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"The Web of Space" sculpture by John Safer. A miniature version of this sculpture is given to the National Air and Space Museum Trophy Award winners every year. Courtesy of Eric Long, National Air and Space Museum, Smithsonian Institution

Kepler Wins National Air and Space Museum Trophy

March 25, 2015 11:55 am | by NASA | News | Comments

The team in charge of NASA's Kepler mission, responsible for history's first detection of Earth-sized planets orbiting other suns in their temperate "habitable zone," received the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum's highest group honor at a ceremony in Washington on March 25. Kepler was awarded the 2015 Trophy for Current Achievement, which honors outstanding endeavors in the fields of aerospace science and technology.

Mathematicians Solve 60-year-old Fermi-Pasta-Ulam Problem

March 24, 2015 3:05 pm | by University of East Anglia | News | Comments

A 60-year-old math problem first put forward by Nobel laureate Enrico Fermi has been solved. In...

Help NASA Explore the Universe with Free Asteroid Data Hunter App

March 23, 2015 11:35 am | by NASA | News | Comments

During a panel at the South by Southwest Festival, NASA representatives discussed how citizen...

Fastest-ever Quantum Switch achieved with Silicon

March 23, 2015 11:17 am | by University of Surrey | News | Comments

Research has demonstrated laser control of quantum states in an ordinary silicon wafer and...

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The Einstein Papers Project is dedicated to collecting, editing, translating and publishing the tens of thousands of pages of speeches, letters and other documents Albert Einstein left behind. Those collected papers are available in a free digital edition

Albert Einstein, in his Own Words: Einstein Papers Project Publishes Free Digital Edition

March 23, 2015 11:09 am | by NSF | News | Comments

Albert Einstein is known in popular culture for his famous E = mc2 formula. Scientists know him for revolutionizing physics with his general theory of relativity. But is it possible to know the man behind the big ideas? Yes, thanks to the massive body of written work and correspondence he left behind, which the Einstein Papers Project is dedicated to collecting, editing, translating and publishing.

Physicist Chien-Shiung Wu in 1963 at Columbia University, where she was a professor. Known as the First Lady of Physics, Wu worked on the Manhattan Project and helped disprove a widely-accepted law of theoretical physics. Later in her life, Wu researched

Paving the Way: 28 Amazing Women, Trailblazing Science

March 18, 2015 12:16 pm | by NSF | News | Comments

Breakthrough science requires pioneers. People who combine brilliance with courage, even in the face of daunting opposition. The women who paved the way for modern scientific exploration exemplify this spirit; grappling not only with fundamental questions of the universe, but with discrimination and societal constraints that often stripped them of scientific credit.

Scientists studying Villarrica witnessed spectacular fire fountains. Courtesy of Jonathan Lewis

Infrasound Instruments Record Pulse of Erupting Volcano: Chile's Villarrica

March 16, 2015 12:13 pm | by NSF | News | Comments

All in Villarrica National Park is not as it seems. One of Chile's most active volcanos rises above a lake and town of the same name 470 miles south of Santiago. The scene is usually tranquil, allowing guided ascents to Villarrica's summit, magnets for tourists from around the world. However, at 3 a.m. on March 3, 2015, Villarrica blew its top in a spectacular fire fountain.

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Magnetospheric Multiscale (MMS) observatories are processed for launch in a clean room at the Astrotech Space Operations facility in Titusville, FL. The spacecraft were launched into an oblong orbit stretching thousands of miles into the magnetosphere. (A

NASA Launches Four Spacecraft to Solve Magnetic Mystery

March 13, 2015 10:50 am | by Marcia Dunn, AP Aerospace Writer | News | Comments

NASA launched four identical spacecraft March 12, 2015, on a billion-dollar mission to study the explosive give-and-take of the Earth and sun's magnetic fields. The unmanned Atlas rocket — and NASA's Magnetospheric Multiscale spacecraft — soared into a clear late-night sky, right on time. Within two hours, all four observatories were flying free.

A view of the LHC (large hadron collider) in its tunnel at CERN (European particle physics laboratory) near Geneva, Switzerland. After a two-year shutdown and upgrade, Europe’s multi-billion dollar Large Hadron Collider is about to ramp up for its second

Far more Violent Crashes Promised in Run 2 of Large Hadron Collider

March 12, 2015 3:31 pm | by Seth Borenstein, AP Science Writer | News | Comments

Scientists will soon debut the blockbuster sequel to the so-called Big Bang Machine, which already found the elusive Higgs Boson. They're promising nearly twice the energy and far more violent particle crashes this time around.

The Apollonian circle packing fractal is a quantification of the sandpile fractal’s ability to remember that it used to live on a square grid. Courtesy of Lionel Levine, Wesley Pegden and Charles Smart

Self-organized Criticality: One Fractal Quantifies Another

March 12, 2015 3:07 pm | by Anne Ju, Cornell University | News | Comments

To humor mathematicians, picture a pile of sand grains — say, a billion — in one square of a vast sheet of graph paper. If four or more grains occupy a single square, that square topples by sending one grain to each of its four neighboring squares. Keep zooming out so the squares become very small, and something strange happens — the sand still “remembers” that it used to live on a square lattice, and a distinctive pattern emerges.

People celebrate Pi Day around the world with pie-eating, pie-throwing and even pi-recitation contests, where participants recite digits of this irrational number from memory. Courtesy of Medea Material

Once-in-a-Century: Celebrating 10 Digits of Pi on 3.14.15 at 9:26:53

March 12, 2015 9:42 am | by Suzanne Tracy, Editor-in-Chief, Scientific Computing and HPC Source | Blogs | Comments

An e-pi-c day is coming! On 3.14.15 at 9:26:53; the date/time will correspond to the first 10 digits of the mathematical constant pi (3.141592653). This happens only once per century — a truly once-in-a-lifetime event for most people.

Over the past several decades, astronomers have come to realize that the sky is filled with magnifying glasses that allow the study of very distant and faint objects barely visible with even the largest telescopes. An astronomer has now found that one of

Distant Supernova Split Four Ways by Gravitational Lens

March 6, 2015 4:57 pm | by Robert Sanders, UC Berkeley | News | Comments

Over the past several decades, astronomers have come to realize that the sky is filled with magnifying glasses that allow the study of very distant and faint objects barely visible with even the largest telescopes. An astronomer has now found that one of these lenses – called an “Einstein cross”– has created four separate images of a distant supernova.

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When it comes to boiling water—or the phenomenon of applying heat to a liquid until it transitions to a gas—is there anything left for today’s scientists to study? The surprising answer is, yes, quite a bit.

Mathematicians Model Fluids at Mesoscale

March 6, 2015 3:52 pm | by Julie Chao, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory | News | Comments

When it comes to boiling water—or the phenomenon of applying heat to a liquid until it transitions to a gas—is there anything left for today’s scientists to study? The surprising answer is, yes, quite a bit. 

Researchers have gained new insights into dark energy and the theory of gravitation by analyzing data from the “Planck” satellite mission of the European Space Agency. Their results demonstrate that the standard model of cosmology remains an excellent des

Satellite Mission Puts Einstein to the Test

March 5, 2015 12:24 pm | by Heidelberg University | News | Comments

Researchers have gained new insights into dark energy and the theory of gravitation by analyzing data from the “Planck” satellite mission of the European Space Agency. Their results demonstrate that the standard model of cosmology remains an excellent description of the universe. Yet when the Planck data is combined with other astronomical observations, several deviations emerge.

Before scientists develop a full quantum computer, quantum physicists will have to create circuitry that takes advantage of the marvelous computing prowess promised by the quantum bit (“qubit”), while compensating for its high vulnerability to environment

Quantum Device Detects and Corrects Own Errors

March 5, 2015 9:24 am | by Sonia Fernandez, UC Santa Barbara | News | Comments

Before scientists develop a full quantum computer, quantum physicists will have to create circuitry that takes advantage of the marvelous computing prowess promised by the quantum bit (“qubit”), while compensating for its high vulnerability to environmentally-induced error.

Visualizations of future nano-transistors, clockwise starting at upper left: a) the organization of the atoms in an Ultra Thin Body (UTB) transistor and the amount of electric potential along the transistor. b) a visualization of the organization of the a

Designing the Building Blocks of Future Nano-computing Technologies

March 4, 2015 12:38 pm | by NSF | News | Comments

A relentless global effort to shrink transistors has made computers continually faster, cheaper and smaller over the last 40 years. This effort has enabled chipmakers to double the number of transistors on a chip roughly every 18 months — a trend referred to as Moore's Law. In the process, the U.S. semiconductor industry has become one of the nation's largest export industries, valued at more than $65 billion a year.

This computerized rendering shows a cutaway view of a collection of about 200 X-ray patterns, produced in an experiment at SLAC’s Linac Coherent Light Source X-ray laser. The images were combined to produce a 3-D rendering of an intact Mimivirus, a giant

Fantastic 3-D Images of Intact Infectious Virus Revealed

March 4, 2015 12:00 pm | by SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory | News | Comments

For the first time, researchers have produced a 3-D image revealing part of the inner structure of an intact, infectious virus, using a unique X-ray laser. The virus, called Mimivirus, is in a curious class of “giant viruses” discovered just over a decade ago. The experiment establishes a new technique for reconstructing the 3-D structure of many types of biological samples from a series of X-ray laser snapshots.

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Magnetic spin-waves in a solid. Illustration courtesy of Christoph Hohmann / NIM

Taming Magnetic Vortices: A Unified Theory for Skyrmion-materials

March 4, 2015 11:49 am | by University of Cologne | News | Comments

In the future, magnetic vortex structures — so-called skyrmions — have the potential to store and process information very efficiently. They could also be the basis for high-frequency components. For the first time, physicists have succeeded in characterizing the electromagnetic properties of insulating, semiconducting and conducting skyrmion-materials and have developed a unified theoretical description of their behavior.

Analysis of data from the Kepler space telescope has shown that roughly half of the dayside of the exoplanet Kepler-7b is covered by a large cloud mass. Statistical comparison of more than 1,000 atmospheric models show that these clouds are most likely ma

Cloudy, with a High of 1,700 Kelvins: Analyzing Clouds around Exoplanets

March 3, 2015 4:25 pm | by Helen Knight, MIT | News | Comments

Meteorologists sometimes struggle to accurately predict the weather here on Earth, but now we can find out how cloudy it is on planets outside our solar system. MIT Researchers describe a technique that analyzes data from NASA’s Kepler space observatory to determine the types of clouds on planets that orbit other stars. Their models indicate that the clouds on Kepler-7b are most likely made from liquid rock.

Future applications of the optical lattice clock: Measuring the different time delays produced by varied driving routes for a motor vehicle carrying an optical lattice clock allows gravitational potential to be mapped. Anomalies in gravitational potential

Cryogenically Cooled Clocks Keep Time for 16 Billion Years

March 2, 2015 11:01 am | by RIKEN | News | Comments

We all like to know our watches keep the time well, but researchers are taking precision to an entirely new dimension. The group demonstrated two cryogenically cooled optical lattice clocks that can be synchronized to a tremendous one part in 2.0 x 10-18 — meaning that they would only go out of synch by a second in 16 billion years. This is nearly 1,000 times more precise than the current international standard cesium atomic clock.

In this April 26, 2009 file photo, actor Leonard Nimoy poses for a portrait in Beverly Hills, CA. Nimoy, famous for playing officer Mr. Spock in “Star Trek” died Friday, February 27, 2015, in Los Angeles of end-stage chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.

Live Long and Prosper, Mr. #Spock! Leonard Nimoy dies at 83

February 27, 2015 2:31 pm | by Lynn Elber, AP Television Writer | News | Comments

Leonard Nimoy, the actor known and loved by generations of Star Trek fans as the pointy-eared, purely logical science officer Mr. Spock, has died. Nimoy died Friday of end-stage chronic obstructive pulmonary disease at his Los Angeles home, with family at his side, said his son, Adam Nimoy. He was 83.

On two separate occasions in March and April 2012, amateur astronomers reported definite plume-like features developing on Mars.

Mystery Mars Plume: Highest Plume ever observed Baffles Scientists

February 25, 2015 2:15 pm | by ESA | News | Comments

Plumes seen reaching high above the surface of Mars have caused a stir among scientists studying the atmosphere on the Red Planet. On two separate occasions in March and April 2012, amateur astronomers reported definite plume-like features developing on the planet. The plumes were seen rising to altitudes of over 250 kilometers on both occasions. By comparison, similar features seen in the past have not exceeded 100 kilometers.

Hydraulic connections of the Fast Cycle Magnet cable to allow the cooling of the magnet’s conductor (cable in conduit type) with supercritical helium. Courtesy of Maximilien Brice

What to Expect Next from the World’s Largest Particle Accelerator

February 24, 2015 2:37 pm | by Kate Greene, Lawrence Berkley National Laboratory | News | Comments

In March, when researchers flip the switch to the world’s largest, most powerful particle accelerator, scientists from all over the world will be watching. Physicists expect the refurbished, higher-energy Large Hadron Collider (LHC) will build on the 2012 discovery of the Higgs particle and crack open even more mysteries of the universe

Illustration of the orbit of Kepler-432b (inner, red) in comparison to the orbit of Mercury around the Sun (outer, orange). The red dot in the middle indicates the position of the star around which the planet is orbiting. The size of the star is shown to

Astronomers Discover Massive Celestial Body with Extreme Seasons

February 24, 2015 2:03 pm | by Heidelberg University | News | Comments

Two groups of astronomers have independently discovered a rare planet. The celestial body, called Kepler-432b, is one of the most dense and massive planets known so far. The teams report that the planet has six times the mass of Jupiter, but about the same size.

A laser pulse is split into two paths: circularly polarized pump (blue) and linearly polarized probe (red). The pump’s path length is adjustable using a delay stage so that the relative arrival time between the pump and probe can be adjusted. After the pr

New Spin on Spintronics: Radiation-resistant Material May Enable Devices in Harsh Environments

February 23, 2015 4:01 pm | by American Institute of Physics (AIP) | News | Comments

A team of researchers is exploring new materials that could yield higher computational speeds and lower power consumption, even in harsh environments. Most modern electronic circuitry relies on controlling electronic charge within a circuit, but this control can easily be disrupted in the presence of radiation. Electronics that use spintronics may offer an alternative that is robust even in radiation-filled environments.

Professor Aviad Frydman, a member of Bar-Ilan University’s Department of Physics, directed a study that describes a new method for conducting Higgs physics experiments.

Regular Lab Observes Higgs Mode in Superconducting Materials

February 23, 2015 12:37 pm | by Bar-Ilan University | News | Comments

The Nobel Prize-winning discovery of the Higgs boson — the “God particle” believed responsible for all the mass in the universe — took place in 2012 at CERN’s Large Hadron Collider. But, more than 50 years ago, the first hint of Higgs was inspired by the study of superconductors. Now, a research team has closed a circle, by reporting the first-ever observations of the Higgs mode in superconducting materials.

In this composite image of the Teacup Galaxy, the green colors show the starlight, the blue colors show the gas and the red/yellow colors show the radio emission. The bright yellow blobs in the center of the image show where the radio “jets,” launched by

Supermassive Black Hole Explosively Heating, Blasting Gas around Galaxy Core

February 20, 2015 12:15 pm | by National Radio Astronomy Observatory | News | Comments

Astronomers using the NSF's Very Large Array found surprisingly energetic activity in what they otherwise considered a "boring" galaxy, and their discovery provides important insight on how supermassive black holes can have a catastrophic effect on the galaxies in which they reside

Model of ion (Cl) collision with atomically thin semiconductor (MoSe2). Collision region is shown in blue and zoomed in; red points show initial positions of Cl. The simulation calculates the energy loss of the ion based on the incident and emergent veloc

Algorithm Enables Simulation of Ultrafast Processes

February 20, 2015 12:07 pm | by Rachel Berkowitz, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory | News | Comments

Researchers have developed a new algorithm which increases the small time step required by ultrafast phenomena from about one attosecond to about half a femtosecond. This allows them to simulate ultrafast phenomena for systems of around 100 atoms.

In this April 25, 1979, file photo, Dr. Ernest Sternglass, a professor of radiological physics at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, talks about the dosimeters worn by workers and newsmen during the crisis at Three Mile Island, in Pittsburgh

Physicist whose Work Helped the World to See Armstrong's Historic First Steps Dies

February 20, 2015 8:42 am | by AP | News | Comments

Physicist Ernest Sternglass, whose research helped make it possible for the world to see the first moon walk, has died at age 91 of heart failure. His research helped lead to a sensitive television camera tube that captured low-light lunar action during the 1969 moon landing and U.S. astronaut Neil Armstrong's historic first steps.

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