NBSP Industry Update
Feb. 23, 2011

Provide feedback to the National Science Foundation on Intellectual Merit and Broader Impacts review criteria
National Science Foundation
By the recently enacted America COMPETES Reauthorization Act, the National Science Foundation (NSF) has been specifically required to apply a "Broader Impacts Review Criterion" to funding applications to achieve eight enumerated goals, including economic competitiveness, national security, public scientific literacy and greater participation of women and minorities in STEM fields. The agency was also required to clarify what activities would meet the criteria. To this end the National Science Board has fielded a Web-based comment form to get stakeholder thoughts on how to improve merit review at NSF.More

Federal budget for science: Uncertainty and challenges
NSBP
There are parallel tales unfolding with respect to the federal budget for science. President Barack Obama has proposed healthy increases (over fiscal year-2010 levels) for the National Science Foundation (NSF), National Institutes of Health (NIH) and the Department of Energy (DOE) Office of Science. But "over FY-10" is a very important part of the last sentence because an FY-11 budget has not been enacted, and the federal government is operating on a continuing resolution where funding is capped at FY-10 levels. Without increases for inflation and other cost accelerations, a continuing resolution is an effective cut. And percent increases over FY-10 in the FY-12 budget should nominally be square rooted to arrive at an annualized percent increase.

Adding to the problem of operating under a continuing resolution, the new House GOP majority is pining to cut current year (FY-11) funding by $100 billion, including cuts to the DOE Office of Science and NSF. Since we are already halfway through FY-11, agency managers would have to doubly cut their operations to not exceed their top line obligating authority.

On Feb. 19, the U.S. House of Representatives passed a bill cutting $62 billion from current year budgets, including $1.1 billion from the DOE Office of Science and $360 million from NSF. Though the Senate has indicated that it will not agree to the House bill, the political impasse over FY-11 spending seems to have the federal government hurtling towards an expiration of authorization of the federal government to operate, i.e., a government shutdown; making matters even worse. The last such shutdown, in 1995, lasted five weeks.

If anything is clear, it is that nothing is really clear, and that it is going to be a very bumpy ride between now and the start of FY-12. Writing to your representative and senators, and visiting their local and Washington offices are amongst active steps that physicists should take to protect federal investments in science.More

Towards exawatt laser power and sub-attosecond pulses
Optik & Photonik
What physics could evolve if all the current technical problems in laser physics were neglected? Gérard Mourou and some colleagues started to explore this question more than 10 years ago. The result was a broad vision of new laser­ physics in the ultra high intensity regime. Now the idea has gained momentum with a giant European research collaboration. Optik & Photonik's Andreas Thoss spoke to Gérard Mourou about the initiative's current status.More

Edmund Optics higher education grant program
Edmund Optics
In an effort to support outstanding undergraduate and graduate optics programs in science, technology, engineering and mathematics at nonprofit colleges and universities, Edmund Optics will be awarding three grants to such programs. All grants will be in the form of product donations to the program. The grants are available worldwide. More

Beth Brown showcased how quantum physics and gravitation help explain black hole singularities
Northeastern Illinois University's Independent
Dr. Beth Brown's last paper, "Causal Structures of Dynamic Black Holes," written by Brown but published posthumously by her mentor at Howard University, Dr. James Lindesay, begins with an abstract that reads, "Dynamic space-times, especially those manifesting horizons, provide useful laboratories for examining how macroscopic quantum behaviors consistently co-generate gravitational phenomena." It is apparent that her research was shaping up to be pretty important, and could have answered the question about the clearly different claims. Of the research, Dr. Lindesay says, "It's a breakthrough that will help us understand the fundamentals of how quantum mechanics and gravitation will ultimately be put together."More

Synchrotron research in South Africa
South African Institute of Physics
The use of synchrotrons as a premier research tool has been taking off in South Africa. South African scientists access about 10 different synchrotrons worldwide, including the ESRF, SOLEIL and Elettra. Recent highlights have been scientists from the giant petrochemical company SASOL featured for their research on catalysis in the production of synthetic fuels (towards green energy), and the growing trend by palaeontologists to study exciting new fossils using microtomography, an example being "Karabo," the 1.9 million-year-old hominid unearthed last year, where the first ever hominid palaeo-brain has been discovered.More

South African scientists collect first VLBI fringes
DefenceWeb
Scientists at the Hartebeesthoek Radio Astronomy Observatory (HartRAO) and the Karoo Array Telescope (KAT-7) have collaborated to conduct the first very long baseline interferometry (VLBI) observation in South Africa without the assistance of other countries. The experiment linked a 26 meter HartRAO dish near Pretoria, South Africa, teamed with one of the seven 12 meter KAT-7 dishes at Klerefontein near Carnarvon, South Africa, in the Northern Cape. The dishes, some 900 kilometers apart, were linked to jointly observe and record data from a distant radio source known as 3C273. The data was then correlated in Cape Town, South Africa, to produce the first ever African fringe detection at its first attempt.More

Catching space weather in the act
NASA
Close to the globe, Earth's magnetic field wraps around the planet like a gigantic spherical web, curving in to touch Earth at the poles. But this isn't true as you get further from the planet. As you move to the high altitudes where satellites fly, nothing about that field is so simple. Instead, the large region enclosed by Earth's magnetic field, known as the magnetosphere, looks like a long, sideways jellyfish with its round bulb facing the sun and a long tail extending away from the sun. More

Experimental evidence adds to the likelihood of the existence of supersolids, an exotic phase of matter
PhysOrg.com
Supersolids and superfluids rank among the most exotic of quantum mechanical phenomena. Superfluids can flow without any viscosity, and experience no friction as they flow along the walls of a container, because their atoms "condense" into a highly coherent state of matter. Supersolids are also characterized by coherent effects, but between vacancies in a crystal lattice rather than between the solid's atoms themselves. More

Physicists build bigger 'bottles' of antimatter to unlock nature's secrets
Science Daily News
In his talk "Taming Dirac's Particle" at the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) meeting in Washington, D.C., University of California, San Diego, physics professor Clifford Surko described physicists' ability to accumulate and store positrons for days in specially designed "bottles" that have magnetic and electric fields as walls instead of matter. In these bottles physicists can cool the particles to liquid helium temperatures and compress them to high densities.More

Proof of non-Abelian anyons finally revealed
American Physical Society
In a paper published in Physical Review B, Parsa Bonderson and Chetan Nayak from Microsoft Station Q at the University of California at Santa Barbara, and Victor Gurarie from the University of Colorado, provide a long-sought proof that quasiparticles in certain quantized Hall states are non-Abelian anyons. To appreciate their achievement, it will be helpful to review the basic concepts of what anyons are and how they are realized in quantum Hall states, and also to clarify the meaning, in this context, of "proof."More

National Society of Black Physicists jobs board postings
NSBP
Student
APS Scholarship Program for Minority Undergraduate Physics Majors
Research Experience for Undergraduates
REU Program and University of Houston
Internship
Research Experience for Undergraduates Fellowship in PHYSICS
Research Experience for Undergraduates Fellowship in PHYSICS
Undergraduate Researchers
Lehigh University REU Program in Physics
Student Researcher
REU Participant
REU Participant
REU Astronomy Intern
Summer Program in Molecular Biophysics
Undergraduate Summer Mathematics Research
REU Student
Summer REU
Undergraduate Summer Mathematics Research
Biological Engineering REU Program Sponsored by the National Science Foundation
Summer Student/Minority Fellowship
Cornell Astronomy Research Experiences for Undergraduates More

Latest research from the American Journal of Physics
American Journal of Physics
When does hot water freeze faster than cold water? A search for the Mpemba effect

Regularization, renormalization and dimensional analysis: Dimensional regularization meets freshman E&M

P. A. M. Dirac and the discovery of quantum mechanics

Studio optics: Adapting interactive engagement pedagogy to upper-division physics

A different introduction to the guiding of electromagnetic waves

The dynamic behavior of squash balls

Charge sniffer for electrostatics demonstrations

The effective spin concept to analyze coherent charge transport in mesoscopic systems

Teaching laser physics by experiments

Thermodynamics of heating a roomMore

Latest research from IOP Journal
European Journal of Physics

Current density and continuity in discretized models


Laboratory experiments for exploring the surface plasmon resonance

How to transform mechanical work into electrical energy using a capacitor

Prism foil from an LCD monitor as a tool for teaching introductory optics

On the colors of spider orb-webs More