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APS Physics - Weekly NewsBrief
Aug. 25, 2009
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National Ignition Facility Prepares for Fusion Test
from Scientific American
Federal researchers are slowly testing 192 lasers that they hope will set off the world's first controlled nuclear fusion reaction. The lasers are housed at the National Ignition Facility (NIF), a $4 billion complex the size of three football fields that is part of the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory in Livermore, Calif. Full Article

Study Challenges Physics' Hubbard Theory
from UPI
Canadian scientists are challenging physics' single-band Hubbard theory that's used to predict and calculate behavior of high-temperature superconductors. University of British Columbia researchers said their findings mark the first compelling evidence challenging the Hubbard model under certain conditions, and could necessitate entirely new theoretical approaches to explaining superconductivity in certain materials. Full Article

Smallest Laser Ever May Herald the Future of Electronic Devices
from Popular Science
For decades, electronic devices have been shrinking, in accordance with Moore's Law. Now, as circuits reach the size of single atoms, progress begins to bump up against the physical limitations of matter. Enter the spaser. This new kind of laser produces a beam so small that it could someday form the foundation of circuits made of light, not electrical impulses. Full Article

Disrupt Emergency Exits to Boost Evacuation Rates
from NewScientist
Need to evacuate people quickly through a narrow opening? Put something in their way. Physicists timed a crowd of 50 women as they exited as fast as possible through a door, and then repeated the experiment with a 20-centimeter-wide pillar placed 65 centimeters in front of the exit to the left-hand side. Full Article

40-year-old Data Tackles Very Modern Physics Problem
from Ars Technica
The Large Hadron Collider is still going through a painful commissioning process —coming online in time for the winter shutdown is probably not what researchers had in mind when they broke it the first time. So, what is a physicist to do when the shiny toys are still being polished? Sit around at the pub and gossip about old experiments, of course. Full Article

Lack of Gravity Waves Puts Limits on Exotic Cosmology Theories
This time, scientists are excited to find nothing. In results announced Aug. 19, a huge physics experiment built to detect gravitational waves has yet to find any. Rather than be disappointed by the null findings, physicists say the results were expected, and in fact help them narrow down possibilities for what the universe was like just after it was born. Full Article

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Mystery of the Missing Mini-galaxies
from NewScientist
Like moths about a flame, thousands of tiny satellite galaxies flutter about our Milky Way. For astronomers, this is a dream scenario, fitting perfectly with the established models of how our galaxy's cosmic neighborhood should be. Unfortunately, it's a dream in more ways than one and the reality could hardly be more different. Full Article

Brighter Idea for Bendy Displays
from BBC News
The technology behind giant video billboards can now be made into flexible and even transparent displays. These could be used to create brake lights that fit the curves of a car or medical diagnostics that envelop a patient like a blanket. Full Article


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