Category Archives: Physics

Is Anything Real?

This video includes a nice explanation of what we currently think memories are: the result of strengthening of connections between nerve cells.

Physics lecture: Universe could wink out of existence

During a 7 mile hike around Mt. Diablo today, I was asked why, if atoms are 99.9% empty space, things seem solid. The best answer I could give is that there are two classes of all particles, bosons which can move through each other and fermions which can’t, due to the Pauli Exclusion Principle. Fermions… Read More »

Oldest star in Universe discovered

Astronomers in Australia have found the oldest known star in the universe, a discovery that may re-write our understanding of the universe directly following the Big Bang. The team from Australian National University (ANU) say that the star, located around 6,000 light years away from Earth, is roughly 13.6 billion years old. This means it… Read More »

Carbon’s new champion: Theorists calculate atom-thick carbyne chains may be strongest material ever

Rice University researchers have determined from first-principle calculations that carbyne would be the strongest material yet discovered. The carbon-atom chains would be difficult to make but would be twice as strong as two-dimensional graphene sheets. (Image Credit: Vasilii Artyukhov/Rice University) Carbyne will be the strongest of a new class of microscopic materials if and when… Read More »

Research team confirms existence of Higgs boson elementary particle

An experiment conducted by an international research team has confirmed the existence of Higgs boson, which is widely believed to grant mass to substances in the universe, establishing the standard theory of the elementary particle. The team, comprising researchers from the University of Tokyo, the High-Energy Accelerator Research Organization and overseas research institutes, will announce… Read More »

German Scientists Freeze Light for a Minute

It turns out that the fastest known thing in the universe, light, can in fact be stopped. A German team of scientists have successfully stopped light from traveling for a whole minute. The record-breaking event could be a major breakthrough in the field of quantum memory storage. So how did scientists freeze light for a… Read More »

Researchers demonstrate “accelerator on a chip”

In an advance that could dramatically shrink particle accelerators for science and medicine, researchers used a laser to accelerate electrons at a rate 10 times higher than conventional technology in a nanostructured glass chip smaller than a grain of rice. The achievement was reported today inNature by a team including scientists from the U.S. Department… Read More »

Scientists create never-before-seen form of matter

Harvard and MIT scientists are challenging the conventional wisdom about light, and they didn’t need to go to a galaxy far, far away to do it. Working with colleagues at the Harvard-MIT Center for Ultracold Atoms, a group led by Harvard Professor of Physics Mikhail Lukin and MIT Professor of Physics Vladan Vuletic have managed… Read More »

Maybe Space-Time is Just an Illusion

Via Alex Tabarrok,Quanta magazine reports on a decades-long effort that has recently produced a radically simplified way of calculating quantum interactions. Instead of adding up millions or billions of terms, you simply sum the volumes of the pieces of a multi-dimensional object called a “positive Grassmannian.” Its inventors call this object an amplituhedron: The amplituhedron… Read More »

Scientists shatter world record: Thinnest ever sheet of glass created at just ONE molecule thick … and all because of an accidental discovery

An accidental discovery has led to the creation of the world’s thinnest sheet of glass – at just one molecule thick. The ‘pane’ of glass is so impossibly thin that its individual silicon and oxygen atoms are clearly visible using a microscope. The discovery may someday lead to a defect-free, ultra-thin material that could improve… Read More »

Why Does Popcorn Pop?

A popcorn kernel is a cereal grain seed. It is made up of four major physical structures: 1 The Pericarp seed coat or outer hull: a hard outer thin covering. 2 The Endosperm: starchy part that forms the bulk of the kernel and consists almost entirely of starch along with smaller amounts of protein, fat,… Read More »

Theoretical Element 115 Exists, Study Confirms

Researchers confirm the existence of this synthetic element in a new accelerator study. Will it be enough to give ununpentium official recognition and a new name?At the bottom right corner of the periodic table of elements, there are a handful of boxes that illustrators often color gray. The International Union of Pure and Applied Chemistry… Read More »

Astronomic news: the universe may not be expanding after all

… Every now and again, cosmologists decide that the universe needs a rethink. For example, for the past century, they have likened it to an inflating balloon, decorated with galaxies. Now one theoretical physicist has pricked this textbook idea by coming up with an heretical suggestion – namely, that the universe is not expanding at… Read More »

NSA paid British spy agency $150 mln in secret funds – new leak

The NSA has made hush-hush payments of at least $150 million to Britain’s GCHQ spying agency over the past three years to influence British intelligence gathering operations. The payouts were revealed in new Snowden leaks published by The Guardian. The documents illustrate that the NSA expects the UK’s Government Communications Headquarters, known as GCHQ, to… Read More »

See-Through Solar Film Gets Big Efficiency Boost

A novel, transparent, two-layer solar film — possessing an impressive efficiency conversion of 7.3% — has been created by researchers at the University of California–Los Angeles. This is about double the transparent solar cell efficiency the researchers had previously achieved. The solar film can be placed on windows, buildings, sunroofs, electronics displays, etc; harvesting energy… Read More »

Photons May Live for 1 Quintillion Years, but Experience it as 3 Years

… The particles that make up light, photons, may live for at least 1 quintillion (1 billion multiplied by 1 billion) years, new research suggests. If photons can die, they could give off particles that travel faster than light. Many particles in nature decay over time. For instance, radioactive atoms are unstable, eventually breaking down… Read More »

Light completely stopped for a record-breaking minute

The fastest thing in the universe has come to a complete stop for a record-breaking minute. At full pelt, light would travel about 18 million kilometres in that time – that’s more than 20 round trips to the moon. “One minute is extremely, extremely long,” says Thomas Krauss at the University of St Andrews, UK.… Read More »

Swedish researchers create “an impossible material” by mistake

… Called upsalite in honor of the university where it was discovered, the material features a surface area of 800 square meters per gram. It’s got the highest surface area measured for a synthesized alkali metal carbonate. And in addition, upsalite is filled with empty pores all having a diameter smaller than 10 nanometers. This… Read More »

Light-emitting nanotubes get brighter with zero-dimensional states

Carbon nanotubes have the potential to function as light-emitting devices, which could lead to a variety of nanophotonics applications. However, nanotubes currently have a low luminescence quantum yield, typically around 1%, which is restricted by their one-dimensional nature. In a new study, scientists have demonstrated that artificially modifying the dimensionality of carbon nanotubes by doping… Read More »

King Midas in space? Rare star collision produces gold.

King Midas in Brides and grooms have stars not only in their eyes, but also in their wedding bands, scientists have found. Researchers at Harvard University say they have observed an unusual astronomical event that sends gold flying into space. A similar event could have been responsible for the glittering metal’s presence on Earth. Most… Read More »

Quantum-Tunneling Computers: Answers faster than light?

… Nerval’s Lobster writes “The powerful, reliable combination of transistors and semiconductors in computer processors could give way to systems built on the way electrons misbehave, all of it contained in circuits that warp even the most basic rules of physics. Rather than relying on a predictable flow of electrons that appear to know whether… Read More »

How to fit 1,000TB of data onto a 12cm optical disc

Just before the weekend I read about a new technique which can be used to shoehorn around 1,000TB of data onto a “DVD disc”. This is quite a feat and it was achieved by circumnavigating some laws of physics with a technique which uses two different coloured light beams to selectively cancel each other out… Read More »

Chladni Figures: Amazing Resonance Experiment

Warning: Turn your volume way down during this entire video. The sound that produces the patterns is loud enough to cause permanent hearing damage. … This demonstration is by a prolific YouTube user who goes by the handle brusspup. I’ve been enjoying his amazing visual illusions for a few years – and I’m not the… Read More »

First-ever high-resolution images of a molecule as it breaks and reforms chemical bonds

When Felix Fischer of the U.S. Department of Energy’s Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab) set out to develop nanostructures made of graphene using a new, controlled approach to chemical reactions, the first result was a surprise: spectacular images of individual carbon atoms and the bonds between them. “We weren’t thinking about making beautiful images;… Read More »

Scientists transform cement into liquid metal

It’s not the same as turning lead into gold, but scientists at the Illinois-based Argonne National Laboratory and the Japan Synchrotron Radiation Research Institute/SPring-8 have developed a method for turning cement into a liquid metal semiconductor. The process sounds like a mad scientist’s invention. It involves equipment like an aerodynamic levitator and a carbon dioxide… Read More »

“Quantum microscope” peers into the hydrogen atom

The first direct observation of the orbital structure of an excited hydrogen atom has been made by an international team of researchers. The observation was made using a newly developed “quantum microscope”, which uses photoionization microscopy to visualize the structure directly. The team’s demonstration proves that “photoionization microscopy”, which was first proposed more than 30… Read More »

Learn the Periodic Table of Elements song

Whether you need to brush up on your chemistry, or just love it when someone sets the Periodic Table to music, AsapSCIENCE’s The NEW Periodic Table Song is for you. This rundown of the elements in numerical order is set to Jacques Offenbach’s Infernal Galop, but was otherwise written, produced, and performed by Mitchell Moffit.… Read More »

Stacking 2-D materials produces surprising results

Graphene has dazzled scientists, ever since its discovery more than a decade ago, with its unequalled electronic properties, its strength and its light weight. But one long-sought goal has proved elusive: how to engineer into graphene a property called a band gap, which would be necessary to use the material to make transistors and other… Read More »

Microscopic Flowers Created with Chemistry

They look for all the world like a collection of flowers bursting into life. Yet in fact, these are microscopic crystals grown in a Harvard laboratory. Measuring just microns across, they were created to assemble themselves a molecule at a time. The team say the work, carried out on glass slides, is able to control… Read More »

Quantum camera snaps objects it cannot “see”

A normal digital camera can take snaps of objects not directly visible to its lens, US researchers have shown. The “ghost imaging” technique could help satellites take snapshots through clouds or smoke. Physicists have known for more than a decade that ghost imaging is possible. But, until now, experiments had only imaged the holes in… Read More »

Antigravity gets first test at Cern’s Alpha experiment

Researchers at Cern in Switzerland have tested a novel way to find out if antimatter is the source of a force termed “antigravity”. Antimatter particles are the “mirror image” of normal matter, but with opposite electric charge. How antimatter responds to gravity remains a mystery, however; it may “fall up” rather than down. Now researchers… Read More »

Do-it-yourself invisibility with 3-D printing

Seven years ago, Duke University engineers demonstrated the first working invisibility cloak in complex laboratory experiments. Now it appears creating a simple cloak has become a lot simpler. “I would argue that essentially anyone who can spend a couple thousand dollars on a non-industry grade 3-D printer can literally make a plastic cloak overnight,” said… Read More »

Will antimatter cause antigravity?

Scientists are hoping the experiment will teach them more about how the universe developed after the Big Bang.Physicists with ALPHA Collaboration research group are trying to figure out how antimatter interacts with gravity, and if it produces “antigravity,” says the group’s founder, Jeffrey Hangst. Their experiment mirrors the way Sir Isaac Newton came up with… Read More »

How Time Crystals Could Rewrite the Rules of Physics

If you overheard someone talking about time crystals in a bar, you’d think they were mad, or drunk. Or both. These things, theoretically, oscillate for eternity without any energy input whatsoever – and if that sounds like a perpetual motion machine, it’s because it is. Impossible, right? But what if it was a Nobel prize-winning… Read More »