The big news this week: two new adorable foster kittens in the house! Oh, I guess you were thinking of physics news. Well, there was plenty of that, too: the Large Hadron Collider is back in action, the first bunch of results from NASA's Juno mission, and taking a look at the physics of an iconic Bond scene in honor of the passing of Roger Moore. And that's just a few of the highlights this week.
New Measurement Technique Puts Elusive Virtual Particles in Relief.
Researchers Develop Magnetic Switch to Turn On and Off a Strange Quantum Property.
Science Busts Biggest Myth Ever About Why Bridges Collapse. Well, it's not the biggest myth ever, and it was busted awhile ago, but we need to keep getting the word out about why the Tacoma Narrows Bridge really collapsed. Hint: It's not resonance. See also me at Gizmodo last year: How daffodils can help us understand why bridges collapse.
A physicist breaks down one of Roger Moore's Iconic Bond Stunts. So that scene where Jaws throws Bond from a plane without a parachute? Let’s take a look at that…
The Power of Information (and Phase Transitions). Per John Preskill on Twitter: "If you're an ant looking for a nest (or a spin in a ferromagnet) do what the other ants (spins) do."
New Theory Explains Why the Universe Expands at an Accelerating Rate.
Just One Driverless Car Could Ease Traffic Jams. New research suggests that the days of variable speed limits could be over.
NASA's Juno Mission Just Dropped Its First Huge Pile of Results. And The Gas Giant Is More Weird And Wonderful Than We Thought. Related: Jupiter Sounds Like a Fax Machine and Nobody Knows Why Listen to the plasma wave signals on Jupiter, which help us understand how the upper atmosphere works. [Image: NASA/JPL-Caltech/SwRI/MSSS/Betsy Asher Hall/Gervasio Robles]
Newly Found Exoplanet May Have Ring System Dwarfing Saturn's.
Diving deep into the world of emergent gravity. "According to Professor Erik Verlinde from the University of Amsterdam, it may be that dark matter does not exist. His work indicates that in a Universe with dark energy (a positive cosmological constant), gravity does not exactly follow general relativity. His preliminary calculations indicate that the difference between general relativity and his work may provide forces that we currently ascribe to dark matter."
Making biological drugs with spider silk protein. "Researchers at Karolinska Institutet in Sweden have managed to synthesise lung surfactant, a drug used in the care of preterm babies, by mimicking the production of spider silk."
Focusing Sound with Metasurfaces: A New Way to Reduce Noise and Power Devices?
Scientists Discover the Perfect Cup of Coffee. Two scientists in Japan studied how the foam on a fresh cup of espresso makes that drink so thermodynamically delicious.
Celestial Harmonies Pin Down Orbit of Exoplanet TRAPPIST-1h; the Earth-size world circles its star every 19 days.
What Would Jumping to Hyperspace Really Look Like?
MIT team develops 3D-printed noodles that can be shipped flat and twist into new shapes when immersed in water.
How much would a star destroyer cost? Spoiler alert: "The figure they arrive at after 7 minutes of explanation is 60 trillion US dollars, or the gross domestic product of the United States for over three years."
Isaac Newton vs. Las Vegas: How Physicists Used Science To Beat The Odds At Roulette.
The Day A Geomagnetic Storm Almost Started World War III.
MIT creates bacteria-powered clothing straight out of science fiction.
How 'Eureka' Moments in Science Happen: From bathtubs to falling apples, find out what really drives some of the iconic tales of “light bulb” moments in science.
Ancient Slingshot Was as Deadly as a .44 Magnum.
This Super-Hot, Super-Weird Space Doughnut Could Be a New “Planetary Object.”
A Physicist and a Literature Professor Discuss Time Travel.
Why do people believe in chemtrails? “I think we need two things to end the free reign of the conspiracy theories that we are seeing everywhere now,” says Snopes’ Brooke Binkowski. “We need a robust and unfettered press that operates in a transparent and informative manner that values nuance and context. And moderation of social media, whether self-imposed or imposed from outside, will do wonders to help create and maintain a more constructive atmosphere of discussion so that people can more effectively communicate with one another.”
Schlieren photography is a classic method of flow visualization and the images are stunning.
The World Is Wasting Our Irreplaceable Helium, And Nobody Cares.
Why 3,000 Scientists Think Nuclear Arsenals Make Us Less Safe.
What is quantum entanglement? Part 5: Making it happen.
The murder that instigated the UK’s most dangerous autopsy: the poisoning of of Alexander Litvinenko.
Emmy Noether's Math as Hotel Decor: Chicago hotelier recruits mathematician and artist to decorate his new property.
Life's Probability Problem: What do we even mean when we talk about the probability of life elsewhere in the cosmos?
The Quants: Meet the New Kings of Wall Street. "Today, the ultimate Wall Street status symbol is a trading floor comprising Carnegie Mellon Ph.D.s, not Wharton M.B.A.s."
Glass Spheres Forged by Volcanic Lightning Offer Clues about Eruptions.
This is what happens when you get struck by lightning. "Only by piecing together the bystander reports, the singed clothing and the burnt skin can survivors start to construct their own picture of the possible trajectory of the electrical current, one that can approach 200 million volts and travel at one-third of the speed of light."
The microscale structures of a superhydrophobic surface affect the way water rebounds.
Astronomers find a moon for a distant, frigid world
How an Ancient Supernova Turned the Sky on Earth Electric Blue.
Engineering advances revive the dream of the plasma jet engine--powered by gas + electricity, not combustion.
How NASA Might Push Aerospace's Next Big Propulsion Breakthrough.
What Things Should Every Physics Major Know?
How Applied Mathematics Could Improve the Democratic Process.
How Simple Math Shows Us That Manchester-Style Terror Attacks Shouldn't Be Feared.
The World Is Too Complicated for Donald Trump to Be President, Theoretical Physics Suggests.
A Professor's Sexual Harassment Case Came Out In Congress, And He's Fighting Back. Astronomer Timothy Slater is demanding over $30 million from a woman who shared details of an investigation into his case with journalists. He’s also suing the university that conducted the investigation.
UCLA Professor Andrea Bertozzi is innovating her math classrooms to solve real world problems.
The Three Phases of the Mathematical Life: the most famous man in Vietnam is Ngô Bảu Châu, a Field medalist/mathematician who studies algebra. "In his soft, low voice, he told a beautiful story. It cut against the romantic myth of the mathematician (lone genius, predestined, operating in a sphere beyond mortal reckoning). In fact, it resonated with the themes I encounter as a teacher: self-doubt, missteps, the need for helping hands."
What Does the Mysterious Mathematical concept of Compactness Really Mean?
Universal Tea Machine, mechanical ‘adding computer’: “the better your binary addition skills the better your cup of tea.”
Physics-Inspired Art in Venice: Example #1: "Sub-lime" by Paola Bollato and Carlotta Dal Zennaro. "In this work we have tried to simplify the visual description of a particle collision, to reach the maximum possible audience. We have used recycled materials in our assembly." Example #2: "Symmetries" by Angela Molena and Filippo Forcella.
Five famous musicians who are also science stars.
The World’s Heaviest Weight Can Generate a Maximum of 1,000,000 Pounds of Force.
Musician Plays Electric Guitar Through a Tesla Coil -- and it is good.
What Happens When Liquid Nitrogen Is Mixed With Colorful Food Dye" Grant Thompson a.k.a. King of Random, decided to find out. "The results were mixed; while the nitrogen didn’t change color, the dye froze into neat little beads."