- Today Planck has released a statement [edit: web site has been hidden, but luckily the internet keeps backups] [edit 2: paper is now available from here] about the combination analysis of BICEP2+KECK+Planck re: primordial gravitational waves. Be sure to click the "Expert" version for some plots. (English speakers try google translate). The bottom line is no significant non-zero measurement, with the tensor-to-scalar ratio r<0.13 at 95% C.L. It could just be dust.
No doubt we will hear more about it in the coming week(s).
- H.E.S.S. has discovered a trio of extremely luminous gamma-ray sources in the Large Magellanic Cloud, "the first time that stellar-type gamma-ray sources are detected in an external galaxy, at these gamma-ray energies."
- Some incredible results coming out of the Kepler mission data. The survey has discovered >1000 exoplanets, with notable recent finds: an 11 billion year old star with Earth-sized planets; a planet with a ring system ~120 million kilometres in diameter, or almost the distance of the Earth to the Sun (see a video of the exoring model here), and; a star with three Earth-sized planets straddling the system's habitable zone.
- Richard Dawid's book "String Theory and the Scientific Method" and surrounding ideas of post-empirical science continues to cause waves within the blogosphere. The argument seems to be that String Theory is likely correct because: (a) there are few viable alternatives, (b) the more it is studied the more it appears to hold together coherently, and (c) it is the extrapolation of a previous programme of study (the Standard Model) which already succeeded. But without experiment to ground it in reality, is it science? We can go back to May for a couple of interesting book reviews from two opposing sides: Woit and Motl.
- Related is this NPR piece on the multiverse.
- Worth a look also are pieces on Helen Quinn at Symmetry Magazine, and Yitang Zhang (of bounded prime gaps fame) in the New Yorker.
- In other science news, images of Ceres are arriving from Dawn (what is the white spot?), the Rosetta comet mission is returning results, and fish live beneath 740 metres of ice in Antarctica.
- Lastly, AndromedaBot is a twitter account which tweets excerpts from Hubble's largest photo (of Andromeda) every half-hour.