Physics & Mathematics

Ultracold Gas Shows Strange Behavior

Researchers have created an ultracold gas that has the startling property of bursting outward in a preferred direction when released. According to the scientists, studying the properties of the "lopsided" gas could yield fundamental insights into how matter holds itself together at the subatomic level. Also, the research team leader said their data suggests the possibility that the gas is exhibiting a never-before-seen kind of superfluidity -- a property in which matter at extremely low-temperatures behaves in unusual ways

Magnetic processes in space can accelerate electrons to near light speed

A chance observation of high-energy electrons emanating from a tiny region of space where the sun and Earth's magnetic fields intertwine provides the first solid evidence that a process called magnetic reconnection accelerates electrons to near the speed of light in the Earth's magnetosphere and perhaps throughout the universe where magnetic fields entangle.

Researchers study first soybean harvest from International Space Station

Like farmers across the nation bringing in their crops this season, researchers in Wisconsin are carefully taking stock of a very special harvest ? one grown aboard the International Space Station.

Tapping Probe and Organic Films Could Store Data by the Terabit

Imagine having all of the information recorded on a stack of 1,540 CDs on a disk the size of a single CD. Or visualize having all of the information recorded on a stack of 154 CDs written on a one-inch square chip. New probe microscopy techniques and new organic materials could be combined in next generation data storage technology for unprecedented data density.

Experiment could reveal ‘extra dimensions,’ exotic forces

Physicists have devised a new experiment that will be used in the quest for exotic forces in nature and "additional spatial dimensions." The researchers have shown what they say is a new way to measure a phenomenon known as the Casimir effect ? findings that also could have implications for the design of microscopic machines that contain tiny parts on the size scale of nanometers ? or billionths of a meter. The Casimir effect, predicted in 1948 by Dutch physicist Hendrick Casimir, is a force that pushes together two plates of metal placed near each other in empty space ? or a vacuum. The closer the plates are to each other, the stronger the force.

Physicists develop new rain prediction formula

Physicists in Israel have developed a new formula for predicting when clouds will spew forth rain. The trick, it seems, is all in the cloud turbulence. The more turbulence, the greater likelihood small droplets will smack into each other and form larger, heavier drops that fall to earth. Clouds are formed by warm water vapors rising to the sky. When a cloud cools, the vapors condense into droplets that increase in size and are eventually pulled back to earth by gravity, causing rain. Simple as this cycle may sound, when and where exactly the rain will fall is extremely difficult to predict.

Chemists make more uniform ‘Buckytubes’

Duke University chemists say they've come up with a way to grow carbon nanotubes --- a.k.a. Buckytubes --- that vary in size far less than those produced previously. The technique could help with the development of nanostructures with electronic properties reliable enough to use in molecular-sized circuits.

‘Heartbeats’ may keep galaxies churning

Until now, astronomers haven't been able to offer a full explanation for why the Milky Way and other galaxies produce new stars at a relative snail's pace. While they have known for decades that high turbulence keeps huge clouds of hydrogen gas from condensing into stars, they haven't identified all the causes of the galactic perturbations. In a coming report researchers in San Diego say they have discovered that a well-known, but overlooked source of heating?regular outbursts of ultraviolet radiation from clusters of very large, bright stars?may play a significant role in keeping the Milky Way's gas continually stirred up.

Common diabetes drug successfully used to treat pituitary tumor

Using a common diabetes drug, researchers in Los Angeles have successfully treated pituitary tumors that cause a potentially life-threatening condition known as Cushing's syndrome. The most common type of Cushing's syndrome is caused by prolonged high-level exposure of a hormone called ACTH (adrenocorticotropin), which is secreted in excess by tumors of the pituitary gland, situated at the base of the brain and, which controls growth, metabolism and reproduction. Although the disorder is rare, it affects more women than men by a ratio of 5:1. Symptoms include weight gain with rounding of the face; increased fat in the neck; thinning skin; excess hair growth on the face neck, chest abdomen and thighs; muscle weakness and bone loss (osteoporosis); high blood sugar; diabetes; and high blood pressure.

Scientists Boost Tally at Uranus

A new moon of the planet Uranus has been discovered and confirmed by a team of astronomers at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory. This most-recently discovered natural satellite, named S/2001 U 1, brings the total number of confirmed uranian moons to 21. The new kid on the block --- and five others like it --- have very irregular, eccentric orbits that don't share the same orbital plane as the larger moons of Uranus. Ranging in size from 10 to 20 kilometers, these moons are thought to be remnants of ancient collisions that occurred at the early stage of planetary formation.

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