Me at Gizmodo:
These are Our Picks for the Top Science Stories of 2015. "From Rosetta’s ongoing love affair with a comet and the discovery of a pentaquark, to controversial breakthroughs like gene-editing of human embryos and a possible new species of homo sapiens, these were the science stories everyone was talking about in 2015."
The Coolest Science Stories You May Have Missed in 2015. "Not every scientific advance is heralded as a revolutionary breakthrough, because science mostly progresses in incrementally. Sure, certain high-profile stories caught the lion’s share of attention this year. But there’s still plenty of nifty research going on that deserves a nod of appreciation too. Here are ten of our favorite cool science stories that you may have missed in 2015."
Don’t Get Too Excited Yet About the LHC’s Hint of a New Particle. "Earlier this week, physicists at the Large Hadron Collider announced they’d found tantalizing traces of a possible new fundamental particle — perhaps a heavier cousin of the Higgs boson, or the elusive graviton, a quantum carrier of the force of gravity. The evidence comes from two separate, but complementary, experiments, known as CMS and ATLAS. Neither reported finding is solid enough to claim discovery, although the fact that both experiments see a slight hint of a particle in exactly the same spot in the data is promising."
Fabiola Gianotti Becomes First Woman Physicist to Take the Reins at CERN. "Particle physicist Fabiola Gianotti has become the first woman to head CERN, the organization based in Switzerland that is home to the Large Hadron Collider. She succeeds outgoing director-general Rolf Heuer, who oversaw the laboratory’s operations for the last seven years."
Manhattan's Stunning Finale Is an Explosive Conclusion to a Fantastic Season. "We’ve been building up all season for this: Last night, Manhattan ended its second season with a stunning recreation of the historic Trinity Test 70 years ago—and one last innocent casualty of the race to build the bomb." Bonus: over the summer I had the chance to interview cast and crew on set about their experiences recreating the Trinity Test for Scientific American. You can watch the resulting video here.
The Inside Story of Manhattan, the Best TV Show You Haven't Been Watching. "WGN America’s Manhattan ended its critically acclaimed second season with a bang — the detonation of the first nuclear bomb on July 6, 1945. As the series awaits news on whether it will be cancelled or renewed, io9 caught up with creator Sam Shaw to find out how he turned real history into drama."
This Artist "Paints" With Nanoparticles Inspired by Butterfly Wings. "Combining art and science comes naturally to Kate Nichols. The colors in her pieces don’t come from pigment, but from tiny silver nanoparticles suspended in the paint. She makes them herself, as artist-in resident in the University of California, Berkeley’s nanotechnology research group." [Hysteresis, 2009, silver nanoparticles, glass pipettes. Credit: Kate Nichols]
Soon We Could Have Displays and Windows That Change Color with the Flick of a Switch. "Medieval artisans unwittingly used nanotechnology when they mixed gold chloride into molten glass to create richly hued stained glass windows. Soon we could have full-color displays or stained-glass windows that change color at the flick of an electrical switch, thanks to the same kinds of light-scattering nanoparticles."
These Shrink-Wrapped Mini-Droplets Look Like Tiny Empanadas. "Microscopic droplets shrink-wrapped in thin elastic sheets take on the telltale half-moon shape of an empanada or a calzone. Such structures could one day replace chemical surfactants in soap, since the sheets make for a stronger barrier to encase dangerous or delicate liquids."
Other Cool Links:
Star Wars mania hit a peak as the long-awaited latest film in the series debuted on Thursday -- and that included a lot of science writers. Some examples: Rhett Allain at Wired says The Physics in Star Wars Isn’t Always Right, and That’s OK. He also Calculated the Mass of a Blaster Bolt for You. Not to be left out, the engineers of Raytheon Pitched New Weapons To Fix Star Wars' Military Flaws. Discovery News asked, Could the Death Star Really Blow Up a Planet? Nerdist ranked every Lightsaber Battle from Worst to First. From Slate: Is the Millennium Falcon faster than the Enterprise? The Ultimate Spaceship face-off. Maybe you were wondering about the Science of Why Darth Vader Breathes Like That. Or how about Han’s Legal Justification For Shooting Greedo First? Finally, here's the linguistic explanation for how Yoda speaks.
Inside Google’s Quantum Computing Lab, Questing for the Perfect Computer.
Untangling the Tale of Ada Lovelace: Stephen Wolfram does an historical deep dive.
A city’s skyline provides a simple way to measure its energy efficiency, say urban scientists.
When should we trust untestable ideas such as string theory & the multiverse?
Are There Gaps In Our Understanding of The Grammar Of The Universe? Is our chosen language in tune with key patterns?
Popping a soap bubble is more complicated than what the eye can see.
Astronomers Rename Famous Exoplanets: new names drawn from world mythology, literature and history.
Socks Generate Electricity Using Microbes Fed by Urine.
Taking a couture approach to tinfoil hats: Shield - The World’s First Signal Proof Headwear.
Snowflake formulas, dice odds and other satisfying maths of the everyday.
What does a mathematician think about when she goes for a walk? Optimizing her route, of course!
James Clerk Maxwell, and the Mathematics of Metaphor.
Solve math anxiety before bed: The importance of games and low-key everyday math.
Fast skating forces ice to feel the heat: Researcher argues your skating speed will dictate the slipperiness of ice.
You Can’t Ride a Hoverboard Without Einstein’s Theory of General Relativity.
This Microscope Creates Near-Real-Time Nanoscale Video of Chemical Reactions.
Cool animated visualization of Roller Coaster Physics.
Killing a Physical Theory softly – Roulette Style.
How to paint with ice skates, a light painting beginner’s guide.
The Curious Case of the Blood-Stained Moon.
A Mathematical Mastermind Gets His Head Examined.
Physics of Car Crashes: How is the chemical energy of gasoline transformed into kinetic energy of a moving car?
Water’s Big (and Then Bigger) Bounce.
The Strangest, Most Spectacular Bridge Collapse (And How We Got It Wrong).
Science fares relatively well in new budget agreement. Most agencies see budget boosts.
Festive Physicists: "you run the experiment whenever it’s ready to run" -- even if it's a holiday.
Flux: A Mesmerizing 3D-Printed Zoetrope that Glows.
Synchronicity, A Dark Science Fiction Film About the Consequences of Time Travel:
PBS Space Time Explains The Higgs Mechanism and What Exactly Gives Particles Mass.