I didn’t see much point in posting a review over Thanksgiving break, so here’s a look back on the past two weeks in science. And quite a bit has happened:
- The LHC may have discovered a new state of matter (not quite as exciting as a new particle, but important stuff nonetheless).
- The existence of an arrow of time has been confirmed. If you reversed the flow of time, the laws of physics would work slightly differently.
- The cause of Type IA supernovas has been confirmed. These consistent supernovas were used to measure the expansion of the universe, leading to the discovery that dark energy, or something like it, must exist. Now we know how these supernovas work.
- The European Space Agency will receive $12.8 billion for the next three years, including funding for the new Ariane 6 rocket.
- In a massive step forward for 3D printing technology, engineers have discovered a material that would allow such printers to produce electronic devices. In related news, a cartilage printer has also been developed.
- An artificial muscle that’s stronger than the real thing is built by nanotechnology.
- Isolated for 3000 years, a super cold lake in Antarctica increases the chances that life could live in places like Mars and Europa.
- A gene variant is discovered that predicts when you are most likely to go to sleep and wake up…and what time of day you are most likely to die.
- The largest black hole ever has been discovered. It is 17 billion times more massive than the sun.
- Flames in space have bizarre and unexplained properties. Certain fuels will continue to burn invisibly after the flames have been extinguished.
- Study suggests women rely more on a man’s weight (not too skinny, not too fat) than his masculine features when deciding if they are attractive.
Space Atlas: Mapping the Universe and Beyond