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.
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):
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.
Ethan Siegel (@StartsWithABang) March 08, 2016
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:
- The prediction, or the belief that the outcome can be accurately predicted, is predicated on the existence of quality evidence.
- 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…
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:
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.”