On our annual year-end wrap-up show on the SGU, we always talk about the best science news of the previous year. That’s always fun to research and reminisce. This year I thought it’d be fun to anticipate what the following year could bring in terms of big science news stories. The kind of news we’re almost certain to cover on the show in the coming months and perhaps even give special mention to in the 2015 wrap-up show.
Neutrinos have been discovered to interact with matter in a new way. Instead of obliterating an atomic nucleus it is also capable of giving it a gentle glancing blow through the production of a particle shield.
Neutrinos are the stealth particles of the universe. They’re similar to electrons in size but they have no charge and are the lightest particles with mass that we know. This makes them more akin to ghost particles than anything else. They can fly through a light year of lead yet still only have a 50% chance of hitting anything. In fact, about a quarter quadrillion of them have passed through your hand since you started reading this paragraph.
Computer simulations of the Universe have recently been able to finally simulate the characteristics of real galaxies by tweaking the Galactic Wind.
I love computer simulations. They’re kinda like grandmas.
Generally speaking, if you can successfully explain something arcane to your grandma, then you probably have a decent understanding of the topic. Historically, this has not been the case with simulations of galaxies. Many different types of astronomical simulations have been successful and illuminating but galaxies themselves didn’t really match up to reality.They were either too small or too big. If not that, then they were probably too old or too perfectly spherical.
The long-mysterious phenomenon of high-temperature superconductivity just got less so with the discovery that these materials actively fight against superconduction right up until the critical temperature is reached. Superconductivity was discovered in 1911 by Dutch physicist Heike Onnes. It is a fascinating phenomenon in which the resistance to the flow of electrical current drops to zero
Ever wonder about the ultimate fate of our home galaxy, the Milky Way? I’ve been wondering about that lately and decided to find out what is likely to happen to the place we call home down through the depths of time. Right now we live in a barred spiral galaxy at least 100,000 light years
Researchers have shown definitively that not only can humans see infrared light but they determined how we can see it.
Does this come as a surprise to you? It should.
Read any textbook on this and they clearly state that human can only see visible light. Like much of science though, there’s interesting exceptions.
The entire electromagnetic spectrum of light is huge, spanning from gamma rays on one end to radio waves at the other with X-rays ultraviolet etc in between including of course that tiny slice of it called Visible Light, The light we can see. The “Visible Spectrum” is a subjective term of course. Visiting aliens looking at how we split up the spectrum would wonder why the hell we split it up that way. Perhaps a better name would be the Human Spectrum
New scientific calculations earlier this year predicted that the Higgs particle should have collapsed the entire universe moments after the big bang. It now seems that did not happen because of the influence of gravity.
The discovery of the Higgs in 2012 was a milestone in physics. This is the particle that….screw it, I’m not even going to say what the Higgs does again. I’ve talked about it so much lately, I don’t want to be accused of repeating myself. Anywho……the fact that we discovered the Higgs (or did we) doesn’t mean that there isn’t a lot more to learn about it. And learn about it we have. When scientists combined our latest understanding about this particle with other recent discovery about gravity waves and the inflationary universe (which is itself controversial), an astounding prediction leaped out of the new equations. The Higgs particle, when it was created during the exponential inflationary phase of the early universe, should have cause massive instability; enough to cause the entire universe, and our future existence, to collapse back into itself. That woulda been quite a bummer.
It is being called the tiniest artwork depicting the human form ever created. The figures the artist created were sculpted using a special 3D printing process and can only viewed with an electron microscope.
Artist Jonty Hurwitz is really a minimalist. His nano-sculptures, one being only 20 x 80 x 100 microns, could comfortably fit on a single hair or in the eye of a needle. They are so tiny that a jeweler’s scope or 400x magnification microscope would leave you wholly unsatisfied. If you’re not busy, just sit where you are for 6 hours. In that time, your fingernails will have gained more mass than one of his sculptures.
A new study seems to hint that the idea of a warmer mars with flowing water may have only occurred during repeated yet brief periods in its history precipitated by by volcanism only to disappear when the volcanoes stopped erupting.
It has become an iconic belief about Mars that in its past, water flowed extensively over the planet creating streams, rivers, and lakes whose ancient remains are still detectable today, almost 4 billion years after the fact. NASA’s Curiosity rover strengthened that belief late in 2013 when it provided evidence of an old lake-bed near its landing site.