Monday, May 08, 2006

Latest PhysicsWeb Summaries


Veneto Nanotech Launches the 2nd Edition of Nanochallenge Enter your
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products and services in the nanotechnology industry. Find out more at



No WIMPS -- only superWIMPS (Apr 25)
It will be difficult for the Large Hadron Collider at CERN, which comes
online next year, to detect "WIMPS" -- the leading dark-matter candidate
particles -- say physicists in the US. However, the collider, which will
be the world's most powerful particle accelerator, might be able to
detect a new class of particles called "SuperWIMPS" -- the decay
products of WIMPS. The detection of dark matter particles would
represent a major breakthrough in both particle physics and cosmology
(Phys. Rev. Lett. 96 151802).

US told to invest in particle physics (Apr 26)
America must boost its investment in particle physics if it is to stay
at the forefront of the discipline. That is the conclusion of a National
Academy of Sciences panel charged with recommending priorities for US
particle physics over the next 15 years. The panel believes that the
"intellectual centre of gravity" within the field is moving abroad and
that, as things stand, within a few years most American experimental
particle physicists will be working at facilities overseas.

Nuclear waste should be buried (Apr 27)
After three years of deliberation, a government-commissioned inquiry has
concluded that the UK should bury its nuclear waste deep underground.
The Committee on Radioactive Waste Management (CoRWM) laid out its
solution to the decades-old waste problem in a press conference held
today. But it told reporters that because it will take many years to
dispose of the waste in this way, the construction of a permanent
repository must be complemented by a robust system of interim storage.

Insects inspire artificial eyes (Apr 27)
Scientists in the US have made the first artificial eye using 3D polymer
structures. The eye, which is made from individual "ommatidia" -- or
single lenses -- arranged in a dome shape, is similar in structure to an
insect's compound eye. It was developed by Luke Lee and colleagues at
the University of California at Berkeley. Each ommatidium consists of a
refractive polymer microlens, a light-guiding polymer cone, and a
waveguide that together collect and direct light into an optoelectronics
detector that can recognize images. If perfected, such eyes could be
used in medicine, environmental monitoring, industry and the military
(Science 321 557).

New light on giant tilts (Apr 28)
A new theory has been proposed to explain how the giant planets --
Jupiter, Saturn and Uranus -- became tilted. The tilts of these planets
are fixed, whereas the tilts of the smaller Earth-like planets --
Mercury, Mars and Venus -- have changed with time. The new theory, which
has been developed by Adrian Brunini at the National University of La
Plata in Argentina, says that the tilts were fixed by the way the
planets interacted gravitationally as they moved from being close
together to the positions they occupy today (Nature 440 1163). If
correct, the theory would solve one of the biggest mysteries in our
solar system.


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