Physics and Astronomy

This area deals with the fundamental laws and building blocks of nature and how they interact, the properties and the behavior of matter, and research into space and time and their structures.

innovations-report provides in-depth reports and articles on subjects such as astrophysics, laser technologies, nuclear, quantum, particle and solid-state physics, nanotechnologies, planetary research and findings (Mars, Venus) and developments related to the Hubble Telescope.

Fusion conditions – Particle simulation studies of divertor plasmas

“Nuclear fusion” is the melting of light nuclei into heavier ones, a process that according to the laws of physics releases enormous amounts of energy. For the past 50 years many scientists have sought ways of harnessing this fusion reaction under controlled reactor conditions as a safe, clean and practically inexhaustible source of energy. Siegbert Kuhn and his team at the Institute of Theoretical Physics at Innsbruck University are making a major contribution to these efforts and positioning Austri

Artemis starts its journey to final orbit

Thanks to ion propulsion, the Artemis mission is turning near-defeat into a success story. Nominal operations could start this summer, with ESA’s satellite, manufactured by Alenia Spazio as prime contractor (I), playing a significant role in the pursuit of high technology and advanced telecommunications.

On 12 July 2001, 30 minutes after lift-off from Europe’s spaceport in Kourou, French Guiana, it became apparent that the Ariane 5 launcher had propelled the Artemis satellite into a transf

The mystery of Huygens clocks explained

Proceedings of the Royal Society Series A Vol. 458, No. 2019 Cover Date 8 March 2002

Christiaan Huygens` observations in 1665 of anti-phase synchronisation in two pendulum clocks were the subject of some of the earliest deliberations of The Royal Society but have remained a scientific puzzle. Huygens` acute observations are often quoted but have never been adequately explained – until today. The forthcoming issue of Proceedings A, a Royal Society journal, offers a simple and compelli

New superconducting transformer is light and compact

Researchers from the Technology Foundation STW and the University of Twente, in cooperation with Smit Transformatoren and Smit Draad, have developed a prototype coil for a superconducting transformer which is not only light and compact but also energy-efficient. A keen interest has already been expressed by several companies.

The coil is made from superconducting wires, insulated using a newly patented method. Furthermore, together with Smit Transformatoren the researchers have developed a m

Scientists detect first afterglow of short gamma-ray bursts

In the powerful, fast-fading realm of gamma-ray bursts, scientists say they have detected for the first time a lingering afterglow of the shortest types of bursts, which themselves disappear within a second.

This afterglow, radiating in X rays, may provide crucial insight into what triggers the mysterious bursts, the most energetic explosions in the Universe, second only to the big bang in total power. Previously, scientists had only detected the afterglow of longer bursts, which can last fr

Star trek criteria

Interstellar travellers should be “motivated, tolerant and nice”.

One hundred and sixty fertile, motivated, English speakers could make it to distant stars, researchers have worked out. But generations down the line, returning voyagers may speak an alien tongue.

Travel to planets orbiting other stars will soon be technically possible, the meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Sciences in Boston heard last week. But the 200-year odyssey will require a cer