But first: there was a lot of online celebration this week. No, I'm not talking about the Ides of March. And I'm not talking about March Madness, although a mathematician had some thoughts on the subject.
I'm talking about International Pi Day! Naturally the Internet, haven of all things geekdom, went crazy. For one thing, we learned that pi now has 9 trillion more digits than ever before. "In November, after 105 days of round the clock computation, pi enthusiast Peter Trueb’s computer finally calculated 22,459,157,718,361 fully verified digits of pi." And we had Pi in the Sky in the form of an Elegant new visualization maps the digits of pi as a star catalogue. Also, An artist, Stewart Kenneth Moore, painted pi to 2,500 decimal places to make math more attractive.
Evelyn Lamb struck a more jaded note at Scientific American: "The Euclidean circle constant? Been there, done that. Here are some other π's you might consider."
Then there were all the inventive ways to calculate the world's most famous irrational number. For instance, You can find pi with a random walk, or by using a Raspberry Pi. Matt Parker calculated π using 1,000 random numbers--and a lot of mental arithmetic. The Physics Girl and Veritasium calculated pi with darts. But Vi Hart's annual Pi Day video turned out to be one of the best ways to ring in 3/14, in which she bakes a series of Venn Pi-a-grams:
Here's How Pi Could Be Used To Combat Congressional Gerrymandering. Also, a Reminder that Mike Pence Voted Against Recognizing Pi Day. "It’s like voting against puppies, Christmas, or Bob Saget’s smile."
If you have a lot of time to kill this weekend, Sesame Street‘s Count Von Count counts Pi to 10,000 Places, in A 5 Hour (!) Recording for Pi Day. Related: Here's How to Construct a Completely Edible Working Pi Day Zoetrope Pie while you're watching the Count.
Pi Day, 3/14, is also Einstein’s birthday. Coincidence? Sean Carroll thinks not. Related: Happy Birthday, Einstein: The Physicist's Remarkable Letter to a Grief-Stricken Father Who Had Just Lost His Son. Also: How Eddington and Einstein set an example for international fellowship of science. Bonus: John Wheeler recalls Einstein's last lecture, in which he wondered whether a mouse might trigger a quantum measurement.
And now for the rest of this week's physics goodness!
A long hunt solves the riddle of cosmic dust. "Ten tons of "micrometeorites" rain down on Earth each day. A jazz musician taught scientists how to find them."
Scientists Catch Star And Possible Black Hole In A Rapid, Dangerous Dance.
Five new charmed baryons discovered by the LHCB experiment at CERN.
No, Microwave Ovens Cannot Spy on You—for Lots of Reasons. "It's not coming form inside the house." Wired steps up and debunks KellyAnne Conway's ridiculous, tinfoil-hat-worthy faux pas.
Cooling to absolute zero mathematically outlawed after a century.
Did you know that you can hear the difference between hot and cold water when they’re poured?
Telltale Tsunami Sounds Could Buy More Warning Time. Scientists are figuring out how to detect a tsunami-generating earthquake’s unique, fast-traveling sound waves.
MIT Students Give Us Our First Cinematic Look At Riri Williams, Marvel's New Iron Man. The fictional MIT student gets portrayed by real MIT students in a fan film.
Soap bubbles become psychedelic works of art in the hands of William Horton. Per Dangerous Minds: "Horton’s images are reminiscent of colorful aquatic animals such as jellyfish. To capture the bubbles in action Horton used a controlled lighting situation as well as plenty of high-tech tools and the results are absolutely mesmerizing." [Image: William Horton]
New Experiment Explores The Origin Of Probabilities In Quantum Physics.
In the Future, We’ll All Wear Spider Silk. After centuries of failed attempts, one of nature’s strongest and stretchiest materials is finally within reach.
"People who throw things for fun or profit—[eg] basketball and baseball players, the guy who slings darts at the pub--should respect the archer fish."
As it evolves, SLAC linear accelerator illustrates important technologies from the history of accelerator science.
The string loop theory that may one day untangle the universe. The bulk of the universe may be no more “real” than a hologram. Reality is the flat boundary, all else is illusion.
The Big Bang – or the Big Bounce? Sean Carroll explains new theories around the origin of the universe.
The 3 ways that parallel Universes could be real.
Scientists Are Turning Earth Into a Telescope to See a Black Hole.
They’re called quantum dots, and they make your TV very colorful, according to Samsung. Related: Straining After Quantum Dots: "a technique that maps the dots’ positions by applying strain to the host structure and observing how this changes the dots’ photoluminescence."
"Vortex rings are ubiquitous in nature, showing up in droplet impacts, in propulsion, even in volcanic eruptions."
Code Wars: Will quantum cryptography bolster security in the future, or is it fatally flawed?
Rules of attraction: Why it’s time to rethink how gravity works. Fresh suspicions have reopened the case against dark matter, forcing a fundamental rethink of the familiar force that keeps our feet on the ground. Related: Gravitational waves may defeat new theories of gravity.
Supersonic planes are mounting a comeback--without that pesky sonic boom.
No One Has Gotten Lucky In Space. "As far as we know, fish, rats and a few frisky bugs are the only creatures to get it on in zero-G."
Check out French astronaut Thomas Pesquet's video exploring the movement of fluids in microgravity aboard International Space Station.
Quantum Physics Visualizations: high science as abstract art. The universe’s subatomic particle collisions get an artistic spin. Per Vice: "Hoping to simplify and beautify the phenomenon of quantum physics, a new art project takes a swing at filtering the dynamics of atomic motion through abstract art. The project titled, Quantum Fluctuations, is the work of digital artist, Markos Kay." [Image: Marcos Kay]
The possible Fifth Force of Physics Is Hanging by a Thread. As scientists chase tantalizing hints of a new force, modern physics hangs in the balance.
If there’s no predeterminism in quantum mechanics, can it output numbers that truly have no pattern?
What if Quantum Computers Used Hard Drives Made of DNA?
Chemists Are First in Line for Quantum Computing’s Benefits. Efforts to invent more practical superconductors and better batteries could be the first areas of business to get a quantum speed boost.
Titan's "Magic Islands" Might Be Caused By Nitrogen-Rich Fizzy Lakes.
We still don't know what dark matter is, but now we can watch its motions change over time.
What a Drawing Taught Physicist Stephon Alexander About Four-Dimensional Spacetime.
Mind Over Matter? Materialism alone cannot explain the riddle of consciousness, argues Adam Frank. "The closer you look, the more the materialist position in physics appears to rest on shaky metaphysical ground."
Tardigrades turn into glass to survive complete dehydration.
The Simple Design Flaw That Caused the 1981 Hyatt Regency Collapse.
In Physics, Infinity Is Easy but Ten Is Hard: "ten objects make for an intractable problem, but an infinite number are easy to deal with."
"Picturing Math" at the Met has prints dating back to the 15th century, all expressing the beauty of mathematics.
Exploring the relationship between knitting & developing math skills. Knitting and crocheting require mathematical thought. A growing movement hopes to use these crafts to interest girls in the sciences.
Two Priests, A Pope And The Big Bang: the fascinating connection between Lemaître and Teilhard.
The Mathematician in the Asylum: Andre Bloch was committed following a brutal triple murder in 1917.
How Caroline Herschel, the First Professional Woman Astronomer, Nearly Died by Meathook in the Name of Science.
A Century Later, the Factory That Poisoned the ‘Radium Girls’ Is Still a Superfund Site.
A computer model is in the works to simulate how New Yorkers would respond in first 30 days after a nuclear attack.
Would You Notice If An Atom Of Anti-Hydrogen Annihilated In Your Room?
What is going on inside the Fukushima reactors that's turning it into a robot graveyard?
We May Need A Separate Deep Geologic Repository For Our Nuclear Weapons Waste.
Trump proposes massive cuts to scientific and medical research across the federal government--things like killing a NASA office popular with Congress, astronauts and kids. Trump’s science cuts "would cripple American innovation and economic growth,” according to a statement released by the Association of American Universities. As the Atlantic pointed out, cuts to public funding may create a “lost generation” in American science, and even the tech giants can’t stop it. Science is America's Foundation--and our Future. Instead of arbitrarily slashing federal programs, Congress should continue to work on a bipartisan basis to secure long-term, sustained investments for R&D.
Making Mathematical Art: You can create stunning symmetrical images armed with just a few equations and a computer.
A Fold Apart: Origamist Robert Lang’s Incredible Paper Creations.
The Mesmerism of Mathematics: A 19th-century love letter to the most limitless medium of thought.
How to build a steam-powered cannon invented by Da Vinci--A less deadly version of the Architronito.
Limericks for Mathematicians: 'There once was a function named g...'
Your Old CD-ROMs Are Probably Rotting because Entropy is a bitch. 'All media subject to entropy, but offline/nearline media is not easily hedged against Second Law of Thermodynamics.'
The Fiction of the Science: A Meditation on How Artists & Storytellers Can Advance Technology.
Physicist and poet Alan Lightman on the shared psychology of creative breakthrough in art and science.
Moon as Muse: Centuries of Artistic Interpretations of Earth’s Mysterious Satellite. h
Finally, Minute Physics explains How to Teleport Schrödinger's Cat to the Moon: