news 2021



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Astronomy / Space - Physics - 22.12.2021
2021’s news highlights from the Faculty of Science and Engineering
Our world-leading science and engineering at The University of Manchester has been the cause of some exciting stories this year. Whether it's space, materials, or the climate, our stories have been top news across the country and the world. Here's some of the most popular and interesting news releases from the Faculty of Science and Engineering in 2021.

Chemistry - Astronomy / Space - 20.12.2021
Could acid-neutralising life-forms make habitable pockets in Venus' clouds?
Could acid-neutralising life-forms make habitable pockets in Venus’ clouds?
A new study shows it's theoretically possible. The hypothesis could be tested soon with proposed Venus-bound missions. If life is there, how does it propagate in an environment as dry as the clouds of Venus? Paul Rimmer It's hard to imagine a more inhospitable world than our closest planetary neighbour.

Astronomy / Space - Physics - 20.12.2021
Turbocharged data analysis could prevent gravitational wave computing crunch
A new method of analysing the complex data from massive astronomical events could help gravitational wave astronomers avoid a looming computational crunch. Researchers from the University of Glasgow have used machine learning to develop a new system for processing the data collected from detectors like the Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory (LIGO).

Astronomy / Space - Physics - 17.12.2021
New space telescope to uncover secrets of Universe's origins
New space telescope to uncover secrets of Universe’s origins
The NASA-led James Webb Space Telescope, which includes hardware designed and built at UCL and which will image the very first stars to shine in the Universe, is scheduled to be launched into space later this month. The telescope, one of the great space observatories following Hubble, will be launched on-board the Ariane rocket from Europe's spaceport in French Guiana on or after Friday 24 December.

Astronomy / Space - Innovation - 15.12.2021
Gravitational wave scientists set their sights on dark matter
Gravitational wave scientists set their sights on dark matter
The technologies behind one of the biggest scientific breakthroughs of the century - the detection of gravitational waves - are now being used in the long-standing search for dark matter. Thought to make up roughly 85% of all matter in the Universe, dark matter has never been observed directly and remains one of the biggest unsolved mysteries in modern physics.

Physics - Astronomy / Space - 13.12.2021
Challenging Einstein's greatest theory with extreme stars
Challenging Einstein’s greatest theory with extreme stars
Credit Norbert JunkesMPIfR (Effelsberg), Letourneur and Nanšay Observatory (NRT), ASTRON (WSRT), ATNFCSIRO (Parkes), Anthony Holloway (Jodrell Bank), NRAOAUINSF (VLBA), NSFAUIGreen Bank Observatory (GBT). Researchers at The University of Manchester have helped conduct a 16-year long experiment to challenge Einstein's theory of general relativity.

Astronomy / Space - Physics - 08.12.2021
Optical cavities could be key to next generation interferometers
A new concept has been developed that has the potential to assist new instruments in the investigation of fundamental science topics such as gravitational waves and dark matter. The concept is described in a paper written by UK Quantum Technology Hub Sensors and Timing researchers at the University of Birmingham and published in , and a related patent application filed by University of Birmingham Enterprise.

Astronomy / Space - 03.12.2021
Hot, dense planet with eight-hour year
Hot, dense planet with eight-hour year
An international team involving researchers at UCL has discovered a new planet, GJ 367 b, whose surface temperature may reach 1,500 degrees Centigrade - hot enough to melt all rock and metal - and which takes only eight hours to orbit its star. In a new study, published in the Science journal, the researchers show that the planet, which is 31 light years from Earth, is one of the lightest among the nearly 5,000 exoplanets (planets outside our own solar system) that are known today, with half the mass of Earth.

Astronomy / Space - Physics - 01.12.2021
Opinion: AI can reliably spot molecules on exoplanets - and might even discover new laws of Physics
Opinion: AI can reliably spot molecules on exoplanets - and might even discover new laws of Physics
Research into the logic behind AI shows that algorithms think in reliable and scientific ways that could help us learn undiscovered laws of physics, say PhD candidate Kai Hou Yip and Dr Quentin Changeat (both UCL Physics & Astronomy). Do you know what the Earth's atmosphere is made of? You'd probably remember it's oxygen, and maybe nitrogen.

Astronomy / Space - Physics - 29.11.2021
Space dust analysis could solve mystery of the origins of Earth’s water
An international team of scientists may have solved a key mystery about the origins of the Earth's water, after uncovering persuasive new evidence pointing to an unlikely culprit - the Sun. In a new paper published today in the journal Nature Astronomy , a team of researchers from the UK, Australia and America describe how new analysis of an ancient asteroid suggests that extraterrestrial dust grains carried water to Earth as the planet formed.

Physics - Astronomy / Space - 16.11.2021
Research casts new light on processes behind solar eruptions
New research into the powerful magnetic fields which form inside the sun and cause violent eruptions could help predict solar flares. Mathematicians and astrophysicists from the UK and Italy have comprehensively modelled the emergence of twisted magnetic fields into the solar atmosphere, and verified their models through observations - a breakthrough in scientific understanding of the process by which solar flares occur.

Astronomy / Space - Physics - 12.11.2021
Computer modelling of black hole's jets supports Einstein's theory
Computer modelling of black hole’s jets supports Einstein’s theory
An international team involving UCL researchers has developed a computer model of the powerful jets released by the M87 black hole, matching the observations of astronomers and providing new support for the theory of general relativity. The black hole launches a jet of plasma at very close to the speed of light, a so-called relativistic jet, over a distance of more than 6,000 light years (that is, the jet extends beyond the giant galaxy in which the black hole resides).

Astronomy / Space - Physics - 11.11.2021
Black holes of 'all shapes and sizes' in new gravitational wave catalogue
Black holes of ’all shapes and sizes’ in new gravitational wave catalogue
The largest catalogue of gravitational wave events ever assembled has been released today, with dozens of ripples in space time captured by a global network of detectors. The aftershocks of huge astronomical events, including rare mergers of neutron stars and black holes, were picked up by an international team of scientists, include experts from Cardiff University's Gravity Exploration Institute.

Astronomy / Space - Earth Sciences - 09.11.2021
'Eyes' of Mars rover get test run on Earth
’Eyes’ of Mars rover get test run on Earth
The capabilities of a UCL-led panoramic camera system that will guide the search for life on Mars atop the European Space Agency's Rosalind Franklin rover are being tested ahead of the rover's launch next year. A replica of the rover and the Panoramic Camera suite known as PanCam are being used to test the wide range of photo settings - from panoramas to close-ups, from 3D maps to wheel selfies - that will deliver the greatest science possible during the ExoMars mission on the Red Planet.

Astronomy / Space - 02.11.2021
Astronomers investigating death of nearby galaxies find their culprit
Astronomers investigating death of nearby galaxies find their culprit
Scientists have provided the clearest evidence yet of the processes that are killing off galaxies in nearby regions of the Universe. In a new paper released today, an international team of astronomers say the galaxies are being robbed of their molecular gas - the fuel needed to birth new stars - in a process that has, up until now, remained a mystery.

Astronomy / Space - Environment - 01.11.2021
Satellite monitoring of Greenland ice melting highlights global flood risk
Global warming has caused extreme ice melting events in Greenland to become more frequent and intense over the past 40 years, raising sea levels and flood risk worldwide, finds new research involving UCL academics. Over the past decade alone, 3.5 trillion tonnes of ice has melted from Greenland's surface and flowed into the ocean - enough to cover the UK with around 15m of meltwater, or all of New York City with around 4500m.

Physics - Astronomy / Space - 28.10.2021
New era of physics uncovered by Neutrino experiment’s first results
A major new physics experiment has used four complementary analyses to show no signs of a theorised fourth kind of neutrino known as the sterile neutrino. Its existence is considered a possible explanation for anomalies seen in previous physics experiments. New results from the MicroBooNE experiment at the U.S. Department of Energy's Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory deal a blow to a theoretical particle known as the sterile neutrino.

Astronomy / Space - Physics - 27.10.2021
Scientists take a significant step forward in detecting Nanohertz Gravitational-wave background
The European Pulsar Timing Array (EPTA) is a scientific collaboration bringing together teams of astronomers around the largest European radio telescopes, as well as groups specialized in data analysis and modelling of gravitational wave (GW) signals. The international research team has today published in, Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society , a detailed analysis of a candidate signal for the since-long sought gravitational wave background (GWB) due to in-spiralling supermassive black-hole binaries.

Astronomy / Space - 20.10.2021
Researchers call for armchair astronomers to help find unknown hidden worlds
Astronomers at the University of Warwick have joined partners around the world in launching a new online initiative, calling for volunteers to come forward and help to search for extrasolar planets. The online citizen project, Planet Hunters Next-Generation Transit Search (NGTS), is enlisting the help of the public to examine five years' worth of digital footage showing some of the brightest stars in the sky.

Physics - Astronomy / Space - 19.10.2021
Cambridge physicists announce results that boost evidence for new fundamental physics | University of Cambridge
Cambridge physicists announce results that boost evidence for new fundamental physics | University of Cambridge
Results announced by the LHCb experiment at CERN have revealed further hints for phenomena that cannot be explained by our current theory of fundamental physics. The fact that we've seen the same effect as our colleagues did in March certainly boosts the chances that we might genuinely be on the brink of discovering something new Harry Cliff In March 2020, the same experiment released evidence of particles breaking one of the core principles of the Standard Model - our best theory of particles and forces - suggesting the possible existence of new fundamental particles and forces.
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