There Is Are a Lot Of Good Things Happening in The Physics Arena

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Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory finds single top quark - Mar 15, 2009 at 5:27AM
Felix Lin
24 Posts

Fermilab's Tevatron is the world's most powerful operating particle accelerator, and its operators are pushing hard to prove that the launch of the LHC has not made them irrelevant.

From :

"Previously, top quarks had only been observed when produced by the strong nuclear force. That interaction leads to the production of pairs of top quarks. The production of single top quarks, which involves the weak nuclear force and is harder to identify experimentally, has now been observed, almost 14 years to the day of the top quark discovery in 1995.

"To make the single-top discovery, physicists of the CDF and DZero collaborations spent years combing independently through the results of proton-antiproton collisions recorded by their experiments, respectively. Each team identified several thousand collision events that looked the way experimenters expect single top events to appear. Sophisticated statistical analysis and detailed background modeling showed that a few hundred collision events produced the real thing. On March 4, the two teams submitted their independent results to Physical Review Letters."

Invisibility Cloak Directs Light Away from the Eye - Mar 14, 2009 at 10:20PM
Melanie Markman
133 Posts

At Rice University a new metamaterial has been created.  The material is a world's first, it's a nanoantenna or an invisibility cloak.

Scientists put dimples in the material in such a way as to control the way light bends around the material.  This allows the specific wavelengths of light to focus into one direction.

The nanoantenna works by keeping light from reflecting back into the observer's eye.  The first nanoantenna was created by taking a piece of glass and spraying latex nanoparticles over it at random.  Gold particles were then evaporated onto the glass and arranged at five different angles.  This created "nanocups," which were arranged in a repeating pattern.  Then a layer of acrylic was then put over the nanocups.  The object is then hidden because these cups reflect the light in a different direction, away from the observer.

The new technology is exciting and could bring Harry Potter's invisibility cloak to life!

Discovery to Launch on Wednesday, March 11, 2009 - Mar 8, 2009 at 11:51AM
Melanie Markman
133 Posts

NASA announced that the Discovery will launch during the evening of Wednesday March 11, 2009, from Cape Canaveral Florida.  The Discovery's launch has been postponed four times after questions about the critical shuttle valves surfaced.  The Discovery's mission is to take seven astronauts into space along with a set of solar wings for the space station.  NASA is very confident about this launch.

NASA did extensive testing on the critical shuttle valves to make sure that they were in proper order.  These valves carry the hydrogen to the external fuel tanks during the launch into orbit.  On the Discovery's previous mission one of these valves broke.  No problems resulted from the broken valve, but NASA does not want to take chances.

For full details:

For more information on the Discovery:

Extream Gamma - Ray Burst - Feb 23, 2009 at 6:39PM
Melanie Markman
133 Posts

A Gamma –Ray burst has set new records.  This ray was seen in high definition on the new Fermi Gamma-ray Space Telescope.  This gamma-ray burst has several distinguishing features including, the greatest total energy, the fastest motions, and the highest energy emissions ever seen.

The new telescope will help researches and scientist better understand "burst emissions" at high energies.  Burst emissions are a seemingly random event in random locations throughout the universe.  These flashes are emissions of gamma-rays that generally last a few seconds, however the rays given off after the initial burst loose energy and fade towards longer wave lengths.  Most of these gamma ray bursts have a common pattern of being found when the core of a rapidly rotating massive star is collapsing into a black hole.  The after glow of a gamma-ray burst produces a spectrum of light that is crucial for astronomers.  This range of emitted light helps them figure out the distance of the burst.  The importance of the distance is that it helps calculate the gamma-ray bursts power.

With distance in mind, the question becomes "how could a single gamma-ray burst get this much attention?"  The gamma-ray burst in mentioned above was calculated to be 12.2 billion light years away.  This means the blast exceeded the power of 9000 supernovae using some basic assumptions.  These include energy is emitted equally in every direction and that this holds true gamma rays of all energies.  We know these assumptions to be false, but they are necessary to provide any sort of model to make the calculations.  Another thing that sets this burst apart is that astronomers have managed to calculate that within the jet burst, where most energy is released, that gas bullets had to be moving 99.9999 percent the speed of light.  This makes this burst the most powerful and fastest on record.

The Fermi telescope is also equipped with a gamma-ray burst monitor.  Both instruments recorded the event, which allows scientist to see the initial start of the blast.  The gamma ray blast emissions take place between a staggering 3,000 to 5 billion times that of sunlight on a sunny day.

For more:

NASA Shuttle Launch Faces Delays - Feb 21, 2009 at 10:08PM
Melanie Markman
133 Posts

The Discovery Shuttle's launch was postponed for the fourth time by NASA.  It was postponed on Friday, February 13, 2009, "amid valve concerns."  NASA and managers of the Discovery project are now uncertain about setting a new launch date and how long the repairs will take.  However it is certain that no launch will take place before February 27th of this year.

The Discovery is supposed to make its way to the international space station.  However depending on how long the repairs take, it may have to wait behind the Russian space ship the Soyuz.  Meaning the launch could be pushed back to the beginning of April.

The Discovery had been set to launch on February 12th.  However after setting the solar wings extra tests were ordered to check on the valves that control the flow of hydrogen gas.  One of these valves  broke upon the last mission the Discovery made in November of 2008.

Some of the test results will not be in till late next week.  NASA is not fully sure why the valve broke on the last mission and wants to make sure that the seven man crew will be safe in case a similar event occurs.  For the full article visit:

Levitation on a Microscopic level - Jan 10, 2009 at 10:15PM
Melanie Markman
133 Posts

Scientist have found a new way to levitate objects on a nano scale, by using the still strange and unknown forces of quantum mechanics.  This breakthrough may aid scientist trying to create nanotechnology machines.  

They measured a force that at the molecular level comes into play.  By arranging certain molecules together a repulsion force comes between the two molecules.  This force can be used like levitation because they would be held apart.  This discovery could allow a virtually frictionless surface, and open a new class of nanotechnology gizmo's.

This article doesn't make mention of all the technicalities but it does pose a new set of exciting possibilities.  By taking these molecules and rearranging them to create virtually frictionless surfaces all machines could be greatly improved, because there would be less of a breakdown over time do to continuous use.

Also a new class of machines on this small a level could be used to do things like increase computers speed, as well as, help in surgeries, or manufacturing of food and fuel.

I found this article very interesting because by working on such a small level could increase efficiency, and maybe in a dramatic manor.  It could also create a new era of machinery on a microscopic level, and the applications could be numerous.  The nanotechnology era could be the new dot com era.

For the full article visit:;_ylt=AleF0LffJ.5Ave5i95Mnw.ADW7oF

Post edited January 12, 2009 at 12:03 PM EST.

NASAs Latest - Jan 3, 2009 at 8:59PM
Melanie Markman
133 Posts

NASAs latest project the Orbiting Carbon Observavtory

The Orbiting Carbon Observatory (OCO) is one of NASA's newest projects.  It is set to launch on February 23 of this year.  The OCO is intended to study carbon dioxide which is the leading human produced green house gas that can affect changes in our atmosphere.

NASA hopes that the OCO will answer unknown questions about how the Earths carbon cycle works, and its key player carbon dioxide within the Earth's atmosphere.  This primary component is produced both naturally and through human activities.  The OCO is supposed to gain information on carbon, from space to see the whole picture of how the carbon cycles natural behaviors and human activities interact.

One of scientist biggest questions about carbon is that between 40 and 50 percent of man made carbon remains in the atmosphere, and it is believed that the other 50 to 60 percent is absorbed by plants and the ocean.  The question that is puzzling scientist is where carbon dioxide from humans is being stored and what natural processes are absorbing the carbon.

The OCO will provide the first whole picture of carbon dioxide emissions from both human and natural sources.  Not only will it show where they are emitted but it will also show where these emissions are then stored in the earth.  The hope is that by furthering understanding of the carbon emissions cycle that predicting planetary climate change will become more accurate.

Features of the new orbiter will include three unique spectrometers that will be able to spread reflected sunlight into its various colors.  The importance of these is that it will allow scientist to detected what gases are in Earths atmosphere.  Analyzing measurements being taken monthly will allow scientist to locate carbon dioxide and where the Earth is storing it.

The OCO will orbit the earth every sixteen days and its mission is designed to last for two years.  The OCO will also be designed to orbit in a formation with five other NASA missions.  This will allow the researchers to collaborate data and correlate it all together in an easier fashion.  In hopes to unlock the mystery of carbon and where it is stored within the Earth the OCO will be launched to solve more of sciences mysteries.

For more information on the OCO visit NASA's link:

Current Replies - View all
The OCO Crashes   (Melanie Markman - Feb 28, 2009 at 2:46PM)
Good Stuff Happening in the Physics Arena - Oct 26, 2008 at 2:40PM
Melanie Markman
133 Posts

I was just fumbling around on the internet and I came across a decent website at and I realized there is a lot of really cool stuff happening in the physics world.  For example, if you do a little searching on the website you'll find:

*October 2008 - Duke University chemists develop a new way to precisely measure temperature changes inside the body by correcting a subtle error in the original theory underlying Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI)

*September 2008- Physicists discover a new particle made of three quarks, the Omega-sub-b

*August 2008 - Noisy wind turbines are only permitted to operate under partial load to protect the local residents – which means a lower electricity output. An active damping system cancels out the noise by producing counter-vibrations.

There are many new things developing in the field of physics and for those of you interested this website offers a good glimpse into what is happening.

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