Among this week's physics highlights: a quantum computer to simulate the creation of antimatter, fading hopes for a new particle discovery at the Large Hadron Collider, and the potential impact of the UK's stunning vote to leave the European Union on science.
Me at Gizmodo:
Hopes Are Fading Fast for Possible New Particle at the LHC. "Rumors are swirling again among physicists, but this time they’re not about gravitational waves. Instead, hopes are fading that two separate, but complementary, experiments at the Large Hadron Collider may have discovered a possible new particle."
40 People Got Burned 'Firewalking' in Texas For the Dumbest Reason. "Around 40 people attending a seminar with motivational Tony Robbins in downtown Dallas yesterday were injured when a group exercise involving walking across hot coals went wrong. And it’s not the first time this has happened: back in 2012, for instance, 21 people in San Jose were burned after attempting the stunt at another Robbins seminar... The Robbins camp might say they just didn’t believe in themselves enough to fully unleash the power within, but it actually has everything to do with physics."
Speaking of fire and science, You Need Nerves of Steel and a Bit of Science to Eat Fire. "The dragons on Game of Thrones may breathe fire, but it’s not the kind of thing mere mortals should attempt—unless said mortal is Thom Britton, self-described fire-eating science clown with Freak Show and Tell (“Science+History+Insanity”). He explains the science behind eating fire in this new video of his performance at the International Science and Engineering Festival."
This Exhibit Makes Cosmic Art Out of the Night Sky. "A classic 18th century astronomy catalog of galaxies and nebulae is the inspiration for Deep Sky Companion, a series of 110 pairs of paintings and photographs of objects visible in the night sky by artist Lia Halloran, currently on exhibit at Caltech in Pasadena California."
Your Cat Can Grasp Some Basic Laws of Physics. "Every doting cat owner will attest to the innate intelligence of their beloved pet, and now Japanese scientists say they have evidence that felines have a rudimentary grasp of cause and effect. They described their results in a new paper in Animal Cognition."
This Woodpecker-Inspired Collar Could Protect Athletes from Concussion. "Last year, Chris Borland of the San Francisco 49ers announced he was quitting football because of the high risk of concussion and long-term brain damage, despite protective helmets. And he’s not alone: it’s a growing concern, particularly for teenaged athletes. But a new collar inspired by the humble woodpecker may help protect athletes from such trauma in the future. Co-invented by David Smith, the “Q Collar” creates a kind of bubble wrap around the brain. It was the subject of two new studies published last week in Frontiers in Neurology and the British Journal of Sports Medicine, demonstrating significant decreases in signs of brain trauma in high school football and hockey players."
Explore the Science of the Avengers with This Sneak Peek Into New Vegas Exhibit. The lovely Gia Mora (a.k.a. Einstein's Girl) and I got a behind-the-scenes tour of the new Marvel Avengers S.T.A.T.I.O.N. exhibit that opened this week at the Treasure Island Resort and Casino in Las Vegas, exploring the science of the Marvel movie universe. The ability to embed Facebook Live videos seems to be broken at the moment, but you can catch our video tour with exhibit designer Nick Cooper of Victory Hills Entertainment and neuroscientist Ricardo Gil da Costa on the Gizmodo Facebook page. (I wrote about Gil da Costa's wireless brain-computer interface earlier this year; that technology is incorporated into the exhibit.)
Other Cool Links:
Photonic crystal club will no longer only admit puny lasers: Making delicate structures in a plasma with a laser sledgehammer.
Physicists have used a quantum computer to simulate creation of antimatter.
Metal-eating microbes' apparent ability to eat electrons defies basic rules of biophysics.
Scientists Confirm: Comets Smell Like Cat Piss.
Chameleon Spit Is a Wonder of Physics.
This cutting-edge clock relies on an element you’ve (probably) never heard of.
To make chocolate healthier and tastier, all you need is an electric field.
The Punishing Physics of Your Favorite Ninja Warrior Stunts.
How To Create Vortex Rings In Your Swimming Pool.
Researchers were reeling Friday morning along with the rest of the world after the UK voted to leave the European Union. Here's the Brexit vote Explained in 4 Minutes. British Scientists Are Flipping Out About Brexit, because It Could Do Real Damage to U.K. Science. In fact, UK Science Could Lose $1.4 Billion Annually after Leaving the EU. That's Why the Brexit vote result has UK scientists terrified. Food for thought: "No man is an island": John Donne’s solemn 400-year-old poem against isolationism is resonating these days. And Now the Important News: How the Brexit Will Impact Game of Thrones.
Speaking of Game of Thrones, Jen-Luc Piquant is not alone among science bloggers when it comes to her passion for the series. Matt Shipman organized a full blog carnival this week exploring all the different scientific angles. Topics included an explanation of why their biology would leave the dragons grounded; The Epidemiology of Greyscale; Dire Wolves are based on real wolves that used to roam the Americas; How to Make Wildfire with Chemistry; a recipe for moon tea ('tansy and mint and wormwood, a spoon of honey and a drop of pennyroyal'; Westeros geology; climate change and biodiversity beyond the Wall; a warning letter about White Walkers from north of the Wall; and the heating engineers of Winterfell. Bonus: Advanced Tricks in Cocktail Chemistry--a cocktail that is both frozen and on fire:
How much havoc is caused by unwanted radio signals? FCC tries to find out.
There's more than one way to scan a cat: Peek Inside Cat Mummies With New X-ray Images.
Physicists Send 'Twisted Light' 143 Kilometers, a New Record.
This Enormous Telescope Will Study Neutrinos From The Depths Of The Ocean Floor.
Finding the universe's wavefunction could be the key to understanding the emergence of reality.
From relativity to quantum theory – our physical world explored through coffee.
All Four One and One Four All. A theory of everything would unite 4 forces of nature, but is such a thing possible?
An Unearthly Sound is Emanating From the Caribbean Sea.
A Fusion-Powered Rocket To Deflect Deadly Comets.
Higgs bosons should mass-produce bottom quarks. So why is it so hard to see it happening?
Pluto might have a semi-frozen ocean lurking under its icy shell.
Why Won’t This Inspirational Email Chain Letter Leave Me Alone?
Bioluminescence for the win: These creatures use glowing vomit to attract mates — and it's utterly beautiful.
The universe is not a snowflake.
Magma is what's on the menu: Why one college professor is bubbling up big vats of homemade lava.
How the New Science of Computational History Is Changing the Study of the Past. Applying network theory to medieval records suggests that historical events are governed by “laws of history,” just as nature is bound by the laws of physics.
A Study in Journalistic Skepticism: Cell Phones and Cancer. A study finding links between cell phone radiation and cancer in rats was rightly covered with skepticism — but reporters should keep open minds.
When Good Waves Go Rogue: Even in calm seas, waves can become monsters.
Check out the physics behind the feats of this bun maker.
Just getting cleaned up and ready for the day involves a lot of fluid physics. Related: We play with fluid dynamics all the time, though we don’t always think of it as such. Also: Take a look at the typical day in the life of a fluid dynamicist.
Father of the Big Bang: Georges Lemaître died fifty years ago on 20 June 1966.
Lessons on management styles from Edward Teller, Hans Bethe and Robert Oppenheimer: A question of temperament.
This Amateur Astronomer Built An Observatory In His Backyard.
But You Don’t Look Like A Scientist! Women Scientists with Feminine Appearance are Deemed Less Likely to be Scientists.
Hannah Fry: ‘There’s a mathematical angle to almost anything’: Politics, the badger cull, trainspotting, the psychic powers of Paul the octopus – maths comes into it all, says the TV and radio presenter.
What Students (vs Mathematicians) See When They Look at Algebra.
Cool Gallery of German Geometrist Max Brückner’s Collection of Polyhedral Models (1900).
Science-inspired lamps: Large Hadron Collider and James Webb Space Telescope.
Science Proves that Bubble Baths are Best.
What Per Cent Physicist Are You? I got 56% which seems about right.
"Don't tell me not to wear a NASA jumpsuit, I'll wear whatever I want."
The Emperor of Time: A Dreamlike Short Film About Motion Picture Pioneer Eadweard Muybridge.
A Visual Explanation of How Steam Engines Work and Have Been Improved Over Time.
How Graphene Is Made: