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How the Publication Process Works for Science Journals

  By Allison Kubo Hutchison Stack of papers on a black background. ISTOCK.COM/PURPLEANVIL How does work become a scientific consensus? Nowadays, it has to go through a process called peer-review. Science is conducted by researchers at universities, NGOs, national labs, observatories, and private entities. Then this work is compiled into a paper or journal article which is submitted to the appropriate journal. There are many subfield-specific journals for example the American Physics Society publishes 15 peer-reviewed research journals including Physical Review Letters, Physical Review Fluids, and PRX Quantum. Each of which has specific publishing guidelines. There are also larger publishers such as Nature or Science which publish a variety of topics the editors consider to be highly important.   We, scientists, love to measure things so we invented a way to measure the relative importance of different journals: impact factor. Journals with a high impact factor, the number of citatio
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New Report Finds Power Sector is Halfway to Zero Emissions

  By: Hannah Pell  In 2005, future projections for emissions published by the Energy Information Administration (EIA) in their Annual Energy Outlook were bleak; business-as-usual for the power sector meant that carbon dioxide (CO2) emission levels could reach up to 3,000 million metric tons by 2020 (equivalent to CO2 emissions from roughly 544 million homes’ electricity use over one year). However, where we are today is much different, and for the better. In a new report, “ Halfway to Zero: Progress towards a Carbon-Free Power Sector ,” researchers at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory found that emissions from the power industry in 2020 were 1,450 million metric tons — about 50% lower than initial projections more than a decade ago. By this metric, the power sector has progressed halfway to zero emissions in this timeframe. Researchers also found other encouraging statistics: consumer electricity costs were 18% lower, costs to human health and climate were 92% and 52% lower, an

Paint by Numbers? Try Paint by Lasers

  By: Hannah Pell The potential impact of a work of art is by no means limited by or related to its size. Whether an intricate mural spanning the side of a building or sculpture carved on the tip of a pencil , the art of all scales is significant and meaningful to us, and the principles of optics govern its scientific source of visual beauty. I’ve written for Physics Buzz before about how conservation scientists use imaging techniques to help investigate if a piece of art is real or counterfeit — but what if I told you that an advanced paint-by-lasers method can actually be used to create artwork, including miniature masterpieces? This is exactly what researchers at the ITMO University in Russia have achieved . In a paper soon to be published in Optica, an online and open-access journal from The Optical Society (OSA), the authors demonstrate their new method for using lasers to color metal akin to artists painting with a paintbrush. How does it work? The metal is first hea

What the Columbia River Flood Basalts Teach Us

  by Allison Kubo Hutchison Approximately 20 million years ago, prehistoric horses grazed on the flat grasslands and the now extinct bear-dog dug burrows for their young throughout the lands we now call Oregon and Washington. But below the ground, there was an eruption brewing that would shape over 81,000 square miles (200,000 square kilometers) reaching across four states. The sight of the black rock lying in thick sheets across the landscape should be familiar to those who have visited the area. The Columbia River Basalt Group is an eruption of lava resulting in inflows with a thickness of more than 5,900 ft (1.8 km). Dark basalt flooded the area filling in valleys and eventually repaving the topography like asphalt. The flows reached the ocean from Eastern Oregon and forced the Columbia River into a new course. Fifteen million years ago when it was erupting the landscape steamed covered in black rock that likely took thousands of years to fully cool. It may have looked like som

Music feat. Data: Sonification of Science

  By Allison Kubo Hutchison Graphs are the bread and butter of scientists. We love them. Lines plots, bar graphs, line plots. Visual representations of data are the default on science. However, sonification, the transformation of data into sound rather than images has been gaining interest. One reason is that our ears actually have better time resolution than our eyes. This means we can hear more small changes over time than we can see. The eye only perceives a small range of frequencies — visible light — which ranges between 400-790 THz. However, hearing can pick our sounds over three orders of magnitude in the frequency space between 20 -20,000 Hz. We can also leverage both visual and aural aspects of data in combined animations and sonifications for work in science and in outreach and education. One example of this is a recent paper published in Computer Music which sonified and animated the eruptions of the Lone Star Geyser in Yellowstone National Park. The coupled music and

Two Eruptions, Both Alike in Dignity

  By Allison Kubo Hutchison Left: Glowing basaltic eruption in Iceland taken at night (image: Áslaug Arna Sigurbjörnsdóttir / twitter). Right: Grey ash clouds rise into the atmosphere over St. Vincent (image: University of West Indies Seismic Research Center / twitter). In Iceland, where we lay our scene, lava spills orange and black tendrils from three fissures in Geldingadalir. Meanwhile across the globe in St. Vincent ash rises into the sky in a large plume from the La Soufrière volcano. Both eruptions were preceded by numerous earthquakes which warned volcanologists that magma was coming toward the surface. However, these two eruptions have very different behaviors and thus very different hazards (though both do have hazards). On St. Vincent 16,000 people have been evacuated from their homes meanwhile hundreds gather to watch the fissures in Iceland. The eruption at St. Vincent is what volcanologists call explosive behavior. The ash plume rising 20,000 feet high is produced

Physicists Announce First Results of Fermilab Muon g-2 Experiment

By Hannah Pell  On 7 April 2021, physicists at Fermi National Laboratory announced the first results of their Muon g-2 (“g minus 2”) experiment, which have hinted that muons may behave in a way not predicted by the Standard Model, a self-consistent yet incomplete theory of fundamental particles and their interactions. You can picture a muon like a tiny, spinning top; they act as if they have an internal magnet, twirling around in response to an applied magnetic field. The strength of a muon's internal magnet is known as the “ g-factor ,” a dimensionless quantity characterizing the magnetic moment and angular momentum of a particle. The experiment is named “g minus 2” because both the theoretical value and new experimental average of the muon magnetic moment are slightly greater than 2. However, they are not equivalent; although the difference between them is incredibly small, it has been observed to be anomalous . Image Credit: Reidar Hahn/Fermilab. The Muon g-2 experiment