Material World - EU Science funding; Pear-shaped nuclei; Hyades
What would happen to UK scientific research in the UK were to leave the EU? Also the discovery of pear shped nuclei and the potential fate of our solar system explained.
Currently, scientific research in the UK receives an estimated 4.9 billion euro from the EU’s FP7 program, a figure that is likely to climb to as much as 8 billion euro when the current program finishes in 2013. With the possibility of a referendum on EU membership becoming more apparent, what would happen to UK scientific research if the UK were to leave the EU altogether? UKIP MEP Roger Helmer and Professor Ed Hinds of Imperial College London discuss the implications with Gareth Mitchell. The existence of pear-shaped nuclei has long been predicted, but although some qualitative hints of this nuclear shape have been found, the quantitative information to back this up has been sparse. By using accelerated beams of heavy, radioactive ions, a team lead by researchers at the University of Liverpool recently found a clear pear shape in the nucleus of radium isotopes. As explained by Professor Jonathan Butterworth from University College London's Department of Physics and Astronomy, these findings hold huge promise in furthering our understanding of nuclear structure and also, testing the standard model of particle physics. By examining White Dwarf stars in the nearby Hyades Cluster, Dr Jay Farihi from the University of Cambridge's Institute of Astronomy, found that these dead stars were 'polluted' by low levels of carbon and lots of silicon. Dr Farihi hopes to use these findings to gain invaluable insights into the fate of our own solar system when, as predicted, the sun ceases to exist in 5 billion years.