Smashing together a billion protons a second wasn’t enough for the Large Hadron Collider.
The particle accelerator, located at CERN in Geneva, is getting spiffed up to allow it to carry out collisions at an even faster rate. On June 15, scientists announced the start of construction for an LHC upgrade called the High-Luminosity LHC.
The upgrade will boost the collision rate by at...
Gravity waves evidence
The long search for gravitational waves … may be in the final lap…. Rotating binary stars or, perhaps, other galaxies like the Milky Way but far beyond it, or the center of the Milky Way itself, are likely sources for gravitational radiation. — Science News, June 22, 1968.Update
Although Joseph Weber, a physicist at the University of Maryland, announced...
News in Brief
A heavy element’s nucleus is all bent out of shape.
Nobelium — element number 102 on the periodic table — has an atomic nucleus that is deformed into the shape of an American football, scientists report in the June 8 Physical Review Letters. The element is the heaviest yet to have its nucleus sized up.
By probing individual nobelium atoms with a laser, the team gauged the oblong...
On a warm summer evening, a visitor to 1920s Göttingen, Germany, might have heard the hubbub of a party from an apartment on Friedländer Way. A glimpse through the window would reveal a gathering of scholars. The wine would be flowing and the air buzzing with conversations centered on mathematical problems of the day. The eavesdropper might eventually pick up a woman’s laugh cutting through...
Emmy Noether may be the most influential mathematician you’ve never heard of.06/12/2018 - 07:15 History of Science, Science & Society, Physics
In 1918, she solved a puzzle in Albert Einstein’s general theory of relativity. To do that, she created a mathematical theorem that changed forever how scientists study the universe, one that remains a guiding star for theoretical physics.
Not only was she a scientific pioneer, Noether was by all...
How big is the sun? Well, that depends on when you’re measuring.
The sun slightly shrinks and expands as it goes through a solar cycle, a roughly 11-year period of high and low magnetic activity, a new study finds. When the sun is the most active, its radius decreases by 1 or 2 kilometers, two researchers report in a paper accepted in the Astrophysical Journal. Given that the sun’s full...
News in Brief
The first observed smashup of two stellar remnants known as neutron stars probably forged the least massive black hole yet discovered, researchers report in the June 1 Astrophysical Journal Letters.
This cosmic collision, observed in August 2017, took the astronomical community by storm and offered insights into the origins of precious metals and the mysterious dark energy that fuels the...
An account of another alleged “sonic attack” has surfaced, this time from a U.S. government employee in China. The employee reported “subtle and vague, but abnormal, sensations of sound and pressure,” according to a U.S. Embassy health alert. The episode mirrors reports from American diplomats in Cuba in late 2016, and fuels the debate among scientists about what, if anything, is actually...
Letters to the Editor
Pesky pesticides05/30/2018 - 07:00 Science & Society, Physics, Animals
Researchers are tracking tiny insects to learn how animals move around the planet, Alexandra Witze reported in “Flying insects tell tales of long-distance migrations” (SN: 4/14/18, p. 22).
“There are several uncritical references to using pesticides to combat insect pests” in the story, reader Christina Gullion wrote.
Gullion noted that pesticides can be...
Somewhere in the wetlands of South Carolina, a buzzing fly alights on a rosy-pink surface. As the fly explores the strange scenery, it unknowingly brushes a small hair sticking up like a slender sword. Strolling along, the fly accidentally grazes another hair. Suddenly, the pink surface closes in from both sides, snapping shut like a pair of ravenous jaws. The blur of movement lasts only a...