WASHINGTON D.C., May 1, 2015 -- The following articles are freely available online from Physics Today (www.physicstoday.org), the world's most influential and closely followed magazine devoted to physics and the physical science community.
You are invited to read, share, blog about, link to, or otherwise enjoy:
1) DEUTERIUM REFINES THE PICTURE OF WATER ON MARS
Physics Today’s Mark Wilson discusses the results of a data survey that used atmospheric fluctuations in the prevalence of deuterium to better understand weather patterns on Mars.
"Using data from a survey that ran from March 2008 through January 2014, NASA's Geronimo Villeanueva, Michael Mumma, and their colleagues have now created the first spatially and temporally resolved maps of [the] deuterium/hydrogen [ratio] on Mars.… Although the measured polar D/H ratio punctuates the record of water's historical evolution on the planet, the local variations in D/H ... can reveal the richness and subtleties of its present climate."
2) LHC MARK II: STRONGEST COLLISIONS YET, COMING THIS SUMMER
Toni Feder of Physics Today reports on recent upgrades made to the Large Hadron Collider, and the potential ramifications that its record-setting 13-TeV collisions may have for the standard model and beyond.
"After two years of repairs and upgrades, test beams coursed through parts of the 27-km-long circular accelerator in early March, and the first 13-TeV collisions are expected as early as June."
3) NAVIGATING POLITICS ACTUALLY HARDER THAN DEVELOPING THERMONUCLEAR FUSION
That is, according to Bernard Bigot, the newly appointed director general of the International Thermonuclear Experimental Reactor. Physics Today's David Kramer reports on Bigot's political obstacles in coordinating the international effort to develop nuclear fusion.
"At an early March meeting in Paris, the council agreed to create an executive project board, whose members are Bigot and the heads of the seven organizations ... that design and procure each member state's in-kind contributions. The member states are China, the European Union, India, Japan, Russia, South Korea, and the US.
"'Making seven members with different cultures and with different ways of approaching things work together is the larger challenge for me,' Bigot says. 'Do you know of any project where you have people from 35 different nations on the payroll?'"
4) PHILANTHROPISTS STEP UP TO BACK RESEARCHERS AMIDST DECLINING FEDERAL FUNDING
Physics Today's Jermey Matthews reports on the Science Philanthropy Alliance, a consortium formed in 2013 to attract new donors and larger donations to support risky projects, early-career researchers and expensive scientific equipment. It consists of the Kavli Foundation, Alfred P. Sloan Foundation, Howard Hughes Medical Institute, Research Corporation for Science Advancement and the Simons Foundation.
"Rather than acting as a source of new funding, SPA intends to be a resource for other philanthropic organizations and individuals, helping them 'identify areas of fundamental research that need funding,' says condensed-matter physicist Marc Kastner, SPA's inaugural president.
"SPA's primary goal is to increase the total philanthropic contribution to US-based basic research by an additional $1 billion a year by 2018."
5) IS SOLID HELIUM A SUPERSOLID?
In this feature, Robert Hallock, a Distinguished Professor in the department of physics at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, discusses recent research regarding the ability of helium-4 atoms to flow through solid helium, and the sometimes tumultuous history of the experiments and their various interpretations.
"In the end, the pursuit of new science is stimulating, exciting, and often a great pleasure. But frankly, it is also at times frustrating. So has been the case with solid helium. And the story of that material is a classic tale of the reality of scientific work—a fascinating, wide-ranging, still-incomplete account that demonstrates the power of science to discover.”
6) ON JOURNALISTS, AND HOW BEST TO HANDLE THEM AS A SCIENTIST
In this short tutorial, Jason Socrates Bardi and Catherine Meyers, director of and senior science writer for the News and Media Services division of AIP, provide helpful tips for scientists in dealing with all manner of media attention.
"We live in a time when the human race has accumulated more information than ever before. But if we are flush with information, we are also awash in misinformation, conspiracy theories, distortions, and outright lies. Ill-conceived policies may be made, money wasted, medical advice ignored, and lives lost because people make poor choices based on bogus information.
"As a scientist, you can be a voice of clarity. You have a special type of knowledge, and you can help reporters sort through information and separate fact from fiction. If it's a duty, then it's a noble one.”
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Physics Today is the flagship publication of the American Institute of Physics, and it includes a mix of in-depth feature articles, news coverage and analysis, and fresh perspectives on scientific advances and ground-breaking research. See: http://www.physicstoday.org
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