Thursday, May 31, 2012

'Science Off the Sphere' Makes Physics Demos Out of this World - Tubefilter

Donald Pettit is a chemical engineer, NASA astronaut, and one of the few individuals in the world with a Wikipedia page that lists his status as “Currently in space.”

Pettit is also the guy from that NASA-endorsed spot for Angry Birds Space, in which he explains trajectories and the gravitational pull bodies can have on slingshot-propelled flying vertebrates with attitudes and egg-lovin’ pigs. And now he’s the dude from an original infotaining web series from Physics Central (a website with a mission to disseminate the “excitement and importance of physics” to the masses brought to you by the American Physical Society) called Science Off the Sphere.

The “Sphere” in that title refers to the Earth and the “Off” is meant to mean “outside the boundaries of Earth’s gravitational field.” So, as the name would imply, Pettit, who is currently on board the International Space Station, explores and presents “fantastic physics that can only be demonstrated in micro-gravity.”

Don’t let the fact Pettit has a Ph.D., that he’s comfortable talking about hardcore scientific concepts, or that a few of the program’s videos have viewcounts in the three or four-figures lead you to click away. Pettit’s demonstrations bring to life the things of which special effects in sci-fi films and David Lynch music videos are made. The episodes depict Pettit performing acts like cutting off the sleeves on his shirt to fashion a didgeridoo out of a space station vacuum cleaner (which he’s excellent at playing) to show the effects of sound waves on water droplets, fashioniong the zero-gravity equivalent of a lava lamp out of laptop speakers cornstarch (which is a non-Newtonian fluid), and many other things literally out of this world and visually appealing.

I haven’t wanted to be an astronaut since kindergarten, but Pettit’s videos may have me questioning my career choice. If you feel the same way, you can tune into the whole collection of Science Off the Sphere on Physics Central’s YouTube channel.

Physics to tackle how food is cooked in future - Science Codex

In this month's Physics World, Sidney Perkowitz, Candler Professor of Physics Emeritus at Emory University, explains how applied physics led to the innovation of flameless cooking in the late 19th century and addresses the challenge of feeding a rapidly growing population in a cleaner, more efficient way.

In this article, Perkowitz highlights the work of physicist Benjamin Thomson, the creator of the first enclosed, indoor oven, and Percy Spencer, the engineer who, in 1946, discovered that a candy bar melted when it was brought near an operating radar source â€" the first commercial microwave oven was produced a year later and led to a revolution in cooking.

Although these breakthroughs have led to the widespread distribution of commercial ovens, it is estimated that two to three billion people, mostly in developing countries, still eat food prepared by the ancient method of cooking over open fires or in rudimentary stoves.

Fuelled by wood, agricultural residue, animal dung and coal, these primitive cooking methods present a series of costs. Annually, some two million deaths are caused by respiratory illnesses arising from indoor smoke, while other consequences include atmospheric carbon dioxide and deforestation.

There has been a concerted global effort to mitigate some of these factors and, according to a recent report, some 166 million improved cooking units are now in use; however, rolling this initiative out to the many hundreds of millions of other people who could benefit is a complex process.

In developing countries where there is access to electricity, the Oorja stove ("Oorja" means energy in Hindi) shows great promise â€" more than 440,000 units of the Oorja stove have been sold in India to date. The stove incorporates a small, cheap computer cooling fan and can be fuelled by corn cobs and the residue from crushed sugar cane.

A UK-led project called SCORE is developing a cooking method whereby confined gas is heated by a fuel, which, in turn, produces sound waves that vibrate a wire coil, thereby developing a voltage and a current. The eventual goal is to generate 100 W of electrical power, which would be enough to run several household devices.

"As is true for all of the designs, a stove will not be successful unless it works well in real developing-world kitchens and can be produced at a price within reach of poor families, for instance by building it with local materials and methods as much as possible," Perkowitz writes.

Also in this issue:

  • Nuclear ambition â€" can thorium help India solve its energy needs?
  • Digital cosmos â€" modelling the universe as a giant computer
  • Debris disposal â€" the challenges of bring down space junk

Physics to tackle how food is cooked in future - EurekAlert (press release)

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Contact: Michael Bishop
michael.bishop@iop.org
44-117-930-1032
Institute of Physics

In this month's Physics World, Sidney Perkowitz, Candler Professor of Physics Emeritus at Emory University, explains how applied physics led to the innovation of flameless cooking in the late 19th century and addresses the challenge of feeding a rapidly growing population in a cleaner, more efficient way.

In this article, Perkowitz highlights the work of physicist Benjamin Thomson, the creator of the first enclosed, indoor oven, and Percy Spencer, the engineer who, in 1946, discovered that a candy bar melted when it was brought near an operating radar source â€" the first commercial microwave oven was produced a year later and led to a revolution in cooking.

Although these breakthroughs have led to the widespread distribution of commercial ovens, it is estimated that two to three billion people, mostly in developing countries, still eat food prepared by the ancient method of cooking over open fires or in rudimentary stoves.

Fuelled by wood, agricultural residue, animal dung and coal, these primitive cooking methods present a series of costs. Annually, some two million deaths are caused by respiratory illnesses arising from indoor smoke, while other consequences include atmospheric carbon dioxide and deforestation.

There has been a concerted global effort to mitigate some of these factors and, according to a recent report, some 166 million improved cooking units are now in use; however, rolling this initiative out to the many hundreds of millions of other people who could benefit is a complex process.

In developing countries where there is access to electricity, the Oorja stove ("Oorja" means energy in Hindi) shows great promise â€" more than 440,000 units of the Oorja stove have been sold in India to date. The stove incorporates a small, cheap computer cooling fan and can be fuelled by corn cobs and the residue from crushed sugar cane.

A UK-led project called SCORE is developing a cooking method whereby confined gas is heated by a fuel, which, in turn, produces sound waves that vibrate a wire coil, thereby developing a voltage and a current. The eventual goal is to generate 100 W of electrical power, which would be enough to run several household devices.

"As is true for all of the designs, a stove will not be successful unless it works well in real developing-world kitchens and can be produced at a price within reach of poor families, for instance by building it with local materials and methods as much as possible," Perkowitz writes.

Also in this issue:

  • Nuclear ambition â€" can thorium help India solve its energy needs?
  • Digital cosmos â€" modelling the universe as a giant computer
  • Debris disposal â€" the challenges of bring down space junk

###

Please mention Physics World as the source of these items and, if publishing online, please include a hyperlink to: http://physicsworld.com

Notes for editors:

1. Physics World is the international monthly magazine published by the Institute of Physics. For further information or details of its editorial programme, please contact the editor, Dr Matin Durrani, on tel +44 (0)117 930 1002. The magazine's website physicsworld.com is updated regularly and contains physics news, views and resources. Visit http://physicsworld.com.

2. For copies of Physics World and copies of the articles reviewed here contact Michael Bishop, IOP Press Officer, tel +44 (0)117 930 1032, e-mail michael.bishop@iop.org.

3. The Institute of Physics is a leading scientific society promoting physics and bringing physicists together for the benefit of all.

It has a worldwide membership of around 40,000 comprising physicists from all sectors, as well as those with an interest in physics. It works to advance physics research, application and education; and engages with policymakers and the public to develop awareness and understanding of physics. Its publishing company, IOP Publishing, is a world leader in professional scientific communications. Go to http://www.iop.org


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Weird Science: Hopkins physics lab celebrates 70 years - Baltimore Sun (blog)

Some of the world's greatest innovations were conceived in the humblest of places, and that was certainly true of the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory.

When it opened its doors in 1942, in a former used-car dealership in Silver Spring, APL had a staff of 365.

Seventy years later, after moving in 1954 to its current 399-acre campus in North Laurel, the lab, with 4,700 employees, is Howard County's second largest employer, behind only the public school system. It has developed an eye-popping series of scientific breakthroughs, ranging from prosthetic arms to spacecraft, and become a valued part of the county.

"APL is a very complex and diverse organization," said Ed Cochran, a former Howard County executive and research chemist who retired from the lab in 1996, "and it has a great relationship with the county."


Submit a Letter to the Editor for the Laurel Leader, Columbia Flier and Howard County Times

Johns Hopkins University's not-for-profit research division didn't make a splashy debut, but what was going on in the inside was a different story.

Just three months before the lab opened 70 years ago, Pearl Harbor had been bombed by Japan. In the throes of patriotic fervor, the scientific minds at work in the unconventional building got quickly caught up in developing a device that would eventually be considered one of the most important technological advances of World War II.

The Variable Time Fuze was designed to detonate an explosive device near an enemy aircraft, eliminating the need for a direct hit. These proximity fuses were fitted to such weapons as artillery and mortar shells, and were pre-set to burst at selected heights.

The VT Fuze would go on to "increase overall effectiveness by a factor of 50," said Jerry Krill, assistant director of science and technology. Despite the fuss made over the device in its heyday, it has "long since gone to its grave."

Today, APL's employees work in 50 office and lab buildings, including the new space research building that opened in November. A satellite construction facility is expected to open late this year, and will be the last addition to the campus infrastructure for the foreseeable future.

Ralph Semmel, a Columbia resident and 25-year employee who became APL's eighth director in July 2010, points out that the most important aspect of the organization's mission hasn't changed at all since its inception.

"The VT fuze was an absolutely astounding engineering accomplishment," said Semmel. "Imagine firing a light bulb out of a cannon with the know-how to allow it to not break prematurely. That was truly mind-boggling.

"But what drove us 70 years ago â€" making critical contributions to critical challenges â€" still drives us today," he said of the lab's work, in which basic physical concepts are applied to practical devices and systems or used in research. "The government turns to us when it's facing incredible problems that need solutions."

'Wide array of firsts'

APL's projects can be broken down into four basic areas of concentration: air and missile defense, force protection, asymmetric operations, and space. The lab's main government sponsors are the federal departments of defense and homeland security, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, and the National Security Agency.

"It's a cat-and-mouse game in some ways; we know things and we anticipate things," Semmel said in describing the lab's interaction with its government sponsors. "What can be done and what others can do overlaps."

As the decades ticked past, APL's noteworthy contributions kept piling up: the first supersonic guided missile using satellite navigation, which was a precursor to today's GPS devices; the first use of integrated circuits in space; the first rechargeable cardiac pacemaker to use space technology; and the first spacecraft landing on an asteroid.

Other accomplishments that merit mention among the lab's "wide array of firsts," according to Semmel, include the first photo of the Earth from space (1948), a microprocessor-driven prosthetic arm (1976), a disease surveillance system to track epidemics (2002), foliage-penetrating light detection and ranging system (2010), and a thought-driven prosthetic arm (2011).

Messenger, the first spacecraft to orbit Mercury, was launched in 2004, but is making news again. Though it was launched over seven years ago from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida, it just began its second year of NASA mission operations in mid-March.

Excitement runs high over the prospects for another spacecraft that is still speeding toward its destination. Named New Horizons, it was launched in 2006 and is expected to reach Pluto in 2015 when it should provide detailed data from what APL still considers our solar system's ninth planet, said John Sommerer, head of the space sector.

"We get one chance to get every little bit of data that can be collected in one flyby," he said of APL's detailed planning for the encounter 3 billion miles away.

Failing physics and flowering forbearance - World Magazine

Grade-0531“If you pass physics,” my mother told me several weeks ago on the telephone, “of course we’ll be happy.” She spoke for herself and my father. I assented from where I sat in the bushes behind my dorm. “If you fail physics,” she added, “we’ll be creative.”

I blessed her and counted myself the most cared-for person in the world.

Then last week I sat on the steps of the New York Public Library, gazing upon the rump of one of the stone lions, with tears running down my face. I could hardly have chosen a more private place for grieving. New York overflows with people committing strange acts. No one noted me crying over my “F.”

Many good nouns begin with the letter “f”: fortitude, fearlessness, and fervorâ€"and to grow more particular and perhaps thereby more meaningfulâ€"F. Scott Fitzgerald.

The writer of the Jazz Age got expelled from school at 16, then advanced to Princeton, where he got bad grades but made a good showing in campus theatrics.

His story, along with those of other academic failures, served to a degree as anesthetic. In the aftermath of my sad revelation I went to the The Strand, a Manhattan store containing 18 miles of books. I bought a T-shirt of The Great Gatsby, with Daisy Buchanan’s eyes blinking out of a blue background. Like me, she happened to be crying.

If anyone deserves to spell “physics” with an “F,” I do. Sitting on the steps I wondered: Since I had so much time to avoid my homework, why did I not take opportunity to preorder some sackcloth in size 6?

My educators, among them the deep-hearted Dr. Gene Edward Veith, with his doctrine of neighbor-love through the vocation of schoolwork, conveyed a deep sense of academic responsibility to me. Good ethic, I hear (and believe), would have made up for my scientific deficiency.

“What have you been doing all afternoon?” my mother asked me during finals week.

“Writing,” I said.

“How do you justify that?”

I can’t. I hunt the Muse with a sword and pistol and hope that words will flood for me in a magic midnight. How little that seems to have to do with microfarads.

But negligence matters in the kingdom of heaven. It is right that heaven’s rumblingsâ€"in the form of conscienceâ€"rattle downward to my kingdom of one. In believing this I resign my right to shirk obligation in favor of mad creative midnights.

In philosophy they call my conduct akrasia: acting against one’s own moral judgment. In the Bible Paul stamps it with a cry: “Wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death?”

In the face of all this moaning I continue to hope that from dirt, flowers spring.

My mother, who celebrates when somebody in the household breaks a dish (to remind us that life is about people, not dishes), forbears. She says, “I don’t know what God is teaching you.”

CryEngine 3 demo reel shows off enhanced physics [video] - BGR

By: | May 31st, 2012 at 07:50AM

CryENGINE 3 Demo Reel

Crytek has consistently raised the bar in high-quality graphics with its popular Crysis franchise and CryENGINE gaming engine. CryENGINE 3, the company’s latest offering, allows game developers to create gorgeous environments and stunning character models. The gaming engine also features revolutionary soft-body physics for unbelievably realistic physical simulations, as demonstrated by the creators of “Rigs of Rods,” an open-source driving simulator. The team uses CryENGINE 3 and the Beam physics system to create perhaps the most realistic damage model ever, and a video demonstration follows below.

Dan Graziano

Dan joins the BGR team as the Android Editor, covering all things relating to Google’s premiere operating system. When he isn’t testing the latest devices or apps, he can be found enjoying the New York City nightlife.



Do physics to get jobs in IT, nuclear sector - Times of India

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Do physics to get jobs in IT, nuclear sector

Several IT companies hire physics graduates for their engineering division.

CHENNAI: If the laws of physics open up the world of scientific development, their application creates a variety of job opportunities. The list ranges from analysts, teachers to researchers, scientists in areas as diverse as space science and nuclear energy to industrial research.

"The demand for physics courses is largely because of the high level of interest and motivation of students," says professor V Ravishankar, head of physics, IIT-Kanpur.

There is demand for physics graduates because of developments in the nuclear power sector, writes TPS Nathan of Centre for Advanced Technology and AK Gupta from IBP Co in a paper titled 'Opportunities in and For Physics-based Industries.'

"In terms of placement, many graduates are employed by IT companies as software engineers or by banking firms," says Mohammed Tajudeen, placement officer, Crescent Engineering College. Students are also recruited as lab analysts in firms. IT companies hire physics graduates for their engineering division, says Tajudeen. "Firms like HCL and TCS have large engineering divisions," he says.

Physics graduates are also recruited in optical/laser companies. And it helps if students specialize after graduation. A PhD allows them to become physicists in universities or research institutes. It also opens doors in government departments such as defence, space and nuclear energy, says professor Pankaj Jain of IIT-Kanpur. "You can also join industrial laboratories engaged in research in semiconductors, nanotechnology, thin film technology, lasers, photonics and biophysics," he says. "Expertise in programming for graduates can also lead to a well-paying career in software industry or finance," says professor Ravishankar.

Recently, IIT Kanpur introduced a four-year BSc programme in physics. "Earlier, students had to opt for a five-year integrated MS.

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Decision on physics paper re-exam after police report: MU - Daily News & Analysis

The police have confirmed that the Physics II paper was indeed leaked and the investigation in the case is still on, but there is still no relief for students worried about a re-exam as the University of Mumbai denies any such intimation from the police.

The Physics II paper for the first year engineering course, which was conducted on May 23, was allegedly leaked and circulated to students the night before the exam via email. Following media reports, Mumbai university had filed a complaint with the cybercrime cell at the Bandra Kurla Complex (BKC).

“The cyber crime police station of BKC is investigating the case. We are very close to solving the case,” said Himanshu Roy, joint commissioner of police, crime.

However, when asked if any student or Mumbai university official is involved in the matter, he refused to comment.

“We have not received any update from the police. The decision of re-exam will be taken after receiving clear updates,” said Dr Naresh Chandra, pro-vice chancellor of the Mumbai university.

Subhash Deo, director of examinations, Mumbai university, also said that the police have not updated them with any information yet.

Another paper, the Basics of Electricals and Electronics paper for the first engineering course was also leaked on May 26, late in the night via email.

The committee appointed by the university to look into the alleged leak of the Chemistry II paper is still probing the matter.

On Wednesday all the exams were carried out smother than earlier days. Barring 10-15 minutes delay in the start of the examination, no severe complaints were reported by the students.

However, instrumentation engineering students of semester IV appearing for the paper of feedback control system in the afternoon slot complained about question paper not being clearly printed and the about the hand-drawn circuit diagrams which confused them.

The university, however, denied these allegations.
“The examinations were conducted smoothly on Wednesday. Only at some centres there was delay in starting exam and that is because technological issues at the centres. Additional time was given to students,” an university official said.

New lab turns SD gold town into scientific hub - R & D Magazine

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DarkMatterLab1

A sign welcomes visitors to a lab 4,850 feet beneath the earth on Wednesday, May 30, 2012. The Sanford Underground Research Facility in Lead, S.D., will house the world's most sensitive dark-matter detector. Scientists say that the labâ€"housed inside the now-shuttered Homestake Gold Mineâ€"could help scientists understand the origins of the universe. AP Photo/Amber Hunt

LEAD, S.D. (AP)â€"Nestled nearly 5,000 feet beneath the earth in the gold boom town of Lead, S.D., is a laboratory that could help scientists answer some pretty heavy questions about life, its origins and the universe.

It's hard to spot from the surface. Looking around the rustic town, there are far more nods to its mining past than to its scientific future, but on Wednesday, when part of the closed Homestake Gold Mine officially became an underground campus, Lead's name will be known in scientific circles as the place where the elusive stuff called dark matter might finally be detected.

Unimpressed? Consider this: It's sure to earn itself a reference on TV's "The Big Bang Theory."

"This year, 2012, is going to be a very significant year because we get to turn the ... detector on and know very soon whether we have actually found dark matter or not," said Rick Gaitskell, a scientist with Brown University who has worked alongside dozens of scientists over the past few years to move forward with the Large Underground Xenon experimentâ€"or LUXâ€"the world's most sensitive dark-matter detector.

For most people, dark matter is a term that made their eyes glaze over in science class. But for Gaitskell and scientists like him, it's the mystery meat of existence.

"It makes up a huge amount of the universe," said Kevin Lesko, of Lawrence Berkeley National Lab, who is the principal investigator for the Sanford Underground Research Facility.

DarkMatterLab2

Visitors descend into a science lab 4,850 feet beneath the earth on Wednesday, May 30, 2012 in Lead, S.D. AP Photo/Amber Hunt

They know it's there by its gravitational pull but, unlike regular matter and antimatter, it's so far undetectable. Scientific papers and books have been dedicated to what it could be, but so far, Gaitskellâ€"who's said he's been "hunting dark matter" for 23 yearsâ€"and his colleagues know only that it could explain why the universe isn't made up equally of matter and antimatter. That, in turn, could explain how the world as we know it came to be.

"It has to be there because of its effects through gravity, but it also has to have properties that make it very unusualâ€"otherwise, we would have detected it already," Lesko said.

Regular matterâ€"people and planets, for exampleâ€"make up about 4% of the total mass-energy of the universe, he said. Dark matter makes up about 25%.

"So it's five times as much as us, and yet we've never directly observed it."

Scientists hope the lab buried 4,850 feet beneath the earth's surface will change that.

On Wednesday, Gov. Dennis Daugaard is to give tours of the underground lab for scientists, dignitaries and media. William Brinkman of the federal Department of Energy confirmed his plans to attend Tuesday, said Bill Harlan, spokesman for the research facility.

The unveiling has been a long time coming: The Homestead mine opened during the Black Hills' gold rush in 1876 and outlasted many counterparts. In the late 1990s, it still employed about 1,000 people, but as the value of gold dropped, it became clear that the mine's days were numbered. It shuttered for good in 2003.

The science community seized on the closure. Dark matter is too sensitive to detect in normal laboratories, but one so far underground would help shield it from pesky cosmic radiation. Also, the LUX detector is submerged in water, further insulating it.

Gaitskell said he's worked with 70 scientists and 14 institutions over the past four years to finally make the LUX experiment a reality.

That detector will be in the Davis Campus, named after Ray Davis, who won a Nobel Prize for Physics for an experiment he started in 1965 inside the then-working mine. Nearby in a new hall called the Transition Area will be the Majorana Demonstrator Experiment. That's aimed to search for a rare form of radioactive decay, which could help physicists understand how the universe evolved.

DarkMatterLab3

Scientist Tom Schutt of Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland explains how a dark-matter detector will work Wednesday, May 30, 2012, in the Sanford Underground Research Facility nearly 4,900 feet beneath the earth in Lead, S.D. AP Photo/Amber Hunt

Experiments are set to begin this year, Harlan said. All told, the site has cost more than $300 millionâ€"a mix of private donations and state and federal funding. Among the contributors: a $10 million Housing and Urban Development grant, $40 million from the South Dakota Legislature and $70 million from philanthropist T. Denny Sanford.

About 70 former mine workers now work for the lab. Greg King, a lifelong Lead resident, is one of them.

"The whole town was built up around the Homestake," King said. "As the property closed and people left, a lot of employees left. Now, there's a lot of excitement in town. People are very thrilled that the Homestake is once again, albeit not as a mine."

Liz Tiger, who owns a consignment store on Main Street, said the resurrection of the mine represents hope for Lead, a town of about 3,100 residents about a half-hour from the Wyoming border. Three generations of Tiger's family worked for the mining company.

"The economy up here really died after Homestake shut down," she said. "It was absolutely devastating."

Had it not been for Deadwood, Lead's higher-profile neighbor that draws about 2 million tourists a year, the town might have gone under, she said.

"I was raised through Homestake. I was very sad when it was shut down. (The mine) definitely needed to be used for something."

Source: The Associated Press

Iowa State physics researchers find broadband optical gain in graphene - Laser Focus world

Iowa State physicist Jigang Wang, right, examines graphene monolayers grown on a substrate as graduate students Tianq Li, far left, and Liang Luo look on in Wang's laboratory. (Image: Iowa State University)


Ames, IA--A group of scientists at Iowa State University, led by physicist Jigang Wang, has shown that graphene has two very important optical properties: population inversion of electrons, and broadband optical gain.1 As a result, graphene has potential for use in lasers and amplifiers. Other members in the group are from Ames Laboratory.

Wang's team irradiated graphene monolayers with 35 fs laser pulses, finding a new photo-excited graphene state characterized by a broadband population inversion of electrons -- revealing itself as negative conductivity in the near-IR for the first 200 fs, in which stimulated emission completely compensates absorption loss.

"It's very exciting," Wang says. "It opens the possibility of using graphene as a gain medium for light amplification. It could be used in making broadband optical amplifiers or high-speed modulators for telecommunications. It even provides implications for development of graphene-based lasers."

An understanding gap existed, Wang explains, between the two scientific communities that studied the electronic and photonic properties of graphene. He believed his group could help bridge the gap by elaborating the nonlinear optical properties of graphene and understanding the nonequilibrium electronic state. He says that other scientists have studied graphene's optical properties, but primarily in the linear regime. His team hypothesized they could generate a new very unconventional state of graphene resulting in population inversion and optical gain.

"We were the first group to break new ground, to start looking at it in a highly excited state consisting of extremely dense electrons â€" a highly nonlinear state," says Wang. "In such a state, graphene has unique properties."

Negative absorption shows optical gain
Wang's group started with high-quality graphene monolayers grown in the Ames Laboratory. The researchers used an ultrafast laser to excite the material's electrons with 35 fs pulses. Through measurements of the photoinduced electronic states, Wang's team found that optical conductivity (or absorption) of the graphene layers changed from positive to negative when the pump pulse energy was increased above a threshold.

"The light emitted shows gain of about 1% for a layer a mere one atom thick, a figure on the same order to what's seen in conventional semiconductor optical amplifiers hundreds of times thicker," says Wang.

The key to the experiments, of course, was creating the highly nonlinear state, something "that does not normally exist in thermal equilibrium," Wang says. "You cannot simply put graphene under the light and study it. You have to really excite the electrons with the ultrafast laser pulse and have the knowledge on the threshold behaviors to arrive at such a state."

Wang said a great deal more engineering and materials perfection lies ahead before graphene's full potential for lasers and optical telecommunications is ever realized.

REFERENCE:

T. Li et al., Phys. Rev. Lett. 108, 167401 (2012).

Apply physics and find jobs in nuclear sector, IT firms - Times of India

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CHENNAI: If the laws of physics open up the world of scientific development, their application creates a variety of job opportunities. The list ranges from analysts, teachers to researchers, scientists in areas as diverse as space science and nuclear energy to industrial research.

"The demand for physics courses is largely because of the high level of interest and motivation of students," says professor V Ravishankar, head of physics, IIT-Kanpur.

There is demand for physics graduates because of developments in the nuclear power sector, writes T P S Nathan of Centre for Advanced Technology and A K Gupta from IBP Co in a paper titled 'Opportunities in and For Physics-based Industries.'

"In terms of placement, many graduates are employed by IT companies as software engineers or by banking firms," says Mohammed Tajudeen, placement officer, Crescent Engineering College. Students are also recruited as lab analysts in firms. IT companies hire physics graduates for their engineering division, says Tajudeen. "Firms like HCL and TCS have large engineering divisions," he says.

Physics graduates are also recruited in optical/laser companies. And it helps if students specialize after graduation. A Ph D allows them to become physicists in universities or research institutes. It also opens doors in government departments such as defence, space and nuclear energy, says professor Pankaj Jain of IIT-Kanpur. "You can also join industrial laboratories engaged in research in semiconductors, nanotechnology, thin film technology, lasers, photonics and biophysics," he says. "Expertise in programming for graduates can also lead to a well-paying career in software industry or finance," says professor Ravishankar.

Recently, IIT Kanpur introduced a four-year BSc programme in physics. "Earlier, students had to opt for a five-year integrated MS.

'Tony Hawk: Rad Science' at Lawrence Hall - San Francisco Chronicle

Tony Hawk will be at the Lawrence Hall of Science for the grand opening of a skateboarding exhibit.

Watch a professional skateboarder ride up vertical walls and make 900-degree revolutions in midair, and you'll find yourself marveling in amazement and shaking your head in disbelief.

One thing you probably won't think about? Physics.

That's precisely the idea behind a new family-friendly exhibit at the Lawrence Hall of Science, on the UC Berkeley campus.

"Tony Hawk: Rad Science" teaches visitors about physics through skateboarding, re-creating a skate park, empty pool and other parts of skateboarding culture to bring these lessons to life. The exhibit also incorporates canned and original footage of Hawk, perhaps the most famous skateboarder in the world.

"Physics relates to everything that we do," said UC Berkeley physics Professor Joel Fajans, who curated the exhibit. "This cool new exhibit shows how a visit to a local skatepark can demonstrate important physics principles."

Families can go and check out the new exhibit right now. But the grand opening is slated for Saturday, when Hawk himself - as well as other skateboarding pros - will perform a live demonstration on a specially designed vertical skate ramp outside the Hall. Tickets are sold out, but the demonstration will be streaming online Saturday, at bit.ly/M2N72F. Those who don't have a ticket to the demonstration but come to the exhibit on Saturday will be able to watch live footage of the skateboard demo from the Hall's auditorium.

The exhibit itself features more than 20 interactive experiences to deconstruct various aspects of skateboarding, to the point where visitors of any age can start to understand the science itself. In one experience, dubbed "Bodacious Board Balance," parents and kids can "ride" stationary skateboards set up to practice the importance of balance and test where it's best to place their center of mass before performing classic tricks such as "grinding" and "manuals." (The boards sit on a padded surface, in case someone tumbles.)

Elsewhere in the exhibit, visitors go inside a re-created empty swimming pool to experiment with the laws of motion and see how the characteristics of this unique environment helped create extreme skateboarding back in the 1980s. And a series of sample boards in "Skateboard Evolution" demonstrate how designs have evolved from 1962 through today. This part of the exhibit also shows how physics has driven the evolution of decks, wheels and axles.

Finally, an area nicknamed "Wipeout Ambulance" marries physics and safety, detailing how inventions such as helmets, kneepads and wrist guards have helped dissipate the extreme forces of a wipeout.

Lessons are specific enough that skateboarding fans will love the new perspective, yet general enough that people who know nothing about skateboarding can understand the science at hand. The exhibit was developed by Exhibit IQ, an exhibit development and production company based in Las Vegas. John Good, president and exhibit producer of that company, said that this ranks as one of the best exhibits his company has created.

"Physics is a heavy, complicated subject," he said. "Creating a physics exhibit that is actually entertaining and relevant to museum visitors is probably the thing we're most proud of."

Through Sept. 3. Open 10 a.m.-5 p.m. daily. Admission $6-$12; under 3 free. The Lawrence Hall of Science, 1 Centennial Drive, Berkeley. (510) 642-5132. www.lawrencehallofscience.org.

This article appeared on page G - 13 of the San Francisco Chronicle

Pembroke Sentinel: Weird Science: Physics Olympics electrifies future ... - my.hsj.org

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"We 'Broke That Story"

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Physics teacher looks just like this team's t-shirts. - Sentinel Staff

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    Junior and senior students participated in the Physics Olympics on Thursday May 17. The Physics Olympics is an all day event available to students who are currently taking a physics class or had taken one the previous school year.
     The Olympics consists of a series of physic related events and activities which were created by senior students who had taken physics during the last school year.
     The junior students were allowed to create their own teams and compete in all of the events set up around the school. Each event would earn them a certain amount of points, which would eventually add up and determine their position as a winner.
     According to physics teacher Neil Kenny, the Physics Olympics is “A team event where teams compete in an understanding of the principles of physics.”
    Kenny was very eager about the Olympics and enjoyed watching his students participate in the events.
“I like that it gets students out of their classes, gets them moving, and applies what they have been learning in class all year,” said Kenny.
      Kenny believed his students did very well in the Olympics.
    “They did really well. Everyone was fully participating and seemed interested.”
     Kenny revealed that he favored the egg drop event and also shared that he hopes to continue with the Olympics every year.
     Similar to Kenny, the physics students also enjoyed their day at the Physics Olympics.
      Junior Maddie Healy said, “I liked that it was free-range, you could do whatever you wanted at a free pace and it wasn’t a set schedule of events.”
      “I liked the bike-ride event best because it was outside,” said Healy.
     The hover craft event was a favorite to several students.
     “I liked the hover craft, it was so much fun. It was definitely my favorite,” said Junior Kristen White.
     Junior Jessica Merritt said, “My favorite part was sitting on the hovercraft even though it didn’t work.”
      Both White and Merritt revealed that they would love to be judges in next year’s Olympics.


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Texas A&M Physics & Astronomy to Host Transit of Venus Event June 5 - Texas A&M University

COLLEGE STATION -- Local star-gazers and skywatching enthusiasts are encouraged to join Texas A&M University astronomers and physicists next week for a rare celestial event, the transit of Venus.

This phenomenon occurs when Earth's nearest planetary neighbor passes in front of the Sun, traveling across its face like a speck, and is so rare that astronomers say it will not happen again in the lifetime of anyone who's currently, say, college-age and beyond. All the more reason to make your way to the Texas A&M campus Tuesday (June 5) for this exclusive viewing opportunity, scheduled for 5:30 to 8:30 p.m. outside the Memorial Student Center in the Rudder Plaza/Fountain area.

In the U.S., the transit will begin shortly after 5 p.m. (CDT) and last roughly six hours. Approximately 18 minutes after Venus's silhouette first touches the outer edge of the Sun, the planet will be entirely in front of the Sun, marking the most dramatic point of transitory viewing, particularly with a telescope, according to seasoned experts.

"This relatively rare astronomical occurrence is quite interesting to watch through a telescope, and also historically important -- a measurement made during the transit of Venus in 1761 led to the first measurement of the size of our Solar System," notes Texas A&M astronomer Jennifer Marshall.

Tuesday will mark only the eighth transit of Venus since the invention of the telescope. Such transits occur in pairs that are eight years apart (the last transit occurred in 2004) and then don't happen again for more than a hundred years. Therefore, if you miss Tuesday's, Marshall says you -- or, more likely, your descendents -- will be out of luck until 2117 or 2125.

To learn more about a Venus transit and what it involves, visit http://transitofvenus.org/.

For more information on Texas A&M Astronomy and related events, click here.

-aTm-

Contact: Dr. Jennifer Marshall, (979) 862-2782 or marshall@physics.tamu.edu

Hutchins Shana

2012-05-29 00:00:00

The Simplied Physics of Vapor and Thermal Insulation, a 60-Year-Old Reference ... - Virtual-Strategy Magazine

Until now, consumers are lead to believe reflective insulation products used in building construction are spinoffs of America’s space program. They are not. Infra Insulation was making accordion style aluminum insulation in the 1930’s. InsulationStop.com has released the full reference piece never before seen online.

Indianapolis, IN (PRWEB) May 30, 2012

InsulationStop.com, the online leader in sales of radiant barrier and foil insulation continues to educate the marketplace by releasing the authentic Physics of Foil. This manual is the complete study of radiant barrier technology dating back to the 1940’s.

Until now, consumers are led to believe reflective insulation products used in building construction are spinoffs of America’s space program. They are not. Infra Insulation was making accordion style aluminum insulation in the 1930’s.

In all levels of the supply chain consumers find information regarding radiant barrier and foil insulation and its affiliation with NASA and the space program. NASA definitely used and still uses reflective materials but the roots of radiant barrier insulation span almost fifty years before.

InsulationStop is offering to its consumers an unprecedented look at the work of Dr. Alexander Schwartz, founder of Infra Insulation Company and his excellent work with radiant barriers in the 1940’s. Some isolated text from the Physics of Foil, a 50 page piece is scattered on the internet but not until now is the entire volume available.

From 1935 to 1965, the Infra Insulation Company provided accordion type aluminum insulation. Nick Semon, InsulationStop’s owner enjoys educating consumers on the true history of radiant barrier insulation, “Infra’s products are revolutionary for both then and today. The best performing application of reflective insulation that has been tested is in a crawlspace. One layer of insulation is installed in the floor joists and the other is installed beneath the floor joists creating two reflective airspaces. Infra Insulation designed an accordion insulation that unfolded and expanded during installation creating multiple reflective airspaces. Over 300,000,000 million square feet of insulation is installed in residences and commercial buildings here in the United States. As we researched the company we found Infra to be installed in such notable places as Purdue University, MIT, Harvard, and even in Frank Sinatra’s house!”

With material advancement, the reflective insulation industry re-emerged in the early 1980’s in the building construction and packaging industry. Much of the sales and marketing information as well as product advantages offered online stem from Schwartz’s work.

With more and more general acceptance of radiant barrier insulation, Mr. Semon suggests consumers should study the piece, “It’s all there, from 80 years ago. The superb performance in reducing heat transfer though utilizing reflective airspaces. This is the how to manual which even addresses today’s perceived negatives in radiant barrier use such as limited radio and cell phone reception.”

Consumers can visit, http://www.insulationstop.com/resources/Thermal_Insulation_by_A._Schwarts_Summer_1950.pdf, to explore the entire version of The Physics of Foil or can contact InsulationStop.com at 1-800-871-0410 for more information.

Nick Semon is co-owner of InsulationStop.com. They offer individual and bulk orders of U.S. made radiant barrier and reflective bubble foil insulation products for commercial and residential use. The company is committed to offering extensive knowledge on the use and application of its reflective insulation products.

For the original version on PRWeb visit: http://www.prweb.com/releases/prwebInsulationStop/radiant_barrier/prweb9555147.htm