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When space probes, such as Rosetta and Cassini, fly over certain planets and moons, in order to gain momentum and travel long distances, their speed changes slightly for an unknown reason. A Spanish researcher has now analysed whether or not a hypothetical gravitomagnetic field could have an influence. However, other factors such as solar radiation, tides, or even relativistic effects or dark matter could be behind this mystery.
Juan Meléndez Sánchez (Avila, 1964) earned a degree in Physics from the University of Salamanca and did his doctoral dissertation at the CSIC. He is currently a professor at Universidad Carlos III of Madrid (UC3M), where he combines his research in the Laboratorio de Sensores, Teledetección e Imagen en el Infrarrojo (Laboratory of Sensors, Remote Sensing and Image in Infrared) and teaching in the Physics Department with one of his greatest passions: science popularization. In fact, he has spent more than a decade teaching courses on the history and philosophy of science and has recently published a book whose objective is to help us understand the world we live in: “De Tales a Newton: ciencia para personas inteligentes” (Ellago Ediciones, 2013)(From Thales to Newton: science for intelligent people). The work is continuously evolving in the blog of the same name.
Scientists at Universidad Carlos III de Madrid (UC3M) reveal the physical phenomenon that explains beer’s rapid transformation from a liquid to a foamy state as the result of an impact. This research has applications in the area of naval engineering or in studies related to the prediction of gases in volcanic eruptions.
Two years ago, researchers from Iowa State University (USA) published a study which concluded that spider silk conducts heat as well as metals. Now, a team from the University of the Basque Country (Spain) has repeated the experiment and the results throw this discovery into question. This has reaffirmed the need to validate scientific findings before proclaiming their validity in the press.
The properties of these lead bricks recovered from ancient shipwrecks are ideal for experiments in particle physics. Scientists from the CDMS dark matter detection project in Minnesota (USA) and from the CUORE neutrino observatory at the Gran Sasso Laboratory in Italy have begun to use them, but archaeologists have raised alarm about the destruction and trading of cultural heritage that lies behind this. The journal ‘Science’ has expressed this dilemma formulated by two Spanish researchers in the United Kingdom.
Physicist's Reaction Begins Chain of Events
Solar radiation in Spain has increased by 2.3% every decade since the 1980s, according to a study by researchers from the University of Girona and the Federal Institute of Technology (ETH) in Zurich. This increase is linked to the decreased presence of clouds, which has increased the amount of direct radiation reaching us from the Sun.
A team of Spanish and Argentinean researchers have verified that the distribution of the inhabitants in each Spanish province evolves in accordance with the maximum entropy principle in the field of physics. Therefore, this evolution is predictable. The results have allowed authors to put forward a ‘socio-thermodynamic’ theory that applies the laws of thermodynamics to collective human behaviour.