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  Mobile version   RSS   Subscribe   Unsubscribe   Archive   Media Kit Sep. 1, 2012
Volume: III
Number: 30

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


New diffraction technique that mixes infrared and X-ray lasers maps chemical bonds
Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
An international team of scientists, led by NSBP member and LBL physicist, Thorton Glover, has introduced a new method to probe the effect of optical light on valence electrons. The technique, which is described in Nature, involves firing infrared photons at a diamond sample that is also illuminated by X-rays. Some of the infrared radiation is absorbed by the diamond's valence electrons and its energy is then transferred to some of the X-rays scattered from the sample. This allows the team to differentiate between X-rays that have interacted with valence electrons and X-rays that have scattered from the sample's core electrons — something that has never been done before. Though the technique has only been demonstrated on diamond samples, Glover believes it could shed light on quantum entanglement processes in photosynthesis. More

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Astronomers for the 1st time observe progenitor system for rare Type Ia supernova
E! Science News    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
VideoBriefAn international team of astronomers has observed for the first time the progenitor system of a Type Ia supernova. Astronomers use Type Ia supernova for measuring cosmic distances because they are bright enough to spot across the universe and have approximately the same luminosity everywhere. Because they have the same luminosity it has been though that they followed the same mechanism towards exploding. These new observations, reported in Science, undermine that understanding. In this report, the team revealed that the progenitor system to PTF 11kx contains a red giant star. In an interview with the paper's lead author stated that it had been thought that red giant containing systems could not produce a supernova. Through a time-series of calcium detections, they also showed that the system previously underwent at least one much smaller nova eruption before it ended its life in a destructive supernova. More

2012 Quadrennial Physics Congress
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
Sept. 17 — Early Registration Deadline
Oct. 15 — Registration Deadline, Artwork Submission Deadline, Abstract Submission Deadline

Astronomers find evidence of a star eating its own planet
Los Angeles Times    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
Astronomers have seen evidence of an aging star consuming one its own planet. Such events are not uncommon as aging stars expand in size, engulfing nearby planets. Indeed this is the predicted fate of our own solar system. But these events are rare, and it will be a long time before our sun turns into red giant. In red giant stars the fusion reactions in the core have become less efficient, so the reactions in the outer shell have become more dominant. This causes the star to expand, and as reported in Astrophysical Journal Letters, the star observed in this work has a diameter of about 11 times that of our own sun. The star was found to contain a high level of lithium, and an orbiting planet in a highly elongated elliptical orbit. These two facts together suggest that the red giant as already consumed at least one planet. More

Gravitational waves spotted from white-dwarf pair
BBC    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
Researchers have spotted optical evidence for one of astronomy's most elusive targets — gravitational waves — in the orbit of a pair of dead stars. Until now, gravitational waves have only been inferred from radio-wave sources. In the current work, to be reported in Astrophysical Journal Letters, the researchers follow up on previous observations of a pair of white dwarfs, known as J0651. The two orbit one another with a period of roughly 13 minutes. Massive bodies that close to one another presumably emit palpable gravitational waves that would slightly alter each other's obit. Since the first observations of J0651 13 months ago, the team has seen the orbital period reduce by less than a thousandth of a second. Not only has the orbital period changed, but the eclipse has shifted back by some six seconds since the pair was discovered. More

Magnetic fields explain lunar surface features
American Physical Society    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
For decades, lunar scientists have been perplexed by sinuous wispy patterns on the moon's surface that stand out against the otherwise dark lunar soil. In Physical Review Letters, researchers provide new evidence for the theory that localized bubbles of magnetic fields on the lunar surface are responsible for the features. The team combines observational data, plasma theory and a scaled-down laboratory experiment to make their case. They propose that "mini-magnetospheres" exist on the moon that protect certain 100-kilometer-wide areas from the solar wind. In addition, these magnetic anomalies generate electric fields that also protect the moon's surface from space weathering. A lab model and computer simulations are both consistent with observations, but the origin of the magnetic anomalies is still a mystery. More

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Neutrons, photons and quantum spin ice
American Physical Society    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
By exhibiting spin-ice states, i.e., states where magnetic moments are frustrated and in constant flux, rare-earth pyrochlore magnets Ho2Ti2O7 and Dy2Ti2O7 offer physicists a glimpse into what magnetic monopoles would look like. In these compounds magnetic moments are arranged at the vertices of tetrahedra, with two pointed inward and two outward. Strong quantum fluctuations change the orientation of these moments, creating a classical state that is a superposition of these individual quantum mechanical states. Theorists have mathematically described these states by a kind of quantum electrodynamics with magnetic monopoles. In a paper appearing in Physical Review B, three physicists described how such quantum spin ices might manifest themselves in neutron scattering and spectroscopic experiments. More

Optical fibers and silicon transistors in materials: Toward artificial nervous systems
Ecole Polytechnique Federale de Lausanne    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
When placed inside a material, optical fibers act like artificial nerves, transmitting valuable information about a structure's state of fatigue and wear. In work described in Laser & Photonics Reviews EPFL's Group for Fiber Optics has developed a new technique that makes it possible to collect such data by optical fibers embedded in these structures with great resolution and efficiency. More

In a somewhat related report, a group of chemists and tissue engineers at Harvard and MIT have embedded silicon field-effect transistors in living tissue. Their work is reported in Nature Materials. In both cases the embedded optical fiber (former case), or FET sensor (latter case) impart the ability to make in situ measurements of key parameters in complex living and nonliving material matrices. 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.

NASA'S WISE telescope finds millions of black holes
Ars Technica    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
NASA recently announced some results of its Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer, a space-based telescope that has scanned the entire sky since its launch at the end of 2009, obtaining at least five images of 95 percent of the sky at four infrared wavelengths. The WISE mission has identified plenty of interesting objects that are close to Earth, like asteroids in our solar system and brown dwarfs in our galaxy. But now, its data has been combed for objects beyond the Milky Way, and the search has turned up millions of supermassive black holes, along with the most luminous galaxies ever detected, including a new class of what are called "hot DOGs." The results of WISE observations of previous black hole candidates, which had been observed using space-based optical telescopes, are reported in the Astrophysical Journal. Optical observations prevented the confirmation of these candidates as black holes due to obscuring by dust, but infrared radiation tends to pass through the dust unhindered, while the dust itself can glow in these wavelengths when heated. That glowing, which is a signature of heated dust being blown away from black holes, allowed astronomers to identify "dust obscured galaxies" or hot DOGs. 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

50 students attend 2012 African School of Fundamental Physics and its Applications
Brookhaven National Lab    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
Forty-nine students from Africa and one from Iran gathered at Ghana's Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology for the African School of Fundamental Physics and its Applications. The three-and-a-half-week-long school included lectures and interactive exercises to learn the basics of theoretical and experimental subatomic physics, particle accelerators, medical applications of nuclear and particle physics, and cyber infrastructure. Lecturers included NSBP member, Herman White (Fermilab) and Keith Baker (Yale University), as well as SAIP President Simon Connell (University of Johannesburg), Ketevi Assamagan (Brookhaven), Zeblon Vilakazi (iThemba), Steve Muanzah, Heather Gray and several others. A sense of the school, which enjoyed the support of 23 institutions from the United States, Europe and Africa, can be gotten through its promotional video. More

Hurricane season, documentary bring focus on Howard University researchers and multi-agency partners
NSBP    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
As Hurricane Isaac battered the greater New Orleans area on the anniversary of Hurricane Katrina, scientists flying in NOAA aircraft took important data that will be used to increase the knowledge of these storms that threaten coastal and island populations. With support from NOAA, NASA and several other agencies, Howard University researchers also take storm data that they combine with field data taken in Senegal and Cape Verde on African Easterly Waves to build a complete understanding of the genesis and intensification of hurricanes. The majority of Atlantic forming hurricanes evolve AEWs, which are elongated areas of relatively low atmospheric pressure that are convectively transported as an extended wave train. The Howard University team's work was recently captured in the TV documentary, Over the Hurricane, produced by NSBP member, Dr. Aziza Baccouche. More

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

National Society of Black Physicists jobs board postings
NSBP    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
Assistant Professor in Experimental Condensed Matter Magnetism — Miami University of Ohio
Assistant Professor Position in Experimental Nuclear Physics at Duke University
Faculty Opening Carnegie Mellon University McWilliams Center for Cosmology
Tenure-Track Faculty Position, Department of Physics, Emory University
Assistant Professor of Science, Technology, and Society and Physics
NASA Postdoctoral Fellowships
Assistant Professor
Assistant or Associate Professor — Gravitational wave and particle astrophysics / elementary particle physics
Faculty position in LCLS Science
Chamberlain Fellowship
Assistant Professor of Physics, tenure track
Faculty Positions in Science, Technology, and Innovation
Project Leader: Nanoscale Measurements for Energy Storage Technologies
LBNL Divisional Fellow — Theoretical Particle Physics
2-Year Full-Time Postdoctoral Fellowship in Acoustics
Assistant Professor — Experimental Condensed Matter and Materials Physics — Ohio State University
National Astrophysics and Space Science Program
Postdoctoral Research Associate Positions

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

Latest research from Computational Science & Discovery
IOP Publishing    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
Unitary qubit lattice simulations of complex vortex structures

Cheap contouring of costly functions: The Pilot Approximation Trajectory algorithm

Improving parallel scalability for edge plasma transport simulations with neutral gas species

An arbitrary curvilinear-coordinate method for particle-in-cell modeling

An efficient, block-by-block algorithm for inverting a block tridiagonal, nearly block Toeplitz matrix

Latest research from Astroparticle Physics
Elsevier    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
Quark stars with the density-dependent quark mass model

A realistic treatment of geomagnetic Cherenkov radiation from cosmic ray air showers

A method for constraining cosmic magnetic field models using ultrahigh energy cosmic rays: The Field Scan Method

A model-independent analysis of the Fermi Large Area Telescope gamma-ray data from the Milky Way dwarf galaxies and halo to constrain dark matter scenarios

Neutrino production from photo-hadronic interactions of the gamma flux from Active Galactic Nuclei with their gas content

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Colby Horton, Vice President of Publishing, 469.420.2601
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