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December 2008

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Veeco - HarmoniX™ Nanoscale Material Property Mapping

Stay up to date with current news and research with this issue of Physics Today Favorites Top Stories and Most Popular Articles.

Nanotube loudspeakers

Researchers from Tsinghua University and Beijing Normal University have demonstrated a radically simpler loudspeaker design based on nanotubes

Shocking start for the solar system

In the 1970s, the hypothesis arose that our solar system was formed by a passing shock wave from a supernova, which triggered the collapse of an interstellar cloud into a dense region of gas and dust that further contracted to become the Sun and its orbiting planets.

Signs of Dark Matter?

Two groups of cosmic-ray observers have reported unexpectedly large fluxes of high-energy electrons and positrons. Those excesses suggest either that there are undiscovered astrophysical sources such as radio-quiet pulsars surprisingly nearby or that the positrons and electrons are annihilation products of WIMPs-weakly interacting dark-matter particles hundreds of times more massive than the proton.

Vortices spontaneously arise as a Bose-Einstein condensate forms

In an emptying bathtub, water forms a whirlpool around the drain. But circular flow can't persist to the very center of the vortex; there must be a water-free funnel. In 1985 Wojciech Zurek, following on work of Tom Kibble, suggested that "topological defects" analogous to the whirlpool could be generated spontaneously in a system undergoing a second-order phase transition.

Femto - Sophisticated Tools for Signal Recovery

Environmental consequences of nuclear war

A regional war involving 100 Hiroshima-sized weapons would pose a worldwide threat due to ozone destruction and climate change. A superpower confrontation with a few thousand weapons would be catastrophic.

The physics of networks

Statistical analysis of interconnected groups-of computers, animals, or people-yields important clues about how they function and even offers predictions of their future behavior.

Batteries and electrochemical capacitors

Present and future applications of electrical energy storage devices are stimulating research into innovative new materials and novel architectures.

Who is listening? What do they hear?

In communicating our science, have we put too much emphasis on the information we want to convey? Perhaps there is another way to think about it.

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