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Scientists re-weigh the electron, get more precise mass

Scientists re-weigh the electron, get more precise mass | Physical Science - SHS | Scoop.it

A precise value for the mass of the electron is one example of the sort of statistic that physicists are eager to collect. Last Wednesday in Nature (2014. DOI: 10.1038/nature13026), a team of German physicists reported a new electron-mass measurement that offers a precision to parts per trillion. It is a “remarkable 13-fold increase in precision,” according to Florida State University physicist Edmund G. Myers, who published an accompanying perspective on the research paper.

 

Scientists have been on a quest for a better and better value of the tiny particle's size for decades. The goal with each new measurement is to get closer and closer to the true value of me, which sharpens our understanding of the way that atoms form molecules and is key to a variety of important calculations.

 

How do you measure something so small? Bind an electron to a reference ion—the team used the “hydrogen-like” carbon nucleus, stripped down to a single electron. The nucleus of that ion has a known, precise mass. You then pop it into an apparatus called a Penning trap, which has been in vogue since the 1980s. A magnetic field whips the ion around a circular path, while an electric field keeps it secured in this motion. Measure the frequency of the whole nucleus-electron system, then the frequency of just the electron. The mass of the electron can be calculated using this ratio, the mass of the ion, the ratio of the electron’s charge to that of the ion, and one other factor: the “g-factor.”

 

Most recent advances in understanding the electron's mass have been thanks to better and better predictions of the g-factor. (Two decades ago, scientists last published an electron mass measurement based on a direct cyclotron measurement described above.) The g-factor is a dimensionless number that is crucial in calculating the frequency of the electron spinning around in the Penningtrap. A “state of the art QED calculation” was used to pin down the g-factor of an electron tethered to a carbon nucleus.

 

Electrons underlie our physical world—everything we interact with is, in part, made of them—as well as our mathematical interpretations of it. The value of their mass is a crucial parameter in the Standard Model of particle physics, which explains electromagnetism, as well as the weak and strong nuclear interactions. The mass of the electron contributes to other key values, such as the Rydberg constant and the fine-structure constant.


Via Dr. Stefan Gruenwald
Joy Kinley's insight:

The masses of protons and neutrons are small and electrons are a fraction of the mass of protons and neutrons.  Any time we can get precise measurements it helps our understanding.

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Astronomers discover 7 Earth-sized planets orbiting nearby star

Astronomers discover 7 Earth-sized planets orbiting nearby star | Physical Science - SHS | Scoop.it
Astronomers have found at least seven Earth-sized planets orbiting the same star 40 light-years away, according to a study published Wednesday in the journal Nature. The findings were also announced at a news conference at NASA Headquarters in Washington.
Joy Kinley's insight:
These planets are also close enough to the sun so that life could occur.  
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Zealandia: Is there an eighth continent under New Zealand? - BBC News

Zealandia: Is there an eighth continent under New Zealand? - BBC News | Physical Science - SHS | Scoop.it
It's almost all under water, but Zealandia should be considered a continent, say researchers.
Joy Kinley's insight:
Most of the continent is underwater but if there is a cold part of an Ice Age, New Zealand can get massively bigger.
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Sound waves create nanoparticle whirlpools to round up tiny signs of disease

Sound waves create nanoparticle whirlpools to round up tiny signs of disease | Physical Science - SHS | Scoop.it
Sound waves create nanoparticle whirlpools to round up tiny signs of disease
Joy Kinley's insight:
This would provide a cheaper easier way to early detect problems and diseases.
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Supernovae analysis finds scant evidence for dark energy - physicsworld.com

Supernovae analysis finds scant evidence for dark energy - physicsworld.com | Physical Science - SHS | Scoop.it
New statistical analysis casts doubt on accelerating expansion of the universe
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Loops of ribbon inspire physicists - physicsworld.com

Loops of ribbon inspire physicists - physicsworld.com | Physical Science - SHS | Scoop.it
Research could boost our understanding of proteins and plants
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Water Shortages May Cut Short US Energy Revolution. What’s Needed? · Environmental Leader · Environmental Management News

Water Shortages May Cut Short US Energy Revolution. What’s Needed? · Environmental Leader · Environmental Management News | Physical Science - SHS | Scoop.it

With the shale gas boom reverberating across the United States, the country has found an abundant and cheap energy source — one that is reducing energy costs for corporations while also cutting the emissions of industrials and utilities.

Joy Kinley's insight:

Water is necessary for fracking.  Because of the size of the United States some regions are experiencing drought that will limit this drilling.

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Deep-space travel may be fueled by a healthy diet of prunes | Science! | Geek.com

Deep-space travel may be fueled by a healthy diet of prunes | Science! | Geek.com | Physical Science - SHS | Scoop.it

Science has given a clue as to how humans might survive out in the depths of space. The answer: Dried prunes.

Joy Kinley's insight:

Ok, who would have thought that prunes would be so helpful.  They would pack easy since they are dried fruits.  There is only one problem prunes are very high in fiber so don't eat to many of them.

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Gravitational wave detection could be a false alarm

Gravitational wave detection could be a false alarm | Physical Science - SHS | Scoop.it

Caution is needed over claims that gravitational waves have been found. It could be a fake to test the detectors and scientists involved – it has been before

Joy Kinley's insight:

Einstein thought that gravitational waves existed but that it would be difficult to locate them.  It looks like they have been discovered but the results need to be duplicated and studied further.  

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Fishers and conservationists urge release of herpes virus to kill Murray river carp

Fishers and conservationists urge release of herpes virus to kill Murray river carp | Physical Science - SHS | Scoop.it

Unlikely alliance says specialised disease will transform rivers and protect native fish species after exponential growth in numbers of the European invader

Joy Kinley's insight:

The carp were an invasive species in Australia and have caused a great deal of damage to the ecosystem.  Let's hope that the fish herpes can't mutate enough to spread to the native species.

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Intelligent bandage glows when it detects an infection | Science! | Geek.com

Intelligent bandage glows when it detects an infection | Science! | Geek.com | Physical Science - SHS | Scoop.it

Scientist have developed a band-aid that turns florescent green, warning doctors when it senses the onset of an infection. Pretty smart. The developers are a group of researchers at the University of Bath.

Joy Kinley's insight:

This would help keep antibiotic use down and help people get to a doctor when infection is setting in so they can get treatment at the start of a problem.

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Satellite Eye on Earth: September 2015 – in pictures

Satellite Eye on Earth: September 2015 – in pictures | Physical Science - SHS | Scoop.it
Indonesia’s fires, autumn on the Great Lakes and Australia’s Earth art are among the images captured by European Space Agency and Nasa satellites last month Nasa astronaut Scott Kelly’s series of photographs of Australia taken from the...
Joy Kinley's insight:

This is a very cool view of Earth.

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Science of resistance: Heinrich Wieland, the biochemist who defied the Nazis

Science of resistance: Heinrich Wieland, the biochemist who defied the Nazis | Physical Science - SHS | Scoop.it
Recognise his name? Few do. But Wieland wasn’t just the father of biochemistry and a Nobel prize winner.
Joy Kinley's insight:

Bravery is a term frequently used for anyone trying something new or dangerous.  Heinrich Wieland was a brilliant scientist who also was brave.  He openly defied the Nazi's and helped protect students.

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Man who died 1,500 years ago may have brought leprosy strain to UK

Man who died 1,500 years ago may have brought leprosy strain to UK | Physical Science - SHS | Scoop.it
Scientists have diagnosed strain of leprosy on man from Scandinavia who died in Essex in the fifth or early sixth century A Scandinavian man who died 1,500 years ago in Essex suffered from leprosy, and may have been the first to bring the strain to...
Joy Kinley's insight:

I knew that historically people with leprosy had to live apart but I didn't know that they were often declared dead.

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'The loss of Hans Rosling is keenly felt at a time when fake news is rife'

'The loss of Hans Rosling is keenly felt at a time when fake news is rife' | Physical Science - SHS | Scoop.it
Keith Morris of Cardiff Metropolitan University remembers late Swedish health professor Hans Rosling in this piece first published by The Conversation.
Joy Kinley's insight:
Hans Rosling explained and put data into perspective.
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Colossal diamond’s eerie glow Earns It a Fiery Name

Colossal diamond’s eerie glow Earns It a Fiery Name | Physical Science - SHS | Scoop.it
Several weeks before it went on display in mid-November at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of Natural History, minerals curator Jeff Post stood in the museum’s …
Joy Kinley's insight:
Most diamonds have trace elements inside their internal matrix the ones in this one allow it to fluoresce or glow for several seconds. 
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Frogs use non-Newtonian saliva to capture prey - physicsworld.com

Frogs use non-Newtonian saliva to capture prey - physicsworld.com | Physical Science - SHS | Scoop.it
Extreme softness makes a frog's tongue a lethal weapon
Joy Kinley's insight:
Non-Newtonian fluids change their behaviors - they act like both a solid and a liquid.
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Flash Physics: Thirty Meter Telescope could go to Spain, artificial muscles flex, light switches light - physicsworld.com

Flash Physics: Thirty Meter Telescope could go to Spain, artificial muscles flex, light switches light - physicsworld.com | Physical Science - SHS | Scoop.it
Today's selection of need-to-know updates from the world of physics
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Astronaut Scott Kelly taller after space stint

Astronaut Scott Kelly taller after space stint | Physical Science - SHS | Scoop.it
Astronaut Scott Kelly and his twin brother used to be the same height. But that may not be true when they stand side by side for the first time in nearly a year.
Joy Kinley's insight:
The lessened gravity of space allows for the vertebra in the back to move and most astronauts grow some after they spend time in space.  Alas, the effects go away after time back on Earth.  
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The Weird Thing About Cat Legs

The Weird Thing About Cat Legs | Physical Science - SHS | Scoop.it

The mystery that spans every feline, from tabby house cats to Siberian tigers.

Joy Kinley's insight:

Its interesting that the muscles in their legs really don't change from house cat to tiger. However, they are cats so they didn't want to cooperate.

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A lightbulb moment for the old-fashioned filament

A lightbulb moment for the old-fashioned filament | Physical Science - SHS | Scoop.it

Do you yearn for the soft, instant light of the incandescent bulb? Edison’s invention could be back – in an even more efficient form than energy-saving fluorescents

Joy Kinley's insight:

Most of the energy being used in a traditional light-bulb is lost to heat, which anyone that has tried to change a just burnt out light knows.  The push has been to use the efficient which take longer to get bright and produce a different color light.  

 

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Our Sun may be capable of superflares that could kill all your electronics | Science! | Geek.com

Our sun might looks like a happy ball of light up there in the sky, but it’s actually a raging nuclear inferno with sufficient energy output to burn us all to a crisp. [...]

Joy Kinley's insight:

Superflares would have happened throughout history.  These extra bursts of electromagnetic energy don't disrupt biologic life however they are damaging to electronics.

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Ancient river network discovered buried under Saharan sand

Ancient river network discovered buried under Saharan sand | Physical Science - SHS | Scoop.it
Radar images of the Mauritanian desert have revealed a river stretching for more than 500km and suggest plants and wildlife once thrived there A vast river network that once carried water for hundreds of miles across Western Sahara has been...
Joy Kinley's insight:

It is hard for us to imagine but the Sahara Desert was once green.  The images show that this river was massive and could carry a great deal of water.  

 

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Professor on Hiroshima photographs: 'They allow us a glimpse into a nuclear ... - Wichita Eagle

Professor on Hiroshima photographs: 'They allow us a glimpse into a nuclear ... - Wichita Eagle | Physical Science - SHS | Scoop.it
The professor at Emporia State University, will return to Japan on Saturday to speak at the 2015 International Peace Symposium in Hiroshima marking 70th anniversary of the atomic bombings in Japan.
Joy Kinley's insight:

The pictures from all bombings are horrific but these pictures from Hiroshima are still unbelievable in the types of destruction that are shown.

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In the 1950s, the UK had serious plans to use live chickens to help keep ... - Business Insider

In the 1950s, the UK had serious plans to use live chickens to help keep ... - Business Insider | Physical Science - SHS | Scoop.it
The UK wanted chickens to keep a nuclear weapon warm.
Joy Kinley's insight:

I'm not quiet sure what to say about this.  The Cold War was filled with many of these ideas.

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