New Research Could Help Bring Secure Quantum Communication to Everyone.
A Possible Failure of Determinism in General Relativity. A numerical analysis of perturbations of a charged black hole suggests that the usual predictability of the laws of physics can fail in general relativity. Related: What Would You See As You Fell Into A Black Hole? Would there be only blackness past the event horizon? Or something more?
LIGO's Greatest Discovery Almost Didn't Happen. A glitch in one detector during the neutron star-neutron star merger caused an automatic rejection. It's only because of a human that we caught it. Related: How Richard Feynman Convinced The Naysayers 60 Years Ago That Gravitational Waves Are Real.
The Atomic Theory of Origami. By reimagining the kinks of origami as atoms in a lattice, researchers are uncovering strange behavior. Michael Assis has found that origami can experience a phase transition.
The Bicycle Problem That Nearly Broke Mathematics. Bicycles are deceptively simple systems with surprising behavior. We didn't understand why a driverless bike would balance itself until recently. Jim Papadopoulos has spent a lifetime pondering the maths of bikes in motion. Now his work has found fresh momentum.
Spin Gyroscope is Ready to Look for New Physics: An enhanced version of a magnetometer based on atomic spins could be used to search for theoretically predicted exotic fields with ultrahigh sensitivity.
Scientists Create Miniature Gamma Ray Bursts to Study Black Holes.
Searching for the Dark: The Hunt for Axions. The Axion Dark Matter Experiment just entered the most sensitive phase yet in its search for invisible particles to explain the universe's hidden mass. Related: On its own, an invisible world of dark sector particles cannot solve all these problems. But it certainly helps.
The Physics of the 69-Degree Intersection That Kills Cyclists. "The problem comes about because of the angle of the intersection and the angle of the blind spot in the car from its front pillar."
Why do meteoroids explode in the atmosphere? A new and previously overlooked mechanism underpins this theory.
Electric Eels Inspire a New Form of Battery: Researchers took a cue from the electric eel to create a soft, foldable battery that could one day power devices like pacemakers.
Chameleon Bones Glow in the Dark, Even Through Skin. A new study reveals that the color changers can also glow in the dark under ultraviolet light.
What Makes the Hardest Equations in Physics So Difficult? The Navier-Stokes equations describe simple, everyday phenomena, like water flowing from a garden hose, yet they provide a million-dollar mathematical challenge.
Falsifiability agonistes: Sean Carroll explains why he thinks the multiverse is an example of perfectly ordinary science.
At first glance, this image looks much like the impact of any drop on a pool of the same liquid, but it isn't. "This is the impact of a water droplet on a thin film of oil, and the immiscibility of those two fluids has important effects on the collision." (Image and research credit: Z. Che and O. Matar, source)
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."
Star Trek: Discovery Asks the Age Old Question: If You Kill Your Mirror Universe Self, Is It Murder or Suicide?
The James Webb Space Telescope has emerged from the freezer. "We now have verified that NASA and its partners have an outstanding telescope and set of science instruments," said Bill Ochs, the Webb telescope project manager at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland. "We are marching toward launch."
The Astrophysicist Who Wants to Help Solve Baltimore's Urban Blight. "Vacant buildings are more than just an economic threat. They're also a public safety concern. And it turns out they have their own sort of gravitational pull."
Here's How Ancient Lightning Strikes Can Be Trapped In Stone. "[Fulgurites] often quite old when they’re found, which is why they’re sometimes colloquially referred to as “fossilized lightning”.
Researchers Examined the Feasibility of Cleaning Orbital Junk With a Space-Based Laser Station.
How Robot Math and Smartphones Led Researchers to a Drug Discovery Breakthrough. An algorithm originally designed to help robots move was useful in tackling an entirely different problem.
Study With One-Word Abstract Finds Moon Phases Don't Predict Earthquakes. "Once it was clear there is no evidence for a significant correlation, the abstract wrote itself.”
Interstellar Visitor 'Oumuamua Was Shaped By Cosmic Particles.
NASA engineers thought female astronauts needed a full face of makeup in 1978. “The engineers at NASA, in their infinite wisdom, decided that women astronauts would want makeup – so they designed a makeup kit…” Sally Ride, a physicist who became the first American woman in space in 1983, said. “You can just imagine the discussions amongst the predominantly male engineers about what should go in a makeup kit.”
The First Black Astronaut and America’s Secret Outer-Space Spy Program.
Mark Halpern: The Astronomer Who Is Building the Largest Map of Space by Volume.
An Interactive Map Tracing Every Leap Made by Dr. Samuel Beckett in the Classic Series Quantum Leap.
Strange Mess: Puddles of Skies and Galaxies by Jeffrey Michael Austin. "Austin began creating his own sculptural puddles that appear to reflect the sky above. The works incorporate small bits of debris to strengthen the work’s illusion, while also adding to the quotidian nature of each false pool." [Image: Jeffrey Michael Austin]
Why Airports Rename Runways When the Magnetic Poles Move. Magnetic north changes by as much as 40 miles per year, and that means signage updates.
The Story of 'Hyperchess,' a 3D Chess Game Inspired by Star Trek. Max Chappell spent a lifetime developing outlandish 3D chess game and selling it at Star Trek conventions.
How does a magnetohydrodynamic drive work? It's not that complicated and you can build one (and your own Red October submarine) yourself.
"On occasion in the late fall and early winter, the Grand Canyon can fill with clouds of fog. This occurs when a layer of warm air traps cold, moist air inside the canyon, creating what’s known as a temperature inversion."
The Rattlesnake Ridge - A Landslide In The Making. Washington State, geologists have installed a network to monitor a creeping mountain slope. A unique opportunity to observe the development of a landslide.
How to "code like a weaver": "Baking taught her fractions and math; hanging the laundry taught a concept uncannily like the "software stack"; and weaving is about as algorithmic as things get."
Statistical Methods Using the Stick-on-the-Wall Spaghetti Rule. "The belief that “statistics is like spaghetti” is a good starting point from which to savor this new study about statistics and spaghetti."
The Hidden Depth in Math's Simple Puzzles. Mathematician Richard Schwartz explains why he loves problems he can start solving right away, and how computers can help.
Math Classes Every College Should Teach: "Math 40: Trying to Visualize a Fourth Dimension. Syllabus includes Flatland, the Wikipedia page for “hypercube,” long hours of squinting, and self-inflicted head injuries."
57 years ago, mathematician Lilian Lieber, of whom Einstein was an ardent fan, bridged mathematics and social justice in a free-verse masterpiece stretching from non-Euclidean geometry to the meaning of freedom and democracy.
Mercantile Arithmetic in Renaissance Italy: A Translation and Study of Selected Passages from a Vernacular Abbaco Work.
That X-ray Vision. "Although Roentgen would be showered with honours for his work on x-rays (including the first-ever Nobel prize in Physics in 1901), Thomas Edison was the one who first demonstrated the widescale benefits of x-ray technology. In time, he and his staff would also demonstrate its dangers as well."
Oops… Eureka! Eight accidental discoveries in physics. A touch of luck sometimes nudges the scientific process in interesting directions.
A look back at one year of science under Trump (hint: it's been more complicated than a "war on science"). "What looks like a war on science is really a war on government regulations, waged with a disregard for evidence and expertise against a backdrop of chaos and neglect."
The left is also guilty of unscientific dogma: "attempting to advance political ideals is no excuse for this bullheaded tendency, and those doing so can hurt the progressive values they seek to promote."
A Look at the Amazing Technology Behind Vertical Take-Off Planes.
How Resonant Frequency Causes a Wine Glass to Break With Only the Sound of a Person’s Voice. "After a few tries, [Physics Girl Diana] Cowern finally hit the right note and broke the glass. She then explained the physics behind this phenomenon, specifically the resonant frequency and oscillating system of a wineglass."