. 29.
Dazzling new light source opens at Stanford Synchrotron Radiation Laboratory
Source: Stanford Posted: 2/3/04
A new observatory, to be built at Stanford, will be a kind of ultrapowerful X-ray machine that will enable scientists to
New Tool for Reading a Molecule's Blueprints
Source: Caltech Posted: 2/3/04