Monday December 18th 2017

‘Recent Work’ Archives

Fighting Fire with Fire

Fighting Fire with Fire

Robert Kremens fights fire with fire. No, really – that’s his job. Kremens sets fires in a host of locations across the US. In April he drove 18 hours from his home in Rochester, New York, to Tall Timbers, a research station in Tallahassee, Florida, to set three or four [Read More]

Vaccines: Looking Within for Cancer Treament

Vaccines: Looking Within for Cancer Treament

It’s been 10 years since Tom Liebert received an experimental cancer vaccine to treat his multiple myeloma, and he still wonders: Did it work? The question nags at him, but not always. After all, he’s still alive and singing with a barbershop quartet in Fairfield Glade, [Read More]

Predicting the whirlwind

Predicting the whirlwind

  In more than 20 years as a meteorologist, Joshua Wurman had seen – and chased – more than 150 tornadoes. But the one that hit his pickup truck caught him by surprise. On a warm spring evening in 2012, Wurman was driving down a two-lane highway in the small plains [Read More]

How Bose–Einstein condensates keep revealing weird physics

How Bose–Einstein condensates keep revealing weird physics

A Bose-Einstein condensate (BEC), the first of which was shown experimentally 22 years ago, isn’t your garden variety state of matter. It formed at a fraction above absolute zero and only in atoms that act like bosons, one of two types of fundamental particles. Bosons [Read More]

Seeking a Second Opinion

Seeking a Second Opinion

In November 2012, when she was 52 years old, Shannon Semple was diagnosed with a disease she didn’t have. She credits getting a second opinion with saving her life. Semple, a physician assistant at a regional hospital in New Bern, North Carolina, had developed a [Read More]

How nonequilibrium thermodynamics speaks to the mystery of life

How nonequilibrium thermodynamics speaks to the mystery of life

In his 1944 book What is Life?, Austrian physicist Erwin Schrödinger argued that organisms stay alive precisely by staving off equilibrium. “How does the living organism avoid decay?” he asks. “The obvious answer is: By eating, drinking, breathing and (in the case of [Read More]

The return of supersolids!

The return of supersolids!

We learn it from a young age: solids hold their shapes; liquids flow. Physical states of matter are mutually exclusive. A solid occupies a particular position in space, its molecules fixed. A fluid assumes the shape of its container, its molecules in constant motion. But a [Read More]

Making a match

Making a match

In the summer of 2012, Carole Baker’s oncologist told her she was eligible to join a clinical trial just getting underway after earlier treatments for her stage IV non–small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) had failed to stem the disease. Baker, 55, a learning specialist and [Read More]

The Riddle of Bacteria and Cancer

The Riddle of Bacteria and Cancer

The human body teems with bacteria. These micro-organisms live on the skin, in mucus membranes, on the eyes and in the gut, among other places. The large intestine alone hosts up to 1,000 different species. According to a study published in the January 28, 2016, Cell, an [Read More]

The wild weirdness of topological insulators

The wild weirdness of topological insulators

For more than 200 years, physicists have wanted to understand why electricity flows through some materials and not others. In some of the first experiments aimed at understanding conductivity, at the start of the 18th century, British autodidact Stephen Gray observed that [Read More]

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Latest Topics

Fighting Fire with Fire

Fighting Fire with Fire

Robert Kremens fights fire with fire. No, really – that’s his job. Kremens sets fires in a host of locations across [Read More]

Vaccines: Looking Within for Cancer Treament

Vaccines: Looking Within for Cancer Treament

It’s been 10 years since Tom Liebert received an experimental cancer vaccine to treat his multiple myeloma, and he [Read More]

The quantum world is mind-bogglingly weird

The quantum world is mind-bogglingly weird

If you’re interested in the smallest things known to scientists, there’s something you should know. They are [Read More]

Think Like a Hacker

Think Like a Hacker

One winter morning in 2015, as he left for work from his home in Silver Spring, Md., Jonathan Margulies pushed the [Read More]

Creating sculpture with math

Creating sculpture with math

When he was growing up in the 1940s and 1950s, teachers and parents told Helaman Ferguson he would have to choose [Read More]

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