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June. 15, 2011
Volume: II
Number: 23
  National Society of Black Physicists    African Physical Society   South African Institute of Physics   African Astronomical Society   
US astronomers to face tough choices
Nature News Blog    Share    Share on
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Tight budget projections have prompted the U.S. National Science Foundation to launch a review that is likely to recommend consolidations or divestments for some major U.S. astronomy facilities. By the end of the decade the operating costs of NSF astronomy facilities could consume over 80 percent of agency's astronomy projected $245 million budget, and capital costs will be nearly $2 billion. NSF will shortly be charging a portfolio review panel consisting of up to 20 researchers — most or all astronomers — to advise on where cuts should fall. More

Follow the African Physical Society, the National Society of Black Physicists and the South African Institute of Physics on Twitter, @Africanphysics, @Blackphysicists and @SAIPhysics.

Frustration lingers over canceled exoplanet hunts    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
Frustrated by the fiscal realities that are forcing science funding decisions, astronomer Geoff Marcy recently expressed his profound disappointment in the cancellation of exoplanet missions like the Terrestrial Planet Finder and the Space Interferometry Mission. He's also angered by what he sees as a lack of leadership and cooperation for exoplanet missions within NASA and the larger astrophysics community. He criticized the 2010 astronomy and astrophysics Decadal Survey, an influential review complied by the National Research Council that recommends missions for space science over the next 10 years. "TPF was not even mentioned in the Decadal Survey," he said. "How is this possible?" More

Save the date — Sept. 21-24, Joint Conference of the National Society of Black Physicists and the National Society of Hispanic Physicists — Austin, Texas

US SKA Consortium votes to dissolve itself in light decadal survey and budget realities
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The U.S. Square Kilometer Array Consortium has voted to dissolve itself as of Dec. 31. The consortium consists of U.S. universities and research institutes that are studying and prototyping technologies under development for the SKA. But the SKA did not get a positive funding recommendation in the 2010 astronomy decadal survey, and NSF has decided to follow that recommendation. As a result the U.S. is no longer part of the international SKA project. More

US research facilities anticipate budget gloom
Nature News    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
As U.S. federal agencies prepare for lean times ahead, concern is growing at some of the centralized, multimillion-dollar facilities supported by the National Science Foundation. These provide users with access to specialized instruments that include powerful X-ray sources, high magnetic fields and large telescopes. Several such centers are expecting cuts in the 2012 budget. "If the proposed budget goes through, the impact on users will be quite severe," says Sol Gruner, director of Cornell's High Energy Synchrotron Source, which the NSF has told to expect a possible 25 percent cut. More

Subscribe to Twitterphysics and Twitter Astronomy Observer for daily updates on physics and astronomy in the Twitterverse.

R&D and economic growth
AIP Matters    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
Approximately half of our economy is traceable to previous investments in science. Many of these investments were made decades ago in basic science. Basic science has the highest potential for innovative discoveries, but the return on this investment is often measured in terms of decades. Our nation's lawmakers will be making crucial decisions in the next few months that will determine if our nation continues to make critical investments in scientific research and development. Activism and advocacy for science by scientists is needed now more than ever. More

Big science projects can help reverse Africa's brain drain
SciDev.Net    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
African scientists and governments need to work together to secure the development of world-class science facilities that will persuade the most talented African scientists to come home — that will be the message that Dr. Bernie Fanaroff, director South Africa's SKA Project Office, will deliver at an event in London June 16. The most exciting example of Africa taking a new global leadership role in science may be the SKA. In July, the KAT-7 radio telescope comes online. Designed and constructed in South Africa using a newly developed manufacturing process, the KAT-7 has been delivered ahead of schedule and on budget. The KAT-7 and its planned successor, the 64-dish MeerKAT telescopes are part of Africa's bid to host the SKA. More
South African Institute of Physics set to meet July 12-15

The South African Institute of Physics will convene its 2011 annual meeting July 12 at Pretoria's Saint George Hotel. The scientific program includes tracks in condensed matter and materials physics; nuclear, particle and radiation physics; lasers, optics and spectroscopy; astrophysics; space science; physics education; applied and industrial physics; and theoretical and computational physics.

The program also includes a winter school in computational physics and a workshop on biophysics.

The abstract submission deadline for short papers is July 4.

More information is available at the conference website.

A planet going the wrong way
Science Alert    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
All planets move around their stars in the same direction as the star spins — at least that's what we thought. But now ANU astronomer Dr. Daniel Bayliss and his colleagues have found a planet that breaks the mold. Using one of the world's largest telescopes in Chile, astronomers have discovered that planet WASP-17b is moving in the opposite direction to the spin of the star around which it orbits. The discovery throws traditional theories about how planets form around stars into doubt. More

Total lunar eclipse tonight
Joburg    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
On June 15, more than half the world will have opportunity to watch the darkest lunar eclipse in almost 100 years as the centers of the sun, the Earth and the moon will nearly be on one straight line. According to the Inter-University Center for Astronomy and Astrophysics, more than half the world will be able to see the eclipse tonight. It will begin little after 9 p.m. and continue for two hours. The darkened moon will be visible everywhere in South Africa. More

What is the right way to measure gravitational redshift?
IOP    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
In a paper published in Nature last year, Steven Chu and co-workers claimed that atom interferometry devices could detect gravitational redshift with a precision several orders of magnitude greater than current, and future planned, clock tests. In a study recently published in Classical and Quantum Gravity, a team of researchers, including Claude Cohen Tannoudj who shared the 1997 Nobel Prize with Chu, disagreed with these findings, stating that the atom interferometer is in fact an accelerometer that measures the acceleration of freely falling atoms with respect to the instrument that is at rest in the laboratory. More

The African Astronomical Society is on Twitter!

Physicists invent living laser
Physics World    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
A single living cell has been coaxed into producing laser light, researchers report in Nature Photonics. The technique starts by encoding the cells with DNA that leads to expression of green fluorescent protein. Irradiating the cells in a mirrored cavity with weak blue light pulses causes the cells to emit directed, green laser light. While these "cellular lasers" have unknown applications today, it is easy to speculate that the intracellular lasing can be used in imaging and therapeutic contexts. More

Fermilab's new particle result is in jeopardy — D0 cannot confirm CDF's result
Wired Science    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
Waves and Packets recently reported that evidence had strengthened that Fermilab (CDF) physicists may have found a new particle. But the evidence is strongly controverted by the fact that a sister-experiment, DZero, at the Tevatron cannot reproduce the result. A Fermilab task force that will look at the difference between the two experiments, but either the CMS or ATLAS experiments at LHC may be the ones to put this issue to rest. More

Purchase SKA Africa Gear at the SKA CafePress Store

AIMS prepares to celebrate a new graduation
AIMS-Next Einstein    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
In a year of successfully landing AIMS Ghana and AIMS Senegal, the institute in South Africa is preparing to graduate another class of young scholars. This year, around 55 students from all over Africa, from mountains and plains, from coasts and deserts, have come together at the African Institute for Mathematical Sciences and embarked on a journey that delivered more than anyone could have anticipated. More

Deadline approaching for ALMA Early Science cycle proposals
NRAO    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
To prepare the North American community to fully participate in the Early Science call, the North American ALMA Science Center will organize community outreach events each month leading up to the proposal deadline. The first of these events was at the American Astronomical Society meeting in January in Seattle (see article in February 2011 edition of NRAO eNews). ALMA has adopted an open skies policy following the long standing NSF/NRAO policy. The proposal deadline is June 30. More

Science education reform
The Academic Minute    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
VideoBriefWho gets to decide what children learn in science classes? Dr. Bruce Tulloch of Union Graduate College discusses a disagreement over reforms to science education in the United States. More

National Society of Black Physicists jobs board postings
NSBP    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
South African Research Chairs
Project Officer: IAU Global Office of Astronomy for Development (3 Year Contract)
Director of Physics Teaching Laboratories
Faculty Position in Theoretical Solid State Physics
AIMS Senegal Tutor/Teaching Assistant
APS Scholarship Program for Minority Undergraduate Physics Majors
National Astrophysics and Space Science Program
Visiting Professor
Postdoctoral Research Associate Positions

Latest research from Optical Materials Express
Optical Materials Express    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
Exciton states of CdTe tetrapod-shaped nanocrystals

Green-emissive Mn-activated nanocrystallized glass with willemite-type Zn2GeO4

Fabrication and testing of all-telluride rib waveguides for nulling interferometry

2-dimensional domain engineering in LiNbO3 via a hybrid patterning technique

Broadband Er3+ emission in highly nonlinear Bismuth modified Zinc-Borate glasses

Latest research from Nanotechnology
IOP Journal    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article

Error in dynamic spring constant calibration of atomic force microscope probes due to nonuniform cantilevers

Toward wafer-scale patterning of freestanding intermetallic nanowires

Physiological responses induced in tomato plants by a 2-component nanostructural system composed of carbon nanotubes conjugated with quantum dots and its in vivo multimodal detection

Characteristics of CVD graphene nanoribbon formed by a ZnO nanowire hardmask

Patterned self-assembly of gold nanoparticles on chemical templates fabricated by soft UV nanoimprint lithography

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