So I have a nice little shortlist of papers which I might present at next week’s journal club. In fairness, it’s still not a very short shortlist, so I should probably dismiss a couple of these before I offer them up to the masses tomorrow…

…but which? I Should trim it down to 3 or 4, so I’m going to lose one of the neutron star papers and… One other? Hmmm…

An atypical bunch, sure, but an interesting bunch all the same. Mostly, I just wanted to find a bunch of things that no one here really researches. After all, the point of a journal club should really be to broaden one’s horizons, and all too often people seem to pick unexciting papers which are a little bit too close to whatever they work on. Astronomy is an exciting field. Why restrict yourself?

Plus, these are interesting topics. Neutron stars… Positronium… Exoplanets… Ok, ok, I’ll admit the black hole starships paper is perhaps a bit silly, but it’s silly in an entertaining and scientifically feasible way! In any case, I’m sure I’ll be able to ramble about one of these things for half an hour without too much difficulty.

I wonder which one I might end up discussing…

About Invader Xan

Molecular astrophysicist, usually found writing frenziedly, staring at the sky, or drinking mojitos.
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24 Responses to Papers!

  1. Anonymous says:

    A Mission of Gravity…
    Hi InvaderXan
    Happy 2010! Been slack with my blog visiting this year.
    The Hal Clement novel is “A Mission of Gravity”, on Mesklin orbitting 61 Cygni, followed by a sequel, “Starlight”, which is set on a brown dwarf around Lalande 21185. Plus a couple of cool novellas. They’re all collected – including Clement’s astrophysical notes on Mesklin – in the “Heavy Planet” collection. Good, very hard SF.
    As for the centrifugally reduced surface gravity, Stephen Baxter mentions a colonised neutron star in a few of his stories. Aquatic descendents of a starship crew live in the narrow low-gee band around the neutron star’s equator. I read about it in his “Vacuum Diagrams” collection – the title story of which is a very fun tale about a very large Feynman-style vacuum diagram.
    Louis Crane and Shawn Westmoreland’s paper nicely gives me an acknowledgement because I read and critiqued it prior to it hitting the arxiv. Crane is working on a more detailed quantum gravity treatment of black hole decay that might give more credence to the concept if we can figure out how to reflect gamma-rays or thermalise them to good effect.

  2. dr_psycho says:

    mmmmmmm….. glass rods……….

  3. dr_psycho says:

    Hmm, well probably not suited for your means but none the less:
    This one I wrote into my behavioural neuroscience exam in the 2nd year as it was the only paper I could remember and discuss on the day.. mmmm Discussion……. I passed with 58%:
    …. Nb. Read the first sentence of the abstract….
    Astrophysics is a little tougher to dig stuff up on, you should submit the marshmallow musings. In the meantime this should appeal to your chemist side:

  4. Anonymous says:

    Re: Papers
    Yeah, I read about that dark matter ramjet too. There is no possible way to scoop up the dark matter and drive the density of it up enough to cause it to interact without using a massive… mass. Thus, you would need a black hole to power the dark matter ramjet, too.
    I found it delightfully implausible, but a fun read.

  5. invaderxan says:

    Oh wow… What a brilliant concept! Thanks for the recommendation, I’ll have to try and get hold of a copy sometime. :)

  6. invaderxan says:

    Just poi, with fire (for… quite a few years now — though I’m a little out of practice at the mo’). Mind you, I also dabble with nunchaku and contact juggling, both of which can look pretty damn cool under UV…
    Ps: Fire fans rock! :)

  7. 6_bleen_7 says:

    If you’ve never read Hal Clement’s A Matter of Gravity, I highly recommend it. It is set on a massive planet rotating so rapidly that the apparent surface gravity at the equator is 3 gees, and at the poles, something like 700 gees.

  8. tatjna says:

    Why yes, yes I am! Hoop, fans and palm torches at the moment. What do you spin?
    (ps afrikaburn = awesome! kiwiburn too!)

  9. invaderxan says:

    Hi! Pleased to meet you! :)
    Hmmmm… Afrikaburn/Kiwiburn? Are you a firespinner, perchance…?
    (Because I am.)

  10. tatjna says:

    Saw you comment on someone else’s blog, came to have a look, got fascinated.. yeah, hi.

  11. invaderxan says:

    True, they don’t explicitly state that, do they…? I went through it before (some time ago) and as I recall, millimetre mountains sound about right. Possibly even whole centimetres.
    And I’m not sure how exhausting it would be. It’s doubtful tiredness would be an issue after you’d been gravitationally pulverised into ions! ;)

  12. invaderxan says:

    Re: Start off w. dessert
    Words to live by! :D

  13. invaderxan says:

    I was impressed by how much detail they went into in that paper actually…

  14. invaderxan says:

    LOL! I am astounded. Where do you find these things? :P

  15. invaderxan says:

    Erm… yes. Yes you did.
    (What has been seen cannot be unseen).

  16. invaderxan says:

    Re: Papers
    In fairness, the black hole starships idea is more plausible than the dark matter ramjet
    And thanks for the advice, though mercifully I only have to give a talk on a single paper (and I don’t get to choose which). It looks like I will indeed be talking about neutron stars though…

  17. invaderxan says:

    That one deserves a blog entry at least!

  18. Anonymous says:

    I would chose the two neutron stars papers and focus on those. The black hole ship paper is far too implausible to be real, and the others are quite scattered.
    An awesome list, to be sure, but I would recommend sticking to one topic. Didn’t you do a post about the low fraction of Lithium in stars with planets? If so, you might want to pick that paper, since you already know about it, and can give a polished talk.

  19. dr_psycho says:

    …………. Wait…. I sent you the Duck paper right?

  20. dr_psycho says:

    For your consideration:
    Stephen Marsland. The creationist algorithm. Annals of Improbable Research, 9(1):27, 2003.

    Click to access AIR.pdf

    … If not, my votes with the latter option

  21. Black hole starships!

  22. maxdwolf says:

    Start off w. dessert
    If you have room (time) afterwards you’ve got the rest to fill it with.

  23. 6_bleen_7 says:

    I didn’t understand enough of the Horowitz & Kadau paper to get an idea of how high mountains can grow on neutron stars. I’m imagining a lofty peak a full millimeter high. It would still make for an exhausting day’s climb, considering that the surface gravity would likely be in the billions of gees.

  24. nimblenimbus says:

    Haha. If you cut the last one from the list I’ll be disappointed. :P

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