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Stories by Kelly Oakes

Space & Physics

Red Giant Core Spins Ten Times Faster Than Its Surface

Astronomers have found that the core of a red giant, the type of star that our Sun will eventually become, spins ten times as fast as its surface. And it happens because of a phenomenon we can see here on Earth, too.You have probably seen a figure skater perform a so-called 'scratch spin', where she starts out with arms and free leg extended, before pulling them in – and spinning faster as a result...

January 11, 2012 — Kelly Oakes
Mind & Brain

How Brain Scans Can Help Astronomers Understand Stars

They may come from completely different fields of study, but brain scans and supernovae have more in common than you would think. In a new TED talk, Michelle Borkin explains how software developed for use in a hospital was able to help astronomers study the structure of supernovae.An astronomer colleague of Borkin's at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics had eight years worth of data from the supernova remnant Cassiopeia A...

January 9, 2012 — Kelly Oakes
The Sciences

A Sweet and Simple Higgs Discovery

Tomorrow afternoon, in "the most eagerly awaited scientific presentation of the century to date", particle physics laboratory Cern will update the world on its search for the Higgs boson, that elusive particle that is believed to give mass to fundamental particles.The Higgs is the only particle predicted by the Standard Model of particle physics, currently the best theory we have to describe how particles interact, that we have not yet observed...

December 12, 2011 — Kelly Oakes
The Sciences

Faster-than-light neutrinos show science in action

Unless you've been hiding under a rock for the past 24 hours, you've probably heard about the neutrinos that turned up at the Gran Sasso Laboratory in Italy a few nanoseconds earlier than they were supposed to, in a feat that would have required them to travel faster than the speed of light.The story has been covered by many news outlets already, and, while some headlines may have raised a few eyebrows, most of the coverage has been suitably cautious...

September 23, 2011 — Kelly Oakes
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