The next gold rush: Outer space?

first_imgWe value gold for many reasons: its beauty, its usefulness, and its rarity. Gold is rare on Earth in part because it’s also rare in the universe. Unlike elements such as carbon or iron, it cannot be created within a star. Instead, it must be born in a more cataclysmic event —a short gamma-ray burst (GRB), like one that occurred last month.Observations of this GRB provided evidence that it resulted from the collision of two neutron stars — the dead cores of stars that previously exploded as supernovae. The unique glow that persisted for days at the site of the GRB could signify the creation of substantial amounts of heavy elements — including gold. This animation shows the collision and merger of two neutron stars. Merging neutron stars can create an event known as a short gamma-ray burst.“We estimate that the amount of gold produced and ejected during the merger of the two neutron stars may be as large as 10 moon masses — quite a lot of bling!” says Edo Berger of the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics (CfA), the lead author of a study presented Wednesday in a press conference at the center.A gamma-ray burst is a flash of high-energy light, or gamma rays, from an extremely energetic explosion. Most are found in the distant universe. Berger and his colleagues studied GRB 130603B, which, at a distance of 3.9 billion light-years from Earth, is one of the nearest bursts seen to date.Gamma-ray bursts come in two varieties, long and short, depending on how long the flash of gamma rays lasts. GRB 130603B, detected by NASA’s Swift satellite on June 3, lasted for less than two-tenths of a second.Although the gamma rays disappeared quickly, GRB 130603B also displayed a slowly fading glow dominated by infrared light. Its brightness and behavior didn’t match a typical “afterglow,” which is created when a high-speed jet of particles slams into the surrounding environment.Instead, the glow behaved like it came from exotic radioactive elements. The neutron-rich material ejected by colliding neutron stars can generate such elements, which then undergo radioactive decay, emitting a glow that’s dominated by infrared light — exactly what the team observed.“We’ve been looking for a ‘smoking gun’ to link a short gamma-ray burst with a neutron star collision. The radioactive glow from GRB 130603B may be that smoking gun,” explains Wen-fai Fong, a graduate student at the CfA and a co-author of the paper.The team calculates that about one-hundredth of a solar mass of material was ejected by the gamma-ray burst, some of which was gold. By combining the estimated gold produced by a single short GRB with the number of such explosions that have occurred over the age of the universe, all the gold in the cosmos might have come from gamma-ray bursts.“To paraphrase Carl Sagan, we are all star stuff, and our jewelry is colliding-star stuff,” says Berger.The team’s results have been submitted for publication in The Astrophysical Journal Letters and are available online. Berger and Fong’s co-author was Ryan Chornock, also of the CfA.last_img read more

Read More »

Forde cops sixth consecutive Massy 10km title, Scott wins women’s title

first_imgBy Tamica GarnettGUYANA’s Cleveland Forde,nicknamed Little Kenyan,orchestrated a tactical win over Winston Missigher and Nathaniel Giddings,to take his sixth consecutive Massy 10km Road Race men’s title yesterday, while Ashanti Scott capitalised on the absence of several leading female distance runners to capture the win in the women’s category. Forde covered the distance,on the East Bank of Demerara from Diamond to Massy’s Ruimvelt location, in a time of 33 minutes and 10 seconds, to champion the event as Missigher once again failed in his bid to clinch another win over Forde,since beating him in the Jubilee 10 km Road Race.The time was a five-second improvement on the time that Forde clocked in the event last year, when the route was from Vreed-en-Hoop to the Massy’s Office,but it was still behind the 32.39 that he clocked for his win at the Caricom 10km Road Race in July; leaving him still unable to attain his wish of going below the 30 minute barrier.‘Little Kenyan’ Cleveland Forde crossing the finish line for the win in the Massy 10km Road Race yesterday (Adrian Narine Photo)‘Little Kenyan’ Cleveland Forde crossing the finish line for the win in the Massy 10km Road Race yesterday (Adrian Narine Photo)Commenting on the race,Forde said it was all about “consistency in training and determination” that lead him to the win.For the second place finish,Missigher covered the distance in 33 minutes, 30 seconds.Giddings was just behind Missigher,clocking 33 minutes and 33 seconds for third place.Cleveland Thomas finished fourth (34m.01s),while Quacy Morian was fifth (35m.16s).Commencing with some 65 runners, things started to really thin off as the pack came out of the final 3km, with Thomas leading the way and Forde strategically keeping close by.Another thinning of the pack would ensue as things got down to the final 3km.With Thomas dropping back,the new leading pack consisted of Forde, Missigher and Giddings. With about 1km to go, Missigher and Giddings were left to battle it out for second place, as Forde established himself firmly in the lead.From there, it was all over and Forde eased his way to the finish line to pick up his win. Forde now has his sights set on participating at the Venture Credit Unit 5km in Trinidad later this month, and the upcoming Courts 10km Road Race in Guyana. The 30 year old will use all of these events in his preparation leading up to his participation in the South American 10km.Among the females, it took Scott some 42 minutes and 21 seconds to make her way in, and another four and a half minutes for Alicia Jack to take the second place finish. The third to cross the finish line was Shyon Boyer in a time of 49 minutes and 32 seconds.In other results of the day,Claudrice Mackoy won the female junior category,while Odwin Tudor won the male title. Micheal Dividson took the master’s 40-54 win,and Ian Archibald prevailed in the men’s 55 and over category. On the distaff side,the master’s title was won by Cyrleen Phillips.Following the completion of the early morning event, Massy Group of Companies Country Manager, Persaud, congratulated the winners and conveyed his gratitude to all the participants who took part in the event;making it another successful year.President of the Athletic Association of Guyana (AAG), Aubrey Hudson, was also on hand to thank all those who participated.last_img read more

Read More »

Penn State : Trustee to head investigation into sexual abuse scandal

first_imgSTATE COLLEGE, Pa. — Penn State’s Board of Trustees announced Friday that trustee Kenneth Frazier will head a special investigation committee, which will look into the circumstances that gave rise to a grand jury report that charged former assistant coach Jerry Sandusky with a series of sexual assaults involving eight young boys.The meeting was the first public gathering of the 32-member board in light of the scandal. The meeting was moved from a hotel boardroom to a ballroom to accommodate the amount of people that attended, according to reports.The special investigation committee will be responsible to determine what failures occurred, who is responsible for the failures and what measures are necessary to make sure this type of scandal never hits Penn State again.The scandal caused major media outlets and national attention to flock to State College. Legendary football coach Joe Paterno was fired Wednesday night in the midst of his 46th season, one in which he became the winningest coach in major college football history. President Graham Spanier was also removed by the Board of Trustees on Wednesday.The grand jury report states administrators didn’t contact authorities after a graduate assistant, later revealed to be current wide receivers coach Mike McQueary, said he saw former assistant coach Jerry Sandusky sexually assaulting a young boy in the football team’s football facility shower in 2002.AdvertisementThis is placeholder textAuthorities have said that Sandusky met many of his alleged victims through The Second Mile, a charity he established in 1977 to help at-risk children.‘There will be full accountability for those found responsible,’ said Steve Garban, chairman of the Board of Trustees during the meeting, according to the Associated Press. ‘All resources will be made available for the committee to fulfill its charge and there will be no restrictions placed on its scope or activities.’Once the investigation is complete, Garban said a full report will be given to the board at one of its regular meetings.According to the AP, Frazier said the committee will have the power to hire independent lawyers and will publicly release the entirety of its findings.‘That’s absolutely what we intend to do,’ Frazier said. ‘The purpose of this investigation is to ensure that the public understands everything that we learn in this investigation and a report will be made completely public as quickly as we possibly can.’Pennsylvania Education Secretary and Trustee Ron Tomalis will serve as the vice chairman of the special investigation committee, according to Penn State Live, the school’s official news source.Garban also pledged to support Penn State President Rod Erickson at the meeting. The board removed the interim tag from Erickson’s title of president, but will reportedly continue to search for a permanent successor to Spanier.‘I know we can do this,’ Erickson told the trustees at the meeting. ‘We are resilient; We are a university that will rebuild the trust and confidence that so many people have had in us for so many years.’McQueary will not attend Saturday’s gamePenn State wide receivers coach Mike McQueary will not be on the field for the game between the 12th-ranked Nittany Lions (8-1) and No. 19 Nebraska (7-2) at noon Saturday.‘Due to multiple threats made against Assistant Coach Mike McQueary, the University has decided it would be in the best interest of all for Assistant Coach McQueary not to be in attendance at Saturday’s Nebraska game,’ read a statement from Penn State [email protected]  Published on November 10, 2011 at 12:00 pm Contact Jon: [email protected] Commentscenter_img Facebook Twitter Google+last_img read more

Read More »