Among this week's physics highlights: Einstein's "impossible" experiment has finally been performed, and he's still irritatingly right; the physics of what happens when lightning strikes a building; and sometimes light moves around objects like a frictionless liquid which is-- kinda weird. Cool, but weird.
But first: Jen-Luc Piquant swooned over the new Wonder Woman movie along with everyone else, so of course she's thrilled someone addressed the burning question: What is The Physics of Bullets Vs. Wonder Woman’s Bracelets?
First beam for an important new physics experiment: An anomaly in the tiny magnetic field of a fundamental particle could be the loose thread that lets us unravel a new layer of physics. A new experiment has started to take a closer look.
Cosmic Discoveries Fuel a Fight Over the Universe’s Beginnings.
The Crisis of the Multiverse: In an infinite multiverse, physics loses its ability to make predictions.
Ultra high-speed lightning video clarifies the physics of building strikes. And it's just plain mesmerizing.
A new crop of gravity-wave detectors could help astronomers solve the mystery of how black holes evolve. Related: Gravitational wave discovery suggests that binary black holes are merging at a faster rate than models predicted. Also: Newest LIGO Signal Raises A Huge Question: Do Merging Black Holes Emit Light? Bonus: Scientists Have Recorded the Sound of Two Black Holes Colliding, and You Can Hear It Too.
Inside the SPIDER facility, preparing for nuclear fusion tests.
Scientists discover that light, under certain conditions, can move around objects like a frictionless liquid.
A tale of three cities: A neutrino detector named ICARUS unites physics labs in Italy, Switzerland, and the US.
Particle Accelerators Are Changing the Way We Look at Ancient Turds.
Unexpected behavior by “charm” quarks produced at Brookhaven National Laboratory could reveal Big Bang details.
Gravitational Lensing Of A White Dwarf Ends A Decades-Old Debate. Einstein still annoyingly right as researchers weigh white dwarf. Related: Einstein's 'Impossible' Experiment Finally Performed: The Hubble telescope just weighed a star using a technique the famed physicist described but said humanity would have “no hope” of using. Also: How to Weigh a Star Using Gravitational Lensing.
Will Quantum Mechanics Swallow Relativity? "It is the biggest of problems, it is the smallest of problems."
Physicists Make a 2D Magnet: The breakthrough could lead to better data-storage devices and quantum computers.
Fortified gas marbles are 10 times stronger than regular bubbles. "Basically, they’re millimetres-wide soap bubbles reinforced with a coating of solid particles, like a chocolate sweet covered in sprinkles."
Science says we are all alone in a giant, gaping void of nothingness. "If the cosmos are a slice of Swiss cheese, the Milky Way exists in one of its holes, and we, the Earth dwellers, reside deep, deep, deep within that empty nothingness."
When the stars align ... well, one star with a hundred billion stars.
Reveling in the Artistry of Scientific Displays: The centerpiece of John Stoney’s exhibition at Pierogi is a series of precious gem and mineral displays drained of their natural colors and rendered in shades of gray. Per Hyperallergic: "Stoney reconstructs the specimens in elemental metals like aluminum and lead, draining the sculptures of color. Bowed metal platforms are lined with a felt reminiscent of fiberglass, and smaller gems meld with their thick metal prongs, appearing like nails." [Image: John Stoney]
How Machine-Learning Helps Us Understand Strange Materials and Their Stranger Physics.
The Physics of Nearly Killing Yourself on a Motorcycle.
Scientists Use Glowing Dyes To Spot Fake Whiskey. This technique can even identify the drink’s origin, blend, age, and taste. "Sometimes science means sacrifice. Other times, it means buying 1,000 euros worth of whiskey."
Aliens, Comets or Crap? What’s Going On With The Wow! Signal?
Let's Model Radioactive Decay to Show How Carbon Dating Works. "You probably don't want to experiment with radioactive material in your home, so here are two models."
Take a look at the delicate nanoscale architecture inside a microchip. "Researchers from the Paul Scherrer Institut in Switzerland say that they may have found a way to look into microchips without ever touching them."
Nature, the IT Wizard: Nature manages information, the currency of life, with exquisite efficiency.
The Scientist and the Fascist: How Einstein reacted to Hitler’s rise. Excerpt from Tom Levenson's wonderful book, Einstein in Berlin, now reissued as an ebook.
The Secret History of the Cat Who Authored a Physics Paper. "He even had a pawesome pen name—F.D.C. Willard."
Pixar Worked Really Hard on the Mud in Cars 3: "that mud is one of Pixar's most impressive visual renderings yet. It's wet. It's gloppy. It slips and spatters against the cars' tires. There were about 160 mud shots in the film, and to prepare, the visual effects team spent six months just experimenting with the mud—determining its nature and its physics, and building the rig that would adhere to those principles."
Mary Poppins Actually Explains Yondu’s Arrow in Guardians of the Galaxy, Y’all!
How Mother Nature and a Pentagon Mathematician Created the World's Largest Instrument. The Great Stalacpipe Organ operates by rhythmically striking 37 different stalactites scattered across the 3.5-acre cave.
How to fall to your death and live to tell the tale. "Scientists are now encouraging people to learn how to fall to minimize injury – to view falling not so much as an unexpected hazard to be avoided as an inevitability to be prepared for."
Some satire to brighten your day. Yes That's Me on the Cover of Scientific Experimental Disasters That Could Have Been Prevented Magazine. "Yes, that’s me slathered in butter because I was trying to become so frictionless that I could slide on my belly all the way from my Harvard University laboratory to Yale. It was quite painful and the butter ended up attracting fire ants which stung me mercilessly. It was certainly a low point in my career..."
Egg drop experiment fails: "this video illustrates the trials and tribulations of science."
The hidden talent of mushrooms for solar steam generation.
NASA's Dark-Energy Probe Faces Cost Crisis.
NASA's Space Solar Probe: "The sun’s searing heat has made a mission into the star’s atmosphere impossible until now."
Lunar, A Beautiful Short Film About the Apollo Moon Missions Made From Thousands of NASA Photos:
Scientists hope new telescopes and space missions will speed search for planets and, perhaps, life.
An observatory higher than the sky: Pioneering astronomy work is being done at this hidden gem in China.
Traffic Wouldn’t Jam If Drivers Behaved Like Ants.
Examining how mosquitoes move has uncovered some interesting mechanics.
A careful discussion, both mathematically & psychologically, of why .999... = 1 and why many people don't believe it.
Paul Erdős placed small bounties on hundreds of unsolved math problems. Only a handful have been claimed.
The mathematicians who want to save democracy. With algorithms in hand, scientists are looking to make elections in the United States more representative.
Math Has No God Particle. "'In some ways, this is a failure of mathematicians to tell exciting stories.'"
The Impossible Mathematics of the Real World: Near-miss math provides exact representations of almost-right answers.
Physics-Inspired Artwork In Venice: The Works By The Foscarini School Students.
The Scientific Story Of How Each Element Was Made.
Physicist James Kakalios' new book explores how we encounter physics all around us, every single day of our lives.
"A Letter to My High School Physics Teacher," On his retirement after 37 years of masterful teaching.
When you pop a hard candy in your mouth, give some thought to the fluid dynamics involved in dissolving it.
How "The Great Comet of 1812" Moved From Cabaret to Broadway And made a Broadway theater feel like a cabaret.
What Should Non-Scientists Learn From Physics? The most important lesson from physics is not a specific fact, but a method of approaching complex problems.
Why don’t perpetual motion machines ever work? A TED Ed lesson by Netta Schramm.
Circuit Playground: explaining LEDs with cool puppets.
Numberphile looks at mathematics' undecidable statements.
Grey Gersten's beautiful music video featuring space imagery from Cassini.
Finally, again from the folks at TED-Ed, here's An Animated Lesson on the Genius of Marie Skłodowska Curie--a different kind of Wonder Woman: