Jen-Luc Piquant is catching up on links after another week of travel. (It's just that time of year....)
This week was the awarding of the $25 Million in Breakthrough Prizes Given in Science and Math at a star-studded gala event in Silicon Valley. "For physics, these three share a prize: Joseph Polchinski of UC Santa Barbara, Andrew Strominger of Harvard University and Cumrun Vafa of Harvard University. They receive the award for transformative advances in quantum field theory, string theory, and quantum gravity." Also honored with a special prize: the LIGO team of Ronald Drever, Kip Thorne, and Rainer Weiss.
The Physics of Spider-Man’s New Web Wings.
The Surprisingly Complicated Physics Of Sliding On Ice.
A Case Against Dark Matter: Proposed theory of gravity does away with dark matter, as new astrophysical findings challenge the need for it.
Quantum Gravity's Time Problem. The effort to unify quantum mechanics and general relativity means reconciling totally different notions of time.
Physicists Mold Giant Photons Into Custom Shapes.
Graphene-spiked Silly Putty picks up human pulse.
The Universe has huge voids, like spongey bubbles. Einstein predicted their growth.
Third-ever natural quasicrystal found in Siberian meteorite.
Scientists identify the first evidence of 'virtual particles' hopping in and out of existence.
Neutron Star May Display First Evidence of 80-Year-Old Quantum Prediction. Polarized light suggests the presence of quantum phenomenon first predicted in the 1930s.
The Ancient Magic Power of Alien Creatures from the 17th Dimension: Q-Ray Bracelets and the Placebo Effect.
The Woman Who Sees Time as a Hula Hoop: Some people see calendars not as grids, but as as rings, check marks, other objects that seem almost vividly real.
A new way to design new molecules and materials that the periodic table does not allow.
A flow pattern dubbed the von Kármán vortex street has been created in a superfluid.
Art Meets Fluid Dynamics: How Van Gogh's "Starry Night" explains the scientific mysteries of movement and light.
Robot Parkour: Powerful Jumping Robot Inspired by Search and Rescue Needs.
The world’s first seismometer used a toad to catch an earthquake.
Scientists Turn Nuclear Waste into Diamond Batteries That’ll Last for Thousands of Years.
Freak Science: MIT Researches Create Ice When There Should Be Fire.
Thermal image video shows how dippy birds work.
Thomas Pynchon, Newton's Second Law (F=ma) and Entropy.
Physics has a dizzying array of subdisciplines. This short video breaks it all down for you:
An asteroid passing by earth is so small you could "ride it like a pony."
Scientists just made the world’s best clock even better to test Einstein’s theory of relativity.
MIT researchers develop new ‘metamaterial’ that shrinks when heated.
X-rays show how gas ‘pillows’ make lithium-ion batteries explode.
OK Go's Big Math-splosion: "The One Moment" is made possible by numbers.
The Mathematical Problems Inherent in Secret Santa--and How To Solve Them.
An X-ray Surprise: When Black Holes Stop Eating, Galaxies Fade Away.
A Weird New Property Of Water Points To Big Possibilities.
An astronomer claimed to have found an alien planet. The kicker? It was 160 years ago.
How to Debunk Perpetual Motion Machines by Looking for the Hidden Power Source.
Janet Conrad is on the hunt for a ghost of particle.
Who Really Found the Higgs Boson? The real genius in the Nobel Prize-winning discovery is not who you think it is.
Einstein Could Easily Think In Four Dimensions, And It's A Skill Most People Can Train.
What are lightsabers really made of?
Robotic quadcopters could allow scientists to perform cheap zero gravity experiments.
Cosmic Rays May Reveal New Physics Just Out Of LHC's Reach.
CERN’s Particle Detector Now Has Robot Inspectors.
The Sinking Tower Of San Francisco. "Since its completion in 2009, it has sunk 16 inches into the soil."
Precisely Stacked Coin Towers That Defy Gravity by relying on precise and calculated balance.
Tessellated Origami Sculptures by Goran Konjevod. Per Colossal: "Konjevod practiced origami as a hobby for many years, usually folding the designs of others until 2005 when he began producing some of his original designs. Most of his pieces involve tessellations where repetitive geometric designs are carefully folded to create patterns within the paper." [Image: Goran Konjevod]
Pattern Recognition and the Law of Small Numbers: "The Strong Law of Large numbers tells us that as a sequence of truly random independent events (like coin flips) occurs, the running average should tend towards the average value."
Celestial Cartography Is in the Midst of a Dramatic Upgrade. A new map of the Milky Way will improve understanding of stellar physics—and ultimately of our galaxy’s entire history.
The Navy Is Turning Back to the Stars (because Satellites and GPS are vulnerable to cyber attack).
Sunsets on Tatooine Look Even Better with Science.
A deaf musician is creating a universal algorithm to make beautiful, visual music.
First edition of Isaac Newton's Principia set to fetch $1m at auction. Rare European copy of key mathematics text is going under hammer at Christie’s in New York with record guide price.
Einstein's little-known, increasingly timely correspondence with W.E.B. Du Bois about racial justice.
Physicist David Bohm on the paradox of communication, the Difference Between Discussion and Dialogue, and What Keeping Us from Listening to One Another.
Part 1 of a new documentary on the multiverse, with Sean Carroll, Raphael Bousso, and Yasunori Nomura.
Stitching the Stars: Trailblazing Astronomer Maria Mitchell on the Needle as an Instrument of the Mind.
9 Ways Science Helps Catch Counterfeit Art.
Life with the Physics Dream Team: Freeman Dyson on working with the greatest physicists of the 20th century.
Lexicographic Ordering on the Unit Square. A familiar shape gets weird.
Viral Math News Stories, e.g. "This Weird Cancellation Trick Will Save You Hours."
This is how a baby starfish eats. It involves vortexes of doom.
Scientists Say: Diffraction. When light hits an object, this is how it finds a way around.
Rocket Opera Pays Homage to Women of the Space Race.
An ‘Infinite’ Galaxy Puzzle That Can Be Built in Any Direction.
In 1885, Wilson Bentley, a farmer in Vermont, became the first known person to photograph a snowflake.
Bike on the River: Cycle-Powered Gym Boat Glides Through Paris.
The illustrated story of the first international flight in 1785, with a sweet side of overcoming human differences.
The Key to Crystal-Clear Cocktails? Milk. (Really.)
Watch Powerful Neodymium Magnets Dance and Snap Together in Slow Motion.
The Mathematics of Winning Monopoly.
What can an infrared camera tell you about a room someone just left?
Stylized Animation Explains Feynman's Building Blocks of Thermodynamics. Related: No, YOU have something in your eye! Richard Feynman’s Poignant Letter to His Departed Wife Arline: Watch Actor Oscar Isaac Read It Live Onstage.