Showing posts from August, 2012

‘Melbourne researchers rewrite Big Bang theory’ … or not

It's been a little while, but I have written a new article for The Conversation in response to some screaming headlines earlier in the week. Here's the claim from the Sydney Morning Herald . Heady stuff! The Big Bang, the mass of evidence and interpretation gathered over the last century, is about to be rewritten! This is important stuff (well, to me at least), and headlines everywhere breathlessly trumpeted that we are entering a new era in cosmological understanding. So, I read the paper which appears in a very reputable, Phys Rev D. Here it is Huh? I don't see the words cosmology, big bang, rewritten etc anywhere there. Alas, we have another case of notion that science can only be sold if its significance is overblown. Press releases must challenge the orthodox, shift the paradigm and "rewrite the textbooks". If we went by press-releases, serious researchers would be constantly burning their textbooks and giving Amazon a roaring trade!  This

The origin of the split red clump in the Galactic bulge of the Milky Way

I have been swamped recently, not only at work (I am teaching electromagnetism to first year students) but also at home where we are renovating (and I am not too geeky enough to wield a sledge hammer). So, apologies for the sparse posting. The renovating is slowly approaching its conclusions (although we have lived almost a month with no doors inside the house), and research is trundling, so I will try and get back on top of posting. I should have posted this a little while ago, but the first paper in a new survey of the Galactic Centre was accepted for publication. The ARGOS project, as it is known, was originally intended to be a large scale international survey of a large chunk of sky, but we were not awarded time for that, and now it is a program focused upon the Galactic Bulge. It might seem strange, but while we can plainly see the centre of the Galaxy from here in Australia, there is a lot we don't know about it. It was only in the last 10-20 years we have come to unders