Jen-Luc Piquant took a week off from compiling cool physics links, but she's back now! A breakthrough quantum "cat state" experiment with iodine molecules, a new distance record for quantum teleportation, and how Moneyball's basic strategy could help researchers better predict drug toxicity were among the physics highlights of the last two weeks.
Me at Gizmodo:
Moneyball Could Offer Winning Strategy for Drug Development. "Nearly one-third of drugs in development ultimately fail during clinical trials because the side effects are just too severe. Researchers at Weill Cornell Medicine have developed a promising new AI tool that better predicts which drug candidates are likely to be too toxic—and it’s based on the Oakland A’s winning strategy, immortalized in the blockbuster book and movie Moneyball."
Wondergadget Allows Researchers To Read a Charred Biblical Scroll by "Virtually" Unwrapping It. "For over forty years, archaeologists have longed to peek inside a badly damaged ancient scroll found on the western shore of the Dead Sea. Now an international team of scientists has managed to do so by virtually unrolling the scroll, revealing the text hidden deep within: the first few verses from the book of Leviticus."
Breakthrough Quantum Cat Experiment Captured on Camera. "The paradox of Schrödinger’s cat—in which a quantum cat is both alive and dead at the same time until we check to see which state it’s in—is arguably the most famous example of the bizarre counter-intuitive nature of the quantum world. Now, Stanford physicists have exploited this feature weirdness to make highly detailed movies of the inner machinery of simple iodine molecules." And they made this adorable animation to illustrate the process:
Now We Know How Beer Foam Stops All That Sloshing. "There’s something especially satisfying about a nice cold brew with a thick head of foam. But that foam also serves a purpose: not only does it enhance the flavor of your beer, it also helps dampen the inevitable sloshing when you and your pals clink glasses. Scientists now think they’ve figured out why."
How Tiny Algae Helped Form the Famous White Cliffs of Dover. "England’s famed White Cliffs of Dover were formed almost 100 million years ago out of the crushed shells of tiny single-celled algae. Now a team of scientists has identified the specific ocean conditions necessary for these sea creatures to thrive."
What Ötzi the Iceman's Voice Sounded Like. "Ötzi the Iceman, the world’s favorite prehistoric mummy, has been subjected to every scientific test imaginable, since his remains were discovered poking out of a glacier high in the Italian Alps in 1991. Now, a team of Italian researchers has reconstructed Ötzi’s vocal cords and used it to reproduce what his voice may have sounded like."
Scientists Made Beautiful Holograms Using Sound via Acoustic Levitation. "We’re all familiar with holograms, the projected 3D images created by manipulating light. But can you create a hologram with sound? Actually, yes. Scientists at the Max Planck Institute in Germany used tiny silicone beads assemble into patterns on the surface of water, holding that shape for as long as the sound persisted. In effect, they created acoustic holograms."
Meet the Winners of This Year's Ig Nobel Prizes. "Rats in tiny trousers, pseudoscientific bullshit, the personalities of rocks, and Volkswagen’s, shall we say, “creative” approach to emissions testing were among the research topics honored by the 2016 Ig Nobel Prizes. The winners were announced last night at a live webcast ceremony held at Harvard University."
Does Listening to This Pink Kinetic Sand Give You the Tingles? "Kinetic sand is a freaky-looking substance made of 98 percent sand and 2 percent silicone oil, so it sticks to itself, but won’t stick to anything else. It’s like an especially granular type of dough, and you can watch—and hear—the stuff in action in a new short “trigger” video from The ASMR Circus."
Other Cool Links:
Quantum Teleportation Enters the Real World. "Researchers working in Calgary, Canada and Hefei, China, used existing fiber optics networks to transmit small units of information across cities via quantum entanglement.” Related: Scientists Set a New Distance Record for Quantum Teleportation.
The Physics of Why Modern Football Will Never Be Completely Safe: "no helmet is capable of preventing every concussion."
Supermaterials Offer New Means of Searching for Superlight Dark Matter, according to two papers published last week in the Physical Review Letters.
The Strange Second Life of String Theory. String theory has so far failed to live up to its promise as a way to unite gravity and quantum mechanics.
At the same time, it has blossomed into one of the most useful sets of tools in science.
(Another) Planet with two suns found, thanks to a trick of light (microlensing).
Can retrocausality solve the puzzle of action-at-a-distance? Reconciling Einstein with quantum mechanics may require abandoning the notion that cause always precedes effect.
Spider Silk "Superlens" Lets Scientists See Like Never Before.
The Secret Lives of Long-Lived Particles. A theoretical species of particle might answer nearly every question about our cosmos—if scientists can find it. Related: Why physicists really, really want to find a new subatomic particle.
From Physics With Love: James Bond Cocktail Tricks.
Microscope within a microscope reveals hidden details. State-of-the-art microscope is a hybrid of Michael Phelps and an arcade game.
Can Reusing Spent Nuclear Fuel Solve Our Energy Problems? Leslie Dewan's Transatomic Power Co. is developing a new type of nuclear power plant.
The Best Astronomy Images of 2016 Are Truly Out of This World.
Our Simulated Universe Is Just One Piece of a Matryoshka Doll of Annihilation.
Many theories predict the existence of magnetic monopoles, but experiments have yet to see them.
Benchtop Black Holes Help Physicists Glimpse the Quantum Universe.
How A Pressure Cooker Bomb Works [Infographic]: it's an older recipe than you'd think.
Gaia Satellite To Find Out If We're Wrong About Dark Energy And The Expanding Universe.
Willy Wonka Science: How Many Fizzy Lifting Drinks Would You Have to Drink to Float.
What math looks like in the minds of sighted vs. blind people.
Men are better at maps until women take this course. "The powerful lesson: While gender gaps in spatial cognition are real, they’re not fixed." Related: "How I Rewired My Brain to Become Fluent in Math": The building blocks are memorization and repetition.
There's more to math and art than just phi (the golden ratio).
Six Math Concepts Explained by Knitting and Crochet: Knit 1, chain 2, master hyperbolic planes.
Fossilized relic discovered by Hubble is a link to the Milky Way's past.
How Quantum Mechanics Can Help Protect Your Secrets.
This New Fabric Harvests Energy from the Sun and Wind.
How the sun, our greatest friend and enemy, could knock out the internet.
Stronger and Lighter Than Frosted Glass, Translucent wood reflects the future of construction.
What could the James Webb telescope see of the closest exoplanet?
Pluto Is Emitting X-Rays, and That's Really Weird.
Gear Physics: How Ice Screws Keep Ice Climbers from Falling to Their Deaths.
Visualizing Polls: A playful, explorable explanation demonstrates the impact of chance on poll results.
Explosions in the Sky: Geometric Watercolors by Artist Jacob Van Loon. Per Colossal: "Recent Colorado transplant Jacob van Loon creates geometric watercolors that seem to visually reference abstract architectural renderings. The colors in his works look as if they have bled beyond recognition of a specific site or landmark, yet still retain a strict set of dense and chaotic lines. " [Image: Jacob van Loon]
240 wire-mesh dishes in South Africa will explore what happened when the cosmos 1st lit up.
Our Solar System Could Lose One Or More Of Its Gas Giants Billions Of Years In The Future.
A Newly Explored Undersea Volcano Is Teeming With Alien Life Forms.
How Certain Are We Of The Universe's 'Big Freeze' Fate?
What Is The Physics Of Nothing?
"If you’ve ever wondered how fluid dynamicists create those tiny perpetually bouncing droplets they study, wonder no further."
Don’t Panic, But There’s An Asteroid Right Over There. We’re still trying to find all the space invaders that could damage Earth.
Probing the Depths (or Shallows) of Candidates' Views on Science Policy. "Clinton’s answers on climate change and public health reflect positions she’s campaigned on for months. Trump’s answers are more mercurial." Related: The Science Of Trump: Energy, Space And Military Tech. Also: The Science Of Clinton: Education, Advanced Manufacturing And More Money For Research.
Ask a Physicist: How Much Energy is in Me?
Everything you need to know about quantum entanglement: The "spooky action" really exists.
Researchers Built a Solar Simulator That Shines Brighter Than 20,000 Suns.
David Byrne & Neil deGrasse Tyson Explain the Importance of an Arts Education (and How It Strengthens Science & Civilization).
Celebrating Michael Collins, 'forgotten astronaut' of Apollo 11.
Opposition to Galileo was scientific, not just religious.
The Rhode Island Laboratory That Simulates Bomb Blasts.
The Virtues of Nuclear Ignorance. "Trust but verify."
Warm Sulphur, Coal, and the Cosmos, 1836: when deteriorating paper had same pattern as the Pleiades. [Image: John Ptak, inspired by the "word-picture" of Talbot)
Physicist Werner Heisenberg's harrowing account of the last days of World War II in Europe.
Physicist Joanne Cohn on her role in starting the preprint movement.
Pioneering astronomer Vera Rubin on women in science and humanity's never-ending quest to know the cosmos.
Physicist and science writer Margaret Wertheim on finding meaning in nonreligious divinity.
How Not To Talk to Female Astronauts. "if she’s wearing Nasa spacesuit, take a minute to consider whether you really want to tell her how to do her job."
Secret Science Nerds: Nichelle Nichols Boldly Goes Where No One Has Gone Before.
The tortoise that inspired Turing.
NASA's New Artist-in-Residence Draws Attention to Climate Change.
If an investment bank tells clients that reality is an illusion, it should have some investment advice to go with it.
Virtually terrifying: astronaut Peggy Whitson practiced what to do if her tether breaks during a spacewalk.
Our Best Glimpse Yet of a Disintegrating Comet.
Responding Rapidly to Big Physics Discoveries with.... workshops. How do scientists react to major breaking science news? For astrophysicists after the big gravitational waves announcement, it was meeting for two weeks in Santa Barbara, California.
Is Cold Fusion Feasible? Or Is It A Fraud?
A New Refutation of Time: Borges on the Most Paradoxical Dimension of Existence. “Time is the substance I am made of. Time is a river which sweeps me along, but I am the river; it is a tiger which destroys me, but I am the tiger; it is a fire which consumes me, but I am the fire.”
A new children’s book depicts the adorable stories of numbers.
You can now make calls using a Star Trek communicator badge.
These are amazing. Unusual Geometric Cake Designs by Dinara Kasko.
Twenty-First-Century Alchemists: In the lab with a team of science historians who are attempting to re-create recipes from a sixteenth-century text.
Finally, A Case for Why Transistors Are the Invention That Most Changed the World.
Wow. Geometrikaraoke, 3D Geometric Shapes Pop Out From Urban Streets In Rhythm With the Soundtrack. Per Laughing Squid: "Artist Oscar López Rocha aka lorochrom has created “Geometrikaraoke“, a fascinating 3D animation in which geometric shapes pop out of urban footage taken previously in perfect time."