Sarah Kendrew selects interesting and notable ResearchBlogging.org posts in the physical sciences, chemistry, engineering, computer science, geosciences and mathematics. She blogs about astronomy at One Small Step.
Welcome to a new week, and a new instalment of physical sciences highlights.
- The Universe and life is asymmetric: chirality of life. Why is life left-handed? This excellent in-depth post by The Astronomist describes in detail the problem of chirality of biomolecules, with words from a leading expert.
- Death song of an Iceberg. Using seismometers, geologists can record the sounds made be icebergs as they grind against each other with the tides. This blog post on Now Hear This (“a site about sound”) discusses how such a recording has led scientists to find an iceberg graveyard in the Antarctic. The post contains an interesting video on this type of research, and a link to the researchers’ pretty dramatic sound recording.
- The amazing disappearing habitable world? Exoplanet Gliese 581g was trumpeted as a potentially habitable exoplanet on its original discovery last year, causing a bit of a media frenzy – but its existence was soon after called into question when other scientists had issues with the analysis of the original data. Greg Fish discusses the latest efforts to single out 581g from the noise.
- Redefining the Kilogram. Calibration is often considered a dull topic, but any scientist worth their salt knows it’s one of the most important concepts in scientific research. In this post, Ryan of A Quantum of Knowledge describes how research into a more precise determination of Avogadro’s constant could lead to a more scientific standard for the kilogram. In fact, the Royal Society is meeting today to discuss new definitions of measurement units based on fundamental constants. Interestingly, the kilogram is the only physical constant based on an actual physical artifact. Who knew?
As always, thanks for all the great writing!