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Nov. 5, 2011
Volume: II
Number: 43
National Society of Black Physicists    African Physical Society    South African Institute of Physics   African Astronomical Society   
How will astronomy archives survive the data tsunami?
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Astronomy is already awash with data: Currently 1 PB (petabyte) of public data is electronically accessible, and this volume is growing at 0.5 PB per year. The availability of this data has already transformed research in astronomy, and the Space Telescope Science Institute now reports that more papers are published with archived data sets than with newly acquired data. Projections indicate that by 2020, more than 60 PB of archived data will be accessible to astronomers. New techniques, partnerships and training will be necessary to meet future data and knowledge management challenges. More

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Does the fine constant and laws of physics vary across the universe?
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A team of physicists at the Swinburne University of Technology believe that their data shows that the value of the fine-structure constant varies throughout the Universe. The constancy of the value of the fine constant is crucial in establishing the universal strength of the electromagnetic force. It would mean that the strength of coupling (or interactions) between the photons (particles of light) and electrons varies throughout the universe. If the finE structure constant varies from point to point, then the homogeneity of space is destroyed. More

Is HD5512b habitable by earthlings?
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Astrophysicists at the Harvard Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics believe they have found a planet similar enough to Earth that it could be potentially habitable by earthlings. The planet is 3.6 times the mass of the Earth and orbits an orange dwarf star but at just the right distance so that liquid water might exist there. The relative coolness of its star is balanced by the planet orbiting closer to it than the Earth does the Sun at roughly the distance of Venus. Even better yet, HD 85512b has a nearly circular orbit, so it's not bothered by radically changing temperatures, and HD 85512, the star, is a peaceful one, sparing the planet the tempests of disruptive solar storms. More

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LHC turns to proton-Pb collisions
Alice Matters    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
LHC physicists are analyzing the results of their first attempt at colliding protons and lead ions. Further attempts at proton–lead collisions are expected over the next few weeks. If these trials are successful, a full-blown experimental program could run in 2012. Since LHC started operations it has mainly done proton-proton collisions, though some Pb-Pb runs have been completed. Proton-Pb collisions are important diagnostics for Pb-Pb collisions and may reveal some important physics in their own right. More

Webinar: On the Shoulders of Eastern Giants: The Forgotten Contributions of Medieval Physicists    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
Dr. Jim Al-Khalili, professor of physics and professor of the public engagement in science at the University of Surrey, U.K., talks about the pioneering results of physicists and astronomers of the medieval Islamic Empire, including Ibn al-Haytham, whose Book of Optics was just as influential as Newton's seven centuries later, and Or Ibn Sahl, who came up with the correct law of refraction many centuries before Snell. In this lecture, Al-Khalili recounts the stories of these scientists and more from his new book "Pathfinders: The Golden Age of Arabic Science." More

Masters of the Universe:
National Society of Black Physicists

NASA's Fermi finds youngest millisecond pulsar, 100 pulsars to-date
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An international team of scientists using NASA's Fermi Gamma-ray Space Telescope has discovered a surprisingly powerful millisecond pulsar that challenges existing theories about how these objects form. At the same time, another team has located nine new gamma-ray pulsars in Fermi data, using improved analytical techniques. More

Mechanical pressure limits tumor growth    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
Physicists in France have reported in Physical Review Letters that the simple application of mechanical pressure can slow down the growth of a tumor and limit its size. Mechanical stresses such as those experienced by cancer cells during the expansion of the tumor against the stromal tissue have previously been shown to release and activate growth factors involved in the progression of cancer. The researchers, who carried out their work using mice cells, say the results could lead to better diagnostic tools for cancer and perhaps eventually to new kinds of drugs to treat the disease. More

Safer medical kit by plasma-activated water
Eureka Alert    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
Researchers have used plasma to create water that stays significantly antibacterial and can be used as a disinfectant for at least seven days after becoming plasma-active. Their study published in Journal of Physics D: Applied Physics, reports on the exposure of water to the cocktail of compounds contained in plasma, which subsequently cause it to stay antibacterial for a week, opening up a multitude of applications such as the sterilization of medical equipment and the treatment of wounds. More

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Largest sunspot in years observed on the sun    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
One of the largest sunspots in years has appeared on the sun, darkening part of its glowing face. The massive sunspot, called AR1339, is about 50,000 miles long, and 25,000 miles wide. The sunspot is produced by solar flares that created waves of ionization in Earth's upper atmosphere. A Coronal Mass Ejection is headed towards Mercury and Venus. While not a problem for Venus, the CME could scour material off of Mercury's surface. More

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Physicists develop a method of detecting counterfeit whiskey using spectroscopy    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
Physicists Praveen Ashok, Bavishna Praveen and K. Dholakia working together at the University of St. Andrews in Scotland have developed a method for testing whiskey for authenticity using a crafted device that allows for measurements via spectroscopy. The results of their research have been published in Optics Express. The device is actually nothing more than a microfluidic chip made of polydimethylsiloxane, a type of clear plastic that has had horizontal channels carved into it to allow the insertion of fiber cables and vertical channels for the input and output of tiny whiskey samples. More

Texas decision on physics means Midwestern State University will no longer offer the major
Times Record News    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
Lynwood Givens grew up in a small town in Texas and was a first-generation college student at Midwestern State University. After graduating from MSU he went on to earn a Ph.D. in physics from the University of Texas at Austin. Since then he has worked as vice president of the world's first company to launch a commercial imaging satellite and as chief technology officer of Raytheon, and has become a regent at MSU. He represents the type of student most hurt by the Texas decision, taken ostensibly to save money — a rural student from a poor or middle-class working family who only can afford to attend a local university. Ironically, MSU will not save any money by dropping the physics major. More

National Society of Black Physicists jobs board postings
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Faculty Position
Research Experiences for Undergraduates
Dean, Division of Science
Assistant Professor of Physics
Tenure Track Faculty position - Experimental high energy Density Laser-Plasma Physics
Assistant Professor of Physics
Assistant Professor, Physics Teacher Education
Open Rank Faculty Position in Quantum Information Theory
Assistant, Associate or Full Professor Position in Condensed-Matter Experiment
Asstistant, Associate or Full Professor Position in Particle, Nuclear or Gravitational Theory
Tenure-Track Assistant Professor
Research Scientist in Computational Physics
Graduate Program in Astronomy, University of Michigan
Assistant Professor in Computational Astrophysics (tenure-track)
Tenure Track Faculty
Assistant Professor
Assistant/Associate Professor
Assistant Professor of Physics
IBM Research Internship for Undergraduate Women
Assistant Professor of Physics and Astronomy (Astrophysics)
Tenure-Track Faculty in Theoretical Condensed Matter Physics

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 Physics Education
IOP Journal    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
Acceleration and rotation in a pendulum ride, measured using an iPhone 4

John Bardeen:The only person to win 2 Nobel Prizes in physics

Demonstrating Fermat's principle in optics

Thermochromic ink displays hysteresis

Sweet spots and door stops

Latest research from the Journal of Rheology
Journal of Rheology    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
Shear-induced phase separation with shear banding in solutions of cationic surfactant and salt

Evaluation of molecular linear viscoelastic models for polydisperse H polybutadienes

Numerical predictions of the viscosity of non-Brownian suspensions in the semidilute regime

Rotational diffusion may govern the rheology of magnetic suspensions

Basic characteristics of uniaxial extension rheology: Comparing monodisperse and bidisperse polymer melts

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