Hottest man-made temperature achieved
UPTON, N.Y., June 27 (UPI) -- A U.S. particle physics lab has set a record for achieving the highest man-made temperature, Guinness World Records says.
The Relativistic Heavy Ion Collider at the Brookhaven National Laboratory in New York collides gold ions at nearly the speed of light with impact energy so intense it creates temperatures of around 4 trillion degrees Celsius, about 250,000 times hotter than the center of the sun.
At that temperature and energy level neutrons and protons inside the gold nuclei "melt," researchers said, releasing fundamental quarks and gluons that form a nearly friction-free primordial plasma that existed in Nature only about a millionth of a second after the Big Bang.
"There are many cool things about this ultra-hot matter," physicist Steven Vigdor, said in a Brookhaven release. "We expected to reach these temperatures -- that is, after all, why RHIC was built -- but we did not at all anticipate the nearly perfect liquid behavior."
While the 2.4-mile underground atomic accelerator at RHIC now holds the record, the 17-mile Large Hadron Collider at Europe's CERN laboratory in Switzerland is smashing lead ions together in its own super-hot recreations of the Big Bang and may have already trumped the U.S. research record.
"The energy density at the LHC is a factor of three higher than at RHIC," CERN physicist Despina Hatzifotiadou said. "This translates to a 30 percent increase in absolute temperature compared to the value achieved by RHIC."
However, CERN has not yet published an official temperature measurement of its own quark-gluon plasma, leaving the record in New York -- for now.
iPhone translate app readied for Olympics
LONDON, June 27 (UPI) -- A new speech translation iPhone app will be available for the millions of tourists expected to descend on London for the 2012 Olympics, researchers said.
The app, dubbed VoiceTra4U-M, will allow people to converse with foreigners in their own language, NewScientist.com reported Wednesday.
Developed by the Universal Speech Translation Advanced Research Consortium, made up of researchers from 23 different countries, the app will support full voice translation for 13 different languages and text translation for a further 10.
Users can share a single iPhone for face-to-face conversations or make phone calls to anyone else using the app.
The translation process takes place on remote servers, introducing a slight delay into conversations, U-STAR said.
The app will initially focus on translating words and phrases related to tourism, it said.
Up to five people can converse at once, each in his or her own language, U-STAR said.
Theoretically the system can support any number of people, but U-STAR said it has capped the app to reduce server load for the time being.
Long history of water on Mars seen
PARIS, June 27 (UPI) -- A study of martian rocks shows underground water persisted for prolonged periods in the first billion years of the planet's existence, European scientists say.
The European Space Agency's Mars Express orbiter has been studying rocks blasted out of impact craters, revealing material that once lay hidden beneath the surface.
The Mars Express and NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter focused on craters in the Red Planet's ancient southern highlands, called Tyrrhena Terra, to learn more about the history of water in this region, a release from ESA's Paris headquarters reported Wednesday.
Focusing on the chemistry of rocks embedded in the crater walls, rims and central uplifts, scientists say they've identified 175 sites bearing minerals formed in the presence of water.
"The composition of the rocks is such that underground water must have been present here for a long period of time in order to have altered their chemistry," lead study author Damien Loizeau said.
While the material brought to the surface by impacts appears to have been in close contact with water, there is little evidence for rocks on the surface having been altered by water, scientists said.
"Water circulation occurred several kilometers deep in the crust some 3.7 billion years ago, before the majority of craters formed in this region," study co-author Nicolas Mangold said.
Impact craters are natural windows into the history of a planet's surface, and the deeper the crater the further back in time its history is revealed, scientists said.
"The role of liquid water on Mars is of great importance for its habitability and this study using Mars Express describes a very large zone where groundwater was present for a long time," Olivier Witasse, ESA Mars Express project scientist, said.
U.S. judge bans Samsung tablet
LOS ANGELES, June 27 (UPI) -- A California judge has issued an injunction banning sales of Samsung's Galaxy Tab tablet at the request of Apple Inc., which says Samsung violated its patents.
The preliminary injunction bars Samsung from making or selling their Tab 10.1 tablet, which Apple claims violates its design patent for the front, back and sides of the iPad, in the United States.
The ruling is the latest action in an ongoing legal battle between Apple and the South Korean technology giant, which has grown to 30 legal cases between the companies over design and technology patents in 10 different countries.
The ruling is unlikely to significantly impact Samsung's earnings, analysts said.
"Tablets are not Samsung's key product anyway so the latest ruling won't likely have any significant impact on Samsung's earnings," Lee Seung-woo, an analyst at IBK Securities, told the Los Angeles Times.
Apple has been granted similar injunctions in other countries, including Australia and Germany, forcing Samsung to redesign its device for those markets.
Samsung expressed disappointment at the injunction.
"We will continue to take all available measures, including legal action, to ensure continued consumer access to our innovative products," the company said in a statement.
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