Category Archives: General News

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Expansion expanding

Category : General News

The expansion rate of the Universe seems to be 5-9% faster than expected, according to new data from the space telescope Hubble which give an improved value of the Hubble constant. The report is published in Astrophysical Journal. However, this new value is in conflict with measurements of the microwave background radiation using the NASA Wilkinson MW probe and ESA Planck satellite. There are no explanations yet. According to leading scientist Adam Reiss “This surprising finding may be an important clue to understanding those mysterious parts of the Universe that make up 95 percent of everything and don’t emit light, such as dark energy, dark matter, and dark radiation”. I cannot avoid thinking that this looks like the ether hypothesis in the XIX century …

inflationary universe


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Gravitational waves

Category : Cosmology , General News

Einstein would be happy: Researchers at LIGO announced the detection of gravitational waves. Simulations indicate that the signal is originated by the merging of two black holes which collided 1.3 billion light-years away. The LIGO experiment is made of two facilities separated 3002 km. Each site has two L-shaped ultra-high-vacuum arms, 4 km long on each side, containing several interferometers. Distortions in the space-time caused by a gravitational wave produce an astonishing small -yet detectable- signal equivalent to 1 part in 10²¹. Watch the videos from ligo.org or download a ring tone for your cell phone! This does not happen everyday.


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Encounter on Physics

Category : Conferences , General News

The Faculty of Sciences hosted a new “Encounter on Frontiers of Physics” last December 2-3, 2015, organized by the “Duques de Soria” Foundation, together with the Universities of Valladolid (UVa) and Salamanca (USal). The meeting included seven conferences by different specialists on relativity, neutrinos, magnetism, graphene, Raman spectroscopy and others. José Cernicharo (ICMM – CSIC, Madrid) talked on “Astrochemistry: Chemical complexity in the space”.

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In the picture above Pepe Cernicharo addresses the audience in his talk.

 


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RSEQ talk

Category : General News

Prof. Miguel A. Sierra (UCM, Madrid), General Editor of Anales de Química (the Journal of the Spanish Chemical Society), gave a lecture to the UVa Chemistry students last October 23. The talk was titled “Chemistry: An impure Science?” and discussed on the relevance and double use of chemical tools. Prof. Silverio Coco, local President of the RSEQ, presented the local section to the students and explained some of their activities.

charla rseq octubre 2015


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Neutrino mass

Category : General News

Particle Physics made a hit again. The Nobel prize of Physics was awarded to researchers working in neutrino oscillation. The experiments showing conversion between different types of neutrinos prove that they must have some mass (unlike the initial assumption of the Standard Model). The Swedish Academy called it “Metamorphosis in the particle world“. The Chemistry prize was (again) Biochemistry, and focused in DNA repair.

SuperkamiokandeThe ultra-pure water pool used in theSuper-Kamiokande neutrino detection experiment in Japan may have nice recreational possibilities (credits).


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Molecules on comet

Category : Cosmology , General News

Results from a mass spectrometer on board the Philae lander revealed 16 organic molecules in the surface of the comet Churyumov-Gerasimenko, according to a report in Science. The article is part of a special issue on the comet. The spectrum was recorded about half an hour after the first touchdown and shows four compounds never observed before on comets. Most of the organic compounds contain nitrogen, but not sulphur. The observed molecules include acetone, propionaldehyde, acetamide, glycolaldehyde and etylene glycol. Science has collected other results in his Rosetta web page. Unfortunately these initial results might be also the last since Philae does not communicate since July 9.

F1.mediumsn-BibringPhilaeIn the figure above stars can be seen above the cliff where Philae landed in comet P57.


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Philae wakes up

Category : General News

The Philae space probe woke up from hybernation last June 14 and transmited for 85 seconds. The probe was sitting at the Churyumov-Gerasimenko comet since November 2014, waiting for more sun on its panels. In the following months ten instruments on board Philae, including X-ray and IR spectrometers, a cromatograph and TOF  mass detector, may provide insight about the comet chemical composition and other physical properties. The video below shows the hazardous landing of the probe.

The simulation video was prepared by David Ducros for the French CNES.


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New building in Hannover

Category : General News

The Institut of Physical Chemistry in Hannover, with whom who keep a lasting collaboration through Prof. Jens-Uwe Grabow, celebrated the dedication of their renovated building last June 11th. The ceremony was chaired by the President of the Leibniz-University of Hannover and included several invited guests. The Nobel laureate Sir Harry Kroto gave a brief presentation, since he designed a new wall drawing for the Institute, inspired in the diffraction pattern of a quasicrystal. Alberto was at the ceremony as part of a short visit to Hannover.

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In the picture below Prof. Kroto addresses the ceremony.


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Int’l Year of Light

Category : General News

UN & UNESCO have promoted 2015 as the International Year of Light, IYL 2015. This global initiative will highlight “the importance of light and optical technologies for people’s lives, futures, and development of society”. A committee of the Spanish Optical Society (SEDOPTICA) will organize different activities around the year from the web “Año de la luz 2015“.

Year of light BlockLogo

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Digital Einstein

Category : General News

NYT informs that papers, notes and correspondence of Albert Einstein are now freely available on the “Digital Einstein” web page. The web is part of the Einstein Papers Project, which has published 13 paper volumes edited by Diana Kormos-Buchwald. The web includes a useful English translation. As a side note Einstein got a rank of 0.5 in Lev Landau’s list, a logarithmic scale of physicists productivity (Newton was ranked 0, while Bohr, Heisemberg, Schrödinger and Dirac got 1). A translated excerpt from “The Electrodynamics of Moving Bodies” (1905) is shown below.

digital einstein

Einstein 1905