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Thomas Rauscher
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Not All Those Who Wander Are Lost (J.R.R. Tolkien)
Not All Those Who Wander Are Lost (J.R.R. Tolkien)

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As a bit of background to the story about Elsevier giving £1 million to Oxford mathematics, here are three links. The main one below is to a blog post that gives some idea of how Elsevier doesn't give a ... about its lower-tier journals.

The other two are to information about Big Deal negotiations in South Korea (http://www.sciencemag.org/news/2018/01/south-korean-universities-reach-agreement-elsevier-after-long-standoff) and Finland (http://finelib.fi/finelib-and-elsevier-agreement-access-to-scholarly-journals-and-50-percent-discount-of-article-processing-charges/). The South Koreans appear to have capitulated UK-style when they got worried that access to journals would be cut off (ignoring what has happened in Germany, where Elsevier has maintained access despite not being paid for it), while the Finns have gone for a disappointing Dutch-style deal -- it looks to me as though it's probably roughly what they had before but with some discounts on APCs thrown in. That's why Elsevier can afford to splash out the odd million here and there.
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Neutron star mergers make heavy elements

It is now confirmed that neutron star mergers produce heavy elements in the so-called r-process (rapid neutron capture).

When two neutron stars spiral onto each other and merge, neutron-rich and very hot material is expelled. Under such conditions, an r-process (rapid neutron capture) occurs building up very heavy elements from neutrons and protons.

The process and its occurrence in neutron star mergers have been theoretically predicted but the new data from combined observations of gravitational waves with LIGO and of electromagnetic waves (light) by many observatories around the globe directly show such a phenomenon for the first time.

Exciting times for nuclear astrophysics!
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Announcement of exciting new discovery from LIGO
Follow the announcement live on Monday, October 16, 2017, at 10:00am EDT.
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Could there be a LIGO detection of merging neutron stars with an optical counterpart?

Today (August 25th) there could be another (more official announcement). Stay tuned!
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The Art of Astrophysics

How do you visualize distant worlds that you can't see? A team of artists uses scientific data to imagine exoplanets and other astrophysical phenomena.
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Companion star received the blast from a supernova explosion

Many, if not most, stars are in binary systems. Since stars evolve differently depending on their mass, the more massive star in a binary can explode as a supernova while the companion still remains an ordinary star. This type of supernova leaves a neutron star behind and the debris of the exploded star as a hot, expanding gas cloud. Since this debris is ejected at high speeds, part of it can also fall onto the surface of the companion star.

So far the theory, direct observational confirmations of a binary system resulting from such an explosion were not available so far. This Nature paper (behind a paywall unfortunately, but the freely accessibly preprint is at https://arxiv.org/abs/1702.00936 ) reports observations which seem to confirm the existence of such systems. They identified a binary system of a regular star and a neutron star, with the regular star showing an unusual surface composition, indicating that it may have been polluted by a nearby supernova.

This in itself is a great finding. But it opens a bag of further questions. The pollution would also be atypical for a supernova of this kind. Furthermore, it seems that the star which exploded had lost much of its original mass and only exploded after it had become quite light. Theoretical astrophysicists have to check their supernova models to see whether this would even be possible. Or perhaps they have to revise their models...
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See the Theory of Relativity at work by building your own cloud chamber
How To Prove Einstein's Relativity For Less Than $100: Distances really do contract, clocks really do run slow, and you can prove it all in a single day's work. http://www.forbes.com/sites/startswithabang/2017/04/27/how-to-prove-einsteins-relativity-for-less-than-100/
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Manipulative Spam Emails from Internal Medicine Review

Every scientist and researcher should be warned about these! Read the article (and look at my "personal" sample below). And adjust the spam filters of your e-mail as well as of your brain.

In a way, I was happy to read that I am not the only one wondering about this spam. It is spam but on a more sophisticated level. But not sophisticated enough that I did not find it weird to be asked to publish a follow up on an astrophysics article in a medical journal. But had I been in medical research indeed, I couldn't have helped to give it some consideration.

Here is the latest one I just received (even personalized with "Happy New Year"), lots of those went directly into the spam folder within the past year(s):

_"Dear Dr. Rauscher,
 
I wish you a happy new year. We talked some months ago about the idea of publishing a followup article to the one you authored entitled "Solution of the ?-potential mystery in the ? process and its impact on the Nd/Sm ratio in meteorites". Is now a better time for you to write something? Is there anything I can do to help? If now isn't the right time for you to work on a followup to this article, I would certainly be interested in knowing more about your current research.

I will tell you more about the journal in case you don't still have our earlier emails. The Internal Medicine Review is a hybrid journal with optional open access. The issues are monthly, and published both online and in print. The submission deadline is flexible.

Please get back to me at your earliest convenience.

 
Sincerely,
 
Dr. Lisseth Tovar
Senior Editor
Internal Medicine Review (IMR)
www.internalmedicinereview.org "_
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