Today’s physics news: Sun’s ‘twin’ could reveal our fate, fastest man-made spinning object, and Earth life might have started on Mars
Practical science experiments ‘squeezed out’ at schools
Practical science lessons are being squeezed out by exam pressures on schools, says a science advisory body. The Council for Science and Technology is writing to the education secretary to warn about the loss of such laboratory experiments. The advisory body wants experiments to be protected in a shake-up of GCSEs and A-levels in England.
A coordinated approach is key for open access
Cooperation and a clear set of aims are essential for Europe to be a front runner in making research freely available, says Christoph Kratky.
Earth life ‘may have come from Mars’
Life may have started on Mars before arriving on Earth, a major scientific conference has heard. New research supports an idea that the Red Planet was a better place to kick-start biology billions of years ago than the early Earth was. The evidence is based on how the first molecules necessary for life were assembled.
University of St Andrews scientists create ‘fastest man-made spinning object’
A team of researchers claims to have created the world’s fastest spinning man-made object. They were able to levitate and spin a microscopic sphere at speeds of up to 600 million revolutions per minute. This spin speed is half a million times faster than a domestic washing machine and more than a thousand times faster than a dental drill.
The Sun’s ‘twin’ that could reveal our fate 4 billion years in the future
A distant star thought to be almost identical to our own sun is providing scientists with the chance to see how our solar system will look in four billion years time. The star, known as HIP 102152, is considered to be one of the closest “twins” of our Sun that astronomers have found to date, but is considerably older. Located 250 light years from Earth, scientists now hope to study it to learn how our own sun will age. It has similar temperature, size and chemical composition to our Sun.
Theoretical physics: The origins of space and time
Many researchers believe that physics will not be complete until it can explain not just the behaviour of space and time, but where these entities come from, says Zeeya Merali.
Boom boom! CERN hosts first ever comedy night
Billed as “an evening of science-themed stand-up comedy”, LHComedy will feature six CERN scientists – Sam Gregson, Alex Brown, Benjamin Frisch, Claire Lee, Hugo Day and Clara Nellist – explaining their research and promising to “lift the lid on what it is like to work at CERN”. The show will be hosted by Helen Keen of BBC Radio 4’s It is Rocket Science and will also feature self-styled “geek-pop cabaret sensation”.