Physics and Astronomy News Archive: April 2003

Image: Diamonds Have Oceanic Origin

Diamonds Have Oceanic Origin

Source: UToronto   Posted: 4/30/03

Researchers at the Department of Geology at the University of Toronto at Mississauga, believe that the materials that form some gem diamonds originated on the ocean floor. The ion microprobe was used in this research to analyze tiny minerals, called coesite, in the diamonds.

Image: New Subatomic Particle Identified at SLAC

New Subatomic Particle Identified at SLAC

Source: SLAC   Posted: 4/29/03

Physicist Antimo Palano representing the BABAR experiment presented the evidence for the identification of a new subatomic particle named Ds (2317) to a packed auditorium on Monday 28th April at the Department of Energy’s Stanford Linear Accelerator Center (SLAC). Initial studies indicate that the particle is an unusual configuration of a ‘charm’ quark and a ‘strange’ anti-quark.

Image: Energy Recovery Experiment Could Lead Way to New Accelerators

Energy Recovery Experiment Could Lead Way to New Accelerators

Source: JLab   Posted: 4/23/03

Newspaper, glass and aluminum recycling has become commonplace for most households and businesses. Jefferson Lab physicists will soon begin their own version of reuse — not with run-of-the-mill materials, but with radiofrequency energy and the high-energy electrons that they energize.

Image: New Insight Into How Flies Fly

New Insight Into How Flies Fly

Source: Caltech   Posted: 4/22/03

How does a fly fly and why should we care? To the first, says Michael Dickinson, a professor of bioengineering at the California Institute of Technology, the short answer is different from what we have thought, and he and his colleagues used a dynamically scaled flapping robot (aka Robofly), a free flight arena (aka Fly-O-Rama), and a 3D, infrared visual flight simulator (Fly-O-Vision) to prove it.

Image: Solar Tadpoles

Solar Tadpoles

Source: NASA GSFC   Posted: 4/21/03

If you’ve ever been in a blackout in perfect weather, or had your cellular phone die for no apparent reason, you may have experienced the impact of huge explosions on the Sun’s surface. Scientists may be soon able to predict these explosions by studying so-called solar tadpoles.

Image: Nanometer-Thick Clay: Groundbreaking Technology?

Nanometer-Thick Clay: Groundbreaking Technology?

Source: Purdue   Posted: 4/20/03

An ultrathin film containing 1-nanometer thick clay particles has been created for the first time, an accomplishment that may yield new materials and devices for medicine, electronics and engineering, according to Purdue University and Belgian scientists.

Image: Students to Board NASA's 'Vomit Comet'

Students to Board NASA's 'Vomit Comet'

Source: JHU   Posted: 4/18/03

Most students can only imagine what it feels like for an astronaut to conduct scientific research while floating freely inside a spacecraft. This week, for four Johns Hopkins undergraduates, that fantasy is set to become a reality.

Image: Skinny Galaxy Harbors Massive Black Hole

Skinny Galaxy Harbors Massive Black Hole

Source: UC Berkeley   Posted: 4/17/03

Scientists have uncovered a supermassive black hole at the core of a svelte, spiral galaxy, a finding that questions a recently devised rule of thumb in which only galaxies with bulging cores have such black holes.

Image: Desktop Device Slows Light to a Crawl

Desktop Device Slows Light to a Crawl

Source: URochester   Posted: 4/15/03

Though Einstein put his foot down and demanded that nothing can move faster than light, a new device developed at the University of Rochester may let you outpace a beam by putting your foot down on the gas pedal. At 127 miles per hour, the light in the new device travels more than 5 million times slower than normal as it passes through a ruby just a few centimeters long.

Image: Sandia's Z Produces Fusion Neutrons

Sandia's Z Produces Fusion Neutrons

Source: Sandia   Posted: 4/13/03

Throwing its hat into the ring of machines that offer the possibility of achieving controlled nuclear fusion, Sandia National Laboratories’ Z machine has created a hot dense plasma that produces thermonuclear neutrons, Sandia researchers announced on April 7, 2003, at a news conference at the April meeting of the American Physical Society in Philadelphia.

Image: Transparent Nanotubes Made

Transparent Nanotubes Made

Source: Berkeley   Posted: 4/11/03

Nanowires and carbon nanotubes are advertised as the next-generation building blocks for electronic circuits a thousand times smaller than today's semiconductor circuits. Researchers at the University of California, Berkeley, have now fabricated a new type of transparent nanotube, made of gallium nitride not carbon.

Image: It's a Supernova!

It's a Supernova!

Source: NASA   Posted: 4/10/03

On March 29, 2003, in the constellation Leo, something exploded--bright enough to see through small telescopes in brightly-lit cities. Astronomers say it provides the long-sought link between supernovas and mysterious gamma ray bursts.

Image: Pluto-Kuiper Belt Mission Moves Ahead

Pluto-Kuiper Belt Mission Moves Ahead

Source: JHU-APL   Posted: 4/9/03

The solar system's farthest known planetary outpost is closer to getting its first visitor. This week, NASA gave The Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory, Southwest Research Institute and their partners the go-ahead to start full development of the first mission to Pluto and the Kuiper Belt.

Image: NASA's New Spin on Einstein's Relativity Theory

NASA's New Spin on Einstein's Relativity Theory

Source: NASA/JPL   Posted: 4/8/03

Albert Einstein might be astonished to learn that NASA physicists have applied his relativity theory to a concept he introduced but later disliked namely that two particles that interact could maintain a connection even if separated by a vast distance. Researchers often refer to this connection as entanglement.

Image: New Proton Shapes Discovered

New Proton Shapes Discovered

Source: UWashington   Posted: 4/6/03

Researchers discover that a proton at rest is not always shaped like a ball, but can have the shapes of a peanut, a rugby ball or even someting similar to a bagel! The shape is apperently an indication of how fast the quarks are moving withing the proton.

Image: Robot Blood

Robot Blood

Source: NASA   Posted: 4/3/03

This week astronauts onboard the International Space Station are studying strange magnetic fluids that might one day flow in the veins of robots, silence noisy appliances, help buildings resist earthquakes and much more....

Image: Loud Topics at the Acoustics Meeting

Loud Topics at the Acoustics Meeting

Source: ASA/AIP   Posted: 4/2/03

Is it really possible for sound to initiate fusion-energy reactions in a tank of liquid? Are there different kinds of perfect pitch in music? How does the air-filled sack in certain fish improve their hearing ability? These and other questions will be addressed at the 145th Meeting of the Acoustical Society of America, April 28-May 2, 2003 in Nashville, Tennessee.