A team of astronomers, including two from MIT, has detected the most distant supermassive black hole ever observed. The black hole sits in the center of an ultrabright quasar, the light of which was emitted just 690 million years after the Big Bang. That light has taken about 13 billion years to reach us — a span of time that is nearly equal to the age of the universe._MIT
Looking at massive galaxy clusters, EPFL astronomers have observed that their brightest galaxies within them “wobble” — an unexpected phenomenon in current models. The discovery, published in MNRAS, adds to the body of evidence of dark matter beyond the Standard Cosmological Model (ΛCDM). _EPFL
Researchers have—for just a fraction of a second—glimpsed an electron’s-eye view of the world. That is, they have succeeded for the first time in tracking an electron leaving the vicinity of an atom as the atom absorbs light. In a way akin to taking “snapshots” of the process, they were able to follow how each electron’s unique momentum changed over the incredibly short span of time it took to escape its host atom and become a free electron. _OSU
Life on Earth began somewhere between 3.7 and 4.5 billion years ago, after meteorites splashed down and leached essential elements into warm little ponds, say scientists at McMaster University and the Max Planck Institute in Germany.
Their calculations suggest that wet and dry cycles bonded basic molecular building blocks in the ponds’ nutrient-rich broth into self-replicating RNA molecules that constituted the first genetic code for life on the planet.
Scientists from the Chair of Laser Physics and the Chair of Applied Physics at Friedrich-Alexander-Universität Erlangen-Nürnberg (FAU) have succeeded in switching on a current with a desired direction in graphene using a single laser pulse within a femtosecond – a femtosecond corresponds to the millionth part of a billionth of a second. This is more than a thousand times faster compared to the most efficient transistors today.
Physicists from the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory (PPPL) are providing critical expertise for the first full campaign of the world’s largest and most powerful stellarator, a magnetic confinement fusion experiment, the Wendelstein 7-X (W7-X) in Germany.
In a new paper published in Science, researchers at the University of Pennsylvania provided a detailed look into how self-assembled squid lenses have evolved to adjust for light distortion, which allows them to see clearly in the dim waters of the open ocean. _Penn News
For first time, researchers see individual atoms keep away from each other or bunch up as pairs
Observations of atomic interactions could help pave way to room-temperature superconductors.
Jennifer Chu | MIT News Office
Just months after their discovery, gravitational waves coming from the mergers of black holes are shaking up astrophysics. _ By Natalie Wolchover, Quanta Magazine
Jupiter’s Great Red Spot – the largest and longest-persisting storm in the solar system – may provide the energy required to heat the planet’s upper atmosphere to the unusually high values observed. So says an international team of astronomers, who believe they have found that the atmosphere above the storm is hundreds of degrees hotter than anywhere else on the planet._Tushna Commissariat, physicsworld.com
An early sign that neutrinos behave differently than antineutrinos suggests an answer to one of the biggest questions in physics._ Natalie Wolchover, Quanta Magazine
A high-tech version of an old-fashioned balance scale at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) has just brought scientists a critical step closer toward a new and improved definition of the kilogram. _NIST
One of the world’s top particle accelerators has reached a milestone, achieving its «first turns» — circulating beams of particles for the first time — and opening a new window into the universe, a view that will give physicists access to a record rate of particle collisions in a tiny volume in space.__PNNL
LIGO signal reveals first observation of two massive black holes colliding, proves Einstein right
Jennifer Chu • MIT News Office
Physicists at the Technical University of Munich, the Los Alamos National Laboratory and Stanford University (USA) have tracked down semiconductor nanostructure mechanisms that can result in the loss of stored information – and halted the amnesia using an external magnetic field. The new nanostructures comprise common semiconductor materials compatible with standard manufacturing processes. _ TUM
Scientists have discovered a hungry black hole swallowing a star at the centre of a nearby galaxy.
The supermassive black hole was found to have faint jets of material shooting out from it and helps to confirm scientists’ theories about the nature of black holes.
The discovery was published today in the journal Science._ICRAR
Supercomputing simulations at the Department of Energy’s Oak Ridge National Laboratory could change how researchers understand the internal motions of proteins that play functional, structural and regulatory roles in all living organisms. _ORNL
Many physicists believe that entanglement is the essence of quantum weirdness — and some now suspect that it may also be the essence of space-time geometry._Ron Cowen/Nature