Revitalized LHC Manages to Collide Protons

After 14 years of work and $5.5 billion, the LHC has survived faulty magnets, avian sabotage, and the threat of malevolent time travelers to finally collided its first particles.

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Following Baguette Incident, Large Hadron Collider Set for Restart This Week

CERN scientists hope to finally get some particle smashing done, after more than a year of delays and repairs

A bird dropping a baguette temporarily shut down the $5 billion Large Hadron Collider earlier this month. But scientists have a good feeling about the restart, which is slated for Friday, the The Guardian reports.

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Scientists Test First Universal Programmable Quantum Computer

Quantum computing uses spooky physics to run faster and more powerfully than traditional computers

Physicists have been taking baby steps toward creating a full-fledged quantum computer faster and more powerful than any computer in existence, by making quantum processors capable of performing individual tasks. Now a group at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) has developed the world's first universal programmable quantum computer that can run any program that's possible under the rules of quantum mechanics.

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Fermi Telescope Detects Antimatter in Lightning Storms

Whilst carrying out its normal workaday duties of scanning corners of the universe billions of light years from Earth, the Fermi Gamma-Ray Space Telescope has made a discovery that hits decidedly closer to home: lightning strikes on Earth carry the signature of antimatter.

Gamma ray flashes detected in terrestrial storms were of the decaying-positron variety, indicating not only that lightning can produce the antimatter equivalent of electrons, but also that somehow the electric field normally produced by a lightning storm somehow reversed.

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The Physics of the Balloon Boy

Was it even possible for six-year-old Falcon Heene to have flown inside his balloon?

I guess some people will do anything to get on television. In the media blitz last week, nobody seemed to pause to wonder whether the escaped helium-filled contraption would in fact have sufficient buoyancy to carry a 40-pound boy to a height of 7000 feet. Let's apply some physics to the case.

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Physicists Calculate Exact Number of Alternate Universes

There are 10^10^16 of them (but #1,000,443,163,313,125,343,132 is the evil one)

For some time, physicists have theorized about the existence of alternate universes. In fact, some models of physics require multiple universes, to explain some rarely observed phenomena. But, other than obvious ones like The Man In The High Castle Universe where the Nazis won WWII, the Earth-295 Age of Apocalypse Universe, and the Terran Empire "Mirror Mirror" Universe, just how many alternate universes are there? Well, some Stanford University physicists have answered that question, and the magic number is: 10^10^16 other realities.

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Artificial Black Hole Created in Chinese Lab

Just because most black holes are solar-system-sized maelstroms with reality-warping gravitational pulls doesn't mean you can't have one in your pocket! That's right, just in time for the holidays comes the pocket black hole. Designed by scientists at the Southeast University in Nanjing, China, this eight-and-a-half-inch-wide disk absorbs all the electromagnetic radiation you throw at it, with none of the pesky time dilation and Hawking radiation associated with the larger, interstellar versions.

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Newly Discovered Magnetic Monopole Particles Flow Like Electric Currents

They're calling it "magnetricity" -- catchy, eh?

Dy2Ti2O7: This rare, "spin ice", crystal contains the atomic monopoles needed to create magnetricity.  via Muon Science Laboratory
In 1931, physicist Paul Dirac hypothesized that on the quantum level, magnetic charge must exist in discrete packets, or quanta, in the same way that electric energy exists in a photon. This implies the existence of magnetic monopoles: particles that have a single magnetic charge, or polar identity -- north or south.

For 78 years, Dirac's speculation interested only hardcore theorists, because the conjecture failed to find any expression in observed phenomena. All magnets had two poles, one north and one south, inextricably attached to each other.

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LHC Test Could Lead to Hyperdrive Space Propulsion (Well, In Theory)

Add one more thing to the list of mysteries, theories, and unsubstantiated ideas that will be confirmed/denied/debunked if CERN ever gets the Large Hadron Collider up and running: hyperdrive spacecraft propulsion.

In 1924, German mathematician David Hilbert published a paper noting a pretty amazing side effect to Einstein's relativity: a relativistic particle moving faster than about half the speed of light should be repelled by a stationary mass (or at least it would appear to be repelled, to an inertial observer watching from afar).

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Universe To End Sooner Than Previously Thought

While Robert Frost famously said that he prefers the world to end in fire, physicists have long predicted the universe will end with an icy sputter known as "heat death." Heat death occurs when the universe finally uses up all its energy, with all motion stopping and all the atoms in creation grinding to a halt. And, based on new calculations from a team of Australian physicists, it looks like heat death is far closer than previously thought.

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Creators of CCDs and Fiber Optics Win 2009 Nobel Prize In Physics

We live in a world designed by Charles K. Kao, Willard S. Boyle, and George E. Smith. Their work on the physics of light made possible the fiber optic cables carrying this web page to your phone, and the digital camera on the other side. And on December 10th, King Carl XVI Gustaf of Sweden will award them the Nobel Prize in physics for their work.

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Neutrinos May Someday Provide High-Speed Submarine Communication

A physicist claims that the "ghost particles" of our world could help communicate with underwater submariners

Submariners should brace for some crazy science to match those Crazy Ivan maneuvers. A physicist says that ghost-like neutrinos that pass easily through just about everything could provide a future method of communication with deep sea submarines.

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Real or Fake? The World's Longest Basketball Shot

Three points! Is this shot really within the realm of physical possibility?

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Have Scientists Finally Found the Elusive Magnetic Monopole?

A long-hypothesized particle, stuff of tantalizing detection attempts and thrilling sci-fi novels, may have finally been sighted.

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Laser Refrigeration is Fastest, Coolest Chilling Tech Yet

Physics nerds and sci-fi geeks just about everywhere agree: lasers are cool. But cool enough to drop the temperature of a gas by 119 degrees in a matter of seconds? German researchers say so, having made advances on ideas reaching back 30 years but never successfully executed. Bombarding high-pressure gas with a laser, the scientists were able to create a significant cooling effect, shaving the aforementioned 119 degrees from the gas almost instantly by pushing electrons into higher orbit.

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