Editor’s Selections: The Anti-laser, Tubing Londoners, Standard Candles that Flicker, and the Giant Bear of ArgentinaFebruary 21st, 2011 Editor's Selections 2 Comments
Sarah Kendrew selects interesting and notable ResearchBlogging.org posts in the physical sciences, chemistry, engineering, computer science, geosciences and mathematics. She blogs about astronomy at One Small Step.
After last week’s geology themed selections, this week’s highlights come from all corners of the physical sciences polyhedron. I’m enjoying seeing new names turn up on the contributor lists as the weeks tick over – if you’re a new contributor in any of the subjects I cover, feel free to ping me and say hello.
- Sometimes an idea is so simple, it’s surprising that no one’s tried it yet. So it is with time-reversal of the process that produces the laser. Joerg Heber talks about the first demonstration of the anti-laser principle by Yale scientists, published in Science last week.
- For better or worse, the Tube is a central part of daily life for millions of people in and around London. During the decade I spent there, I never ceased to be amazed at the sheer volume of human traffic around the city. But does mass transit follow people, or vice versa? A new study discussed on Per Square Mile looks at the intricate relationship between people and trains in Greater London. One for the Tube geeks!
- Astronomers rely on well-understood astrophysical objects to calibrate observations of new unknown phenomena. But sometimes these so-called standard candles have surprises in store. The remainder of a historic supernova from 1054 AD, the Crab pulsar is a prototype supernova remnant hosting one of the best known pulsars, yet last September it released a trio of powerful gamma-ray flares. Astronomy blogger mithy takes a look at new research into the physics behind this surprising event.
- The biggest bear ever, weighing up to 3,500 lbs and standing 11 feet tall, must have been a scary beast. Brian Switek tells us all we need to know about the formidable Arctotherium angustidens.
More physical sciences picks next Monday!