Thursday, March 15, 2018

Leo Varadkar honours US-based Irish scientists

Leading physicist Prof Margaret Murnane was awarded the Science Foundation Ireland’s St Patrick’s Day Science Medal. Photograph: John Harrington

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar has presented Science Foundation Ireland’s St Patrick’s Day Science Medal to Prof Margaret Murnane, a world leader in development of fast-pulsed lasers, and to David McCourt, an innovation and technology pioneer.
At an event at the US Institute of Peace in Washington on Wednesday, Mr Varadkar said he was delighted to recognise two inspiring leaders who were contributing significantly to research and innovation but also members of the Irish diaspora.

A Vast, Growing Web of Cracked Ice Is Sucking Greenland's Lakes Dry

Visit Greenland on the right summer day, and you could see a 12-billion-gallon lake disappear before your very eyes.
Glaciologists saw this happen for the first time in 2006, when a 2.2-square-mile (5.6 square kilometers) lake of melted ice drained away into nothing in less than 2 hours. Researchers now see such events as a regular part of Greenland's increasingly hot summer routine; every year, thousands of temporary lakes pop up on Greenland's surface as the surrounding ice melts, sit around for a few weeks or months, and then suddenly drain away through cracks in the ice sheet underneath. [Images of Melt: Earth's Vanishing Ice]
On a recent expedition, however, researchers saw an alarming new pattern behind Greenland's mysterious disappearing lakes: They're starting to drain farther and farther inland. According to a new paper published today (March 14) in the journal Nature Communications, that's because the summer lakes of Greenland drain in a "cascading" chain reaction enabled by a vast, interconnected web of cracks below the ice — and as temperatures climb, the web is getting wider.
Read More at Livescience

Stephen Hawking Dies at 76; His Mind Roamed the Cosmos

Stephen W. Hawking, the Cambridge University physicist and best-selling author who roamed the cosmos from a wheelchair, pondering the nature of gravity and the origin of the universe and becoming an emblem of human determination and curiosity, died early Wednesday at his home in Cambridge, England. He was 76.
A university spokesman confirmed the death.
“Not since Albert Einstein has a scientist so captured the public imagination and endeared himself to tens of millions of people around the world,” Michio Kaku, a professor of theoretical physics at the City University of New York, said in an interview.
Dr. Hawking did that largely through his book “A Brief History of Time: From the Big Bang to Black Holes,” published in 1988. It has sold more than 10 million copies and inspired a documentary film by Errol Morris. His own story was the basis of an award-winning 2014 feature film, “The Theory of Everything.” (Eddie Redmayne played Dr. Hawking and won an Academy Award.)

Read more from the New York Times

Stephen Hawking, a man synonymous with the mysteries of the cosmos, is dead at 76

You had his book on your bookshelf, even if you never read it.
You knew he was a genius whose mind grappled with cosmological conundrums as massive as black holes and the existence of the Universe.
Stephen Hawking entered this world on the 300th anniversary of Galileo’s death, and died today 139 years after the birth of Albert Einstein, fitting bookends for a physicist standing on the shoulders of those giants.
He lived for decades longer than his doctors expected when they first diagnosed him with the motor neuron disease ALS in 1963, astounding the medical community. He earned his doctorate, and by the time he appeared in Popular Science at the age of 38 he was already an acclaimed physicist

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