January 24, 2012 |
A massive explosion on the sun's surface has triggered the largest solar radiation storm since 2005 and has unleashed a torrent of charged plasma particles toward Earth, though the threat to satellites, power grids and other high-tech hardware is believed to be manageable, scientists said. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration detected a solar flare Sunday night that peaked at 7:59 p.m. Pacific time. NOAA satellites traced the bright flash of X-ray light to an area on the sun's surface known as region 1402 - the same area that had produced a weaker flare Thursday.
December 13, 2011 |
Physicists announced Tuesday that they had detected "tantalizing hints," but not definitive proof, of the long-sought Higgs boson, the so-called God particle that is crucial to physicists' understanding of why mass exists in the universe. Two large teams of scientists based at the Large Hadron Collider near Geneva separately saw what they believe are telltale tracks of the maddeningly elusive particle in the aftermath of about 400 trillion proton collisions carried out since January.
December 9, 2011 |
Scientists are quivering with anticipation -- flying halfway around the world for a close-up view of the action and devouring the latest updates from the blogosphere the way some girls track the doings of Justin Bieber. Careers hang in the balance. Not to mention a cache of chocolate handed out by the folks who award Nobel Prizes. All the fuss is over an elusive subatomic particle called the Higgs boson, which is key to understanding mass in the universe. No one has ever presented proof of its existence, but that may be about to change.
November 20, 2011 |
Televisions, computer monitors and smartphones display only a fraction of the colors the human eye can see. But thanks to a new technology developed by a Silicon Valley nanotechnology company, they may soon get a lot more colorful. Nanosys, which works with materials up to 100,000 times thinner than a human hair, has crafted a thin film laden with minuscule particles that can be placed inside a display to dramatically boost the color range it can show. "Around 30% of what the eye can actually perceive in the real world, your TV can reproduce faithfully," said Jason Hartlove, chief executive of the Palo Alto company.
October 1, 2011 |
After smashing atoms together for 26 years, the Tevatron particle accelerator powered down on Friday. The 4-mile-long ring-shaped accelerator, located at the Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory in Batavia, Ill., was built to hurl tiny bits of matter at each other in the hopes that they would break apart into the basic building blocks of the universe. Though the Tevatron made major discoveries, it became essentially obsolete after the Large Hadron Collider in Geneva began conducting experiments in 2009.
September 23, 2011 |
Albert Einstein had the idea. A century of observations have backed it up. It's one of the cornerstones of physics: Nothing travels faster than the speed of light. But now a team of experimental physicists at the European Organization for Nuclear Research, known as CERN, says that one exotic particle possibly can. The scientists reached their conclusion after sending streams of tiny, subatomic particles called neutrinos hurtling from an accelerator at CERN outside Geneva to a detector at the Gran Sasso National Laboratory in Italy, about 450 miles away.
August 26, 2011 |
The first dust samples ever retrieved from an asteroid and brought back for study show that a portion of the most common meteorites to hit Earth may have come from a single rocky ancestor in space, Japanese researchers say. In a wide-ranging analysis of tiny fragments collected from the asteroid Itokawa during a spacecraft visit in 2005, six studies by several teams of scientists released Thursday by the journal Science piece together a detailed...
August 15, 2011
Coastal cities can't keep plastic foam out of the ocean by themselves. The tiny bits of polystyrene from food takeout containers float from inland areas through storm water channels along with the rest of the urban runoff. So it's heartening that legislation to ban most use of such containers managed to pass the state Senate in July despite strong opposition. The bill (SB 568) faces a more formidable hurdle in the Assembly Appropriations Committee, but it's been improved with provisions that allow a slower phase-out of the foam, and it should be passed.
August 1, 2011 |
Scientists at a meeting in Grenoble, France, stoked speculation last week that physicists at the world's biggest particle accelerator may soon provide a first look at the elusive Higgs boson — the final piece of evidence needed to prove that the Standard Model of particle physics, which explains the behavior of subatomic particles, is correct. The $10-billion Large Hadron Collider was built near Geneva by the European Organization for Nuclear Research, or CERN, to create exotic particles that physicists believe existed in the moments after the Big Bang.
June 14, 2011 |
Thousands of wildfire evacuees began returning to Eagar and Springerville on Monday amid warnings from health officials of a lingering menace: smoke and soot. Although fire officials said the two towns were no longer threatened by the massive Wallow fire, which has consumed nearly 700 square miles of mountainous territory, they urged residents to stay away from the area until more smoke has cleared. Early Monday, particle levels exceeded hazardous levels in the towns, officials said.