RB Editor’s Selections: Planck Appetisers, CSI-style Imaging, Maths Education and Risk, and Hungry Black Holes

Sarah Kendrew 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.

[cross-posted from ResearchBlogging.org News]

Exciting new science has a habit of getting published when I’m on holiday – so it was no surprise to come back from a refreshing week in the mountains to some awesome new stuff in the journals and on ResearchBlogging. Here are some picks from the physical sciences categories.

  • First Planck results: The Sunyaev-Zeldovich Effect. Scientist working on data from European cosmic microwave background mission Planck published 25 new papers to the Arxiv last Wednesday with a first batch of results from the satellite. It’s a lot to digest, and thankfully some of the papers are being discussed online to provide us with digested reads and comment. On The Eternal Universe, Joseph Smidt talks about Planck’s observations of galaxy clusters using the Sunyaev-Zeldovich effect; I agree that these results bode extremely well for the bulk of the science we can expect from Planck in 2013.
  • Computer-enhanced imaging with almost perfect resolution. We astronomers spend a lot of time figuring out how to extract information from noisy images, and I’m always curious about the clever methods scientists in other fields develop for this purpose. In All That Matters, Joerg Heber describes an interesting technique developed by Israeli optical scientists to reconstruct images to the sub-wavelength resolution level from imperfect images.
  • Does mathematical training increase our risk tolerance? The critical assessment of risk is one of the most important skills we can learn from our maths lessons at school. It’s a little counter-intuitive then to learn, via Evolving Economics, that maths education appears to change our innate perception of numbers, potentially leading to a higher tolerance to risk.
  • Black holes are not fed by colliding galaxies after all. The co-evolution of galaxies and their black holes throughout the history of the Universe is one of the hottest topics in astrophysics at the moment. On Basic Space, Kelly Oakes discusses newly published research challenging a popular theory behind the triggering of black hole activity. This paper has received quite a bit of attention on blogs, see also the discussion on Science and Reason.

I’ll be back next week with more selections. Thanks for the great posts!

.Astronomy Day 2 (Part 2): Reinventing Discovery

The final formal talk of Tuesday morning was given by Michael Nielsen. It was a great talk and gave us all lots of food for thought. Unusually for me, I’m going to hold back on words for now and give you the video. Enjoy (we did).