While Berns worked to explain her science in common language, astronomers were working to discover a common source for perytons. Perytons are transient, 250-millisecond bursts of radio signals detected at observatories in Australia and Switzerland. Because perytons typically occurred on weekdays during office hours, the scientists were pretty sure they were of human origin. But what precisely was the perytons’ provenance? The key lay in linking the perytons with other signals around 2.3 to 2.5 gigahertz, a frequency at which microwave ovens are known to emit. That led to a set of tests spearheaded by Emily Petroff of Swinburne University of Technology, in Australia, that involved heating mugs of water in microwaves at that country’s CSIRO Parkes Observatory. But perytons didn’t appear when scientists just ran the ovens. It wasn’t until someone opened a microwave door before the timer ran out that the source of perytons was conclusively identified (arXiv:1504.02165 [astro-ph.IM]). Last year, Newscripts featured the “Song of the Chemist,” a chemically themed ditty by 19th-century composer George F.
by Jyllian Kemsley |
May 04, 2015