Monday, 22 April 2013

Universal asymmetry

The news item Planck telescope peers into primordial Universe states:
Planck also confirmed some oddities earlier picked up by the WMAP. The simplest models of inflation predict that fluctuations in the cosmic microwave background should look the same all over the sky. But the WMAP found, and Planck has now confirmed, an asymmetry between opposite hemispheres of the sky, as well as a ‘cold spot’ that covers a large area
The asymmetry “defines a preferred direction in space, which is an extremely strange result”, says Efstathiou. This rules out some models of inflation, but does not undermine the idea itself, he adds. It does, however, raise tantalizing hints that there may yet be new physics to be discovered in Planck’s data.
Figure 1 from Webb and Flambaum's paper Indications of a Spatial Variation of the Fine Structure Constant shows the relationship between the spatial dipole variation in α and the cosmic microwave background dipole and antipole.

What would be most interesting is a variation in the speed of light—or other fundamental physical constants—that shows similar variation.

Saturday, 6 April 2013

Architect’s grand design gets nod

The April 6 POST highlighted architect Ariane Prevost’s proposed house at 3A Queen Street Claremont and mentioned that it could feature on Grand Designs Australia. Her name sounded familiar—and then I remembered: when I started at UWA in 1978, in my first year I studied Architecture, along with Physics and Maths. And the top student in Architecture was Ariane Prevost.

A search revealed that her wonderful Marimekko house—featured on Dream Build—was selected as a finalist for the 2012 Houses Awards.