Scientists are unanimous that their current theory of physics is incomplete. Yet every effort to expose a deeper theory has so far disappointed. Now the most sensitive test yet of the shape of an electron--a property that could expose underlying "new physics"--has failed to find hints of anything novel. The finding rules out a number of favored ideas for extending physics, including some versions of a popular idea called supersymmetry.
Pulverized Asteroid around Distant Star Was Full of Water
Higgs and Englert Are Awarded Nobel Prize in Physics
Two theoretical physicists who suggested that an invisible ocean of energy suffusing space is responsible for the mass and diversity of the particles in the universe won the Nobel Prize in Physics on Tuesday morning. They are Peter Higgs, 84, of the University of Edinburgh in Scotland, and François Englert, 80, of the University Libre de Bruxelles in Belgium.
'Higgsogenesis' proposed to explain dark matter
A key riddle in cosmology may be answered by the 2012 discovery of the Higgs boson -- now a leading contender for the 2013 Nobel Prize in Physics on 8 October. Two physicists suggest that the Higgs had a key role in the early Universe, producing the observed difference between the number of matter and antimatter particles and determining the density of the mysterious dark matter that makes up five-sixths of the matter in the Universe.
A Jewel at the Heart of Quantum Physics
Physicists have discovered a jewel-like geometric object that dramatically simplifies calculations of particle interactions and challenges the notion that space and time are fundamental components of reality.
Supervolcanoes Rocked Early Mars
The planets of the inner solar system--Earth, Mars, Venus, and Mercury--started their lives as boiling-hot balls of rock, which cooled to feature thin crusts battered by asteroid and comet impacts. On Mars, that early crust was perhaps also punctured by supersize volcanoes with calderas more than 30 miles (50 kilometers) wide, a newly identified kind of volcanism on the red planet.
Hunting quantum gravity in the big bang's echoes
Uniting gravity with its quantum nemesis might take a detector the size of the universe. So say two physicists who think they have found a way to resolve one of the biggest conflicts in modern physics using high-resolution maps of the infant cosmos.
Fusion Experiments Inch Closer To Break-Even Goal
Fusion energy has proven an elusive goal -- a running joke is that humanity is 20 years away from a practical power plant, and has been for 60 years.That could be changing, said John Edwards, associate director for inertial confinement fusion and high-energy-density science of the National Ignition Facility. In a recent piece published in the journal Physics of Plasmas, Edwards said NIF scientists are getting closer to reactions that produce more energy than they need to get going, and added that the obstacles to realizing nuclear fusion involve engineering problems rather than basic physics.
Curiosity Rover Makes Big Water Discovery in Mars Dirt, a 'Wow Moment'
Future Mars explorers may be able to get all the water they need out of the red dirt beneath their boots, a new study suggests.
With Earth spinning more slowly, time isn't flying as fast as before
Don't forget to set your clocks ahead two thousandths of a second before you go to sleep tonight. Same thing goes for bedtime tomorrow. And every day after that, because that is how much slower the Earth turns on its axis each day now than it did a century ago.
Earth Had Oxygen Much Earlier Than Thought
Oxygen may have filled Earth's atmosphere hundreds of millions of years earlier than previously thought, suggesting that sunlight-dependent life akin to modern plants evolved very early in Earth's history, a new study finds.
Is the universe saddle shaped?
The geometry of the universe is "open" or negatively curved like a saddle, according to a new model proposed by researchers in Europe who have studied anomalies in the cosmic microwave background radiation. The anomalies were first detected by NASA's Wilkinson Microwave Anisotropy Probe (WMAP) in 2004 and were confirmed earlier this year by the European Space Agency's Planck space mission.
Beam Me Up: Bits of Information Teleported Across Computer Chip
Quantum mechanics allows for some very strange things, like the teleportation of information and computers that can break even the toughest codes. Recently, scientists at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (ETH) in Zurich made a step toward building a working quantum computer by teleporting bits of information across a computer chip. The results of the study were detailed Aug. 15 in the journal Nature.
Doomsday and disembodied brains? Tiny particle rules universe's fate
The universe may end in another 10 billion years or sooner if the heaviest of all the known elementary particles, the top quark, is even heavier than previously thought, researchers say. If the top quark is not heavier than experiments currently suggest, then an even stranger fate may await the cosmos: disembodied brains and virtually anything else could one day randomly materialize into existence.
The Drake Equation Revisited
Planet hunters keep finding distant worlds that bear a resemblance to Earth. Some of the thousands of exoplanet candidates discovered to date have similar sizes or temperatures. Others possess rocky surfaces and support atmospheres. But no world has yet provided an unambiguous sign of the characteristic that still sets our pale blue dot apart: the presence of life. That may be about to change, says exoplanet expert Sara Seager of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Cambridge. Upcoming NASA missions such as the Transiting Exoplanet Satellite Survey (TESS) and the James Webb Space Telescope, both due to launch around 2018, should be able to find and characterize Earth-like planets orbiting small stars.
Spotting signs of life on those planets will be possible because of progress in detecting not only planets, but their atmospheres as well. When a planet passes in front of its host star, atmospheric gases reveal their presence by absorbing some of the starlight. Oxygen, water vapor or other gases that do not belong on dead worlds could very well provide the first evidence of life elsewhere.
In 1961, astronomer Frank Drake developed an equation that summarizes the main factors to contemplate in the question of radio-communicative alien life. These factors include the number of stars in our galaxy that have planets and the length of time advanced alien civilizations would be releasing radio signals into space. Instead of aliens with radio technology, Seager has revised the Drake equation to focus on simply the presence of any alien life.
First Human Mind-Meld Created
Two new researchers have demonstrated the possibility of a human mind-meld, with one man's brain signals directing the other man's hand to move.
Highly sensitive skin-like sensor lights up at touch
A skin-like sensor array that can convert touch directly into light signals has been built from individual-nanowire light-emitting diodes by researchers in the US. The new device appears to be more sensitive to touch than even human skin. It might be ideal in robotics applications, in next-generation touchscreen pads, for improved human-machine interfaces, biological imaging and optical microelectromechanical systems (MEMS), to name but a few.
NASA's WISE telescope poised for second life as asteroid hunter
A dormant NASA space telescope is to be given a new lease of life - to sniff out near-Earth objects that could be on a collision course with our planet. Agency officials have decided to reactivate WISE, the Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer that was mothballed in 2011 after spending two years studying the universe.
Cosmic Rays May Reveal Damage to Fukushima's Nuclear Reactors
Radiation is still leaking from the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant after the 2011 tsunami-related meltdown in Japan, making any damage assessment dangerous for both humans and machines. Instead, high-energy particles created by cosmic rays striking the Earth's atmosphere could provide an X-ray-style image of the damage from a much safer distance.
Hunt for Intelligent Aliens Focuses on Faint Laser Flashes
When it comes to detecting laser pulses aliens might shoot at Earth to attract our attention, scientists now find they can detect signals as faint as a single photon of light every few tiny fractions of a second.
Sluggish Surprise Found Deep Inside Earth
The way heat flows near the Earth's core, which is key to understanding the planet's evolution, has now been revealed to move more sluggishly than previously thought, researchers said.
Star Trek Tricorder About to Come True for Medicine
Scanadu CEO Walter DeBrouwer scans SPACE.com's Clara Moskowitz with his company's non-invasive wireless device and tells her whats under the hood ... in more ways than one.
Rare Particle Discovery Dims Hopes for Exotic Theories
Physicists have measured an extremely rare particle decay inside the world's largest atom smasher -- a discovery that bolsters the leading model of particle physics and leaves little room for undiscovered particles beyond this theory.
NASA Funds 12 Far-Out Space Tech Ideas
NASA has granted funding to a dozen imaginative tech concepts, in the hopes that one or more of them will lead to big breakthroughs in space science and exploration.
The 12 ideas, which were selected under Phase 1 of the NASA Innovative Advanced Concepts (NIAC) program, are ambitious and varied. One aims to build biomaterials such as human tissue with a 3D printer, for example, while another proposes to induce deep-sleep torpor states in astronauts making the long journey
Space-Time Loops May Explain Black Holes
Physics cannot describe what happens inside a black hole. There, current theories break down, and general relativity collides with quantum mechanics, creating what's called a singularity, or a point at which the equations spit out infinities. But some advanced physics theories are trying to bridge the gap between general relativity and quantum mechanics, to understand what's truly going on inside the densest objects in the universe. Recently, scientists applied a theory called loop quantum gravity to the case of black holes, and found that inside these objects, space and time may be extremely curved, but that gravity there is not infinite, as general relativity predicts.
'Holographic Duality' Hints at Hidden Subatomic World
Increasingly over the past decade, studying the black hole equivalents of strongly correlated forms of matter has yielded groundbreaking results, such as a new equation for the viscosity of strongly interacting fluids and a better grasp of interactions between quarks and gluons, which are particles found in the nuclei of atoms. Now Gary Horowitz, a physics professor at UC-Santa Barbara, and Jorge Santos, a post-doctoral researcher in Horowitz's group, have modeled strange materials called cuprates as peculiarly shaped black holes in higher dimensions.
Shields up! Scientists work to produce 'Star Trek' deflector device
Scientists at the UK's Rutherford Appleton Laboratory are working on a radiation shield for astronauts
A model has been tested inside a fusion reactor which produces a plasma like that of the solar wind
Fluorescent Polymer Detects Crime Scene Fingerprints
The latest in high-tech crime-scene investigation is a "fluorescent tag" that can help identify fingerprints on bullets, knives and other metal surfaces by creating images that are accurate to the nanoscale.
Mars Rover Opportunity Hits Driving Milestone on 10th Birthday
On the 10th anniversary of its launch, NASA's Opportunity rover on Mars is also celebrating reaching the halfway point in its drive from one crater-rim segment to another.
Nanoparticles Help Scientists Tell Left From Right
A new method that amplifies the difference between right-handed and left-handed molecules could lead to the development of new nanomaterials, optical sensors and pharmaceutical drugs.
'Mini-Neptune' Alien Planets in Star Cluster Surprise Scientists
Astronomers using the planet-hunting Kepler spacecraft have found two planets circling different stars in the violent environment of an ancient open star cluster called NGC 6811 located about 3,300 light-years from Earth. Until now, four of the more than 850 planets known outside the solar system were spotted in clusters.
From NASA to the Vatican: 10 Amazing Internships
You could be gaining professional experience ÃƒÂ¢Ã¯Â¿Â½" and potentially having the time of your life ÃƒÂ¢Ã¯Â¿Â½" with the right summer internship.
Asteroid Miners to Use 3D Printing for Space Telescopes
3D printing could help the asteroid-mining industry get off the ground.
New 'Charmed' Particle Represents Rare State of Matter
The Beijing Spectrometer Experiment (BESIII) found evidence of a new particle that may contain four quarks. The same particle was independently found at the Belle experiment in Japan, with both projects publishing their results June 17, 2013.
New Electronics Can Withstand Bodily Fluids
Electronicsand bodily fluids don't mix well. But new technology enables electronic devices to function in direct contact with tissues inside the body. The technology could allow scientists to make sensors that detect the early stages of organ transplant rejection, or create artificial nerves, researchers say.
Atom Smashers Find Something Not So Charm-ing
At a news conference Sunday (April 14) at the American Physical Society meeting in Denver, three panelists offered their takes on the quest for new particle species, including a structure never seen before, and for confirmation that a model called supersymmetry might be true.
It's Time to Tackle Interstellar Spaceflight, Experts Say
If humanity is serious about traveling to other star star systems in the foreseeable future, it needs to get the ball rolling now, say experts who have organized the upcoming conference "Starship Congress" on the subject.
How Ancient Life May Have Come About
A family tree unites a diverse group of individuals that all carry genetic vestiges from a single common ancestor at the base of the tree. But this organizational structure falls apart if genetic information is a communal resource as opposed to a family possession.
Some evidence suggests that early evolution may have been based on a collective sharing of genes. A group of researchers are now searching for clear genetic vestiges from this communal ancestry.
Top 5 Reasons We May Live in a Multiverse
The universe we live in may not be the only one out there. In fact, our universe could be just one of an infinite number of universes making up a "multiverse." Though the concept may stretch credulity, there's good physics behind it. And there's not just one way to get to a multiverse -- numerous physics theories independently point to such a conclusion. In fact, some experts think the existence of hidden universes is more likely than not.
Here are the five most plausible scientific theories suggesting we live in a multiverse.
Baylor Physicists Contribute to Higgs Boson Findings
WACO, Texas (July 4, 2012) - Baylor University postdoctoral research associate Azeddine Kasmi, Ph.D., will present the latest results on the search for the Higgs boson from the Collider Detector at Fermilab (CDF) experiment at the International Conference on High Energy Physics currently underway in Melbourne, Australia.