There's been a flood of cool physics news heading into the Thanksgiving holiday. Some highlights: theory of dark matter disks is toast; LIGO detects yet another binary black hole merger; and the physics of whammy bar resonance.
Snap, Crackle, Whop--Explore the scientific secrets to win a wish at this year’s Thanksgiving wishbone pull.
Death Blow Dealt to Dark Matter Disks. New data tracking the movements of millions of Milky Way stars have effectively ruled out the presence of a “dark disk” that could have offered important clues to the mystery of dark matter. As Sean Carroll a.k.a. the Time Lord pointed out on Twitter: "Note the story isn’t “there’s no dark matter in the Milky Way,” but rather “the Milky Way’s dark matter forms a puffy halo, not a thin disk.”
Scientists Trace the Origins of Earth’s Antimatter: Dark matter, rather than pulsars, may be behind an excess of antimatter bombarding our planet. Related: Mysterious Particles Are Slamming Into Earth—But Why? New observations stir up debate over an abundance of antimatter found in our atmosphere.
Black Holes Slamming Together Officially 'Routine'. "The LIGO Scientific Collaboration has announced the observation of another pair of colliding black holes from June 8, 2017. But rather than secret results followed by a public announcement and press brouhaha, they dropped the unpublished results on the physics preprint server, the arXiv. Single gravitational wave events are probably no longer huge news stories—but that’s not a bad thing. " Related: Gravitational Waves Tell Us Just How Fast The Universe Is Expanding. Also: Two Stars Slammed Into Each Other And Solved Half Of Astronomy’s Problems. What Comes Next? [Image: Christopher W. Evans/Caltech]
In a hot pan, these hydrogel balls bounce their way to a new physics discovery: an entirely new form of the Leidenfrost effect. Related: Ever wonder why you see little beads of cream levitate on the surface of your morning coffee before mixing? Wonder no more. Study explains how droplets can "levitate" on liquid surfaces.
"String Theory": Musician-Physicist Tackles Whammy Bar Dissonance. "A researcher from the U.K. has engineered new guitar strings that respond tunefully and as a group when you use a whammy bar."
Free-fall experiment could test if gravity is a quantum force.
A new study on crested pigeons finds that the birds’ wings produce distinctive high and low notes during take-off.
A team of physicists at Caltech have managed to create a plasma ring in the open air for the first time.
Have Scientists Found a Secret Chord for Happy Songs? We can explain the meaning of lyrics by looking at their component words and grammatical structure. But how do we explain the meaning of music?
Porpoises twist laws of physics to aim their focused sonar beams.
Research suggests that when a bicycle is *followed* by a motorcycle, it speeds the bicycle up. Trailing cyclists make them go faster due to aerodynamics, researchers find.
Physics of Oil Recovery. Experiments mimicking a common oil drilling technique, in which fluid is forced into an oil-filled, porous medium, have uncovered four different flow patterns.
Graphene water filter turns whisky clear: "we can tailor the molecules that pass through these membranes by simply making them ultrathin."
Scientists Propose Downsizing Next Big Particle Collider. "An international committee devoted to the future of particle accelerators has recommended that scientists halve the energy of the next big collider, according to a statement issued last week."
The Idea of Creating a New Universe in the Lab Is No Joke.
Blood doesn't react to strong magnetic fields like you may think.
The physics behind why cats fit themselves in weird places.
Fog clouds can look like ocean waves because in fluid dynamics the rules stay the same across the board.
You could climb out of a hole with a ladder or a rope—or you could call on your formidable physics knowledge.
Beautiful Physics: The Search for New Particles at LHCb. The Large Hadron Collider beauty experiment has seen hints of new particles that may point the way toward a higher theory of physics.
How to Give Mars an Atmosphere, Maybe. "If Mars had a functioning magnetosphere to protect it from those solar winds, could it once again develop a thicker atmosphere, warmer climate, and liquid surface water? James Green, director of NASA’s Planetary Science Division, thinks it could."
New Intergalactic Discovery Could Be Biggest Supernova Ever.
A brief, 20,000-year history of timekeeping: As clocks got more accurate, we had to redefine the second.
METI's First Message Is a Music Lesson for Aliens. The transmission, Sónar Calling GJ273b, explains Earth's concept of music, from basic addition up. Related: Is it ethical to transmit messages about ourselves toward planets around other stars? Also: Writing to Nature In defense of METI.
What Do Aliens Look Like? Oxford Astrobiologists Draw a Picture, Based on Darwinian Theories of Evolution.
Iconic Arecibo Observatory Saved From Demolition. Famous for its role in the search for intelligent aliens, the world's second-largest radio telescope has NSF approval to keep doing science.
Declassified Drawings from the British Government’s UFO Desk. UFO Drawings From The National Archives by David Clarke publishes eyewitness illustrations of unidentified flying objects. [Image: The National Archives AIR 2-18961 (courtesy the National Archives and Four Corners Books)]
Astronomers find an Earth-size world just 11 light years away. Related: It's become increasingly clear that small, rocky, habitable zone planets are all around us. The question now is whether any can support life. Also: Periodic Table of Exoplanets Neatly Classifies Over 3,700 Known Worlds.
Math at the Met: Amid the museum’s 2 million works of art lie numerous mathematical curiosities.
Behold! The marvelous hidden science and technology of the ancient Byzantine Empire. "Byzantine military inventors perfected Greek Fire, a combustible liquid like napalm that could be hurled at enemy ships."
How a Glass Terrarium Changed the World: "The Wardian case facilitated the trade of plants worldwide."
“There’s No One Path” : How Astronaut Jessica Meir Went From Studying Animal Physiology to Training for Space Flight. Related: Underground Caves, Deep-Sea Labs, and Learning Not to Be a Jerk: Training as an Astronaut.
Richard Feynman And John Wheeler Revolutionized Time, Reality, And Our Quantum Universe.
How 2 Sci-Fi Writers Fueled a U.S. President's Wild Quest to Weaponize Space.
Physics Professor Turned Entrepreneur Is Revolutionizing Hospital Infection Control.
Henry Fowler's Favorite Theorem: The chair of the mathematics department at Diné College talks about how the Pythagorean Theorem intersects with his identity as a Navajo.
“There’s this idea that engineering is about math and physics and being nerdy, all that bullshit macho nonsense. It’s about creating a more peaceful world, a more equitable world. It’s about giving people a chance to live with dignity.”
President will not meet with this year’s US Nobel Laureates, and he’s cancelling the White House Science fair. Spokesperson cites president’s foreign travel as reason; one winner says he’s “relieved.”
Think science is dry, obscure, and complex? These folks think it makes for great comedy.
What is eternal inflation? Universes within universes. "In order to get the large scale structure of the Universe we see today, cosmologists have proposed the idea of inflation, that the Universe expanded an enormous amount in the earliest moments."