Latest from KIPAC

Jan 13, 2023 – Research Highlight
People have wondered whether or not there are other beings and minds beyond the Earth at least since the ancient Greek philosopher Epicurus in the third century BC. It was an active topic of theological debate through the Renaissance, and eventually imagining aliens, their worlds, and their possible visits to us became a major part of popular culture in the 20th century. Cultural takes on alien life and UFOs have ranged from the more thoughtful and philosophical to the absurdity of gray beings conspiring with international government officials. Recent declassified images and videos of seemingly strange shapes darting across the sky may have caused a media storm, but the real story that needs to be told is that we finally know something about the likelihood of intelligent life in the Universe.
Nov 25, 2022 – Research Highlight
Some of the brightest objects in the sky are called blazars. They consist of a supermassive black hole feeding off material swirling around it in a disk, which can create two powerful jets perpendicular to the disk on each side. A blazar is especially bright because one of its powerful jets of high-speed particles points straight at Earth. For decades, scientists have wondered: How do particles in these jets get accelerated to such high energies?
Oct 30, 2022 – Research Highlight
Biopolymers (large molecules operating in living systems, such as DNA or proteins) possess a unique architecture: the arrangement of their atoms in space has the property of specific chirality (or handedness; the word “chiral” comes from Greek for “hands”). How this happened is unknown and solving it is central to understanding the origin of life because the property of homochirality—where all biomolecules of a certain type have the same chirality—allows the biopolymers to adopt stable helical structures. As a result, their helices spiral in only one direction, and this direction is the same for all living organisms.
Oct 12, 2022 – News

KIPAC astrophysicist Enrique López Rodríguez’s passion for astronomy started on the ground.

Sep 23, 2022 – Research Highlight
Dark matter’s stubborn resistance to discovery has forced us to reevaluate what it may look like. If it is much lighter than we’ve assumed, there must be more of it around to make up the total mass required to hold galaxies together. Our challenge: the signals these lighter particles would leave in terrestrial detectors are smaller than any we’ve ever set out to measure. To answer that challenge, DM physicists are constructing the coldest, quietest, most sensitive particle detectors ever made.
Sep 20, 2022 – News

An enormous vat of pure liquid xenon will help scientists at SLAC and around the globe learn more about the universe.

Sep 6, 2022 – News

A cosmologist, cultural historian, and neurosurgeon discuss how outer space and otherworldly phenomena can inspire discovery across disciplines and bring people together.