Sunday, April 23, 2006

Latest PhysicsWeb Summaries


Veneto Nanotech Launches the 2nd Edition of Nanochallenge Enter your
nanotechnology business plan to Nanochallenge 2006 and you could win the
grand prize of Euro 300,000. The competition seeks commercially viable
business plans for innovative start-ups to produce and commercialize
products and services in the nanotechnology industry. Find out more at



General relativity reveals its secrets (Apr 19)
Einstein's general theory of relativity might be over 90 years old, but
it is only recently that many of its implications can be explored thanks
to advances in computing power. This is because its complex nonlinear
equations -- which describe how space--time is curved by matter and
therefore how matter moves in a gravitational field -- cannot be solved
exactly, even for the simplest situations.

Metals protect Milky Way from gamma-ray bursts (Apr 20)
Do you lie awake at night worrying that life on Earth might one day be
destroyed by a blast of gamma radiation from space? Then don't, because
a team of astronomers in the US has calculated that the probability of
such an event occurring in our galaxy is virtually zero. Krzysztof
Stanek and colleagues at Ohio State University say that gamma-ray bursts
-- the most powerful explosions in the universe after the big bang --
only tend to occur in small, misshapen "metal-poor" galaxies. Our Milky
Way is safe since it is a large spiral galaxy that contains lots of
heavy elements (astro-ph/0604113).

Google unearths physics gems (Apr 21)
Google could be a good way of measuring the "impact" of a particular
scientific paper and might even be used to replace traditional citation
indices, according to a new statistical analysis by physicists in the
US. The researchers have found that the Google PageRank algorithm, which
measures the relative importance of Web pages, can provide a systematic
way to find important papers. The technique also uncovers scientific
"gems" -- top papers overlooked by conventional searches

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