WASHINGTON D.C., January 5, 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) THE PROMISE OF PLASMA WAKEFIELD PARTICLE ACCELERATORS
Physics Today’s Johanna Miller reports on the potential of particle accelerators based on plasma wakefields, which can sustain electric fields up to tens of gigavolts per meter and may be a smaller and cheaper alternative compared to today’s megalithic colliders for answering fundamental questions about particle physics.
"The wave can accelerate particles almost from rest, [so] the scheme offers a way to create self-contained tabletop accelerators for moderate-energy applications, such as medicine and materials science.
“Litos likens the plasma wakefield accelerator to an electrical transformer converting a large bunch of moderate energy electrons into a smaller bunch at higher energy. That capability would be useful for particle-physics experiments, in which high collision energies are critical in the search for new physics.”
2) NEW METRICS FOR ACADEMIC PAPERS IN THE DIGITAL ENVIRONMENT
Physics Today's Jermey Matthews discusses various companies in the growing field of altmetrics, which provides new methods of tracking the online life of academic articles beyond the h-index.
“Journal citations, which figure heavily in hiring, tenure, and grant-funding decisions, have traditionally been the most valued measure of an article’s impact. But as scientists increasingly discover and share the fruits of their research online, alternative assessment metrics, or altmetrics, have been developed to quantify views, downloads, and social media mentions.”
3) CHINA CARVES OUT LARGER ROLE IN UNDERGROUND SCIENCE
Physics Today’s Toni Feder weighs in on China’s recent underground expansions into astroparticle physics research and the future role the new facilities will play in international research collaborations.
"The China Jinping Underground Laboratory (CJPL) is being enlarged more than 30-fold, the experiments are being upgraded, and new experiments are being planned. Scientists in China who study dark matter, neutrinos, and other topics for which shielding from cosmic rays is necessary hope the move is a step toward the world’s deepest lab becoming an international facility.”
4) THE IMPACT OF DEEP WATER IN THE SOUTHERN OCEAN
In this feature, researchers Adele Morrisson, Thomas Frölicher, and Jorge Sarmiento describe the effect of nutrient-rich deep water in the Southern Ocean on Earth’s heat balance, carbon cycle and global ocean biology as a whole.
"The Southern Ocean’s prominent influence on the global heat balance and nutrient and carbon cycles stems from the fact that it is the primary gateway through which Earth’s deep and bottom waters interact with the atmosphere. But although oceanographers are beginning to understand the basic processes leading to heat and carbon uptake in the Southern Ocean, quantifying the changes precisely remains difficult.”
5) RECKONING WITH EINSTEIN
In this quick study tutorial, esteemed physics researchers Mark G. Raizen and Tongcang Li wrangle with an experiment Einstein deemed impossible – measuring the instantaneous velocity of particles undergoing Brownian motion.
"[In Brownian motion] theorists have speculated that the onset of irreversibility is due to quantum entanglement with the environment. Could one possibly see that phenomenon in short-time Brownian motion? It is safe to say that Einstein would be surprised, and hopefully pleased, that a simple physical system is proving to be such a fertile testing ground."
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