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  Mobile version   RSS   Subscribe   Unsubscribe   Archive   Media Kit Sep. 29, 2012
Volume: III
Number: 34

National Society of Black Physicists    African Physical Society   South African Institute of Physics   African Astronomical Society  


Black holes constrain the mass of a photon
American Physical Society    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
New calculations reported in Physical Review Letters show that photons, or photonlike particles, could theoretically stop a rotating black hole if they have a mass. Physicists had previously shown that a hypothetical spin-zero particle — called a scalar boson — could quantum-mechanically bind to a rotating black hole if the particle's Compton wavelength (which is inversely proportional to its mass) is roughly equal to the radius of the black hole. The resulting gravitational "atom" would lead to a runaway effect, or bomb, that can tap the hole's rotational energy in a relatively short time. The new calculations do not rule out a massive proton. But they do constrain the mass of a photon. And they have implications for the dispersion of light and the existence of magnetic monopoles. More

Point of origin of galactic jet seen for the 1st time
Science Now    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
With their immense gravitational force, black holes pull matter into an accretion disk. And from the middle of this accretion disk, black holes eject matter in collimated beams at relativistic velocities. But the details of how exactly this phenomenon occurs remains a matter of conjecture because astronomers have never observed the origin of a jet directly. But a multinational team of astrophysicists has just reported in Science the first direct observation ever of any jet-launching region of a black hole. By observing the black hole in the galaxy known as M87 using the very long baseline interferometry technique, the team was able to conclude that the black hole must be spinning, and that the material surrounding it is orbiting in the same direction as the spin. There were able to infer other features of the black hole's jet-forming region as well. Future refinements of the technique, perhaps by using the Event Horizon Telescope, could provide the sternest test yet of Einstein's general theory of relativity. More

NSBP is participating in the 2012 Quadrennial Physics Congress
NSBP is pleased to announce the availability of financial support for its student members to attend 2012 Quadrennial Physics Congress. To receive financial support students must register for the meeting by Oct. 15. For more information contact NSBP at

The 2012 Quadrennial Physics Congress will be hosted by Sigma Pi Sigma, the physics honor society, in Orlando, Fla., on Nov. 8-12. It will center on the theme Connecting Worlds Through Science & Service. Undergraduates, practicing physicists and physics alumni from a broad spectrum of career paths will gather together to address the interconnectivity of the modern world and what it means to science. More

Important dates
Oct. 15 — Registration Deadline, Artwork Submission Deadline, Abstract Submission Deadline

Increase your options for graduate or REU program admissions
NSBP    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
The NSBP GradApps and REUApps services are open to all students and allows them to upload all the elements of an admissions application, including academic and work history, transcripts, letters of recommendation and a personal statement. Graduate and REU programs can subscribe to these databases to increase the programs' applicant pool, while at the same time allowing students can put their credentials in front of more programs than to which they would otherwise apply. More

NASA'S Chandra Shows Milky Way is surrounded by halo of hot gas
NASA    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
Astronomers using NASA's Chandra X-ray Observatory have found evidence that our Milky Way Galaxy is embedded in an enormous halo of hot gas that extends for hundreds of thousands of light years. In a recent study, published in Astrophysical Journal Letters, a team of five astronomers used data from Chandra, ESA's XMM-Newton and Japan's Suzaku satellite to set limits on the temperature, extent and mass of the hot gas halo. The estimated mass of the halo is comparable to the mass of all the stars in the galaxy. If the size and mass of this gas halo is confirmed, it also could be an explanation for what is known as the "missing baryon problem" for the galaxy. That is, in very distant galaxies representing the earliest times of the universe, baryons represented one-sixth the mass and density of the existing unobservable dark matter. In contrast in closer galaxies denoting more recent times, a census of the baryons present in stars and gas shows at least half the baryons are unaccounted for. More

Physicists calculate the energy efficiency details of thin semiconductor photovolatics
American Physical Society    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
Thinner semiconductors offer performance advantages through surface plasmon resonances. Together, these factors place ultrathin solar cell layers in the realm of near-field optics, where the physical dimensions of the material element are the same size or smaller than an electromagnetic wavelength. In the near-field optics calculations you cannot use the tools of ray optics and thus the calculations are much more difficult. A research team has reported in Physical Review Letters rigorous calculations of voltage, current and efficiency of a solar cell in the near-field regime. They are able to calculate losses due to spontaneous emission from electron-hole recombination, and can map out peaks in spontaneous emission for various film thicknesses and identify wavelengths where the losses are highest. They can do this for a range of film thicknesses. More

Curiosity finds ancient stream bed on Mars
Ars Technica    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
The science team behind the Mars Curiosity rover has announced that some of the images it has taken reveal signs of a significant water flow at some point in the planet's past. Although there have been numerous indications of water in Mars' past, the discovery provides a unique opportunity to understand the precise environment in which the watery deposits formed. The deposits look strikingly similar to some found on Earth, in which rounded rocks, carried by currents, settle into a stream bed and are locked into a conglomerate. The deposits are probably not a good bet for finding any organic material that might be indicative of anything living in the water. More

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New photonic wire waveguide transmits data by the terabit
Karlsruhe Institute of Technology    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
A team of scientists has succeeded in developing a novel optical connection between semiconductor chips. "Photonic wire bonding" reaches data transmission rates in the range of several terabits per second and is suited perfectly for production on the industrial scale. Optical emitters and transmitters are already well developed, but there have not yet been any satisfactory possibilities of bridging semiconductor chips optically in a way such that the waveguides precisely meet. In this new method, reported in Optics Express, the scientists developed laser polymerization followed by laser lithography to create the waveguide and then write it onto the surface of the semiconductor. The new structure achieves data transfer rates in excess at 5 terabits per second at wavelengths around 1.55 micrometers, which is in the range of infrared telecommunications. Current commercial telecom systems typically transmit data in gigabits per second. More

365 Days of Astronomy Podcast
365 Days of Astronomy Podcast publishes daily podcasts, five to 10 minutes in duration. They are written, recorded and produced by people around the world. We are looking for individuals, schools, companies and clubs to provide five to 10 podcasts. You can do as few as one episode or up to 12 episodes (one per month, subject, of course, to our editorial discretion). Our goal is to encourage people to sign up for a particular day (or days) of the year. For more information, see the 365 Days of Astronomy website.

Violating time-reversal symmetry
Physics Today    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
In a paper posted on arXiv, the BaBaR Collaboration has reported the first clear direct evidence of time reversal symmetry violation. In over a decade of operation, the electron–positron collider at SLAC produced two hundred million pairs of neutral B mesons in quantum states entangled in such a way that the decay mode of one B instantaneously fixes the state of its partner. The team exploited the entanglement to determine that transition rates between B eigenstates depend on temporal direction in a way that can only be attributed to the violation of T symmetry. The T-violation signal is a robust 14 standard deviations, and its amplitude is consistent with the preservation of CPT symmetry. More

Journal of Women and Minorities in Science and Engineering
Designed as a unique and much-needed resource for educators, managers and policymakers, the Journal of Women and Minorities in Science and Engineering publishes original, peer-reviewed papers that report innovative ideas and programs for classroom teachers, scientific studies and formulation of concepts related to the education, recruitment and retention of underrepresented groups in science and engineering.

Access now available to NSBP members at

Physicists observe signature of Majorana fermions
Purdue University    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
A Majorana fermion, also referred to as a majorana particle, is a fermion that is its own antiparticle. They were theoretically predicted in 1937, but definitive experimental verification has been difficult. The search for this particle is for condensed-matter physicists what the Higgs boson search was for high-energy particle physicists. The pursuit of Majorana fermions is driven by their potential to encode quantum information in a way that solves a problem dogging quantum computing. The current carriers of quantum bits, the basic unit of information in quantum computing, are delicate and easily destroyed by small disturbances from the local environment. Majorana fermions could carry information that would be immune to environmental noise.

In the current work, published in Nature Physics, the team used a one-dimensional semiconductor coupled to a superconductor to create a hybrid nanowire in which Majorana particles are predicted to form at the ends. When alternating current is applied through a set of two such wires, a measurable voltage is generated across the device. As a magnetic field was applied and varied from weak to strong, the resulting steps in voltage became twice as tall, a signature of the formation of Majorana particles.

Algerian National Festival of Popular Astronomy
The Sirius Astronomy Association is organizing its 11th National Festival on Popular Astronomy, Oct. 4-6 in Constantine, Algeria. It is the largest multinational gathering of its kind in North Africa. The festival is both an astronomy exposition and a series of seminar and workshops geared to the general public. It has the strong institutional support of both the Societé Astronomique de France, which traditionally participates with a large delegation and the Arab Union for Astronomy and Space Sciences.

Members of the African Astronomical Society, astronomy educators and amateur astronomers are invited to apply for support to attend. The Sirius Astronomy Association will provide for full local accommodation in Constantine and will take care of the participants from Constantine airport. Letters of invitation to help with visa applications will be provided for those wishing to attend. More

Sharpest-ever ground-based images of Pluto and Charon
Gemini Observatory    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
Despite being infamously demoted from its status as a planet, Pluto (and its largest companion Charon) recently posed as a surrogate extrasolar planetary system to help astronomers produce exceptionally high-resolution images with the Gemini North 8-meter telescope. Using a method called reconstructive speckle imaging, the researchers took the sharpest ground-based snapshots ever obtained of Pluto and Charon in visible light, which hint at the exoplanet verification power of a large state-of-the-art telescope when combined with speckle imaging techniques. The data also verified and refined previous orbital characteristics for Pluto and Charon while revealing the pair's precise diameters. More

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National Society of Black Physicists jobs board postings
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Assistant Professor of Physics — Agnes Scott College
Faculty Position in Experimental Condensed Matter at University of Maryland College Park
Tenure Track Faculty Position in Atmospheric, Oceanic and Space Sciences
Tenure-Track Faculty Position for Planetary Science
Assistant Professor
Tenure-Track Assistant Professor - University of Maryland Baltimore County
Assistant Professor — Biophysics
Assistant Professor — Experimental Relativistic Heavy-Ion Nuclear Physics — Univeristy of Kansas
Assistant Professor in Department of Physics & Center for Computational and Integrative Biology
Assistant Editor, Physical Review Letters
Tenure-track Assistant Professor Position in Experimental Condensed Matter Physics at Rice University
2 Tenure-track Faculty Positions in Astronomy/Astrophysics at Ohio University
Postdoctoral Positions in Cosmology at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory
Faculty Positions in Science, Technology, and Innovation
Tenure Track Assistant Professor in Evolution
Tenure Track Assistant Professor — Denison University
Assistant Professor Position in Experimental Nuclear Physics at Duke University
Assistant Professor in Experimental Condensed Matter Magnetism — Miami University of Ohio
Tenure Track Assistant Professor in Evolution
Faculty Opening Carnegie Mellon University McWilliams Center for Cosmology

Latest research from Semiconductor Science and Technology
IOP Publishing    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
Features in the impurity photoconductivity spectra of n-GaAs and n-InP at energies multiple of the optical phonon energy

Hysteresis loops of spin-dependent electronic current in a paramagnetic resonant tunnelling diode

Simulation of fluence-dependent photocurrent in terahertz photoconductive receivers

GaAs-based metal-oxide-semiconductor field-effect transistor with aluminum oxide gate insulator prepared in situ by MOCVD

High-efficiency InGaN/GaN light-emitting diodes with electron injector

Latest research from Materials Letters
Elsevier    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
Preparation and investigation of (Sr0.85Mg0.14)3(P1−xSixO4)2: Dy3+ single-phase full-color phosphor

Facile synthesis of CuO nanorod for lithium storage application

Pore control of ZnCl2-activated cellulose on fiberglass mats for removal of humic acid from water

A 2-step surface treatment, combining fluoride pretreatment and anodic electrophoresis deposition of waterborne acrylic resin, for Mg–Li–Al–Ce alloy

Structural characterization and DC conductivity of honeycomb-patterned poly(ε-caprolactone)/gold nanoparticle-reduced graphite oxide composite films

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