Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Meeting Notes 1/7/16

Science in the News

Here is an image, taken with the Wide Field Planetary Camera 2 on board the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope, shows a new galaxy – NGC 6052 – in the process of forming from the merger of two separate galaxies. The event is taking place around 230 million light-years away in the constellation of Hercules.

On Dec. 21, SpaceX successfully brought the first stage of its Falcon 9 rocket back to Earth for a soft landing at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida — the first time this had ever been done during an orbital launch. The achievement is a big step forward in SpaceX's quest to develop fully, rapidly reusable rockets, which Musk has said could slash the cost of spaceflight by a factor of 100. 

On December 30, the International Union of Pure and Applied Chemistry announced that a Russian-U.S. collaboration had attained sufficient evidence to claim the discovery of elements 115, 117 and 118. IUPAC awarded credit for the discovery of element 113 to scientists at RIKEN in Wako, Japan (SN Online: 9/27/12). The group synthesized the elements by slamming lighter nuclei into each other (firing beams of zinc at a thin bismuth film) and tracking the decay of the radioactive superheavy elements that followed.

University of Idaho

The Science Club had the pleasure of meeting a few student and faculty representatives from the University of Idaho! A short talk was given about the programs offered, and the backgrounds of the students in science, as well as what they planned while living out student life on the beautiful campus just far enough away from home for independence (but close enough for road trips over plane rides). 

IN MISCELLANEOUS NEWS, I heard that there was trebuchet building during the final half hour of the meeting last Thursday, but I unfortunately missed this and couldn't cover it. (Daniel, you can absolutely fill this part in if you'd like.) 

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