This week's physics highlights include new quantitative tools to combat gerrymandering; graphene helps make sea water potable; and the full performance of the Star Trek inspired Caltech musical To Boldly Go is now on YouTube.
Horseshoe Bats Wiggle Their Way to Better Echolocation.
How to Quantify (and Fight) Gerrymandering. Powerful new quantitative tools are now available to combat partisan bias in the drawing of voting districts.
The route to high-speed quantum computing is paved with error. Quantum computing: Fast, rough, and repeat, or slow, precise, and right? Related: The first quantum search algorithm on a scalable quantum computer has important implications.
Scientists Are Getting Closer to Understanding Where All the Antimatter Has Gone.
Q&A: Questioning the Limits of Quantum Mechanics. Marcus Huber uses information theory to understand what quantum machines can—and cannot—do.
WIMPs in the Dark Matter Wind: We know which way the dark matter wind should blow. Now we just have to find it.
Gauss's Day of Reckoning: A famous story about the boy wonder of mathematics has taken on a life of its own.
Interesting perspective from Marcelo Gleiser: The Quest for Unity Is Not Something Physics Is Cut Out To Do.
Reality check: The hidden connections behind quantum weirdness. Quantum theory says that stuff doesn't exist when we're not looking at it. But weirder-than-weird experiments are resurrecting a long-derided alternative. Why David Bohm's ideas are getting renewed interest, thanks to physicists who think reality is real.
Your Weekend Head-Scratcher: Can Many Worlds Theory Rescue Physicists from Boltzmann Brains?
Physicists Attack The Riemann Hypothesis, Math’s $1,000,000 Question. Physicists are attempting to map the distribution of the prime numbers to the energy levels of a particular quantum system.
Formula 1: A technical deep dive into building the world’s fastest cars. F1 drivers experience similar g-force to Apollo astronauts during Earth re-entry. Here’s how they design and make the cars.
Nano-Sized Molecular Cars Will Compete in the World's Smallest Race. The world's first nano-car race is set to take place in France, featuring ultra-miniature cars built from just hundreds of atoms grouped together.
The hilarious Star Trek musical Boldly Go!, written by Caltech grad student Grant Remmen and his brother Cole, is now online:
Knife-wielding stabbing machine that can stab you in 60 different ways could help solve violent crimes.
Nanotubes make Kevlar armour smarter. Conducting composite senses damage and stiffens on impact.
Graphene-based sieve turns seawater into drinking water.
Scientists Want to Do Some Crazy Physics Using Scrapped Medical Equipment
It's called a "blue whirl" -- a new form of combustion. But it can instantly flash into a fire+tornado ("firenado").
Making Rogue Waves with Wind and Water: Wind-generated waves in a ring-shaped water tank can spontaneously grow into single behemoth waves, mimicking a poorly understood ocean phenomenon.
Sound Matters: Sex And Death In The Rain Forest. How insects and bats use ultrasound to mate, or get eaten.
The Science of an Airy Meringue -- With Chickpeas. The vegan substitute works just as well as egg whites.
The Bullet-Block Problem With a Twist: "This actually happened. They really did shoot a bullet into a block of wood to see it rise up. This isn’t some hypothetical question in a book."
Seven ways to skin Schrödinger’s cat: Quantum physicists just can't agree on how to handle the fundamental uncertainty that apparently underpins reality.
Mass Effect Physics: A real omni-tool blade would be more of a lasersword than a lightsaber is.
Distant Ruins: If we can so easily misinterpret our own past, how might we misconstrue the artefacts of a truly alien culture?
This star is blowing an immense bubble in space. But it's the star itself that's gonna pop.
What happens when a solar storm smacks a planet that spins sideways? Uranus is a unique test case.
Coffee filters are great for so many things, including exploring air drag.
NASA is planning a daring repair mission to save a $2 billion particle detector, The Alpha Magnetic Spectrometer.
Anoka Faruqee’s Dance of Matter and Light: "For an artist known for her flawless alignments (or deliberate misalignments) of overlapping wave patterns to achieve a memorable optical effect, the inclusion of “bruises” seems a bold and unexpected move." [Image: Anoka Faruqee]
The 5 Most Ingenious Experiments in Astronomy and Physics.
The Mystery Behind Minnesota’s Devil’s Kettle Waterfall Has Been Solved by Hydrologists.
What's the difference between a fermion and a boson? It's the difference between life and death.
On Tycho's Island (near Castle at Elsinore): "It was like CERN --but with much better dinner parties every night."
How 1950s Las Vegas Sold Atomic Bomb Tests as Tourism. Between 1950 and 1960, the population of Las Vegas grew by 161%--partly due to the burgeoning casino industry. But another reason was a chance to glimpse actual nuclear tests in person.
Edgar Allan Poe Published a "CliffsNotes" Version of a Science Textbook & It Became His Only Bestseller (1839).
Suspicion of science — and dismissal of scientific consensus as a conspiracy — building at both political extremes.
The lie that Stephen Hawking takes “smart pills” is not even the biggest lie in these “smart pill” ads.
How the Humble Potato Cannon Served the Allies in World War Two.
Artist Chris Henschke’s latest piece inspired by particle physics machinery is closest he’s gotten to the real thing.
Richard Feynman’s "Notebook Technique" Will Help You Learn Any Subject–at School, at Work, or in Life. Related: My mother, the scientist. Profile of astrophysicist Joan Feynman (Richard's sister), who turned 90 this week, by her son.
Einstein's reply to an Iowa physics teacher in 1953 on his theories of relativity and special relativity fetched $54K at auction. Related: One of the earliest science films ever made: The Einstein Theory of Relativity (Max Fleischer, 1923).
Thank You, Sophie, and Sorry that the world was not ready to recognize or nurture your genius. "I wish we got to read a different story about Sophie Germain," writes Evelyn Lamb.
Physicist Mary Gaillard Has Spent Over Three Decades Fighting For Women in Science. "It was a long story with a lot of ups and downs. It turned out fine. "It wasn't until recent years when people come up to me and I realize I'm some kind of role model."
Sewing and "subtraction pattern cutting" meet topology.
Pocket Black Hole is a simple app that allows you to play with the light-bending effect of a black hole. Take a selfie, or a photo of your friends, with a black hole.
Neil de Grasse Tyson's Reddit AMA was fun, informative, and personable. Some highlights here.
NBC Just Ordered a Primetime Show About Advances in Science and Technology.
This "Real" Lightsaber is Dangerous, but Still Surprisingly Civilized.
Myopic Political Bubbles Apply to Science Books, Too. "where’s the common ground? Dinosaurs, mostly." And physics.
CERN & NASA celebrated April Fool's by jokingly they'd found “the largest particle accelerator ever built” on Mars.
The Physics Girl (Diana Cowern) Shows the folks at Tested a Fun D-I-Y Science Experiment: a simple electric train.
Is it Better to Run or Walk in The Cold, Scientifically Speaking? Minute Physics explains: