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Cosmology

Science

Nobel Prize in Physics goes to expanding-universe researchers

For almost a hundred years, it has been widely accepted that the Universe is expanding, and that it’s been doing so ever since the Big Bang occurred approximately 14 billion years ago. It was initially assumed that the rate of expansion was slowly declining. What came as a surprise to many scientists, however, was the relatively recent announcement that the rate is in fact increasing. That was the remarkable conclusion reached by three physicists located in two countries, and it has just earned them the Nobel Prize in Physics for 2011.Read More

Space

Largest-ever cosmological simulation to shed new light on dark matter

The Bolshoi cosmological simulation is by far the most ambitious project of its kind. It harnesses the power of supercomputing to bring cosmology into the realm of experimental sciences. Based on observable input data, the Bolshoi simulation allows scientists to see what the higher structure of our universe might have looked like at particular points in time throughout its formation, arming them with tools that should make cracking the mysteries of dark matter, dark energy and galaxy formation much more feasible.Read More

Science

World's most precise clock keeps time to 1 second in 3.7 billion years

Physicists at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) have built an enhanced version of an experimental atomic clock based on a single aluminum atom that would neither gain nor lose one second in about 3.7 billion years. That makes it the world’s most precise clock, more than twice as precise as the previous pacesetter based on a mercury atom.Read More

Science

World’s faster supercomputer models origins of the unseen universe

Scientists have for some time postulated that "dark matter" could partially account for evidence of missing mass in the universe, while the hypothetical form of energy known as "dark energy" is the most popular way to explain recent observations that the universe appears to be expanding at an accelerating rate and accounts for 74 percent of the total mass-energy of the universe according to the standard model of cosmology. To better understand these two mysterious cosmic constituents scientists at the Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL) are using Roadrunner, the world’s fastest supercomputer, to model one of the largest simulations of the distribution of matter in the universe.Read More

Space

Femtoseconds lasers will help formation flying in space

Theoretical work commissioned to the National Physical Laboratory (NPL) by the European Space Agency has recently concluded that lasers capable of generating extremely short pulses — known as "femtosecond comb lasers" — could be of great help in measuring the distance between two or more spacecraft to an accuracy of just a few microns, an essential component to formation flying space missions scheduled for the next decades.Read More

Science

Ytterbium times its run for next-gen atomic clocks

Technically, no clock can be more accurate than cesium standards such as NIST-F1 – the cesium fountain atomic clock that serves as the United States' primary time and frequency standard. But researchers have managed to develop an experimental atomic clock based on ytterbium atoms that boasts precision comparable to that of NIST-F1. The humble second was chosen as the International System of Units' (SI) base unit of time since it is based on the properties of the cesium atom (one second is the duration of 9,192,631,770 cycles of the radiation corresponding to the transition between the two hyperfine levels of the ground state of the cesium 133 atom). Read More

Science

Cosmic Dawn simulation provides insights into the early universe

Computational Cosmology – the use of simulations to shed light on astronomical mysteries – has provided scientists with a glimpse of what the universe may have looked like 500 million years after the Big Bang, when the first galaxies were forming in the universe’s “reionization” stage. The images, produced by scientists at Durham University, will provide researchers with key insights into dark matter, which remains frustratingly elusive, despite being first proposed in 1933 and making up an estimated 80% of the universe. Read More

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