Ahhh, the end of the week again. It seems that every time it’s my turn to give the weekly science picks, it’s been an interesting week in science. This leads me to believe that every week is an interesting week in science! Amongst other things, this week was the birthday of Albert Einstein – March the 14th. Which, to those who use American date formats, might also be known as Pi Day. But enough irrational trivia. Here are the things which caught my eye this week…
Probably the biggest news this week was the fact that those lovely people at CERN have officially confirmed that the particle which they announced last summer is indeed the much acclaimed Higgs boson!
“To me it is clear that we are dealing with a Higgs boson, though we still have a long way to go to know what kind of Higgs boson it is,” said Joe Incandela, a physicist who heads one of the two main teams at CERN, each involving about 3,000 scientists.
Meanwhile, Colossal shows some rather impressive trickery with water, sine waves, and a video camera set to the right frame rate. I can’t really do justice to this one with words. Just… have a look.
What!? How is this even possible? Because science, my friends. Brusspup’s latest video explores what happens when a stream of water is exposed to an audio speaker producing a loud 24hz sine wave. If I understand correctly the camera frame rate has been adjusted to the match the vibration of the air (so, 24fps) thus creating … magic zigzagging water. Or something.
On a more serious note, good news in the medical world! A device has been created which can enable human livers available for transplant to survive outside the body for a whole day – something utterly without precedent. Something like this is most certainly going to save lives!
Donated livers can survive for at least a day outside the body thanks to a new device which keeps the organ ticking over as if it hadn’t been removed. The machine is likely to more than double the availability of livers for transplant.
A lot further from home, this week saw a science meeting to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the Keck observatory on Mauna Kea, Hawaii. Among all the lovely new science presented at the meeting, UC Berkeley’s Geoff Marcy announced new findings which suggest than a whopping 23% of Sun-like stars have at least one Earth-sized planet in orbit around them. Pretty amazing…
“I’ll say that again, because that number really surprised me: 23 percent of sun-like stars have a nearly-Earth-sized planet orbiting in tight orbits within 0.25 AU of the host stars,” [Marcy] continued. One Astronomical Unit (AU) is the equivalent distance to the average orbital distance of the Earth around the sun.
And finally, in the skies all week long, many of us will have caught a glimpse of comet PanSTARRS. Some rather impressive photographs are available for all to see, courtesy of Universe Today!
I hope everybody has a nice Sunday!