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Oct. 29, 2011
Volume: II
Number: 42
National Society of Black Physicists    African Physical Society    South African Institute of Physics   African Astronomical Society   
Budget fight rages over James Webb Space Telescope
The Washington Post    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
At a time when NASA is searching for a post-shuttle identity, the agency has made the Webb a top priority. But on its way to the heavens, the Webb has run wildly over budget, drawn threats of cancellation from Congress, elbowed aside other NASA science missions and driven a wedge through the space science community. Its fate for now rests on negotiations between NASA's chief purse holders in Congress, Sen. Barbara A. Mikulski, D-Md., and Rep. Frank R. Wolf, R-Va. More

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Texas board moves ahead with eliminating physics program at Texas Southern and Prairie View A&M
Inside Higher Ed    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
The Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board recently approved the elimination of undergraduate programs in physics at Prairie View A&M University and Texas Southern University, rejecting appeals from the historically black institutions. But advocates for those two physics programs questioned why the state would be cutting off opportunities to produce more black scientists at a time that many experts say that the only way the United States will achieve its goals in science education is with more participation from all racial and ethnic groups. More

Interview with NSBP member Ronald Mallet and the prospect of time travel
Decoded Science    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
If space travel is the final frontier, then what is time travel? For Dr. Ronald Lawrence Mallett it is a lifelong labor of love. In an interview with Rick Stelnick, Mallet discusses his theory of time travel and its basis gravitational effects of circulating light beams, the conservative nature of the physics community, tachyons and special relativity, and the practical application of time travel. More

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How 'interstellar pile-ups' create the huge black holes at the center of galaxies
Daily Mail    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
Supermassive black holes sit at the hearts of most of the galaxies we can observe from earth — and astronomers believe there is one at the center of our own galaxy, the Milky Way. The huge interstellar objects grow up to masses billions of times that of our sun — and, while growing, can outshine the entire galaxy that surrounds them. But how and why they form is a mystery. Now scientists believe that collisions with smaller galaxies may explain why such enormous objects develop. More

Newton's 1st paper among newly opened archive
Physics World    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
Newton's first published scientific paper, New Theory of Light and Colors, and James Clerk Maxwell's Dynamical Theory of the Electromagnetic Field, describing his electromagnetic theory of light are among the Royal Society's historical journal archive, which is now permanently free to access online. More than 60,000 papers are available in a searchable database where all papers published more than 70 years ago (all 8000 of them) are free to view online or download. More

Masters of the Universe:
National Society of Black Physicists

Unifying liquid and granular flow
American Physical Society    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
Adding suspended particles to a fluid increases its viscosity. When the particles are widely separated, this increased viscosity reflects their hydrodynamic interactions. At higher volume fractions, however, contacts between particles become important. Einstein derived an expression for fluid viscosity of suspensions, but it fails when the particles are at a high volume fraction, i.e., when the fluid is perhaps more aptly described as a granular solid. In work reported in Physical Review Letters, Boyer and co-workers approach the problem from the opposite direction taken by Einstein and arrive at a framework that unifies liquid and granular flow via an effective friction coefficient works for both granular flows and suspensions, even though the interactions between the particles are quite different in the two cases. More

Undulators for the next generation collider
American Physical Society    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
Future colliders, such as the International Linear Collider and the Compact Linear Collider, will require positron beams 60 times more intense than existing positron sources. But as conventional positron sources smash a high-energy electron beam into a metallic target, which damages the target, new types of sources would be necessary these much higher intensity electron beams that would be required for future machines. Enter a photonic method where an electron beam is passed through a magnetic field (an undulator) to generate a high-intensity beam of photons. A team led by Jim Clarke of the Daresbury Laboratory in England has reported in Physical Review Letters that their undulator can produce the magnetic fields needed to generate the required photon beam. More

Lisa Randall on science, the modern world, and 'Knocking on Heaven's Door'
Comedy Central    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
Lisa Randall explores how science illuminates the modern world and why some people are unwilling to accept scientific findings on "The Daily Show." More

Will new studies confirming global warming settle skeptics' questions?
The Washington Post    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
Global warming is real, according to a major study released Oct. 20. Despite issues raised by climate change skeptics, the Berkeley Earth Surface Temperature study finds reliable evidence of a rise in the average world land temperature of approximately 1°C since the mid-1950s. This study, produced by someone known for his skepticism of mainstream climate science, relegates the skeptics' arguments as simply not being tenable. More

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Feather nanostructures inspire 2 laser designs
Optics and Photonics News    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
The structure in feathers that gives bluebirds such brilliant color inspired researchers at Yale University to copy the pattern to create two different lasers (reported in Physical Review Letters and Optics Letters.) An animal's color comes not from pigment but from nanostructures on the surface that can reflect distinctive colors. Unlike diffraction gratings, however, the structures appear disordered and reflect the same color from many angles. The materials don't contain large-area order, but there is some short-range order that scatters light preferentially at specific wavelengths. Building lasers without mirrors and without the strict requirements for long-range order of photonic crystals could make it easier to fabricate lasers—and possibly use self-assembly methods that have been used in the production of color-producing nanostructures in bird feathers. More

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Water's quantum weirdness makes life possible
New Scientist    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
Water is one of the planet's weirdest liquids, and many of its most bizarre features make it life-giving. For example, its higher density as a liquid than as a solid means ice floats on water, allowing fish to survive under partially frozen rivers and lakes. And unlike many liquids, it takes a lot of heat to warm water up even a little, a quality that allows mammals to regulate their body temperature. Then there is the Mpemba effect, the explanation of which is still unsettled. But much about the properties of water comes through its hydrogen bond network, and the quantum effects thereof have been recently explored theoretically and experimentally. More

Satellites in the developing world: An MIT researcher looks at a growing trend in a number of developing countries: national satellite programs
MIT News    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
In a paper published in Acta Astronautica, Danielle Wood, a Ph.D. candidate in MIT's Engineering Systems Division, and Annalisa Weigel, assistant professor of aeronautics and astronautics and engineering systems at MIT, examine countries including Nigeria, Malaysia and Thailand where nascent satellite programs have cropped up, thanks to a relatively recent philosophical change within the space industry. More

National Society of Black Physicists jobs board postings
NSBP    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
Dean, Division of Science
Assistant Professor of Physics
Tenure Track Faculty position - Experimental high energy Density Laser-Plasma Physics
Assistant Professor of Physics
Assistant Professor, Physics Teacher Education
Open Rank Faculty Position in Quantum Information Theory
Assistant, Associate or Full Professor Position in Condensed-Matter Experiment
Asstistant, Associate or Full Professor Position in Particle, Nuclear or Gravitational Theory
Research Scientist in Computational Physics
Tenure-Track Assistant Professor
Graduate Program in Astronomy, University of Michigan
Assistant Professor in Computational Astrophysics (tenure-track)
Assistant Professor
Tenure Track Faculty
Assistant/Associate Professor
IBM Research Internship for Undergraduate Women
Assistant Professor of Physics and Astronomy (Astrophysics)
Tenure-Track Faculty in Theoretical Condensed Matter Physics
Assistant Professor

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. More

Latest research from Nonlinearity
IOP Journal    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
Discrete breathers in Bose–Einstein condensates

Singularity formation in chemotaxis systems with volume-filling effect

Special cases of 3-point charges

Exponential asymptotics of homoclinic snaking

On the integrability of a Hamiltonian reduction of a 2+1-dimensional nonisothermal rotating gas cloud system

Latest research from Physica D. Nonlinear Phenomena
Physica D. Nonlinear Phenomena    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
The Symmetric Regularized-Long-Wave equation: Well-posedness and nonlinear stability

Forced synchronization of a delayed-feedback oscillator

Distribution of periodic orbits for the Casati–Prosen map on rational lattices

On the validity of the variational approximation in discrete nonlinear Schrödinger equations

Conservative, unconditionally stable discretization methods for Hamiltonian equations, applied to to wave motion in lattice equations modeling protein molecules

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