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Oct. 8, 2011
Volume: II
Number: 39
National Society of Black Physicists    African Physical Society    South African Institute of Physics   African Astronomical Society   
ALMA telescope begins operations
National Radio Astronomy Observatory    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
The NRAO is proud to announce that ALMA officially began Early Science Operations on schedule on Sept. 30. An NRAO press release provides additional information on this historic ALMA achievement, including images and HD video. The first astronomical images from ALMA are also online. NSBP member Kartik Sheth, his NRAO colleague Adam Leroy and Brad Whitmore of STScI in this webcast discuss ALMA early science, and explain how ALMA will contribute to our understanding of the universe.

At the NSBP annual conference that took place the week of Sept. 26, Dr. Sheth, ALMA's commissioning and verification liaison, was able to brief South Africa's S&T minister on the complementariness of ALMA to KAT-7, MeerKAT and SKA, and invited more African participation in ALMA under open skies.

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International committee maps future of particle physics
Symmetry Breaking Magazine    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
The International Committee for Future Accelerators has made public their vision for the future of particle physics across the globe. Their report, Beacons of Discovery, lays out the basics of what particle physicists know, what questions they are asking and what experimental tools they are using to answer them. More

What's next for Fermilab after Tevatron?
Fermilab    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
Fermilab Director Pier Oddone talks about what's next for Fermilab after Tevatron, including experiments with neutrinos and muons. More

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Congress poised to cut NSF, NIST and support for HBCUs/MSIs
Various Sources    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
Federal funds for minority-serving colleges and universities are on the chopping block for next year as the House of Representatives is proposing deep cuts or outright elimination of many of these programs for the government's 2012 fiscal year. So far the Senate is holding opposition to these cuts. Meanwhile the Senate is proposing to cut funding for the National Science Foundation by 2.4 percent, and the National Institute of Science and Technology by 9 percent. Physicists are being encouraged to write to their Senators urging them to oppose the cuts to to NSF and NIST. More

Physics Nobel Prize will attract controversy
IOP Blog    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
Assigning credit for a scientific discovery is never easy, especially when two rival, interacting teams of scientists are involved. That is exactly the problem that the Nobel committee must have grappled with before awarding this year's physics prize to Saul Perlmutter, Adam Riess and Brian Schmidt. More

Physics looms large in this year's chemistry prize
Physics World    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
Tenfold symmetry had never been observed before and was actually thought to be forbidden. So Daniel Shechtman's 1984 discovery generated huge excitement, confusion and significant opposition. After being rejected by the Journal of Applied Physics, Shechtman's original paper was ultimately published in Physical Review Letters and has since become one of the most-cited research articles in the scientific literature. More

Masters of the Universe:
National Society of Black Physicists

Einstein's blunder is somebody else's Nobel Prize
Time    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
Einstein called his 1916 introduction of the cosmological constant his biggest blunder. When Einstein developed the equations of general relativity back in 1916, he applied them to the universe as a whole. To his consternation, they predicted that if the universe wasn't expanding, it should be collapsing. It seemed obvious that it wasn't expanding — but since it wasn't collapsing either, something must be propping it up. Einstein called the something the cosmological constant and added it to his theory with some distaste, because the work had been so mathematically beautiful without it. More

Does the Nobel Committee's limit on the number of persons cited in prizes ignore the way science discoveries are made today?    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
The Nobel Committee has a tradition that a prize cannot be shared between more than three individuals. But these days breakthroughs commonly come from collective labor involving dozens, sometimes hundreds, of minds working across multiple sub-disciplines in lavishly funded organizations. The 2011 physics prize went to three astronomers involved in two big teams who discovered that the expansion of the universe was accelerating, not slowing as thought. The first publication announcing the discovery of a real material crystal with tenfold symmetry had three co-authors. More

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First X-ray laser produces most coherent X-ray radiation ever    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
Experiments show that the world's first X-ray laser, the Linac Coherent Light Source, produces the most coherent (laser-like) X-rays ever measured. Single-shot measurements were performed at 780 eV X-ray photon energy using apertures containing double pinholes in "diffract-and-destroy" mode. Tests have shown that 78 percent of the total power is contained in the dominant mode. This all means that researchers using such an X-ray laser will soon be able to more precisely understand the atomic structure of materials. More

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Comet with Earth-like ocean water discovered
University of Michigan    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
Using the Heterodyne Instrument for the Infrared on the Herschel Space Observatory, astronomers have found that the ice on a Jupiter-family comet called Hartley 2 has the same chemical composition as Earth's oceans. Both have similar deuterium/hydrogen isotope ratios. Published in Nature, the result substantially expands the possible sources of water in the Earth oceans, and is consistent with the emerging picture of a complex dynamical evolution of the early solar system. More

The search for a more perfect kilogram
Wired    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
Of the seven fundamental metric units — the kilogram, meter, second, ampere, kelvin, mole and candela — only the kilogram is still dependent on a physical object. The object that serves as the prime standard for the kilogram, the Le Grand K. is held in Paris. It is periodically compared to sister objects also in Paris and to 48 national standards held in various places around the world. Over the last several decades Le Grand K has been losing mass relative to its sister objects and the national standards, creating a real dilemma in the field of metrology. Two different approaches to linking the kilogram to a fundamental constant are in the works, and a final decision of which standard to use will be taken up at the 24th Convocation of the General Conference on Weights and Measures, Oct. 17-21, in Paris. More

Flying telescope makes an out-of-this-world find
NPR    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
Astronomers are lining up to use a powerful new NASA telescope called SOFIA. The telescope has unique capabilities for studying things like how stars form and what's in the atmospheres of planets. But unlike most of the space agency's telescopes, SOFIA isn't in space — it flies around mounted in a Boeing 747 jet with a large door cut on the side so the telescope can see out. More

National Society of Black Physicists jobs board postings
NSBP    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
Assistant Professor of Physics and Astronomy (Astrophysics)
Tenure-Track Faculty in Theoretical Condensed Matter Physics
Assistant Professor of Physics
Tenure Track Faculty position in Experimental Particle Physics
Assistant Professor in Astrophysics
Tenure Track Position - Biophysics or Nanoscience
Postdoctoral Research Positions, LIGO Laboratory
Postdoctoral Research Associate
Assistant Professor of Physics
Assistant Professor, Physics Department at MIT
Neukom Fellow
Assistant Professor of Physics & Astronomy
Tenure Track Assistant Professor of Experimental Physics
Tenure Track Assistant Professor, Physics
Auburn University Facutly Position in Expermental Laboratory Plasma Physics
Alonzo W. Ashley Internship Program - LCLS Area Physicist Assistant Intern
Alonzo W. Ashley Internship Program - Operations Engineering Intern
Assistant Professor in Astrophysics, posting #814540
Faculty Position in Atmospheric, Oceanic and Space Sciences at the University of Michigan
Assistant Professor, Astrophysics

Advice for graduate students
Inside Higher Education
Steven Stearns offers some insight and advice for graduate students. Know thyself and know thy advisor. More

More advice for graduate students
Inside Higher Education
So much comes down to good writing skills. Steven Stearns offers some tips on how to write well and write strategically. More

Overcoming the imposter syndrome
At one time or another nearly every graduate student and new faculty member wonders about his or her competence. This is a common fear often referred to as the impostor syndrome. The impostor syndrome runs rampant in academia — and women are especially prone to it. How do you get over the impostor syndrome? Easier said than done. More

Ready. Set. Go. Transitioning from college to graduate school
Compared to your undergraduate education, graduate school is faster paced. Professors expect a lot of work to be done, and there's a lot less hand-holding. More

Latest research from Astronomical Journal
Astronomical Journal    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article

Photometry of Variable Stars from Dome A, Antarctica

The Carnegie Supernova Project: Second Photometry Data Release of Low-redshift Type Ia Supernovae

Precision Spectrophotometry at the Level of 0.1 percent

Helium Line Detections from Extended Low-density Warm-ionized Medium at 1.4 GHz

Close to the Dredge: Precise X-Ray C and N Abundances in λ Andromeda and Its Precocious Red Giant Branch Mixing Problem

Latest research from Physical Review Special Topics — Physics Education Research
Physical Review Special Topics - Physics Education Research    Share    Share on
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Surveying graduate students' attitudes and approaches to problem solving

Attitudes about science and conceptual physics learning in university introductory physics courses

Energy as a substance-like quantity that flows: Theoretical considerations and pedagogical consequences

Moving toward change: Institutionalizing reform through implementation of the Learning Assistant model and Open Source Tutorials

Investigating students' mental models and knowledge construction of microscopic friction. I. Implications for curriculum design and development

Investigating students' mental models and knowledge construction of microscopic friction. II. Implications for curriculum design and development Consistency of students' conceptions of wave propagation: Findings from a conceptual survey in mechanical waves

Teaching physics novices at university: A case for stronger scaffolding

Preparing future teachers to anticipate student difficulties in physics in a graduate-level course in physics, pedagogy, and education research

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