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APS Physics - Weekly NewsBrief
Oct. 27, 2009
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Seven Questions that Keep Physicists Up at Night
from NewScientist
It's not your average confession show: a panel of leading physicists spilling the beans about what keeps them tossing and turning in the wee hours. That was the scene a few days ago in front of a packed auditorium at the Perimeter Institute, in Waterloo, Canada, when a panel of physicists was asked to respond to a single question: "What keeps you awake at night?" Full Article

Weighing the Pros and Cons of Stratospheric Geoengineering
from Ars Technica
The ideas may sound like science fiction, but some researchers are seriously considering what it would take to shoot sun-reflecting aerosols into the atmosphere to counter climate change. Full Article

Gizmo Converts Light Into Motion
from ScienceNOW
A tiny ladderlike beam of silicon converts light into vibrations and vice versa with extremely high efficiency, physicists report. That may seem like an esoteric result, but the finding could open the way to new physics and someday serve as a key element in optical microcircuits akin to the electronic microcircuits in computer chips. Full Article

Rethinking Relativity: Is Time Out of Joint?
from NewScientist
Ever since Arthur Eddington traveled to the island of Principe off Africa to measure starlight bending around the sun during a 1919 eclipse, evidence for Einstein's theory of general relativity has only become stronger. Could it now be that starlight from distant galaxies is illuminating cracks in the theory's foundation? Full Article

Design of Water Repelling Material Inspired by Nature
from The Minnesota Post
In many respects, modern science is just starting to catch up to some of the natural engineering marvels of the world. One of these naturally occurring engineering marvels is found in leaves from the lotus plant. They have an uncanny ability to repel nearly all of the rain and dew that hits them. They reign supreme as the gold standard of waterproofing - and one that the engineers devoted to making new waterproof materials are now beginning to approach. Full Article

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Our latest optical ray tracer offers the most valuable tools for the optical designer. Because this edition is pure Java, it runs on all popular computers. It features lenses, mirrors, prisms, gratings, arrays, HOEs, torics polynomials, Zernikes, WFE diagnostics and even stereo viewing. Visit our Web site and try the free download!

'Most Distant' Galaxy Group Spied
from BBC News
A group of galaxies has been seen at a record distance from Earth thanks to the assistance of Bristol scientists. The cluster, named JKCS041, is 10.2 billion light-years away - a billion light-years further away than the current record holder. Full Article

Study Shows Time Traveling May Not Increase Computational Power
from PhysOrg
For more than 50 years, physicists have been intrigued by the concept of closed time-like curves (CTCs). Because a CTC returns to its starting point, it raises the possibility of traveling backward in time. More recently, physicists have theorized that CTC-assisted computers could enable ideal quantum state discrimination, and even make classical computers (with CTCs) equally as powerful as quantum computers. However, a new study argues that CTCs, if they exist, might actually provide much less computational benefit than previously thought. Full Article

Mantis Shrimp Eyes Might Inspire New High-Def Devices
from Wired
In the marvelously sensitive eyes of mantis shrimps, scientists have found cells that could inspire an overhaul of humanity's comparatively clumsy communications hardware. Mechanical analogs of their eyes "are among the most important and commonly used optical components, and the cellular structure we describe significantly outperforms these current optics," write researchers in a study published Sunday in Nature Photonics. Full Article


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