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Physics and Astronomy

Some Fun Science Sites & Programs

PhysicsWeb

Physics World carries many very nice articles of general interest. This is the UK's Institute of Physics web version of its very readable magazine.

NIST physicists demonstrated sustained, reliable quantum information processing in the ion trap at the left centre of this photograph, improving prospects for building a practical quantum computer. Scientists working on NASA's Kepler mission have unveiled the first five exoplanets discovered by the space telescope since it was launched in March 2009.

The Early Universe & the Big Bang

A Timeline of Physics Discoveries

The American Physical Society has an interesting summary timeline of the main discoveries in the last century Physics.

About Physics

has a range if physics articles, notes and animated presentations aimed at those studying physics.

Space.Com for Astronomy & Space News

where you will find astronomy and NASA news, plus lots of useful links.

New Scientist

The web site of the weekly UK magazine, which has a special Australian edition with local science news.

How you can help SETI in their search for intelligent life

You can help this international project in its quest for intelligent signals from deep space by downloading the SETI screen saver from SETI@home, and then allowing your home computer to join hundreds of thousands of other computers around the world it to process data from various radio telescopes while your computer is idling between jobs.

Planet Busters

Asteroids colliding with Earth can be catastrophic.  Here you can learn how to use a PC to simulate the effects of such a collision. In 2000 a massive asteroid exploded just 16 km above the Yukon in Northern Canada. It was equivalent to a forty kiloton bomb, and was bright enough to turn street lamps off.

There is a "Richter" scale for such event, called the Torino scale, which ranges from 0 for a near miss to 10 for a global climate catastrophe.

Fortunately the latter occur just once every 100,000 years (!).

If you wish you can simulate your own catastrophic strike: just chose the object type and speed etc. and hit the kaboom button.

You can tour the world and check out the number of large meteor strikes and their impact structures on this nice map and data base at the University of New Brunswick, Canada. There are many on our continent.

Optical Illusion?

How much can scientists trust their own senses?  First download this little program and get it running. Stare at the image for a minute or so, and then transfer your gaze to the back of your hand that is holding the mouse.

Can you conclude anything about the reliability of your senses compared with good measuring instruments?

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