Physics News of the Week (October 14 – 21)

| October 21, 2012 | 0 Comments

Another great week has passed, so let’s spend a moment reviewing some interesting news from the world of physics. As always, for more news and other physics related stuff, register for our RSS email newsletter and check out news archive.

1. Highest-Ever Skydive Performed by an Austrian Daredevil (October 14)

Felix Baumgartner stepped into the void nearly at nearly 39,000 meters above south eastern New Mexico Sunday at just after 12 p.m.  then landed safely on the desert floor about 20 minutes later. His astonishing jump broke the 50 year-old record and broke the sound barrier. For the highlight of the jump check out the video below. For more, read here.

2. A New Earth-Sized Planet Found in Alpha Centauri (October 18)

An Earth-sized planet has been discovered circling a star in the system, just 4.4 light-years away. The planet’s mass is similar to Earth’s, however, its orbit is very different. Orbiting so close to its star — 25 times closer than the Earth is to the sun — the planet is likely to be a roasted world incapable of hosting life. Still, the discovery like this, reported October 18 in Nature, sheds some hope on dreams of sending a spacecraft to Alpha Centauri, a perennially favored interstellar target because of its location near to our galaxy. For more information about the new planet, check out this link.

Felix Baumgartner

3. Chaos Theory Helps Predict the Outcome of a Roulette (October 21)

The game of roulette might not be as random as we once thought, according to a brand new research paper published in the American Institute of Physics. Under normal conditions the average return on a roulette is -2.7 percent. However, by applying their calculations to a casino-grade roulette wheel and using a simple clicker device, the researchers were able to achieve an average return of 18 percent. With more complete information, such as monitoring by an overhead camera, the researchers were able to improve their accuracy even further. This research shows that stories of various groups exploiting the deterministic aspect of the roulette for profit might not be just stories after all.  To find out more, check out this link.

 

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