Physics lost one of its brightest lights this week: R.I.P. Mildred Dresselhaus: In five decades at MIT, the “Queen of Carbon Science” was a tireless champion of gender equity in science and engineering.
Physicists Uncover Geometric ‘Theory Space’: A decades-old method called the “bootstrap” is enabling new discoveries about the geometry underlying all quantum theories.
Split decision in first-ever quantum computer faceoff.
Scientists in Boston have found a way to get every last drop of ketchup out of the bottle.
New Evidence for the Strange Idea that the Universe Is a Hologram.
UK Physicist Brian Cox says experiments at the Large Hadron Collider are good evidence against the existence of ghosts. "If we want some sort of pattern that carries information about our living cells to persist then we must specify precisely what medium carries that pattern and how it interacts with the matter particles out of which our bodies are made. We must, in other words, invent an extension to the Standard Model of Particle Physics that has escaped detection at the Large Hadron Collider. That's almost inconceivable at the energy scales typical of the particle interactions in our bodies."
Astronomers discover seven potentially habitable worlds orbiting a nearby star; at least three may be habitable. Related: How to draw an exoplanet: An interview with the artists behind the TRAPPIST-1 images. Also: Beautiful NASA Poster Encouraging Travelers to Visit the Earth-Like Planets of the TRAPPIST-1 System. Bonus: An astronomer behind the seven TRAPPIST-1 planets study wrote this poem about the discovery.
And in case you were wondering: Pluto is still an ex-planet, no matter what its fans think.
Big Consequences of Friction at the Nanoscale.
What Dark Matter Needs Are New Kinds of Experiments. "When it comes to dark matter, we may be having trouble accepting what nature is telling us." Related: The Andromeda Galaxy Could Be Buzzing With Dark Matter. "There's a powerful gamma-ray signal blasting from the massive galaxy's core, possibly revealing a compact region filled with annihilating dark matter particles." Also: Meet the South Pole's Dark Matter Detector. "Reina Maruyama wasn’t expecting her particle detector to work buried deep in ice. She was wrong."
One of the Greatest Cosmic Mysteries Was Solved By David Shoemaker’s Device. "LIGO's detection of gravitational waves was an achievement comparable to Galileo’s telescope. Meet the man whose team built the detector." Related: The long-planned LISA space mission to detect gravitational waves looks as though it will be green lit shortly.
Time crystals: how scientists created a new state of matter.
Mathematical models predict how we wait in line, traffic (delay differential equations meet queueing theory).
"Forest of Numbers" by Emmanuelle Moureaux invites visitors to wander inside colorful forests filled with numbers. "More than 60,000 pieces of suspended numeral figures from 0 to 9 were regularly aligned in three dimensional grids. A section was removed, created a path that cut through the installation, invited visitors to wonder inside the colorful forest filled with numbers." [Image: Emmanuelle Moureaux]
Mobile Neutrino Lab Makes Its Debut. The Mystery Machine for particles hits the road.
A diamond-based magnetic resonance microscope could reveal the secrets of human biochemistry.
Slime eels have inspired new materials designed to protect troops in combat.
NASA’s longshot bet on a revolutionary rocket may be about to pay off.
Mystic Island and the mathematics of a NJ landscape/waterscape: "Because of this peculiar design, any two points within the Mystic Island community are connected by exactly one land route and one water route."
This Man Is About to Blow Up Mathematics: Harvey Friedman may bring incompleteness and infinity out of quarantine.
Inside the Extreme Machine (Sandia's Z pinch) That Mimics Bombs and Black Holes.
The Army Sent a Lone Specialist to the Arctic to Investigate a Mysterious Ping.
You've heard about the the Leidenfrost effect. There’s also an aerodynamic Leidenfrost effect.
The Improbable Bold History of Space Concept Art: "In 1966 Norman Rockwell really needed a spacesuit — and NASA didn’t want to give him one."
Here's Lenny Susskind on the elegance of Boltzmann's statistical explanation of the Second Law of Thermodynamics.
Astronomers discover an adorable teeny faint satellite galaxy of our Milky Way.
Two fashion debuts: The Little Black Graphene Dress and electronic devices to keep skin looking young.
Why These Researchers Are Drawn to the World’s Edge: The joy and toll of doing remote science.
A Short Course on How Pixar Uses Physics to Make Its Effects.
How Elvish, comics and rowdy astrophysicists helped Eric Heisserer write Arrival's Oscar-nominated script.
Can a Hydraulic Press Crush Wolverine's Adamantium Claws? No, It Can't.
Astronomers Use Darwinism To Plot Stellar Family Tree: chemical evolution is driven by mechanisms that lead to the death and birth of stars.
Lose Yourself in Artist Yayoi Kusama’s 'Infinity Mirrors.' Per Mental Floss: "The 87-year-old Japanese artist and her glittering mirrored rooms have been smashing museum attendance records around the world. The new exhibition is the largest collection of her work to date and features six different infinity rooms and 60 other installations, sculptures, and paintings." [Image: Yaoi Kusama]
Researchers think they know why some meteors sound like frying bacon.
When Astronomers Chased a Total Eclipse in a Concorde.
Exploring the math in HiddenFigures: did Euler's method really help send astronauts into orbit?
"I'm slow. So what. Many mathematicians are slow and real math is not about speed." [PDF] … Related: Disdain for "writing about math" crosses partisan boundaries, but Forbes' Chad Orzel thinks it's a great thing.
Galileo’s reputation is more hyperbole than truth. "Galileo’s vast reputation, and the hyperbolic accolades that go with it, are not justified by the real history."
Why Do We Spend So Much Time Teaching Historical Physics?
Forget genius. Science is the product of hard-working people, just like every other human activity.
How the French Mathematician Sophie Germain Paved the Way for Women in Science and Almost Saved Gauss's Life.
A way in through visualization: “Discover the mathematician within you with this simple problem.”
Burying the Remnants of Disaster: Grappling with the legacy of Chernobyl three decades later.
The future of nuclear energy could be seawater uranium.
Radiation -- it's a part of life -- so how to best weigh the pros and cons of using radiation on purpose?
Silicon Valley-backed nuclear energy startup Transatomic backtracks on key promises.
Meet the Math Professor Who’s Fighting Gerrymandering With Geometry.
George Daley, Harvard medical-school head, talks about doing science when the White House sees science as an enemy.
"I’m willing to postpone some evolutionary progress in favor of less migration." Pro-asteroid dinosaurs speak out.
Politics-Wary Scientists Wade into the Trump Fray at Boston Rally: “We did not politicize our science. We were politicized by people who don’t like our facts.”
Politicizing Science Is Nothing New: It Happened To Ben Franklin. "We certainly understand lightning well enough today to know the advantages and disadvantages of each design, and can build and utilize either version quite safely. But it was anti-American (or an anti-Colonist) sentiment -- along with King George III's religious objections to this scientific application -- in those days that led to the politicization of science in the first place. When you have an agenda, and a scientific claim stands in the way of that agenda, that's when the politicization becomes a problem. It's a problem with the tobacco industry; it's a problem with the supplement/vitamin industry; it's a problem with air and water pollutants; and it's a problem with climate science. But hundreds of years ago, it was even a problem with lightning rods."
An Origami-Inspired Ballistic Shield Designed to Stop Bullets and Protect Law Enforcement.
Disney Research Made a Room That Will Wirelessly Charge Any Phone.
This "Magic" Hair Dye Changes Color Depending on Temperature.
A Homemade Multipoint Pinhole Camera Made from 32,000 Drinking Straws.
This is one of Wired's Rhett Allain's favorite MacGyver Hacks - you can "hear" sound with a solar cell and a speaker.
The math of chimney swifts: "Chimney swifts (Chaetura pelagica) are highly manoeuvrable birds notable for roosting overnight in chimneys, in groups of hundreds or thousands of birds, before and during their autumn migration. At dusk, birds gather in large numbers from surrounding areas near a roost site. The whole flock then employs an orderly, but dynamic, circling approach pattern before rapidly entering a small aperture en masse."