An article in the October 2014 issue of Physics World magazine discusses the Majorana team’s work in the Sanford Underground Research Facility to combat cosmic radiation which interferes with their neutrino experiments. The project’s overall goal is to test whether neutrinos are their own antiparticle. The article details the project team’s efforts to install detectors with ultra-pure copper, much of it machined in-house at the facility, to reduce the types of cosmic rays which interfere with their experiment data. UNC Physics Professor John Wilkerson, a PI on the project, was interviewed for the article.
UNC physics professor Laura Mersini-Houghton was featured in the October 2014 issue of Discover magazine. In the article, she says that anomalies in the Planck full sky map may be evidence of multiverses. The Planck mapping project measures cosmic radiation which resulted shortly after the formation of the universe. Dr. Mersini-Houghton believes that asymmetry in these maps is an indication that, rather than there being a single universe in existence, there are many.
An automated optics system developed in part by UNC Professor Nick Law brings clarity to astronomical observation. The robotic adaptive optics system (Robo-AO) has already been used to observe 715 of the star systems detected by the Kepler Space Mission. It utilizes lasers to reduce atmospheric noise and capture data automatically, eliminating the need for manual telescope calibration and thus saving time while producing very high quality results. There are plans to develop similar technology on UNC’s SOAR telescope project in Chile.