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Stories by JR Minkel

LHC to switch on early tomorrow amid death threats

LHC to switch on early tomorrow amid death threats

Heads up, science fiends and night owls: The greatest science experiment ever built is set to switch on at around 3:30 A.M. Eastern time tomorrow.

After 14 years and $8 billion, the European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN) plans to inject the first beam of protons fully around the Large Hadron Collider (LHC), the circular particle accelerator 17 miles (27 kilometers) long straddling the Franco-Swiss border near Geneva.

September 9, 2008 — JR Minkel
World record ($100,000) prime number found?

World record ($100,000) prime number found?

Researchers may have turned up the 45th example of a Mersenne prime—a type of prime number rare enough that months or years of computerized searching are required to pick one out among the throngs of mere primes.

August 28, 2008 — JR Minkel
Intel gets into the wireless electricity game

Intel gets into the wireless electricity game

Are we closing in on laptops that can recharge without those annoying power cords?

Yesterday Intel, the world's largest chip manufacturer, demonstrated a form of wireless energy transfer by lighting a 60-watt bulb from a power source three feet away, in an effect they referred to as WREL (wireless resonant energy link)

If the trick sounds familiar, that's because researchers from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) reported the same thing last year under the moniker WiTricity.

August 22, 2008 — JR Minkel
NASA releases Orion crash photos

NASA releases Orion crash photos

Budding astronauts, avert your eyes. NASA has posted photos of a failed test landing (read: crash) of a mock-up of the Orion crew exploration vehicle, part of the Constellation program to replace the shuttle in 2015.

August 20, 2008 — JR Minkel
How NASA plans to quell Ares 1 rocket vibrations

How NASA plans to quell Ares 1 rocket vibrations

The last thing you want on a flight to the moon is a headache.

That's why NASA engineers have been working to figure out how to reduce vibrations predicted to occur in the Ares 1 rocket, a multi-stage launch vehicle that plays an early role in the space agency's Constellation program to return to the moon by 2020.

August 19, 2008 — JR Minkel
"Great Planet Debate" to revive Pluto planet brouhaha

"Great Planet Debate" to revive Pluto planet brouhaha

Many researchers were none too happy when the International Astronomical Union (IAU) voted in 2006 to cast Pluto out from among the planets, demoting it along with similar bodies in the solar system to the status of mere dwarf planets.

August 14, 2008 — JR Minkel
Quantum weirdness wins again: Entanglement clocks in at 10,000+ times faster than light

Quantum weirdness wins again: Entanglement clocks in at 10,000+ times faster than light

No matter how many times researchers try, there's just no getting around the weirdness of quantum mechanics.

In the latest attempt, researchers at the University of Geneva in Switzerland tried to determine whether entanglement—the fact that measuring a property of one particle instantly determines the property of another—is actually transmitted by some wave-like signal that's fast but not infinitely fast.

August 13, 2008 — JR Minkel
Large Hadron Collider countdown going strong

Large Hadron Collider countdown going strong

CERN loves the smell of protons in the morning. Last Friday the European particle physics lab began testing the system for injecting a proton beam into the Large Hadron Collider (LHC), which if you haven't heard by now is a giant particle accelerator 27 kilometers (17 miles) in circumference.

August 12, 2008 — JR Minkel
Stories by JR Minkel

Think Outside the Gift Box