physics & astronomy

Your textbook is still wrong about the Milky Way galaxy

 

 

Dr. Heidi Newberg Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute Fifteen years ago, we modeled the distribution of stars in the Milky Way using three components: an exponential disk, a power law spheroid, and a bulge. Then, we discovered the distribution of stars in the spheroid was lumpy due to the accretion and tidal disruption of dwarf galaxies that ventured too close the the Galactic center. We now wonder whether the Milky Way has a classical bulge at all; likely the bulge-like feature we see is instead due to the Galactic bar. And most recently, we are discovering large scale departures from the standard exponential disk. New discoveries point to variations in the expected bulk velocities of stars in the Galactic disk, and oscillations in the spatial densities of disk stars. Some believe these observations point to a wave response to the passing of dwarf galaxies (or dark matter lumps) through the Milky Way's disk. These waves may also explain the observed rings of stars, 15-25 kpc from the Galactic center, which is farther out than we originally believed the disk to extend.

 

 

Explaining the Global Warming Theory

 

 

Dr. Joseph P. Straley University of Kentucky Explaining the implications of science to contemporary public issues is an important part of our job. As an example I will give an introduction to the global warming issue.

 

 

Upward Curve: UK's Physics and Astronomy Faculty

UK Physicist Sumit Das discusses the unprecedented 70 percent acceptance rate of the department’s top-choice graduate students this spring — 16 of the 22 students accepted will enroll in the fall.

Rotation Fascination: Keh-Fei Liu

After being awarded a highly-competitive grant to perform Advanced Scientific Computer Research, UK physics professor Keh-Fei Liu and his collaborators hope to resolve what has been dubbed the Proton Spin Crisis.

Traveling Light: Gary Ferland

Research at the University of Kentucky expands well beyond campus, and thanks to Physics & Astronomy professor Gary Ferland we have to measure the distance in light years instead of miles.

50th Anniversary of UK's Particle Accelerator

Celebrating its 50th anniversary on UK’s campus, the Accelerator Lab is the giant cylinder in front of the Chem/Phys Building. Mysterious to many visitors to campus, and affectionately but incorrectly referred to as the “Atom Smasher” by others, it houses a 7-million-volt small particle accelerator used by the Physics Department for various experiments, such as studying the form and shapes of stable nuclei.

Marcus T. McEllistrem, the man that helped bring the accelerator to campus reflects back on some of its history.

 

 

Making Waves in the Milky Way with Susan Gardner

From childhood, Susan Gardner has had an interest in how the world works, developing a sense of curiosity that would later fuel her work and inspire her research.  Recently, Gardner, a professor in the Department of Physics & Astronomy, played an important role in a study that was responsible for the discovery of a wave in the Milky Way Galaxy. In this podcast, we spoke to Susan Gardner about this discovery, its relation to her research, and the importance of curiosity.

This podcast was produced by Casey Hibbard.

Creative Commons License
Making Waves in the Milky Way with Susan Gardner by UK College of A&S is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.

UK Awarded $1.9 Million to Improve Retention of STEM Majors

Howard Hughes Medical Institute funds five-year project to promote student achievement in science, technology, engineering and mathematics, in collaboration with BCTC

Designing energy and climate security in different regions of the world

 

 

Dr. Rajan Gupta Los Alamos National Labs Spectacular developments in technology and resource exploitation have provided 2-3 billion people with unprecedented lifestyles and opportunities in the twentieth century. On the energy front, this has largely been achieved using inexpensive fossil fuels-- coal, oil and natural gas. The real costs of burning fossil fuels, many of which are hidden and long-term, have been environmental. Today, all species and nature, are being stressed at unprecedented levels and face conditions that have an increasing probability of resulting in catastrophes. Providing the same opportunities to nine or ten billion people will require 2-3 times current energy resources even with business-as-usual anticipated gains in efficiency. There is little doubt that, globally, we have the resources (100 more years of fossil fuels) and the technology to use fossil-fuels ever more cleanly so that the impacts on the environment are smaller and localized. Unfortunately, the emissions of green house gases and their contributions to climate change mandate we transform from the existing successful fossil-fuel system to zero-carbon emission systems. This talk will examine energy resources in different regions of the world and address the issue of whether these resources can provide energy security for the next fourty years. I will next examine how countries with enough resources (fossil, nuclear, hydroelectric) can reduce their carbon footprint in the power sector. I will then discuss the conditions needed to integrate large-scale solar and wind resources to create sustainable systems. Finally, I will identify areas which lack adequate reserves of fossil fuels and how they can address the simultaneous challenges of energy and climate security.

 

 

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