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Physics tip sheet #36 - July 30, 2003

1) Plasma laser
J.E. Maggs, G.J. Morales
Physical Review Letters (print issue: 18 July 2003)

Physicists working at UCLA have created a 30-cm diameter plasma laser. This was accomplished by applying a nonuniform magnetic field to a type of plasma region, resulting in a frequency-selective Alfven wave resonator and then injecting current into the resonator. When a current threshold is exceeded, the result is a highly coherent, large amplitude wave that propagates into an adjacent plasma column.

Journal article: http://link.aps.org/abstract/PRL/v91/e035004

2) New dark matter observation methods
K. Abazajian, S. Dodelson
Physical Review Letters (print issue: 24 July 2003)

Recent rapid advances in astronomical observations have shed some light on the dark sector of the universe, including both dark matter and dark energy. Some of the dark matter is in the form of massive neutrinos, but the range of allowed masses is such that neutrinos could contribute anywhere from .3 percent to 20 percent of the matter density in the universe. Remarkably, both neutrino masses and dark energy leave similar signatures in the matter distribution of the universe, and a new paper examines how scientists might use weak gravitational lensing experiments to measure both signatures simultaneously.

Journal article: http://link.aps.org/abstract/PRL/v91/e041301

3) Emerging behavior in electronic bidding
I. Yang, H. Jeong, B. Kahng, A.L. Barabasi
Physical Review E (print issue: July 2003)

Recently, the self-organizing principles of complex systems have drawn the attention of the statistical physics community, and the complex system that is human behavior is no exception. A recently published paper in Physical Review E examines the behavior of consumers at the onl
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Contact: David Harris
harris@aps.org
301-209-3238
American Physical Society
30-Jul-2003


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