Sunday, April 08, 2007

Red Lights


I hope everyone enjoyed the Easter holiday. This has turned into an extraordinarily productive week.

HD 44179, nicknamed the Red Rectangle. This dying star displays a mysterious glow called Extended Red Emission. The phenomenon permeates the Milky Way but its source has been a mystery. A new computer simulation claims that the glow is caused by molecules in interstellar Space. There is still room for your own interpretation. Dark matter? A disk of tiny primordial Black Holes?

Steinn Siggurdson continues to post on the fate of NASA's Beyond Einstein programme. Not long "dark energy" was touted as increasing funding and trips to Stockholm. Now we see the red lights of an approaching train wreck. As reported back in February, it has come down to a cutthroat competition between missions, with a possibility of none surviving.

"No one is going to win this, only lose. It should never have come to this. The stakes are high; literally thousands of scientists are looking at the core science activity they have chosen to work in being annihilated for 10-20 years, a lot of junior people could be dumped from science, a lot of senior people could look at having the field they worked to build being shut down."

People think that GM=tc^3 has problems? Mother would say: remember that other people have bigger problems than you. Big science lives in perpetual fear of falling out of the funding line. Fortunately NASA has generously provided this writer with a purple BEYOND EINSTEIN pen. All one really needs to go beyond Einstein is a good pen.

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10 Comments:

Blogger Kea said...

Another great post! Fortunately, some people have no funding at all to worry about.

10:10 AM  
Blogger L. Riofrio said...

Thanks, and thanks again for standing by under fire. Your blog shows that one doesn't need massive funding to make discoveries. We can do cosmology while snorkelling the Barrier Reef.

3:15 PM  
Blogger CarlBrannen said...

The earth's magnetic field is fairly old: live science.com

6:51 PM  
Blogger L. Riofrio said...

Thanks, Carl! This could be the subject of a post. From livescience.com:

"Scientists don't know exactly how the magnetic field is created, however, and a better understanding will be needed when pondering the possibility for life on other worlds."

It also shows that Earth had conditions comfortable for life 3 billion years ago, contradicting the "Faint Young Sun."

7:22 PM  
Anonymous a quantum diaries survivor said...

Ha! Louise, you made me remind the famous sentence from a anonymous university president:

"Now why is it that you physicists require so much money for expensive equipment ? Now the department of mathematics only requires money for paper, pencils, and waste paper baskets. And the department of philosophy is better still: they do not even ask for waste-paper baskets."

LOL... Looks like a pen is a precious thing to possess if you can write meaningful things with it...

CHeers,
T.

6:58 AM  
Anonymous a quantum diaries survivor said...

And hey,

"We can do cosmology while snorkelling the barrier reef"

is really some thought! Can I join the research group ? I have my own snorkeling equipment!

Cheers,
T.

6:59 AM  
Blogger L. Riofrio said...

Great hearing from you, Tommaso. I would love to share the Barrier Reef with you sometime. (No visa problems in Australia.)

7:54 AM  
Blogger CarlBrannen said...

One wonders where on Tommaso's schedule "physicists, mathematicians, philosophers", the string theorists fit.

9:07 PM  
Anonymous Thomas D said...

Oh, you think you can do cosmology without observations now!

As if practically all the data you might refer to didn't already come from expensive experiments?

No more data means no more science, with or without pens and paper. And no joke either...

1:51 PM  
Blogger L. Riofrio said...

Thomas d, I wish for more experiments too. Present supernova data will eventually show a changing speed of light, as predicted. However, the issue has been mishandled by emphasis on hypothetical "dark energy." If scientists misinterpret their data so grossly, do they deserve any data at all?

7:49 AM  

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