Science & Technology
Sat, 11 Aug 2007 17:34 CDT
Neuroscientists have long believed that vision is processed in the brain along circuits made up of neurons, similar to the way telephone signals are transferred through separate wires from one station to another. But scientists at Georgetown University Medical Center discovered that visual information is also processed in a different way, like propagating waves oscillating back and forth among brain areas.
|©New Jersey Institute of Technology
NASA Goddard Space Flight Center
Sat, 11 Aug 2007 17:17 CDT
An international team of astronomers using NASA's Swift satellite and the Japanese/U.S. Suzaku X-ray observatory has discovered a new class of active galactic nuclei (AGN).
|©Sonoma State University
|In the newly discovered type of AGN, the disk and torus surrounding the black hole are so deeply obscured by gas and dust that no visible light escapes, making them very difficult to detect. This illustration shows the scene from a more distant perspective than does the other image. Click on image for high-res version.
Sat, 11 Aug 2007 15:32 CDT
Theoretical Physicists in the School have determined that quantum fluctuations of the vacuum combined with materials of negative refractive index can lead to incredible levitation effects. The results of this study on quantum levitation by Ulf Leonhardt and Thomas Philbin are to be published in the New Journal of Physics, and are reported upon in the Institute of Physics's Physics Web.
|Artist's impression of a thin mirror being held up above another mirror by the quantum levitation effect.
Sat, 11 Aug 2007 12:12 CDT
The detection of emergency beacons will be greatly improved by the introduction of Europe's satellite positioning system, Galileo. The Galileo satellites will carry transponders to relay distress signals to search and rescue organisations. In connection with this, representatives of the Galileo project attended the recent 21st annual Joint Committee Meeting of COSPAS-SARSAT, the international programme for satellite-aided search and rescue.
Fri, 10 Aug 2007 12:00 CDT
When space shuttle Endeavour rocketed into space yesterday, it took along a common microorganism normally found in the upper respiratory tract of approximately 40 percent of the healthy human population. The experiment, Streptococcus pneumoniae Expression of Genes in Space (SPEGIS), part of the STS-118 space shuttle mission launched Aug. 8, 2007, will investigate the effects of the space environment on the common microorganism Streptococcus pneumoniae (S. Pneumoniae).
Wed, 08 Aug 2007 11:40 CDT
Approximately 250 million years ago, vast numbers of species disappeared from Earth. This mass-extinction event may hold clues to current global carbon cycle changes, according to Jonathan Payne, assistant professor of geological and environmental sciences. Payne, a paleobiologist who joined the Stanford faculty in 2005, studies the Permian-Triassic extinction and the following 4 million years of instability in the global carbon cycle. In the July issue of the Geological Society of America Bulletin, Payne presented evidence that a massive, rapid release of carbon may have triggered this extinction.
Sat, 11 Aug 2007 04:42 CDT
A collaboration between the National High Magnetic Field Laboratory at Florida State University and industry partner SuperPower Inc. has led to a new world record for a magnetic field created by a superconducting magnet.
The new record - 26.8 tesla - was reached in late July at the magnet lab's High Field Test Facility and brings engineers closer to realizing the National Research Council goal of creating a 30-tesla superconducting magnet. The development of such a magnet could lead to great advances in physics, biology and chemistry research, as well as significant reductions in the operating costs of many high-field magnets.
Fri, 10 Aug 2007 13:47 CDT
When most people look at a window, they see solid panes of glass, but for decades, physicists have pondered the mysteries of window glass: Is glass a solid, or merely an extremely slow moving liquid" An Emory University research team led by physicist Eric Weeks has yielded another clue in the glass puzzle, demonstrating that, unlike liquids, glasses aren't comfortable in confined spaces.
The Emory team's findings are reported in the paper "Colloidal glass transition observed in confinement," published in the Physical Review Letters July 13. The Emory research adds to the evidence that some kind of underlying structure is involved in glass transition, Weeks says. "This provides a simple framework for looking at other questions about what is really changing during the transition."
Fri, 10 Aug 2007 13:31 CDT
Could extraterrestrial life be made of corkscrew-shaped particles of interstellar dust? Intriguing new evidence of life-like structures that form from inorganic substances in space are revealed today in the New Journal of Physics.
The findings hint at the possibility that life beyond earth may not necessarily use carbon-based molecules as its building blocks. They also point to a possible new explanation for the origin of life on earth.
The University of Warwick
Fri, 10 Aug 2007 12:45 CDT
Researchers at the University of Warwick's Physics Department's Centre for Fusion, Space and Astrophysics have found a powerful technique that could be used to detect precisely when ordered patterns form in everything from plasma in the solar wind and fusion reactors, to crowds of people, or flocks of birds. The technique could even be used to find unusual patterns in stock market behaviour.
The researchers began their work in a research group interested in plasmas. These are difficult to study at the best of times because the opportunities to view plasma in the solar wind are limited by the small number of satellites observing such things and plasmas in nuclear fusion reactions are obviously not easily accessible.