Archives—September 2012


Gamma Ray Research in Great Lakes and World Science News

Gamma RayThe Great Lakes Innovation & Technology Report, published by CBS Detroit, reported on the research of Robert Nemiroff (Physics) into gamma ray bursts, which is giving scientists a better understanding of the makeup of the universe.

Nemiroff’s discovery was also published in World Science and on Science Codex, an online science news site.

Spacetime: A Smoother Brew Than We Knew
Spacetime may be less like beer and more like sipping whiskey.

Or so an intergalactic photo finish would suggest.

Physicist Robert Nemiroff of Michigan Technological University reached this heady conclusion after studying the tracings of three photons of differing wavelengths that had been recorded by NASA’s Fermi Gamma-ray Space Telescope in May 2009.

Read more at Michigan Tech News, by Marcia Goodrich.

Have three little photons broken theoretical physics?

“Originally we were looking for something else, but were struck when two of the highest energy photons from this detected gamma-ray burst appeared within a single millisecond,” Nemiroff told Life’s Little Mysteries. When the physicists looked at the data more closely, they found a third gamma ray photon within a millisecond of the other two.

Read more at Science on NBC News feature “Life’s Little Mysteries.”

Something’s wrong, Einstein’s right

To detect the ripples in space-time, scientists have turned to the radiation produced by incredibly violent cosmic events, known as Gamma Ray Bursts (GRBs). Produced by the death of giant spinning stars, GRBs are bright enough to be seen billions of light-years away – far enough to allow distortions due to Planck-scale effects to reveal themselves.

Several international teams have been examining records of GRBs for signs of the effects, pushing down to ever smaller scales. The most recent results have now been announced by a group led by Prof Robert Nemiroff of Michigan Technological University.

Read more at The National, by Robert Matthews.

Quantum spacetime more like foam rubber than beer foam

A recent study of gamma-ray bursts by Professor Robert Nemiroff and his colleagues at Michigan Technological University provides the first strong evidence concerning the small-scale smoothness of spacetime. Oddly, this examination of the very small is accomplished by measuring a handful of gamma-rays after they traveled over ten billion light years.

Read more at Gizmag, by Brian Dodson.

Smooth Like Whiskey

These photons are so energetic, their wavelengths should make them small enough to interact with these little “bubbles” and be scattered. But because the photons arrived at the telescope in a dead heat, the MTU teams concludes they had nothing to interact with — that spacetime is not bubbly, but smooth (you know, like fine whiskey). Fantastic, how shall we celebrate?

Read more at Air & Space Smithsonian.


Physics Proposals in Progress August 16-24, 2012

Assistant Professor Claudio Mazzoleni (Physics/EPSSI), “CAREER: Clouds, Turbulence and Mixing: A Remote Sensing Investigation within a Cloud Chamber,” NSF

Assistant Professor Kim Fook Lee (Physics), “CAREER: Fundamental Studies of Discrete Spatial EPR Entanglement,” NSF.

Assistant Research Scientist Loredana Valenzano (Physics) and Professor Ravindra Pandey (Physics), “First Principles Study of Primary Components of Portland Cement,” UCLA.

Professor and Chair Ravindra Pandey (Physics/MuSTI), “First Principles Studies of Structure-Property Relationship in Graphene-based Materials for Defense,” Army Research Laboratory.

Associate Professor Ranjit Pati (Physics), “EAGER: designing a molecular scale spin-switch,” NSF.