Cosmic Science News

The basic fabric of the universe is heterogeneous and lumpy. Why? Cosmologists fight over that. Recent theoretical work may be pushing the pendulum towards a string-related explanation (after a period of time when this seemed less likely).

A network of ‘cosmic strings’ criss-crossing the Universe could be responsible for a mysterious flux of antimatter particles which has been puzzling astronomers. … theoretical astrophysicist Tanmay Vachaspati at Case Western Reserve University in Ohio, suggests that space may be threaded … with a network of much lighter strings – too lightweight to be directly responsible for galaxy formation – that could have formed during phase transitions in the Universe’s unseen dark matter…

At the other end of the size spectrum, the immutable atom (well, the Greeks thought is was immutable) may, in some cases, be a shape shifter.

Contrary to some expectations in the world of nuclear physics, researchers have found that a radioactive nucleus of sulphur oscillates between two different shapes, sometimes appearing like a sphere and other times like an American football. The result, reported this month by researchers in France, is causing nuclear physicists to rethink prevailing theories about what makes some nuclei stable and others prone to splitting apart.


  1. #1 no one
    March 10, 2009

    The second nature link is broken – there’s a “%3C/blockquote%3E” in it that should not be there.

  2. #2 Lilian Nattel
    March 11, 2009

    Cosmic string–physics is so poetic.

  3. #3 Nathan Myers
    March 11, 2009

    It’s funny how solid-state and fluid physicists don’t get to make up their own particles whenever their theories fail to account for the evident universe. Never mind when the mathematics of well-known theories are just too hard to apply.

  4. #4 Greg Laden
    March 11, 2009

    Nathan: That does seem to be a privilege reserved for the theoretical tiny-stuff physicists, cosmologists, and social scientists.