April 16, 2007

2007 April APS Meeting Press Conferences

College Park, MD — The following press events will take place at the April Meeting of the American Physical Society (APS) in Jacksonville, Florida.

Press Availability, Saturday, April 14, 8:30 AM
GRAVITY PROBE B, PRELIMINARY RESULTS There will be no formal press conference in conjunction with the first report of preliminary results, but NASA public affairs officials will arrange one-on-one interviews with Gravity Probe B lead scientist Francis Everitt, who will deliver the first plenary talk of the meeting, at 8:30 AM, April 14. In addition various Gravity Probe talks will occur during the meeting (see session H7) as well as numerous poster papers in session L1. (Furthermore, there will be no NASA press conference on this topic prior to the APS meeting.)

Press Conference, Saturday, April 14, 11 AM
COSMIC CAUSES OF TERRESTRIAL BIODIVERSITY The diversity of creatures crawling, flying, and swimming across our planet may stem in part from the motion of the solar system through the galactic plane because the radiation that reaches the Earth varies as a result of our location in the galaxy. The fact that episodes of large expansions of species variety on the planet seem to match the 30 million and 62 million year cycles of the solar system*s motion suggests that evolution may be driven by fluctuations in the radiation that the Earth receives. University of Kansas researchers Adrian Melott (melott@ku.edu) and Mikhail Medvedev (medvedev@ku.edu) will discuss the latest research on the effect of astrophysical radiation on life on Earth. Among other results, they have found that the duration of the planet*s radiation exposure makes very little difference. From millisecond gamma ray bursts to 3-year increases in radiation, the ultimate amount of ozone depletion (and the resulting impact on species) is dependent primarily on the total amount of energy dumped in the atmosphere.

Press Conference, Saturday, 12:30 PM
USING ENERGY EFFICIENTLY Energy consumption-in the home, for transport, for sustaining commerce-is a topic of ever growing importance. Here speakers from session B5 address this issue. Amory Lovins (Rocky Mountain Institute), the leading energy efficiency expert in the world (ablovins@rmi.org), will address some of the salient topics: oil, carbon dioxide, distributed electricity production, and renewable energy sources. Up to two thirds of all electricity is consumed inside buildings, a topic examined by Leon Glicksman (MIT, glicks@mit.edu). He believes that on top of substantial previous improvements in building energy usage, even more efficiency can be obtained by advanced technology now coming into play. E. Michael Campbell (General Atomics, campbell@fusion.gat.com), a speaker from session C5, will talk about the future prospects for nuclear energy.

Press Conference, Saturday, April 14, 1:30 PM
A NEW VIEW OF THE UNIVERSE ABOVE THE NORTH GALACTIC POLE Researchers have combined data from the Arecibo radio antenna in Puerto Rico and the Dominion Radio Astroph ysical Observatory (DRAO) interferometer in Canada to produce a stunning view of the sky above the plane of our galaxy. In particular, the image shows a surprising lack of correlation between the faint radiation produced by particles accelerated in the magnetized plasma of space and the distribution of bright stars and galaxies in the nearby universe. It also adds to the evidence that massive galaxy black holes are rich sources of cosmic rays and magnetic energy releases. The work provides a preview of features that might contribute to the cosmic microwave background (CMB) on scales to be imaged by the PLANCK CMB Explorer, which NASA and the European Space Agency are jointly planning to launch later this year. Philipp Kronberg (Los Alamos National Laboratory, kronberg@lanl.gov), who led the research project, will present the images resulting from the combined radio data, as well as other insights to come out of the project.

Press Conference, Sunday, April 15, 9:30 AM
THE EFIMOV EFFECT: A NEW STATE OF MATTER Recently, Rudolf Grimm (rudolf.grimm@ultracold.at) of the University of Innsbruck and his colleagues provided the first experimental demonstration of new phenomenon, first predicted in 1969, known as the Efimov effect. In the atomic version of the Efimov effect, two atoms which usually repel each other become attracted when a third atom is introduced. Atoms entering the Ekimov state veer from their original chemical identities; they behave differently in the company of two other atoms. Grimm will describe his collaboration's experimental demonstration, which involved cesium atoms cooled to ultracold temperatures of just nanokelvins. Also speaking will be the University of Colorado's Chris Greene (chris.greene@colorado.edu), who predicted with a coauthor that ultracold atomic gases would be the ticket to observing this elusive effect experimentally. (Session B8)

Press Conference, Sunday, 11 AM
PUSHING THE STANDARD MODEL Three physicists working at the most powerful accelerator in the world, Fermilab*s Tevatron, will deliver the latest news from the high energy frontier, where scientists probe the elementary particles that constitute the basic fundamental building blocks of matter. They will also discuss efforts to discover phenomena outside the standard model of particle physics. Kirsten Tollefson (Michigan State), Gerald Blazey (Northen Illinois), and Ulrich Heintz (Boston University) will report brand new measurements of the masses of the top quark and the W boson; these two masses, in turn, provide a new best estimate for the mass of the Higgs boson, the big missing ingredient in experimental particle physics. Furthermore, they will describe the observation of events in which only a single top quark is formed; these interactions, long expected, provide the first measurement of a the final parameter of a set of numbers (the so called CKM matrix) which prescribes how the W boson, the charged carrier of the weak nuclear force, changes one quark type (or *flavor*) into another. Finally, the Tevatron scientists will discuss intriguing hints (still at a statistically weak level) of new particles in recent scattering data.

Special Lunchtime Talk, Sunday, April 15, 12:35 PM-1:15 PM, Grand Ballroom I
NPR REPORTER DAVID KESTENBAUM The Failure of the 17th Street Canal : Anatomy of an Engineering Disaster. The levee failures in New Orleans rank among the worst engineering failures in US history. The city depended on hundreds of miles of levees and flood walls which had been carefully designed, with safety margins. But in some cases things went badly wrong; structures that should have been able to keep back the storm surge gave way. An entire city paid the price. David Kestenbaum covered the story for National Public Radio. At a special lunchtime talk for all meeting participants, Kestenbaum will talk about one critical structure--the 17th Street Canal-- and how it failed. (J17.1) Kestenbaum is being honored at the APS meeting for winning the latest American Institute of Physics Science Writing Award for Broadcast Journalism for his piece "Einstein's Miraculous Year: How Smart was Einstein?" (Session N1)

Press Conference, Sunday, April 15, 1:30 PM
NEW LIFETIME MEASUREMENT OF THE SIMPLEST HADRON In efforts that will revise particle-physics textbooks and provide insights into the imbalance between matter and antimatter in the universe, researchers will present a brand-new precision measurement of the lifetime of a short-lived subatomic object known as the chargeless pion. The new, preliminary result is two times more precise than the present value published in particle data tables, and the precision may improve as researchers converge towards a final result. The chargeless pion, the simplest hadron (quark-containing object), can be imagined in most basic terms as a quark-antiquark pair. Before it decays into other particles, the chargeless pion exists for only about an attosecond (a billionth of a billionth of a second), a thousand times shorter than predicted by early particle theory. Newer theories come closer to this observed result by taking into account chiral symmetry breaking. Symmetry breaking is responsible, for example, for causing the predominance over matter over antimatter in the present universe. The new measurement was obtained in the Primakoff Experiment (PrimEx) at the US Department of Energy's Jefferson Lab. Ashot Gasparian of North Carolina A&T State University will present the PrimEx measurements, with commentary from Lawrence Cardman, Jefferson Lab's Associate Director for Experimental Nuclear Physics. (Paper B2.1)


About APS

The American Physical Society (www.aps.org) is a non-profit membership organization working to advance and diffuse the knowledge of physics through its outstanding research journals, scientific meetings, and education, outreach, advocacy and international activities. APS represents over 51,000 members, including physicists in academia, national laboratories and industry in the United States and throughout the world. Society offices are located in College Park, MD (Headquarters), Ridge, NY, and Washington, DC.

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