Cutting-Edge Science Honored by Star-Studded Breakthrough Prize Awards. "Maps of the infant universe and understanding the proteins involved in neurological disease are among the scientific achievements honored by this year’s Breakthrough Prizes in fundamental physics, life sciences, and mathematics." Related: Reading the Universe with the Cosmic Microwave Background radiation: A look back at WMAP, the hardware that brought us the Universe.
Scientists are slowly unlocking the secrets of the Earth’s mysterious hum.
Cai Guo-Qiang’s Pyrotechnic Mushroom Cloud Commemorates the First Nuclear Reaction. "The work was timed to coincide exactly with the 75th anniversary of the first controlled, self-sustaining nuclear chain reaction.... it sent streams of color whizzing upwards before erupting into bright puffs, like daubs on a painter’s palette, which left in their wake a dark, billowing mass of smoke." [Image: Cai Guo-Quiang, “Color Mushroom Cloud” (2017), realized above the former CP-1 site, University of Chicago, on December 2 (photo by Zoheyr Doctor and Reed Essick, courtesy Cai Studio)]
Quantum Leaps in Quantum Computing? New “qubit” designs could enable more robust quantum machines.
Quantum Simulation Could Shed Light on the Origins of Life. For decades computer scientists have created artificial life to test ideas about evolution. Doing so on a quantum computer could help capture the role quantum mechanics may have played.
Is Quantum Theory About Reality or What We Know?
Agent-based modeling is a powerful means for archeologists to explore the connections among individual action, intangible social entities, and broader interpretations at any time scale.
AlphaZero AI beats champion chess program after teaching itself in four hours. Google’s artificial intelligence sibling DeepMind repurposes Go-playing AI to conquer chess and shogi without aid of human knowledge.
Mathematicians Crack the Cursed Curve, yielding a “watershed moment” in the study of Diophantine equations. A famously difficult mathematical problem resisted solution for over 40 years. Mathematicians have finally resolved it by following an intuition that links number theory to physics.
How Conducting Galileo's Classic Experiment In Space Proved Einstein Right.
How Neutrinos Could Solve The Three Greatest Open Questions In Physics. Problems of dark matter, dark energy, and the origin of matter could all find their solution in one tiny experiment being done in the LHC's shadow.
Unlike one-dimensional personalities, one-dimensional materials are actually very complex—so complex that scientists are still working to decipher their behaviors.
Shape-Shifting Metals Could Generate Electricity from Wasted Heat. A prototype waste-heat engine runs by cycling hot and cold water through its pistons.
The AI Company That Helps Boeing Cook New Metals for Jets. To come up with a new material, scientists need to test millions of recipes. Machine learning helps narrow down the options.
Insect Swarms May Resemble Star Clusters. "A new theory developed at the Weizmann Institute of Science and Stanford University uses a gravitational model to explain the collective behaviour of midges."
Scientists Recreated ‘Mona Lisa’ on the World’s Largest DNA Structure. The lady's smirk is now nano-sized.
The recipe for other Earths: Astronomers, planetary scientists & geologists come together to find out what could make exoplanets life-supporting.
Frigid Europa may be warmed by a layer under its crust that moves heat and ice to and from its poles – and alien microbes could be hitching a ride.
Why brewing beer in space is more important than you think.
The curious case of a chunk of Mars volcano that flew into space and (probably) killed a dog in Egypt.
Strange Parallels: Alternative Histories In Physics And Culture. Certain pivotal events in history seem to open up a schism in time, separating what really happened from countless other "what ifs:"
Computers Learn to Use Sound to Find Ships. Researchers trained machine learning algorithms to pinpoint the location of a cargo ship simply by eavesdropping on the sound of its passing.
For microswimmers, the world is a viscous place, and the rules that we swim by can’t help them get around.
The Fake Space Agency Searching for Life on Mars' Nonexistent Third Moon. "Nicolas Polli will tell you this story is "pure bullshit." He should know— he made the whole thing up himself. But even though Mars only has two moons, the casual visitor to Ferox, The Forgotten Files: A Journey to the Hidden Moon of Mars 1976–2010 could easily be fooled into believing there is a third. The fabricated, online archive contains hundreds of convincing, black-and-white photographs depicting scientific research, space missions, and even the nonexistent, alien surface of Ferox itself."
A Translation Algorithm Can Predict the “Language” of a Chemical Reaction.
Researchers unlock the chemistry of Irish medieval manuscripts.
Meet Natalie Batalha, the explorer who's searching for planets across the Universe.
What Happens When an Algorithm Helps Write Science Fiction. Author Stephen Marche enlisted software to tell him how to optimize his tale. This is their story.
Via Sean Carroll on Twitter: "Sound science” sounds like a good thing. But the actual phrase is a weasel term meant to throw up obfuscatory political doubt in the face of scientific findings you don’t want to hear."
On speculative mineralogy, or the geology of other worlds, including fusing the ashes of your loved ones with fragments of hypothetical exoplanets.
A "rebound" effect: LED lighting is so energy efficient that it may be causing cities, considered as a total category, to use more lighting than before.
Why Does Gravity Travel at the Speed of Light?
In the Pacific Island nation of Vanuatu, women have a tradition of water music. "Performers use three basic motions – a slap, a plunge, and a plow – that each have distinctive acoustics thanks to the interaction of hand, water, and air."
In this rare interview, via the Atomic Heritage Foundation, J. Robert Oppenheimer, scientific director of the Manhattan Project, talks about its organization and some of the scientists that he helped recruit during its earliest days.
The Art of Translating Science: When trying to explain complex ideas to non-experts, mere simplification may not be the most effective strategy.
A startup is printing giant photos of Earth from space, and they're gorgeous.
Nano Tree, An Elegant Wood and Glass Sculpture Filled With Magnetized Semi-Solid Ferrofluid. https://laughingsquid.com/nano-tree-ferrofluid-sculpture/
Fascinating Dynamic Computer Model Measuring Traffic Flow Four Directions in 30 Different Ways.
Everything We Know About Physics in One Neat Map. "Dominic Walliman, “youtuber, science writer and physicist,” has created a wonderful infographic that shows the many branches of physics and how they all come together. He has accompanied it with a brief but informative video that gives a chronological overview of each branch and explains the matters (and energies) it is concerned with."