Waves & Packets
Nov. 26, 2011

Conflicting results on superluminal neutrinos
The Imaging Cosmic and Rare Underground Signals team (ICARUS), which is studying neutrinos similar to the OPERA Collaboration, has posted a new paper on arXiv refuting the OPERA results, and presenting their own results. The ICARUS analysis is based on their 2010 data set viewed in light of the Cohen-Glashow constraint on neutrino velocities. In particular ICARUS did not detect the putative superluminal Cherenkov-like e+e- pair or gamma emission event as required by the Cohen-Glashow theory.More

Are pulsars cosmic permanent magnets?
Technology Review
A speculative explanation for the powerful magnetic fields inside neutrons stars could solve several outstanding problems in astrophysics. Johan Hansson and Anna Ponga at Lulea University of Technology in Sweden are suggesting that that when a neutron star forms, the neutron magnetic moments become aligned because this is the lowest energy configuration when the nuclear forces between them become important, as in when a star collapses into ultradense mass. When this alignment takes place, a stronger magnetic field effectively becomes frozen in place, very similar to the alignment of magnetic moments in a ferromagnet. This simple model has the virtue of explaining some well-known behaviors of neutron stars, and being testable by astrophysical observations and by studying the properties of hadronic matter under extreme conditions. More

Still waiting for supersymmetry
American Physical Society
A paper appearing in Physical Review Letters announces the latest and most extensive search for particles that necessary to declare supersymmetry a correct theory. So far no particles predicted by supersymmetry have been found. But supersymmetry remains one of the hot candidates for the very much needed extension of the standard model.More

Has hydrogen gas been turned into a metal?
Mikhail Eremets and Ivan Troyan of the Max-Planck Institute describe in their paper in Nature Materials, how they subjected a sample of hydrogen to high pressure and low temperature and found it then demonstrated properties generally ascribed to a metal. Researchers have long sought this result, and it is hampered by a less that solid definition of what a metal is. It remains to be seen if this processing of hydrogen gas leads to superconducting with a very high critical temperature, Tc, of 200–400 K or a new quantum state as a metallic superfluid and a superconducting superfluid as predicted by Babev, et. al.More

Nominations wanted: Top physics and astronomy stories of 2011
Reader Poll: As this calendar year approaches its end, the editors of Waves and Packets are compiling a list of top breakthroughs in physics and astronomy for 2011. What breakthroughs in physics or astronomy get your vote as the most important of the year?More

Coupling mechanical and coherently-controlled atomic systems
American Physical Society
Both AMO and condensed matter physicists have had success in coherent controlling quantum states of matters with lasers. In fact, the latter have had some success in coupling quantum success to mechanical oscillators, where the application would be in making more sensitive sensors and studying quantum decoherence in atomic, molecular or material systems. In new work reported in Physical Review Letters, Stephan Camerer and colleagues have coupled an ensemble of about a million optically trapped atoms and a nanomechanical oscillator. They were able to use the coherently-controlled atoms to drive the membrane. And in a second set of experiments, they did the converse, i.e., used the membrane to drive thermal modes of the atoms.More

New material provides alternative to optical semiconductor amplifiers
Nanotechnology Now
Researchers at the University of Twente's MESA+ research institute have developed a new material capable of optical amplifications that are comparable to those achieved by the best, currently available semiconductor optical amplifiers. Their material consists of thin crystalline layers whose optical properties were specially designed for the optical circuits found on chips. Using a clever trick, they were able to embed much higher concentrations of optically active Ytterbium ions (Ytterbium is a rare-earth element) in the crystal. The material's properties can be fine-tuned by changing the composition. The details are reported in Advanced Materials.More

Was a giant planet ejected from our solar system?
Physics World
A report published in Astrophysical Journal Letters suggests that a fifth giant planet was kicked out of the early solar system, according to computer simulations by a U.S.-based planetary scientist. The sacrifice of this gas giant paved the way for the stable configuration of planets seen today, says David Nesvorný, who believes that the expulsion prevented Jupiter from migrating inwards and scattering the Earth and its fellow inner planets. That is, if Jupiter had migrated inwards, as some Jupiter-like planets have done in other solar systems, it could have hit a "danger zone" where its gravitational influence disturbed the stability of the inner planets. More

Fiscal year 2012 NASA appropriations bill signed into law
American Institute of Physics
NASA will suffer an overall 3.5 percent reduction in budget authority. But the science accounts will see an overall 3.1 percent increase, with specific allocations still to be worked out at the agency and reported back to the Congress at a later date. The James Webb Space Telescope, which had been symbolically proposed for elimination by the House Appropriations Committee in order to send a message on cost overruns and management snafus, was in fact continued with a budget increase for fiscal year 2012 (at the expense of other science programs). NASA will still have to identify over $1 billion to keep the project on schedule beyond 2013.More

Do humans behave like atoms? New trends in sociophysics
Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences
The Unexpected Conference in Paris, Nov. 14-16 brought together more than 35 researchers from Europe, North and South America, and Asia to present current research in the field of sociophysics. The field of sociophysics, also known as quantitative sociology, initially met with resistance by physicists and social scientists alike. But this recent conference included results by dedicated troops interested in understanding social dynamics by means of concepts and mathematical models rooted in statistical physics and computer sciences. The conference presentations will be published at www.sociophysics.net. More

IPCC says dramatic weather events will be more common
Taiwan News
Top international climate scientists and disaster experts meeting in Uganda had a sharp message for the world's political leaders: More dangerous and "unprecedented extreme weather" caused by global warming will occur more frequently in the future. For example, the report predicts that heat waves that are now once-in-a-generation events will become hotter and happen once every five years by midcentury and every other year by the end of the century. And in some places, such as most of Latin America, Africa and a good chunk of Asia, they will likely become yearly bakings (see five takeaways from the IPCC report). More

Remembering Abdus Salam
The week of Nov. 21 marks the 15th year since the death of Dr. Abdus Salam. Salam shared the 1979 Nobel Prize with Steven Weinberg and Sheldon Glashow for the historic unification of the weak nuclear force with the electromagnetic force. In 1964, he founded the International Centre for Theoretical Physics in Trieste, Italy. The aim of the institute has been to foster the growth of physical and mathematical sciences in the developing world. Through ICTP and Salam's leadership, physicists in the United States and Africa formed the Edward Bouchet Abdus Salam Institute, which was a springboard for the formation of the African Physical Society. Salam possessed a larger-than-life personality. His legacy extends from theoretical physics to science diplomacy and economic development. More

National Society of Black Physicists jobs board postings
Faculty Position in Observational or Theoretical Astrophysics
Univeristy of Cincinnati Experimental High Energy Physics Tenure Track Assistant Professor Position
Bucknell University - Assistant/Associate/Full Professor of Physics & Astronomy
Baccalaureate Fellows Program
Stockton College — Tenure-track Assistant/Associate Professor of Physics
NanoJapan: International Research Experience for Undergraduates
Lehigh University REU Program in Physics
Tenure-Track Professor and Research Director, Physics Department
Renewable Energy REU at the Colorado School of Mines
Faculty Position in Particle Theory
Faculty Position in Experimental Fundamental Physics
Assistant Professor Experimental Astroparticle Physics
Open (or Multi) Rank Neutrino Physics Faculty Position
Faculty Position
Research Experiences for Undergraduates
Dean, Division of Science
Assistant Professor of Physics
Tenure Track Faculty position - Experimental high energy Density Laser-Plasma Physics
Research Scientist in Computational 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 A: Mathematical and Theoretical
IOP Journal
Self-energy effects in the Polchinski and Wick-ordered renormalization-group approaches

A proof of selection rules for critical dense polymers

Interference effects at tunneling junctions between surface electrons

Quantum gate fidelity in terms of Choi matrices

The bright N-soliton solution of a multicomponent modified nonlinear Schrödinger equation

Can apparent superluminal neutrino speeds be explained as a quantum weak measurement?

Latest research from Medical Physics
Medical Physics
A feasibility study of using couch-based real time dosimetric device in external beam radiotherapy

Use of radiation protraction to escalate biologically effective dose to the treatment target

A self-adaptive case-based reasoning system for dose planning in prostate cancer radiotherapy

Calculation of kQclin,Qmsrfclin,fmsr for several small detectors and for 2 linear accelerators using Monte Carlo simulations

Effects of exposure equalization on image signal-to-noise ratios in digital mammography: A simulation study with an anthropomorphic breast phantomMore