apr 072012
Measuring Magnetic Fields

Polarized light is a familiar phenomenon, as people who prefer polarized sunglasses can testify. The electric field in a beam of light can vibrate either left-right or up-down, and the scattering or reflection of light can result in the preferential absorption of one or the other of these two “polarizations.” The majority of sunlight on [continue reading]

apr 062012
CERN revs up hopes for smashing year for physics

Scientists came closer than ever to witnessing “Big Bang”-style conditions on Thursday after revving up the Large Hadron Collider at the CERN research centre to smash sub-atomic particles together faster and harder than ever before. A simulated event in the CMS detector, featuring the appearance of the Higgs boson Physicists in the control rooms punched [continue reading]

apr 062012
A magnetic surprise for Venus Express

Venus is a rarity among planets – a world that does not internally generate a magnetic field. Despite the absence of a large protective magnetosphere, the near-Venus environment does exhibit a number of similarities with planets such as Earth. The latest, surprising, example is the evidence for magnetic reconnection in Venus’ induced magnetotail. Solar wind [continue reading]

apr 042012
Physicists hunt for dark forces

Cheap colliders probe debris for hint of ‘heavy’ photon. In tunnels beneath the Thomas Jefferson National Accelerator Facility in Newport News, Virginia, an accelerator whips a beam of electrons around a racetrack. Their energies are modest, but the beam is tightly packed with them — for it takes a very bright beam to detect a [continue reading]

apr 042012
Highlights from the American Physical Society April Meeting, Atlanta

 String theory weighs in on Higgs An illustration of the Higgs–Boson particle. A typical “candidate event” in the Higgs-hunting CMS experiment. Red lines represent high-energy proton beams while yellow lines show the tracks of particles produced in the collision. Illustration courtesy CERN ATLANTA – Physicists working on big experiments at particle colliders aren’t the only ones who [continue reading]

apr 042012
Cosmic 'Leaf Blower' Robs Galaxy of Star-Making Fuel

Supernova explosions and the jets of a monstrous black hole are scattering a galaxy’s star-making gas like a cosmic leaf blower, a new study finds. The findings, which relied on ultraviolet observations from NASA’s Galaxy Evolution Explorer and a host of other instruments, fill an important gap in the current understanding of galactic evolution. Time [continue reading]