Exotic Physics

On Neutrinos and the Speed of Light

September 23, 2011

If you’re tracking the interesting news from CERN on neutrinos moving slightly faster than the speed of light, be advised that there is an upcoming CERN webcast on the matter at 1400 UTC later today (the 23rd). Meanwhile, evidence that the story is making waves is not hard to find. I woke up to find […]

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Progress Toward the Dream of Space Drives and Stargates

May 23, 2011

by James F. Woodward I first wrote about James Woodward’s work in my 2004 book Centauri Dreams: Imagining and Planning Interstellar Exploration, and have often been asked since to comment further on his research. But it’s best to leave that to the man himself, and I’m pleased to turn today’s post over to him. A […]

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Support for Dark Energy

May 20, 2011

The far future may be a lonely place, at least in extragalactic terms. Scientists studying gravity’s interactions with so-called dark energy — thought to be the cause of the universe’s accelerating expansion — can work out a scenario in which gravity dominated in the early universe. But somewhere around eight billion years after the Big […]

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Key Effects of General Relativity Confirmed

May 5, 2011

Gravity Probe B has confirmed two of the most interesting effects predicted by Einstein’s General Theory of Relativity. The geodetic effect, which describes the warping of spacetime due to the mass of the Earth, has been confirmed to an accuracy of 0.28 percent. The frame-dragging effect, in which the Earth’s rotation drags or stirs local […]

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Visualizing Warped Spacetime

April 13, 2011

What on Earth — or off it — could inspire a physicist with the credentials of Caltech’s Kip Thorne to say “I’ve never before coauthored a paper where essentially everything is new. But that’s the case here.” Yet if Thorne couldn’t say that about some of his earlier work with wormholes (!), he feels safe […]

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The Pioneer Anomaly Resolved?

April 1, 2011

The fascination of the so-called ‘Pioneer anomaly’ is that it offers the possibility of new physics, an apparently constant acceleration on the Pioneer 10 and 11 probes with a value of (8.74 ± 1.33) × 10−10 m/s2 being something that we can’t easily explain. Equally useful is the chance the Pioneer anomaly gives us to […]

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A Bracing Look at the Unseen Universe

January 19, 2011

Yesterday I planned to write a review of Richard Panek’s The 4 Percent Universe (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2011), a fascinating look at dark matter and dark energy and the current state of our research into them. Panek is an excellent writer with an eye for detail and the human touch. He gets you into the […]

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Breakthrough Concepts: A Propulsion Overview

January 10, 2011

Speaking at last fall’s International Astronautical Congress in Prague, Tau Zero founder Marc Millis offered a condensed summary of the present state of the art in advanced propulsion physics, summarizing a variety of approaches and next-step questions from the book he co-edited with Eric Davis called Frontiers of Propulsion Science (2009). He’s now written a […]

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Matter/Antimatter from the Vacuum

December 10, 2010

New work at the University of Michigan, now written up in Physical Review Letters, discusses the possibility of producing matter and antimatter from the vacuum. The idea is that a high-energy electron beam combined with an intense laser pulse can pull matter and antimatter components out of the vacuum, creating a cascade of additional particles […]

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Gravitational Lensing Probes Dark Energy

November 12, 2010

Abell 1689 is one of the most massive clusters of galaxies known, making it a superb venue for the study of dark matter. That’s because the cluster, some 2.2 billion light years away, creates gravitational lensing that magnifies and distorts the light from galaxies far beyond it. Astronomers used Abell 1689 in 2008 to identify […]

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