This telescope at the South Pole has found polarisation patterns in the cosmic microwave background which are like those expected to be present due to gravitational waves associated with inflation. Read more here.
Francis Everitt gave an interesting talk yesterday at the departmental colloquium about the experimental mission - Gravity Probe B, which completed earlier this year, over forty years after its original conception. The aim of the mission was to verify Einstein's Theory of General Relativity, by investigating two extraordinary phenomena predicted by Einstein: the geodesic effect (warping of spacetime due to the Earth) and the frame dragging effect (the extent to which the earth drags its spacetime round with it). The project is a fantastic story of human vision, tenacity and imagination.
The unified photon spectrum
Russell Turner 1989, Laganch 1995, Henry 2002
Andrew Jaffe presented this chart in his guest lecture today - it shows the entire light energy density in the universe. Over 99% of this light energy is from the big bang.
Extracts from 'Poem Rocket'
This is my rocket my personal rocket I send up my message
Someone to hear me there
without steel or cobalt basalt or diamond gold or mercurial fire
without passports filing cabinets bits of paper warheads
without myself finally
message all and everywhere the same
I send up my rocket to land on whatever planet awaits it
preferably religious sweet planets no money
fourth dimensional planets where Death shows movies
plants speak (courteously) of ancient physics and poetry itself is manufactured by the trees
the final Planet where the Great Brain of the Universe sits waiting for a poem to land in His Golden pocket
joining the other notes mash-notes love-sighs complaints-musical shrieks of despair and the million unutterable thoughts of frogs
The moon over Imperial College and a brilliantly lit planet.....
The Joan Miro show at Tate Modern finished week. The most memorable and stunning piece is the vast 1968 triptych: Painting on White Background for the Cell of a Recluse
Adrian Searle at the Guardian liked it too: http://www.guardian.co.uk/artanddesign/2011/apr/11/joan-miro-tate-modern
It needs to be seen to be appreciated. It is a world line, a strange trajectory, a life lived, a concise and beautiful statement.
Acrylic on canvas
267,8 x 352 cm
Fundació Joan Miró, Barcelona
I was alone with a chair on a plain
Which lost itself in an empty horizon.
The plain was flawlessly paved.
Nothing, absolutely nothing but the chair and I
The sky was forever blue,
No sun gave life to it.
An inscrutable, insensible light
illuminated the infinite plain.
To me this eternal day seemed to be projected --
artificially-- from a different sphere.
I was never sleepy nor hungry nor thirsty,
never hot nor cold.
Time was only an abstruse ghost
since nothing happened or changed.
In me Time still lived a little
This, mainly, thanks to the chair.
Because of my occupation with it
I did not completely
lose my sense of the past.
Now and then I'd hitch myself, as if I were a horse, to the chair
and trot around with it,
sometimes in circles,
and sometimes straight ahead.
I assume that I succeeded.
Whether I really succeeded I do not know
Since there was nothing in space
By which I could have checked my movements.
As I sat on the chair I pondered sadly, but not desperately,
Why the core of the world exuded such black light.
Jean Hans Arp was an artist - painter, sculptor and poet. Looking at his work over the years, I had a hunch that he thought about physics, though couldn't find any formal mention of it. Then, I found this poem where he considers time when nothing happens and 'movement' through space when there is no fixed reference point.