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  • News

    A star orbiting a black hole shows Einstein got gravity right — again

    A single star, careening around the monster black hole in the center of the Milky Way, has provided astronomers with new proof that Albert Einstein was right about gravity.

    More than 100 years ago, Einstein’s general theory of relativity revealed that gravity is the result of matter curving the fabric of spacetime (SN: 10/17/15, p. 16). Now, in a paper published July 26 in Astronomy...

    07/26/2018 - 08:00 Physics, Astronomy
  • Letters to the Editor

    Readers share their experiences with DNA ancestry tests

    Hacking it

    Fleets of autonomous taxis coordinated by an algorithm could curb traffic congestion and vehicle pollution, Maria Temming reported in “Fleets of self-driving taxis could be choreographed to cut traffic” (SN: 6/23/18, p. 5).

    “And what happens when the system gets hacked?” asked online reader RME76048. “Sounds like a primo target for an ambitious hacker.”

    A control...

    07/25/2018 - 07:15 Technology, Physics, Genetics
  • News

    The Planck satellite’s picture of the infant universe gets its last tweaks

    A spacecraft that revealed details of the hidden tapestry of the infant cosmos has had its last hurrah.

    Scientists have unveiled the final result from the European Space Agency’s Planck satellite, which observed the oldest light in the universe — the cosmic microwave background — from 2009 to 2013. During its mission, the spacecraft provided new details of the intricate patterns woven...

    07/24/2018 - 08:00 Physics, Astronomy
  • Science Visualized

    How a particle accelerator helped recover tarnished 19th century images

    With the aid of a particle accelerator, scientists are bringing back ghosts from the past, revealing portraits hidden underneath the tarnished surface of two roughly 150-year-old silver photographic plates.

    Researchers used an accelerator called a synchrotron to produce strong, but nondamaging beams of X-rays to scan the damaged photographs, called daguerreotypes, and map their chemical...

    07/09/2018 - 07:00 Chemistry, Physics
  • 50 years ago, a Japanese scientist dreamed up a rocket-propelled train

    Next in speedy trains

    Future trains, in [Hisanojo] Ozawa’s opinion, will all be powered by rockets and run over rollers instead of rails…. His next model will be equipped with three rocket engines and will aim for a speed of 1,180 kilometers an hour, or 0.996 Mach. — Science News, July 6, 1968.

    Update

    A rocket-boosted model train from Ozawa, who designed aircraft for the...

    06/28/2018 - 07:00 Technology, Physics
  • News in Brief

    Einstein’s general relativity reigns supreme, even on a galactic scale

    Chalk up another win for Einstein’s seemingly invincible theory of gravity. A new study shows that the theory of general relativity holds true even over vast distances.

    General relativity prevailed within a region spanning a galactic distance of about 6,500 light-years, scientists report in the June 22 Science. Previously, researchers have precisely tested the theory by studying its...

    06/21/2018 - 14:00 Physics, Astronomy
  • News

    To combat an expanding universe, aliens could hoard stars

    Survivalists prep for disaster by stocking up on emergency food rations. Aliens, on the other hand, might hoard stars.

    To offset a future cosmic energy shortage caused by the accelerating expansion of the universe, a super-advanced civilization could pluck stars from other galaxies and bring them home, theoretical astrophysicist Dan Hooper proposes June 13 at arXiv.org.

    It’s a far-...

    06/19/2018 - 14:50 Physics, Astronomy
  • Science Ticker

    The Large Hadron Collider is getting an upgrade

    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...

    06/15/2018 - 14:01 Physics
  • In 1968, scientists thought they were close to detecting gravity waves

    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...

    06/15/2018 - 12:00 Astronomy, Physics
  • News in Brief

    This heavy element has a football-shaped atomic nucleus

    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...

    06/12/2018 - 12:03 Physics