New names for the 4 newly discovered elements! #ElementyMcElementface

The four newly discovered elements on the periodic table (113, 115, 117, and 118) have officially received their names. Unfortunately, it’s not Element McElementface. But here they are:

Element 113 is dubbed “nihonium” and will sport the chemical symbol Nh. Its name comes from the Japanese word “Nihon,” or “Land of the Rising Sun,” a name for Japan.

Element 115 will receive the moniker “moscovium,” shortened to Mc, after the Moscow region, home to the Joint Institute for Nuclear Research in Dubna, where the element was discovered in collaboration with researchers at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory in California and Oak Ridge National Laboratory in Tennessee.

Tennessee also gets a periodic table shout-out. The proposed name for element 117 is “tennessine,” after the home state of Oak Ridge, Vanderbilt University and the University of Tennessee. It will bear the symbol Ts.

Element 118 will be named oganesson, or Og, after Russian physicist Yuri Oganessian, who contributed to the discovery of several superheavy elements.

CERN LGBT scientists targeted by other CERN scientists #science #hate

The CERN particle accelerator in Geneva, Switzerland has made huge discoveries in particle physics over the last few years. Unfortunately, it seems that CERN is also home to some hateful scientists (via Towleroad):

Celebrating 90 years since Robert Goddard’s rocket launch – @NASA #space

recreated-goddard-launch-1976

NASA is celebrating 90 years since Robert Goddard’s rocket lifted off, launching the era of spaceflight.

Ninety years ago, on March 16, 1926, a rocket lifted off – not with a bang, but with a subtle, quiet flame – and forever changed the scope of scientific exploration. This event ties directly to the birth of NASA more than 30 years later.

None of this would be possible without the experiments of Massachusetts physics professor Robert Goddard, best known for inventing the liquid-fueled rocket. The namesake of NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland, he dreamed as early as 1909 of creating an interplanetary vehicle. While he couldn’t achieve that in his lifetime, his inventions in the first half of the 20th century became the engineering foundation for the rockets that first took humans to the moon in the 1960s and for today’s rockets, which look further into space than ever before.

 

After nearly 17 years of work, Goddard successfully launched his creation on March 16, 1926.

#SCIENCE is based on EVIDENCE, making it inherently not #FAITH-based @startswithabang

Ethan Siegel has written a must-read article defending the scientific process in the Forbes science section (No, Science is Not Faith-Based). Siegel takes on an inflammatory and misinformed claim from Matt Emerson that science is faith-based (Wall Street Journal). Emerson’s claim was related to the recent detection of gravitational waves by LIGO. Siegel, a trained astrophysicist, clearly explains why the claim that science has anything to do with faith is completely non-scientific. Read the full-article here, my favorite parts below:

Faith, by definition, is the belief in something despite insufficient knowledge to be certain of its veracity.

Yet in every case, there are two key components that make the prediction scientific:

  1. The prediction, or the belief that the outcome can be accurately predicted, is predicated on the existence of quality evidence.
  2. As the evidence changes — as we obtain more, newer and better evidence — and as the full suite of evidence expands, our predictions, postdictions and entire conceptions of the Universe change along with it.

There is no such thing as a good scientist who isn’t willing to both base their scientific belief on the full suite of evidence available, nor is there such a thing as a good scientist who won’t revise their beliefs in the face of new evidence.

I have a family member that teases me because I always ask about the evidence behind claims, assertions, etc. I guess years spent on a science PhD and postdoc will engrain a desire for evidence in you, but that desire has nothing to do with faith…

NASA looking for Astronauts – for future missions geared toward traveling to Mars! #OutofthisWorld

For the first time since the end of the space shuttle program in 2011, NASA is accepting applications for astronauts to start a new series of missions aimed at further space exploration with the goal of traveling to Mars.  Applications will be accepted from December 2015-February 2016, and successful candidates will be announced mid-2017.  From NASA:

In anticipation of returning human spaceflight launches to American soil, and in preparation for the agency’s journey to Mars, NASA announced it will soon begin accepting applications for the next class of astronaut candidates. With more human spacecraft in development in the United States today than at any other time in history, future astronauts will launch once again from the Space Coast of Florida on American-made commercial spacecraft, and carry out deep-space exploration missions that will advance a future human mission to Mars.

The agency will accept applications from Dec. 14 through mid-February and expects to announce candidates selected in mid-2017. Applications for consideration as a NASA Astronaut will be accepted at:

http://www.usajobs.gov

The next class of astronauts may fly on any of four different U.S. vessels during their careers: the International Space Station, two commercial crew spacecraft currently in development by U.S. companies, and NASA’s Orion deep-space exploration vehicle.

From pilots and engineers, to scientists and medical doctors, NASA selects qualified astronaut candidates from a diverse pool of U.S. citizens with a wide variety of backgrounds. 

“This next group of American space explorers will inspire the Mars generation to reach for new heights, and help us realize the goal of putting boot prints on the Red Planet,” said NASA Administrator Charles Bolden. “Those selected for this service will fly on U.S. made spacecraft from American soil, advance critical science and research aboard the International Space Station, and help push the boundaries of technology in the proving ground of deep space.”

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2015 Nobel Prize in Physics announced for neutrino mass! #science

Congrats to Takaaki Kajita and Arthur McDonald for winning the 2015 Nobel Prize in Physics!

The Nobel Prize in Physics 2015 recognises Takaaki Kajita in Japan andArthur B. McDonald in Canada, for their key contributions to the experiments which demonstrated that neutrinos change identities. This metamorphosis requires that neutrinos have mass. The discovery has changed our understanding of the innermost workings of matter and can prove crucial to our view of the universe.

Ben Carson has traded in his #SCIENCE credentials for ANTI-SCIENCE credentials. And become the punchline for a neurosurgeon joke…

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You might assume that a famous neurosurgeon would be well informed on medical and scientific topics. But if you assume this about potential Republican Presidential candidate Ben Carson, you would be horribly wrong. Check out previous CauseScience posts featuring anti-science statements from Ben Carson.

A terrific article this week in The New Yorker offers an in-depth analysis of recent anti-science delusions from Ben Carson written by Lawrence Krauss (Foundation Professor in the School of Earth and Space Exploration and Director of the Origins Project at Arizona State University). Carson’s anti-science statements range from questioning the science behind the Big Bang theory, to attributing the theory of evolution to satan. See the full article for a summary of Carson’s statements, as well as why they are more than just anti-science.

Many people assume that, as a successful surgeon, he (Carson) has a solid knowledge of technical, medical, and scientific issues.

It is one thing to simply assert that you don’t choose to believe the science, in spite of a mountain of data supporting it. It’s another to mask your ignorance in such a disingenuous way, by using pseudo-scientific, emotion-laden arguments and trading on your professional credentials. Surely this quality, which reflects either self-delusion or, worse still, a willingness to intentionally deceive others, is of great concern when someone is vying for control of the nuclear red button.

It appears that Ben Carson is using tired anti-science talking points to support his twisted religious view of the world, proving that he has either lost touch with science, or is choosing to part ways with science. For more actual science surrounding the Big Bang Theory and thermodynamics, check out this great RadioLab – Ben Carson could definitely benefit from listening to it!

Carson’s recent anti-science statements along with anti-muslim comments from Carson, have led to many jokes, be sure not to miss this hilarious Borowitz Report (also in the New Yorker)!!

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Scientists develop a real-life invisibility cloak! #MoveOverHarryPotter

You read the title correctly. Published in Science, UC Berkeley scientists have developed an ultra-thin invisibility cloak that can basically obscure the object it is around. Looks like Harry Potter’s cloak is no longer just found in fiction books!

A nice summary of the discovery from Mashable:

The so-called “metasurface” of the cloak was designed so that light hitting it “would be the same as that of light reflected from a flat mirror,” according to the team’s research. The study, modestly called “An ultrathin invisibility skin cloak for visible light,” was published in the journal Science on Thursday.

Because the reflected intensity is close to that of a mirror, not only is the object undetectable, but so is the cloak. “As long as the metasurface is designed correctly,” the study says, “both the container and the objects inside the container will become invisible.”

Unlike previous attempts at an invisibility cloak, this design is scalable — able to cover larger objects without increasing the thickness of the cloak, and able to conceal objects that have sharp edges and peaks. “Maybe in the future, people can use this as decoration or a wearable,” Xingjie Ni, an assistant professor at Pennsylvania State University, who conceived the research idea and led the team, told Mashable.