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July 20, 2011
Volume: II
Number: 28
 
National Society of Black Physicists    African Physical Society    South African Institute of Physics   African Astronomical Society   
 
 
Why is the Earth so hot? Radioactivity is half the answer
PC Magazine    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
About half of the heat that the earth generates itself is due to radioactive decay, scientists have concluded. While a recent study published in Nature Geoscience by the Japan-based KamLAND collaboration (which runs an important radiation detector) has shed light on processes deep within the bowels of the planet, it still leaves open the question of what's generating the other half? More

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Time-cloaking experimentally observed?
ScienceNews    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
In a paper posted on arXiv, physicists at Cornell University have reported the first experimental demonstration of "temporal cloaking." The technique of breaking light into a leading part and a trailing part, and then recombining the two was first described by Paul Kinsler, a physicist at Imperial College London in the February issue of the Journal of Optics. More

Ultrafast switch for superconductors
PhysOrg.com    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
A high-temperature superconductor can now be switched on and off within a trillionth of a second. A team including physicists from the University of Oxford and the Max Planck Research Group for Structural Dynamics at the University of Hamburg, has realized an ultrafast superconducting switch by using intense terahertz pulses. The key technical advance is the ability to expose the material to an intense ultrashort pulse without destroying the crystal. This will lead to more scientific exposition of the mechanism of superconductivity in ceramic materials. More

New planet discovered in trinary star system
PhysOrg.com    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
Until recently, astronomers were highly skeptical of whether or not planets should be possible in multiple star systems. It was expected that the constantly varying gravitational force would eventually tug the planet out of orbit. But despite doubts, astronomers have found several planets in just such star systems. Recently, astronomers announced another, this time in the trinary star system, HD 132563. More


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Galaxy spinning pulls violating particles back into line
Science Blog    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
When CP violation has been observed in the decay of B-Mesons the key difference observed between the breakup of matter and antimatter versions of the same particle is variation in the different decay rates. Curiously even though researchers observe that wide variation in the pattern of decay rates when those individual decay rates are added together they add up to the same total for both matter and antimatter versions of the same particle. University of Warwick physicist, Mark Hadley, believes that the "frame dragging" effect of the whole galaxy explains all of those observations. More

Fisk and Wake Forest team win NNSA grant to grow crystalline radiation detection devices
Physorg.com    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
Researchers at Fisk University, LLNL, LBL and ORNL previously discovered that strontium iodide crystals doped with europium are able to detect and analyze radiation better than most other detection materials. Wake Forest researchers recently demonstrated the unexpectedly crucial role of specific parameters — electron and hole mobilities — needed to understand the phenomenon of nonproportionality and predict the best energy resolution of a given detector crystal.

Under this new National Nuclear Security Administration grant the team will focus on the preparation and characterization of strontium iodide crystals doped with divalent europium. These are scintillator crystals that have the potential to supersede the performance of the best commercially available detectors based on lanthanum bromide crystals, which are challenging and expensive to grow and possesses intrinsic radioactivity that impedes the identification of radioactive sources. The team will grow other crystals as well for the purpose of understanding the basic processes of scintillation.

The team is also playing a role in restoring the American capacity in the discovery and growth of crystalline materials.
More



Going viral: Using social media to publicize academic research
The Guardian    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
Only a tiny fraction of the research done in universities gets covered by newspapers. Universities invariably have press offices, but the regular news media can and will only cover so much. Using viral media like Twitter and Facebook is a great way to get recognition, do public outreach and achieve broader impacts of physics research. More

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Gender, ethnicity, and physics education: Understanding how Black women build their identities as scientists
Columbia University    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
Columbia University researchers invite respondents to their online survey designed to help understand how black women navigate their careers in the sciences, and the paths they have taken to become physicists. More

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NSF's evolving 'broader impacts' draw criticism in Science and Nature
Physics Today    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
Recent issues of Science and Nature contain critiques of changes being made to something familiar to submitters of NSF grant proposals: the requirement to justify envisioned research not only on grounds of intellectual merit, but on grounds of "broader impacts" in pursuit of national social and economic goals. The Science critique focuses on the problem of that is only a limited list of "national priorities" under which grant applicants are to justify their project, while the Nature critique makes the point that project leaders nor peer-review panels are likely to have sufficient expertise to really understand a single project's impact on these vague "national priorities." The operational result will likely be "intellectual passes" being granted on this score, probably based on politics and nepotism. More

The real impact of 'impact'
Physics World    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
With physicists under increasing pressure to prove their work has "impact," Mark Blamire warns it could force researchers to oversell and exaggerate their findings. More

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NSF should maintain focus on broadening participation, NSBP says in letter to National Science Board
NSBP    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
NSBP and several of its sister societies, including the National Technical Association and the National Organization of Blacks in Chemistry and Chemical Engineering, have sent a letter to the National Science Board in response to its call for feedback on merit review criteria.

The letter reads in part as follows, "Each national goal embodies a multiplicity of challenges that are interrelated and dependent on other goals. Measuring impact at the goal level can become problematic. It is easier to identify underlying issues/causes that should be addressed to advance national goal(s) rather than focus on the goals themselves. To advance the frontier of knowledge and achieve global competitiveness, a well-trained American born workforce is imperative. We recommend that NSF make it clear that its commitment to diversity is unchanged and indicate how diversity will be factored into the evaluation of all programs, projects and activities regardless of which national goals are addressed."
More



South Africa, Australia concerned over funding for the SKA
Business Day    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
While South Africa and Australia outbid each other to host the SKA telescope, the science ministers of both countries have raised concerns about the security of funding and need for a "clear and definitive road map for the future of the project." At the moment, there is still no legal mechanism to force the nine founding-member countries — Australia, China, France, Germany, Italy, New Zealand, South Africa, the Netherlands and the U.K. — to follow through on their funding pledges, and the SKA Founding Board "does not have this (money) in a bank account." More

US science community suffers setbacks despite Obama's push for more investing
FoxNews.com    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
As President Barack Obama pushes for more spending on science education and research to keep America globally competitive, the nation's scientific community, particularly the physics and astronomy community, continues to suffer a number of setbacks that appears to undermine the president's goal. Tevatron, DUSEL, Pu-238 production and the James Webb Telescope have variously been budget casualties.

In addition, Sen. Tom Colburn, R-Okla., has called for the total elimination of the NSF's Social, Behavioral and Economics Directorate. According to Zak Taylor, a former solid-state physicist who now focuses on political economy of research investment, "SBE funds research with tangible economic payoffs for Americans' economic growth, personal freedoms and national security." The American Physical Society has commented on Colburn's analysis, and the Federation of Associations in Brain & Behavioral Sciences has issued an action alert against his proposal.
More



Free webinar: Choosing a Graduate School in Physics and Related Disciplines — 3-4 p.m. EDT July 26
American Physical Society    Share    Share on
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Are you a student who has decided to enter a graduate program in physics or a related discipline? Are you wondering which graduate schools to apply to, or which graduate school to attend? Peter Collings, physics professor at Swarthmore College, provides both general information and specific suggestions on the various ways to find answers to these questions. More

Innovate your graduate school recruiting/application process
NSBP    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail
article
The National Society of Black Physicists is pleased to offer Web-based services that allow students to upload all the essential elements of a graduate school or REU internship application to a database, including academic history, transcripts (as PDF copies), GRE scores, letters of recommendation, work/internship history and a personal statement (as a PDF). NSBP student members can use this service for a very nominal fee. Graduate and REU programs can subscribe to these databases, and then can contact students with offers of admissions and financial aid, or with invitations to a campus visit. Thus students can put their credentials in front of more programs easily and inexpensively, while graduate and REU programs can have greater opportunities to successfully recruit students that otherwise would not apply to them. More

National Society of Black Physicists jobs board postings
NSBP    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
KICP Postdoctoral Research Fellow
Academic Director at Stanford University
MIT Pappalardo Fellowships in Physics
Sr. Research Associate (RF Group Head)
Faculty position in Experimental Nuclear and Elementary Particle Physics
Assistant/Associate Professor
South African Research Chairs
Faculty Position in Theoretical Solid State Physics
APS Scholarship Program for Minority Undergraduate Physics Majors
National Astrophysics and Space Science Program
Visiting Professor
Postdoctoral Research Associate Positions

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
About.com
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
GradSchools.com
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. More




Latest research from Virtual Journal of Atomic Quantum Fluids
Virtual Journal of Atomic Quantum Fluids    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
The dressed atom as binary phase modulator: towards attojoule/edge optical phase-shift keying

Bose-Einstein condensation and a 2-dimensional walk model

Complexity of waves in nonlinear disordered media

Quantum spin ladders of non-Abelian anyons

Predicting and verifying transition strengths from weakly bound molecules
More

Latest research from Modelling and Simulation in Materials Science and Engineering
IOP Journal    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article

QM/MM study of dislocation—hydrogen/helium interactions in α-Fe

Friction, slip and structural inhomogeneity of the buried interface

Site preference of S-doping and its influence on the properties of a Ni/Ni3Al interface

Numerical modelling of impedance spectra of ionic conductor–insulator core–shell composites

Modelling the role of size, edge structure and terminations on the electronic properties of graphene nano-flakes
More
 

 
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