November 8, 2015 |
Wait a minute . . . what? . . . Dark matter may have helped kill off the dinosaurs? Maybe. That theory is part of Lisa Randall's new book, Dark Matter and the Dinosaurs: The Astounding Interconnectedness of the Universe (Ecco, 432 pp., $29.99). Randall is the Frank B. Baird Jr. Professor of Science at Harvard University and a wonderful writer about science. She appears at the Free Library at 7:30 p.m. Monday. Dark matter is the intriguing but invisible matter that makes up as much as 85 percent of the universe.
September 10, 2015 |
Books and literacy are supposed to be in decline - but don't tell that to readers, whose hungry eyes and minds are looking for great things to read all the time. Here's a too-short list of some titles to look for in the autumnal months. " Mysteries of the Mall " by Witold Rybczynski September This emeritus professor of architecture at the University of Pennsylvania trains his eye on the urban landscape. " Chilled: How Refrigeration Changed the World and Might Do So Again " by Tom Jackson September The coolest story of all: how a technological mainstay rearranged the map - and maybe could lead to perpetual life.
April 5, 2013 |
GENEVA, Switzerland - It is one of the cosmos' most mysterious unsolved cases: dark matter. It is supposedly what holds the universe together. We can't see it, but scientists are pretty sure it's out there. Led by a dogged, Nobel-winning gumshoe who has spent 18 years on the case, scientists put a $2 billion detector aboard the International Space Station to try to track down the stuff. And after two years, the first evidence came in Wednesday: tantalizing cosmic footprints that seem to have been left by dark matter.
February 19, 2013
Human genes seem to be activated by stretches of DNA found in between the genes but not very close to them. Each activator is often located thousands of base pairs away from its corresponding gene, so scientists have been puzzled as to just how they get the job done. Researchers at Wistar Institute reported on Sunday that they had found part of the answer: At the appropriate moment, each gene and its activator come together as if the DNA were string being tied into a loop. The findings help to explain what occurs during embryonic development, when the pinpoint timing of gene activation plays a role in whether a cell becomes part of, say, a liver or a heart, and even whether the organism is a human or another species.
June 24, 2012 |
LEAD, S.D. - Nestled nearly 5,000 feet beneath the earth in the gold boom town of Lead, S.D., is a laboratory that could help scientists answer some pretty heavy questions about life, its origins, and the universe. It's hard to spot from the surface. Looking around the rustic town, there are far more nods to its mining past than to its scientific future. But on Wednesday, when part of the Homestake Gold Mine officially became an underground campus, Lead became the place where the elusive stuff called dark matter might finally be detected.
January 11, 2004 |
Scientists are on a quest to solve one of the biggest mysteries in the universe: "dark energy," an eerie repulsive force that's driving stars and galaxies apart at ever-increasing speeds. Discovered only five years ago, this bizarre form of energy makes up 73 percent of the mass of the universe, astronomers say. Ordinary matter, the stuff of planets, trees, people and mosquitoes, accounts for only 4 percent. The remaining 23 percent is "dark matter," ghostly particles that are presumed to exist, but have never been seen.
February 18, 2003 |
What you're seeing is an image taken by the Wilkinson Microwave Anisotropy Probe (WMAP), a NASA satellite built at Princeton University and at Goddard Space Flight Center. The satellite, named after our late colleague David Wilkinson, orbits the sun and is nearly a million miles away from Earth. WMAP scans the microwave sky ? the patterns of all the cosmic microwave radiation in the sky. The image shows the entire sky, in an oval projection similar to that in maps that show the entire Earth on a single map. This image is a picture of the cosmic background radiation, the oldest light in the universe.
March 7, 2000
Back in the 1900s - 1996 to be exact - a science writer published a seriously reviewed tome titled The End of Science. Author John Hogan's thesis was that human beings had discovered all the important stuff - airplanes, nuclear energy, DNA, computers. Future learning would, essentially, be on the margins. Or so he said. Boy, was he wrong. For centuries, much of our learning has been about understanding the world of matter that we can see, touch and feel. Only makes sense, right?
February 26, 2000 |
Scientists have searched for years for evidence of "dark matter," invisible particles that are believed to make up far more of the universe - from here to there to everywhere - than what we can actually see. Astronomers are sure it exists because they can see its effects millions of light-years away. Out there, a giant sea of dark matter appears to exert a gravitational pull strong enough to move whole galaxies, like so many leaves swept along in a current. Particle physicists have predicted that it would be found on Earth in the form of new particles that exhibit the requisite slippery properties of the dark matter.
January 7, 1999 |
Drifting among the universe's shining collections of stars may be vast swarms of invisible "ghost galaxies," made up of mysterious dark matter. But proving these ghost galaxies really exist will be no easy task since, by definition, they have too few stars to be seen, said University of Hawaii astronomer John Kormendy. Kormendy said he has seen a number of almost invisible galaxies. He has also noticed a pattern: Dimmer galaxies are more abundant than bright ones, and the very dimmest are more abundant still.