Physical Sciences

SpaceX have a striking video showing Mars spinning faster and faster, transforming from the current red Mars to a planet with a small ocean and with the deserts tinged with green in seven revolutions.

Of course that is poetic exaggeration - it wouldn't terraform in a week. So how long would it take? Science fiction enthusiasts who have read Kim Stanley Robinson's "Mars Trilogy" may remember that in his book, it is terraformed in a couple of centuries. But that's science fiction, not a terraforming blue print.

Dark Matter (DM), the mysterious substance that vastly dominates the total mass of our universe, is certainly one of the most surprising and tough puzzles of contemporary science. We do not know what DM is, but on the other hand we have a large body of evidence that there must be "something" in the universe that causes a host of effects we observe and which would have no decent explanation otherwise. 

We have been sending missions to Mars since the Mariner 4 flyby in 1964, and our first successful landing was Viking 1 in 1976, So, why can't astrobiologists answer the question definitively, when you ask them if there is life on Mars? 

 Well, perhaps it's because we haven’t looked.

You might think, 

The Rosette Nebula is located in the Milky Way Galaxy roughly 5,000 light-years from us and is known for its rose-like shape and distinctive hole at the center. The nebula is an interstellar cloud of dust, hydrogen, helium and other ionized gases with several massive stars found in a cluster at its heart.

So Elon Musk's Tesla roadster is now in an orbit that takes it right out to the asteroid belt not far from Ceres. And what a thrilling launch it was with the two boosters landing so perfectly choreographed. It was nearly flawless. Only one minor hiccup, that the core booster missed the barge and crashed into the water, probably at around 300 mph, scattering the barge with shrapnel. They will surely fix that too with future launches.

If any of you haven't seen it yet, here is the launch video archived by SpaceX.

And here is Elon Musk talking about it in a press conference afterwards

Great news for the CMS experiment - and for Italy, and for my institution, Padova, where I coordinate accelerator-based physics research for INFN. Professor Roberto Carlin, a longtime member of the CMS experiment, where he has taken many important roles in the construction and operations of the experiment, and recently was deputy spokesperson, has now been elected spokesperson. This consolidates a "rule" which sees Italian physicists at the lead of the experiment every other term, after Tonelli (2010-12) and Camporesi (2014-16). 


It is probably wiser to follow Bob Dylan than Stephen Hawking in matters of science vs philosophy. That's what I claim in the article below. Such concerns surface when supporters of string theory and inflation theory defend their models.

My worry is with the voices that downplay the roles of experiment and observation on behalf of beauty for such theories to be regarded as credible. Read more in my science philosophizing a while ago in the new Mentsch web-magazine.
Some shameless self-promotion is in order today, as my review titled "Hadron Collider Searches for Diboson Resonances", meant for publication on the prestigious journal "Progress in Particle and Nuclear Physics", has been made available on the Cornell Arxiv.
My review covers quite extensively the topic, as it is not constrained in length as other reviews usually are. At 76 pages, and with 500 references, it aims to be the main reference on this type of physics for the next five years or so - at least, this is the stipulation with PPNP. Whether I managed to make it such, it is something to be judged by others.

The plan of the work is as follows:
The recently released paper noting that dwarf galaxy's orbits do not obey the simplest models of dark matter is not news to any physicist who pays attention to cosmology.  In short, the simplest models of dark matter, the DM in CDM, may need to be tweaked but hopefully not by too much.  So the rest of the media and everyone else can relax.  That's not to say the work isn't very important.  

The field of particle physics is populated with believers and skeptics. The believers will try to convince you that new physics is about to be discovered, or that is anyway at close reach. The skeptics will on the other hand look at the mass of confirmations of the current theory -the Standard Model- and claim that any speculation about the existence of discoverable new phenomena has no basis.