Disharmony in the desert
Most controversies in science focus on the big questions of our existence - like the nature of matter or the fate of the Universe. But passions can run just as deep in more down-to-earth subjects too. Physics World this month reveals the remarkable story of physicists battling to understand the puzzle of "singing sand dunes" - the strange low-frequency sounds emitted by nothing more than piles of sand in the desert. The two physicists at the heart of the dispute have both come up with different explanations for the sounds, which were first reported by Marco Polo and other travellers some 700 years ago. But their rivalry has become so intense they can no longer bear to work in the same laboratory. (p25).
The doctorate in transition
The PhD used to be seen as the gold standard of scientific education, in which bright young students mastered the art of research through an intensive, three-year project. But the once-vaunted degree is now under pressure as universities - keen to draw in hefty fees and secure lucrative grants - seek to churn out to churn out ever more numbers of doctorates. Even the financial field is desperate for PhD physicists to carry out advanced data analysis and modelling tasks. John McInerney - head of physics at University College Cork - calls for the PhD to be revamped. He wants it to be extended to a minimum of four years so that students have time for a solid piece of research and can also be pick up essential project-management, business and financial skills. (p. 14)
Also in this issue:- Phil Anderson: against reductionism
Dianne Stilwell | alfa
NASA's SDO sees partial eclipse in space
29.05.2017 | NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center
Strathclyde-led research develops world's highest gain high-power laser amplifier
29.05.2017 | University of Strathclyde
The world's highest gain high power laser amplifier - by many orders of magnitude - has been developed in research led at the University of Strathclyde.
The researchers demonstrated the feasibility of using plasma to amplify short laser pulses of picojoule-level energy up to 100 millijoules, which is a 'gain'...
Staphylococcus aureus is a feared pathogen (MRSA, multi-resistant S. aureus) due to frequent resistances against many antibiotics, especially in hospital infections. Researchers at the Paul-Ehrlich-Institut have identified immunological processes that prevent a successful immune response directed against the pathogenic agent. The delivery of bacterial proteins with RNA adjuvant or messenger RNA (mRNA) into immune cells allows the re-direction of the immune response towards an active defense against S. aureus. This could be of significant importance for the development of an effective vaccine. PLOS Pathogens has published these research results online on 25 May 2017.
Staphylococcus aureus (S. aureus) is a bacterium that colonizes by far more than half of the skin and the mucosa of adults, usually without causing infections....
Physicists from the University of Würzburg are capable of generating identical looking single light particles at the push of a button. Two new studies now demonstrate the potential this method holds.
The quantum computer has fuelled the imagination of scientists for decades: It is based on fundamentally different phenomena than a conventional computer....
An international team of physicists has monitored the scattering behaviour of electrons in a non-conducting material in real-time. Their insights could be beneficial for radiotherapy.
We can refer to electrons in non-conducting materials as ‘sluggish’. Typically, they remain fixed in a location, deep inside an atomic composite. It is hence...
Two-dimensional magnetic structures are regarded as a promising material for new types of data storage, since the magnetic properties of individual molecular building blocks can be investigated and modified. For the first time, researchers have now produced a wafer-thin ferrimagnet, in which molecules with different magnetic centers arrange themselves on a gold surface to form a checkerboard pattern. Scientists at the Swiss Nanoscience Institute at the University of Basel and the Paul Scherrer Institute published their findings in the journal Nature Communications.
Ferrimagnets are composed of two centers which are magnetized at different strengths and point in opposing directions. Two-dimensional, quasi-flat ferrimagnets...
24.05.2017 | Event News
23.05.2017 | Event News
22.05.2017 | Event News
29.05.2017 | Earth Sciences
29.05.2017 | Life Sciences
29.05.2017 | Physics and Astronomy