NBSP Industry Update
Sept. 15, 2011

Texas' decision to close physics programs jeopardizes nation's future
The Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board has cut 60 percent of the undergraduate physics programs in the state. This includes both programs at its two largest Historically Black Institutions, Texas Southern University and Prairie View A & M University. If all the other states where to adopt Texas' approach, which the state of Florida is already considering, 526 of the roughly 760 physics departments in the U.S. would be shuttered. All but two of the 34 HBCU physics programs would be closed. A third of underrepresented minorities and women studying physics would have their programs eliminated.More

South African S&T minister to visit US, speak at NSBP conference
The South African Minister of Science and Technology, Naledi Pandor, will be visiting the United States the week of Sept. 19, and will be the opening keynote speaker at the annual conference of the National Society of Black Physicists on Sept. 22 in Austin, Texas.

"Receiving Minister Pandor is a special honor for NSBP," says Charles McGruder, chair of NSBP's international affairs committee and a past-president of the organization. "It is a culmination of many years of NSBP's international collaborations; from the Edward Bouchet Abdus Salam Insitute, to our involvement with physics and astronomy programs throughout the African continent, and especially our role in helping establish the African Astronomical Society and the African Physical Society."More

Fermi gamma-ray space telescope confirms puzzling preponderance of positrons
By finding a clever way to use the Earth itself as a scientific instrument, members of a SLAC-led research team turned the Fermi Gamma-ray Space Telescope into a positron detector — and confirmed a startling discovery from 2009 that found an excess of these antimatter particles in cosmic rays, a possible sign of dark matter. More

Design concepts for the Cherenkov Telescope Array
The CTA Consortium
Ground-based gamma-ray astronomy has a huge potential in astrophysics, particle physics and cosmology. The Cherenkov Telescope Array is an international initiative to build the next generation instrument, with a factor of five to 10 improvement in sensitivity in the 100 GeV to 10 TeV range and the extension to energies well below 100 GeV and above 100 TeV. This will be the successor to the telescope that is already in Namibia, which is a candidate to host the CTA.More

Calculations show exotic shapes possible in atomic nuclei
American Physical Society
Calculations published Sept. 9 in Physical Review Letters show that a rapidly spinning nucleus can form into a linear chain of several small clusters of neutrons and protons. Such exotic nuclear states could play important intermediary roles in the formation of carbon-12 and oxygen-16 — elements essential for life — in the interiors of stars.More

Sun puts relativity to the test
Physics World
Alternatives to Einstein's general theory of relativity can be investigated by studying the sun. That is the claim of a group of physicists in Portugal who have found that a variation of a theory put forward nearly a century ago by Arthur Eddington is constrained but not ruled out by observations of solar neutrinos and solar acoustic waves. More

Related story: Part II: Using the sun as a cosmic detectorMore

50 new exoplanets discovered by HARPS
Eureka Alert
The High Accuracy Radial velocity Planet Searcher spectrograph on the 3.6-meter telescope at the European Southern Observatory's La Silla Observatory in Chile is the world's most successful planet finder. The HARPS team, led by Michel Mayor (University of Geneva, Switzerland), recently announced the discovery of more than 50 new exoplanets orbiting nearby stars, including 16 super-Earths. This is the largest number of such planets ever announced at one time. More

Star blasts planet with X-rays
Eureka Alert
A nearby star is pummeling a companion planet with a barrage of X-rays a hundred thousand times more intense than the Earth receives from the sun. New data from NASA's Chandra X-ray Observatory and the European Southern Observatory's Very Large Telescope suggest that high-energy radiation is evaporating about 5 million tons of matter from the planet every second. "This planet is being absolutely fried by its star," said Sebastian Schroeter of the University of Hamburg in Germany. "What may be even stranger is that this planet may be affecting the behavior of the star that is blasting it."More

Superconductivity: The puzzle is taking shape
By destabilizing superconductivity with a strong magnetic field, the electrons of a "high temperature" superconductor align into linear filaments. This phenomenon has been demonstrated by a team of researchers at the CNRS Laboratoire National des Champs Magnetiques Intenses. Recently published in Nature, these results add a new piece to the puzzle that condensed-matter physicists have been trying to put together for nearly 25 years.More

AIP Advances calls for papers on physics of cancer
American Institute of Physics
AIP Advances is now accepting manuscripts for a special section to be published in Volume 1, Issue 4 (October-December) with a focus on the Physics of Cancer. The special section will aim to advance, from a physics perspective, fundamental understanding of the complex systems of tumors and their behavior. The goal is to enable new concepts and new ways of viewing cancer to flow from the physical and mathematical sciences to the cancer research community. More

Bronx Center for Science and Mathematics students build school in Mali
The New York Times
After nine months of fundraising, high school students from the Bronx Center for Science and Mathematics in New York traveled halfway around the world to a small village in Mali, West Africa, in July to help build a school — a school that they paid for. The students raised $74,000, most of it from foundation grants and corporate donations.More

Astronomers in Egypt and Algeria play significant role in religious observances
The exact beginning of Ramadan, the Muslim holy month of fasting and prayer, is traditionally determined through naked-eye observation of the thin crescent of the new moon. Such observations are of course very dependent on local atmospheric conditions, and this can lead to discrepancies amongst Muslims in different geographic locations. The end of Ramadan, and the start of Eid, is likewise subject to variability in observations. And this year there was a discrepancy as to whether Ramadan ended Aug. 29 or 30. But astronomers in Egypt, Algeria and elsewhere, especially those associated with the Islamic Crescents' Observation Project provided compelling data showing that naked-eye sitings of the crescent moon on Aug. 29 were not scientifically plausible. Rather actual naked-eye crescent moon sitings were more likely on Aug. 30.More

Tanzanian government increases financing for postgraduate science studies
IPP Media
The government has said it will sponsor 295 postgraduate students enrolled for masters and doctorate degree programs in science and technology studies effective this year. Students will be registered at the Nelson Mandela Institute of Science and Technology, which is specifically designated to provide training on research and innovation. "We are going to fund their studies using our own money," says S&T minister, professor Makame Mbarawa. "The government intends to improve the sector because without good researchers, there will be no development," he noted. More

National Society of Black Physicists jobs board postings
Faculty Position in Atmospheric, Oceanic and Space Sciences at the University of Michigan
Assistant Professor, Astrophysics
High Voltage Development Engineer II
Assistant Professor
AAAS Science & Technology Policy Fellowships
Faculty Position in Experimental Condensed Matter Physics
Jansky Fellow
Director, National Radio Astronomy Observatory
Assistant Professor Physics and Astronomy
Research Experiences in Astronomy for Undergraduate Students
Assistant Professor Assistant Professor Assistant Professor, Condensed Matter Physics
Multiple Faculty Positions in the Area of Organic Photovoltaics
Multiple Faculty Positions area of Organic Photovoltaics
Nuclear Power Safety Organizing Intern
JR Faculty Search - Expt Low Energy Nuclear Physics
Junior Faculty Search in Atomic, Molecular and Optical Physics

Advice for graduate students
Inside Higher Education
Steven Stearns offers some insight and advice for graduate students. Know thyself and know thy advisor. More

More advice for graduate students
Inside Higher Education
So much comes down to good writing skills. Steven Stearns offers some tips on how to write well and write strategically. More

Overcoming the imposter syndrome
At one time or another nearly every graduate student and new faculty member wonders about his or her competence. This is a common fear often referred to as the impostor syndrome. The impostor syndrome runs rampant in academia — and women are especially prone to it. How do you get over the impostor syndrome? Easier said than done. More

Ready. Set. Go. Transitioning from college to graduate school
Compared to your undergraduate education, graduate school is faster paced. Professors expect a lot of work to be done, and there's a lot less hand-holding. MoreMore

Latest research from Journal of Physics D: Applied Physics
Journal of Physics D: Applied Physics

Packaging materials for plasma sterilization with the flowing afterglow of an N 2 –O 2 discharge: damage assessment and inactivation efficiency of enclosed bacterial spores

Wide bandgap n-type and p-type semiconductor porous junction devices as photovoltaic cells

Low current density induced spin-transfer torque switching in CoFeB–MgO magnetic tunnel junctions with perpendicular anisotropy

Design and analysis of a low-loss terahertz directional coupler based on 3-core photonic crystal fibre configuration

Comparative study of CNT, silicon nanowire and fullerene embedded multilayer high-k gate dielectric MOS memory devicesMore

Latest research from Applied Physics Letters
Applied Physics Letters
The role of mobility in bulk heterojunction solar cells

Defect migration and recombination in nanoindentation of silica glass

Calculating the specific contact resistance from the nanostructure at the interface of silver thick film contacts on n-type silicon

Innovative dual function nc-SiOx:H layer leading to a >16 percent efficient multijunction thin-film silicon solar cell

Enhanced electrostatic discharge properties of nitride-based light-emitting diodes with inserting Si-delta-doped layersMore