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Live space station upgrade, more zombie physics, T-shirts for LIGO

Working in space: A still image from the NASA spacewalk video (Courtesy: NASA)

Working in space: A still image from the NASA spacewalk video. (Courtesy: NASA)

By Hamish Johnston

NASA is live streaming a video of a spacewalk on its Facebook page, and you just might be able to catch it live from the International Space Station – or watch it again. The video shows astronauts Shane Kimbrough and Peggy Whitson upgrading the space station’s power system – and it looks like hard work to me.

Cheers: LIGO's Ken Mason with his Physics World shirt and mug (Courtesy: Marie Woods/MIT)

Cheers: LIGO’s Ken Mason with his Physics World shirt and mug. (Courtesy: Marie Woods/MIT)

What is it about physicists and zombies? Last year we ran the feature article “Zombie physics”, which looked at how two physicists in the US have used concepts from horror films to gain a better understanding about how diseases could travel across the US. Now, the contagion has spread across the Atlantic to the University of Leicester, UK, where physics students have calculated that a zombie apocalypse would wipe out humanity in 100 days. They have written two papers on the topic. You can read all about it here, if you dare: “Zombie apocalypse would wipe out humankind in just 100 days, students calculate”.

Finally, late last year we sent out a batch of customized T-shirts and mugs to the winners of the Physics World 2016 Breakthrough of the Year, which went to the LIGO Scientific Collaboration for its revolutionary, first ever direct observations of gravitational waves. The photo on the right is of LIGO’s Ken Mason, who is modelling his shirt and mug. Congratulations to Ken and all of his LIGO collaborators – we are looking forward to the detection of more gravitational waves in 2017.

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