Physics News of the Week is a new section of the website, which focuses on the most important events that happened in the world of physics throughout the week. Every weekend I will shortly review the news of physics (and some general science news as well). The selection of news will be mostly based on importance, but once in a while I’ll also post something just for the fun of it. So let’s check out what happened last week.
1. Evidence Found for Water on Vesta (September 21)
Launched in 2007, the Dawn spacecraft has spent the past 13 months in orbit around Vesta, the second biggest asteroid in the solar system. Now, just a week after Dawn left Vesta’s orbit, two research papers were published based on the data obtained. These two papers reveal compelling evidence that there might be water on the surface of the asteroid. The researchers believe the water could have been stored in hydrated minerals on smaller, water-rich asteroids that impacted Vesta.
2. Physics IG Nobel Prize Awarded to Ponytail Researchers (September 21)
The 22 annual IG Nobel Prize ceremony, which took place on the September 20, awarded 4 scientists for calculating the balance of forces that shape the hair in a ponytail. Patrick Warren, Raymond Goldstein, Robin Ball, and Joe Keller, who made the discovery, are actual scientist with serious publications in peer-reviewed journals. Warren commented that the discovery has practical applications in making of hair product.
3. World’s Most Powerful Digital Camera Hunts for Dark Energy (September 17)
The most powerful digital camera ever created started its hunt for dark energy in Chile. It took 8 years to plan and construct the camera for researchers and engineers from all around the globe, but it’s finally working. The first pictures by the 570-megapixel camera were taken on September 12. The main aim of the camera is to observe the skies in order to conduct a survey for dark energy — the cause for the accelerated expansion of the universe.
4. Quantum Teleportation Tipped for Nobel Prize (September 23)
Nobel prediction expert David Pendlebury, who’s annual forecasts are based on the company’s “Web of Knowledge” data, predicts that the group of researchers, who wrote the rulebook for quantum teleportation are among the strong candidates for the upcoming Nobel Prize. Winners of the 2012 Nobels are due to be announced in early October and they are notoriously hard to predict, especially having in mind the so called “Higgs Boson Headache” — the fact that there are 5 living scientists with a claim on the Higgs boson theory. Pendlebury predicts that the prize for the discover of Higgs Boson will not be awarded this year.