More proof that spooky action at a distance is real, a big grant for tabletop laser accelerators, and celebrating the 100th anniversary of Einstein's general theory of relativity were among this week's physics highlights.
Me at Gizmodo:
Physicists Prove That Spooky Action At a Distance Is Real. Entanglement is one of the strangest aspects of quantum mechanics, whereby two subatomic particles can be so closely connected that one can seem to influence the other even across long distances. Albert Einstein dubbed it 'spooky action at a distance,' and two new experiments have now definitively shown that the phenomenon is real."
Moore Foundation Gives Stanford $13.5 Million To Build 'Accelerator on a Chip.' "Today’s particle accelerators are massive machines, but physicists have been working on shrinking them down to tabletop scales for years. Now the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation has awarded a $13.5 million grant to Stanford University to develop a working “accelerator on a chip” the size of a shoebox over the next five years."
Pretty Fractal Patterns Pop Up in Maine's Tidal Ponds. "There are multiple examples of fractal patterns in nature, from peacock feathers, snowflakes, and leaves, to cloud formations and coastlines. Now a group of graduate students at MIT and the University of Santa Barbara have spotted similar fractal geometries in the ponds that form at low tide on a tidal flat in Maine."
These Budding Pigeon Pathologists Can Read Your Next Mammogram. "There’s a long, colorful history of using pigeons in research, particularly in the behavioral and psychological sciences. Now scientists have trained a flock of pigeons to be feathered pathologists, able to spot telltale signs of breast cancer in medical images nearly as well as their human counterparts."
Engineer Says Final Destination V's Grisly Bridge Scene Is Surprisingly Accurate. "Hollywood isn’t exactly known for the most accurate depictions of science and scientists — hence the long tradition of nerd gassing over the details any given film gets wrong. Add one more disgruntled engineer to their ranks who takes special issue with the way bridges are depicted on film."
The Physicist Who Defied the Temperance Laws of 1905 Berkeley. "Ludwig Boltzmann is best known as the Austrian physicist who wrote down the statistical formula for entropy, but if the physics thing hadn’t worked out, he would have made an excellent travel writer. The travelogue he composed of his 1905 trip to Berkeley, California, is chock-full of amusing anecdotes, keen observations, and local history of dubious accuracy. It’s pure joy to read."
On Manh(a)ttan, Terrible Things Happen When You 'Wake The Dragon.' "Events are on the brink of going critical on this week’s episode of Manh(a)ttan. Frank Winter tries to rally the scientific troops to his cause—and wrestles with an infamous plutonium core."
We Already Know How To Build a Time Machine -- In Theory. "New Scientist’s fledgling Explanimator series on YouTube has already explored the burning questions of how many friends you can have, and when you would be considered dead. Now the series has tackled that favorite sci-fi staple, time travel."
Other Cool Links:
The New Yorker celebrated the general relativity anniversary with a trifecta of fun articles. First: The Space Doctor's Big Idea: Einstein's general theory of relativity explained using only the 1000 most common words in the English language. Second: Einstein’s First Boyhood Proof of the Pythagorean Theorem. Finally: Albert Einstein’s Sci-Fi Stories.
A Satellite Mishap Is Letting Physicists Test Einstein's Theory of Relativity.
Quantum source of space-time: some physicists believe that entanglement may be the essence of space-time geometry. Also check out Quanta's two-part series from earlier this year, one one by me, the other by the marvelous K.C. Cole.
"Critical Slowing" in complex systems warns of future disasters.
The Quantum Reality Paradox: How the search for God’s limits led to the discovery of "quantum contextuality".
Can We Test Dark Energy Using The Solar System?
The Moon's Two Sides Look So Different Thanks To 4.5 Billion-Year-Old Physics.
New model explains how the Earth stole the Moon’s lighter elements.
An Astronomer Proposes a New Mathematical Definition for What Counts As a Planet.
Rhett Allain at Wired Calculated How Hard Holly Holm Kicked Ronda Rousey in the Face: 50 pounds of force!
This Chemist Discovered How to Salvage Useless Photos with a Dash of Radioactivity.
Three Ways a Starkiller in the New Star Wars Could Work.
Artist Jaden Hastings Used Her Own Blood To Hack an Industrial Revolution-Era Printing Technique. "Hastings is a bioartist who uses living tissues and organisms as her medium. To make the prints, which she calls “plasmatypes” after the plasma in blood, she drained half a pint of her own blood." [Photo credit: Jaden Hastings, Primitiae (2015)]
Quantum Mechanics Is Putting Human Identity on Trial. If our particles have no identity, how can we?
Neil deGrasse Tyson Says Sex in Space Would Involve a Lot of Belts.
It's Edwin Hubble's birthday! He's the man who expanded our view of the universe.
Ten Science Fiction Transportation Technologies That Make No Sense.
How to Put a Power Source in Your Footwear.
Physicist Ben Still's beginner's guide to the subatomic world via the 1960s scifi series Thunderbirds.
Forget Graphene and Carbon Nanotubes, Get Ready for Diamond Nanothread.
This Is Why It's Hard to Recognize a Black Hole.
Gravity, Who Needs It? We Do, And 4 Other Things For Long-Distance Space Travel Too.
Flexible, Stretchable, Implantable LEDs Could Show Us Why We Feel Pain.
Rotational Motion of a Bouncing Football.
It's not easy being clean: Why "Clean room" is a verb.
The Promise—and Perils—of Predictive Policing Based on Big Data.
The making of Jodrell Bank radio telescope.
Behold the Ocular Harpsichord, the Laser Light Show of the 18th Century.
Math on the Run: If you ran a race at an average pace of 3:07 per kilometer, did you run any single kilometer in exactly 3:07?
Inside the mind of mathematician John Conway -- on the true nature of numbers, and why game-playing is so important.
A simple, mathematical formula for packing your perfect carry-on.
The mathematical case for hypocrisy.
The Man Who Knew Infinity: A Mathematician’s Life Comes To The Movies.
The Common Experience of "Math Trauma."
9 Questions That Show How Common Core Math is Ruining America.
Taking the Leap: Teaching Math Through Dance.
Breaking: ITER fusion project to take at least 6 years longer than planned.
The First Nuclear Reactor Lived Under Some Bleachers by a Football Field.
Daimler is reusing electric vehicle batteries to store renewable energy.
Hawaii court halts construction of world’s largest telescope on volcano.
"Sea Organ" Makes Haunting Music With Ocean Waves.
On Shakespeare's Hamlet and astronomy.
How To Turn A Candy Cane Into A Sound Machine and Make Sweet Holiday Music.
The Still Point of the Turning World: T.S. Eliot Reads His Timeless "Ode to the Nature of Time" in a Rare Recording.
This BBC Video Takes You on a Real-Time Journey Through Space.
Watch This Amazing Animation That Imagines Famous Scientists as Superheroes. Per Gizmodo: "If [you like] the idea of Marie Curie and Sigmund Freud battling Nazis, zombies and anti-science villains—and frankly who doesn’t?—then take a look."