Illuminating New Insights Into Lightning Initiation Through Interferometry -Dr Xuan – Min Shao, Los Alamos National Laboratory

Nov 3, 2021 | earth and environment, physical sciences

About this episode

Radio frequency inteferometric lightning maps are important tools for researchers exploring the electrical processes that unfold within storm clouds. Dr Xuan-Min Shao and colleagues at Los Alamos National Laboratory in New Mexico, who first introduced broadband interferometry to lightning research over two decades ago, have now developed an advanced ‘beam steering’ interferometry technique to significantly improve the accuracy of lightning mapping. This approach, together with their recently developed polarisation detection technique, has begun to reveal new physics involved in lightning discharges. Their recent work shows how lightning initiation, which has been poorly understood until now, may be linked to high-energy cosmic particles entering Earth’s atmosphere.




This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International LicenseCreative Commons License

What does this mean?

Share: You can copy and redistribute the material in any medium or format

Adapt: You can change, and build upon the material for any purpose, even commercially.

Credit: You must give appropriate credit, provide a link to the license, and indicate if changes were made.

More episodes

Dr Jay Mellies | Using Hungry Microbes to Devour Plastic Pollution

Dr Jay Mellies | Using Hungry Microbes to Devour Plastic Pollution

Plastic pollution is accelerating the destruction of our planet. Discarded plastic can be found in the remotest areas – from the highest mountain tops to the deepest ocean trenches. As many types of plastic take hundreds of years to break down, finding better solutions to the plastic crisis is vital. In recent research, Dr Jay Mellies from Reed College in Oregon examines the ability of microbes to break down mixed-plastic waste.

Dr Ari Jumpponen | Exploring How Soil Fungi Respond to Drought

Dr Ari Jumpponen | Exploring How Soil Fungi Respond to Drought

Both the frequency and intensity of droughts are forecast to increase in climate change predictions. It is well established that plant communities are sensitive to drought conditions, having implications for agriculture, forestry, and wild habitats. Despite the close association between soil fungi and plants, our understanding of how fungal communities respond to drought remains incomplete. To build this understanding, Dr Ari Jumpponen and his colleagues at Kansas State University used a combination of pure culture- and DNA-based techniques to study soil fungal communities exposed to chronic drought conditions.

Thomas Kleinig | Preventing Satellite Collisions with Ionospheric Drag

Thomas Kleinig | Preventing Satellite Collisions with Ionospheric Drag

Satellites are vital to modern civilization, powering the GPS in our phones, enabling long-range communication, and giving us insights into Earth’s climate and the universe beyond. We now launch thousands of new satellites into space each year, dramatically increasing the risk of collisions. Such satellite collisions create debris that can damage more satellites. Thomas Kleinig and his colleagues are developing and testing a new approach to avoid collisions by exploiting a unique property of the thin atmosphere that satellites travel through.

Dr George Rupp | Modelling Mesons: Uncovering Subatomic Particle Interactions

Dr George Rupp | Modelling Mesons: Uncovering Subatomic Particle Interactions

To understand how the smallest known particles in our universe form structures, scientists need to use sophisticated mathematical models and techniques. These help scientists to estimate the energies of these particles, to work out how they combine and interact. In a recent paper, Dr Eef Van Beveren from the Centre for Physics of the University of Coimbra and Dr George Rupp from the Centre of Physics and Engineering of Advanced Materials of the University of Lisbon review the techniques that have led to scientific discoveries about mesons – subatomic particles that exist for tiny fractions of a second. They also discuss how such techniques may evolve into the future.

Increase the impact of your research

• Good science communication helps people make informed decisions and motivates them to take appropriate and affirmative action.
• Good science communication encourages everyday people to be scientifically literate so that they can analyse the integrity and legitimacy of information.
• Good science communication encourages people into STEM-related fields of study and employment.
• Good public science communication fosters a community around research that includes both members of the public, policymakers and scientists.
• In a recent survey, 75% of people suggested they would prefer to listen to an interesting story than read it.

Step 1 Upload your science paper

Step 2 SciPod script written

Step 3 Voice audio recorded

Step 4 SciPod published