USA- In March, Harvard Physicists announced that they had found evidence of gravitation waves- variations in gravitational strength throughout space, which could act as crucial evidence for the Big Bang. However, new data from the Planck satellite shows that more dust is present in space than was expected. This means it is quite likely that the signals that were believed to be gravitational waves, in fact, could have simply been signals that were distorted from the dust. While this does not disprove the existence of gravitational waves, it does cast some doubt on the supposed confirmation of their existence.
Sweden: A team of scientists led by Martin Gustafasson of Sweden's Chalmers University of Technology have captured the sound of an atom for the first time. An important feature of atoms is that "they are much smaller than the wavelength of optical light, making them appear like a point." In order to capture the sound, the scientists use microwave radiation, which has longer wavelengths. Gustafasson said, "due to the slow speed of sound, we will have time to control the quantum particles while they travel." In this way, the scientists can be able to record data of the sound because sound waves travel much slower than light waves. The team hopes to use this information to learn about quantum behavior, including in electrical circuits and on a bigger scale, computers.
Honolulu, Hawaii - A team of scientists led by Brent Tully from the University of Hawaii in Honolulu have found that the Milky Way Galaxy is actually part of a larger supercluster named Laniakea (Hawaiian for "immeasurable heaven") that is 520 million light years across. Previously, the Milky Way was thought to be part of a smaller galaxy cluster called Virgo, a 110 million light year section of space that is also suspected to be part of Laniakea. The team charted the motions of galaxies to infer the gravitational landscape of regions in space to determine where one supercluster cuts off.
Ilulissat, Greenland - A study led by Shfaqat Khan from the Technical University of Denmark has revealed that the Greenland Ice Sheet, the second largest body of ice in the world, is melting at a much faster rate than previously thought. A portion of the before unnoticed melting comes from the Northeastern Greenland, which was thought to be the last stable part of Greenland in terms of melting ice and glacial break-away. Because of warmer summers due to climate change, one of the glaciers in the South, Jakobshavn Isbrae, is retreating at four times the rate it had been in 1997.
Evanston, Illinois - Northwestern University scientists have discovered the material that is the best at converting waste heat into electricity. An interdisciplinary team, led by inorganic chemist Dr. Mercouri Kanatzidis, has found that the crystal form of tin selenide conducts heat so poorly that it is the most efficient thermoelectric material discovered. Tin selenide has a ZT metric (a ratio of electrical conductivity and thermoelectric power to thermal conductivity) 2.6. The group responsible for the discovery point to countless commercial uses for the information due to two third of energy input being lost to waste heat on average.