Physics & Astronomy News

<p>Harmonic oscillator device - Credits: LENS. Florence, Italy /SEM, Trento, Italy</p>
The Universe, where space - time becomes discrete
It time continuous or discrete? Scientists propose a non-local union of relativity and quantum mechanics.
<p>ORNL researchers discovered that water in beryl displays some unique and unexpected characteristics. (Photo by Jeff Scovil)</p>
New state of water molecule discovered
Researchers have discovered a new state of water molecule using neutron scattering & computational modeling.

<p>A schematic of the CSU team’s device that demonstrates using light to create a spin current. A spin voltage drives spin-up and spin-down electrons to move in opposite directions, resulting in a pure spin current across a platinum layer.</p>
A brand-new way to produce electron spin currents
For the first time, scientists have used non-polarized light to produce what’s called a spin voltage – a unit of power produced from the quantum spinning of an individual electron.
<p>Beagle-2 landing site (credit: Yu Tao and Jan-Peter Muller, UCL)</p>
Mars surface revealed in unprecedented detail
The surface of Mars – including the location of Beagle-2 – has been shown in unprecedented detail by scientists using a revolutionary image stacking and matching technique.

Team builds first quantum cascade laser on silicon
The advance may have applications that span from chemical bond spectroscopy and gas sensing, to astronomy and free-space communications.
A New Way To Get Electricity From Magnetism
By showing that a phenomenon dubbed the “inverse spin Hall effect” works in several organic semiconductors – including carbon-60 buckyballs - physicists changed magnetic “spin current” into electric current.
New state of matter detected in a 2D material
Researchers have observed the ‘fingerprint’ of a mysterious new quantum state of matter in a two-dimensional material, in which electrons break apart.

Science Facts

Reading The Colors of the Spectrum

by Gene Mascoli and

: Image Courtesy Did you ever wonder how scientists can tell us so much about distant stars, for example, the surface temperature or chemical makeup of a star, light years away from Earth? Scientists can only use what the star sends our way -- its radiation, and specifically radiation in the form of light that travels through space and reaches us. The branch of science that analyzes this radiation is called spectroscopy.

Spectroscopy uses a common principle of light, the fact that white light can be broken into different and distinct colors by shining it through a prism, creating a spectrum. A spectrum is nothing more than a representation of light at different frequencies. Our Sun breaks light into the familiar colors of the rainbow. But what does a spectrum tell us about such things as the chemical composition or the temperature of our Sun and other stars?

The answer lies in another aspect of how the spectrum is affected by different gases. An absorption spectrum, also called a black line spectrum exposes black lines amid the colors. These black lines coincide with the absorption of light of particular wave lengths by gases. By examining the black lines on the spectrum scientists can tell what elements are affecting the spectrum and hence what elements are contained in the star. And by adding Wien's law, which is a formula that uses the wavelength of a star to plot its temperature, scientists can figure out quite a lot about objects millions and millions of miles away.

Launched on June 30, 2001, WMAP maintains a distant orbit about the second Lagrange Point, or
The Oldest Light in the Universe

A NASA satellite has captured the sharpest-ever picture of the afterglow of the big bang. The image contains such stunning detail that it may be one of the most important scientific results of recent ...
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Most of the X-ray sources seen in this 12-day exposure by the Chandra X-ray Observatory are active galaxies and quasars powered by massive black holes. Ground-based observations show that many of them are shrouded by dust; many others remain unidentified, invisible except in X-rays.
What Happens at the Edge of a Black Hole?

The greatest extremes of gravity in the Universe today are the black holes formed at the centers of galaxies and by the collapse of stars. These invisible bodies can be studied by examining matter swi ...
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The Eccentric Spin of Uranus
The Strange Spin of Uranus

Directional terms like north and south make sense here on Earth. The north and south axis of the Earth is relatively perpendicular to the plane of the Earth's orbit around the sun. Actually, Earth's a ...
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Science Quote

'The important thing is not to stop questioning. Curiosity has its own reason for existing. Never lose a holy curiosity.'

Albert Einstein

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