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Aug. 3, 2011
Volume: II
Number: 30
National Society of Black Physicists    African Physical Society    South African Institute of Physics   African Astronomical Society   
Oxygen molecules discovered in space for the very first time
IO9    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
The Herschel Space Observatory has announced that they have found evidence of molecular oxygen in the Orion Nebula. This is the first confirmed discovery of its kind, and while the amount of oxygen that has been found is 10 times larger than what was expected based on prior observations of other molecular clouds, it is still well below theoretical expectations. More

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Cold electrons to aid better imaging techniques
E! Science News    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
A new source of very cold electrons will improve the quality and speed of nanoimaging for drug and materials development to a trillionth of a second. A team led by Rick Scholten at the University of Melbourne used lasers to cool atoms to a few millionths of a degree above absolute zero and then to extract a beam of extremely cold electrons. Using new technology, they were able to create beams in complex shapes, and because the electrons are so very cold (about 10 degrees above absolute zero) the beam retains that shape, rather than exploding as it would for a conventional hot electron source. A report of the work is published in Nature Physics. More

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First asteroid companion of Earth discovered at last    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
The first in a long-sought type of asteroid companion to Earth has now been discovered, a space rock that always dances in front of the planet along its orbital path, just beyond its reach. The asteroid, called 2010 TK7, is nearly 1,000 feet (300 meters) across and currently leading the Earth by about 50 million miles (80 million kilometers). The asteroid is the first in a category known as Earth's Trojans, a family of space rocks that could potentially be easier to reach than the moon. The findings are detailed in the July 28 issue of Nature. More

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Superconductivity and magnetism living apart together?
American Physical Society    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
Great excitement came from the discovery in 2004 of a two-dimensional electron gas at the interface between a (001) TiO2 terminated SrTiO3 crystal and an epitaxial LaAlO3 film. Reyren et al. discovered that the interface between these two band insulators is superconducting below 200 mK. Writing in Physical Review Letters, Dmitriy Dikin and collaborators from Northwestern University and the University of Wisconsin, Madison, describe a series of experiments revealing signs of magnetism "mixed" with superconducting behavior in the transport properties of LAO/STO interfaces. More

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Carbon nanotubes could store solar energy
Physics World    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
Researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of technology have designed a new solar thermal fuel that could store up to 10,000 times more energy than previous systems. The fuel, which has been studied using computational chemistry but not yet fully tested in the lab, consists of carbon nanotubes modified with azobenzene. More

Rare coupling of magnetic and electric properties in a single material    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
Researchers at the Brookhaven National Laboratory have observed a new way that magnetic and electric properties — which have a long history of ignoring and counteracting each other — can coexist in a special class of metals known as multiferroics, materials where the magnetic polarity can be changed by an electric field. Using extremely bright beams of X-rays at Brookhaven's National Synchrotron Light Source to examine the electronic structure of a particular metal oxide made of yttrium, manganese and oxygen, the team determined that the magnetic-electric coupling is caused by the outer cloud of electrons surrounding the atom, a result theoretically predicted but never experimentally observed. Their results are published in Physical Review Letters. More

Brazilian government launches scholarship program to promote tech, science, innovation
Nearshore Americans    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
The Brazilian Government is starting a program of scholarships to promote the consolidation and expansion of science, technology and innovation in Brazil "through international exchange and mobility." The program funds collaborative associations encompassing the training of Brazilian students and scientists abroad, as well as opportunities for scientists from abroad to join one of the Brazilian centers of excellence. More

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Funding shortfall hits European X-ray laser facility
Physics World    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
The $1.5 billion European X-ray Free Electron Laser, which is being built at the DESY lab in Hamburg, Germany, has been left with a $213 million funding shortfall after a number of member countries reduced their contributions to its construction. The Russian government has subsequently pledged to plug that gap with $71 million, with Germany expected to foot the bill for most of the remaining $142 million. The European XFEL is expected to be complete by 2014, with the first users on site a year later. More

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Female students in high school physics
American Institute of Physics    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
Writing on results of a nationwide survey of high school physics teachers, AIP's Susan White and Casey Tesfaye, report that the number of girls taking physics in U.S. high schools increased 161 percent between 1987 and 2009; the number of boys was up 88 percent over this same period. In this report, we examine female students taking high school physics. They also report on the female representation by type of physics course. More

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Space boffins headed to South Africa for 'African Astronaissance'    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
The world's premier international space gathering, the 62nd International Astronautical Congress, will take place in Cape Town, South Africa, in October — a first for the continent, and good timing for South Africa as it bids to host the Square Kilometer Array radio telescope. The Congress attracts about 3,000 high-level delegates each year and sees over 1,500 papers being presented. More

Science in Namibia
Science Magazine    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
Namibia is also the site of one of the largest and most sensitive gamma ray telescopes in the world, the High Energy Stereoscopic System. Riaan Steenkamp, a member of the physics faculty at the University of Namibia, helped establish the site in the Khomas Highland of Namibia, an area known for its clear atmosphere and optical quality. Today, Namibia and South Africa are vying for the Cherenkov Telescope Array, an international project that is to be the successor to HESS. More

National Society of Black Physicists jobs board postings
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Professor and Head of Department of Physics, University of Pretoria
Senior Lecturer in the School of Physics — The University of KwaZulu-Natal
Senior Lecturer in the School of Physics — UKZN Westville Campus
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
South African Research Chairs
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
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 New Journal of Physics
IOP Journal    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail

Strong plasmon coupling between 2 gold nanospheres on a gold slab

Rydberg excitation of trapped cold ions: A detailed case study

From photonic crystals to metamaterials: The bianisotropic response

Elastic waves in phononic monolayer granular membranes

Dynamical mean-field theory for bosons

Latest research from Physical Review Letters — Editor's suggestions
Physical Review Letters    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article

To promote reading across fields, the editors of Physical Review Letters offer "suggestions" each week of papers that they hope will lead readers to explore other areas of physics.

Founding of the Physical Review Journals

Glass transitions in quasi-2-dimensional suspensions of colloidal ellipsoids

Giant flexoelectric effect in ferroelectric epitaxial thin films

Active colloidal suspensions exhibit polar order under gravity

CO oxidation facilitated by robust surface states on Au-covered topological insulators

Indications of suppression of excited Υ states in Pb-Pb collisions at √sNN=2.76  TeV

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