Saturday July 22nd 2017

‘Physics’ Archives

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]

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]

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]

Every breath we take

Every breath we take

Back in Christmas 2013, the CineStar cinema in Mainz, Germany, became an impromptu, oversized laboratory. Over the course of 108 screenings of 16 films, it hosted an unprecedented experiment on about 9500 moviegoers. Not that most of them noticed, or even knew they were [Read More]

Preserving the Past

Preserving the Past

The George Eastman Museum in Rochester, New York, is the oldest photography museum in the world. The Victorian mansion that houses the museum was once home to Eastman himself – a pioneer in photography who in the 1880s helped bring photography to the masses after [Read More]

Computing’s Search for Quantum Questions

Computing’s Search for Quantum Questions

It was billed as the vindication of the quantum computer. Late last year, researchers at Google announced that a quantum machine called the D-Wave 2X had executed a task 100 million times faster than a classical computer. The claim implies that the machine can complete in [Read More]

All about quantum dots

All about quantum dots

In September 2015, Philips, an electronics company based in The Netherlands, unveiled a computer monitor that achieved a brilliant color display using quantum dots: semiconductor nanocrystals that can be tuned to glow in any color. The Philips monitor was the first of its [Read More]

The Mars Anomaly

The Mars Anomaly

The presence of water isn’t the only Mars mystery scientists are keen to probe. Another centers around a seemingly trivial characteristic of the Red Planet: its size. Classic models of solar system formation predict that the girth of rocky worlds should grow with their [Read More]

Feeling Objects that Aren’t There

Feeling Objects that Aren’t There

Imagine this. You wake up in the morning to the irritating buzz of your alarm. Instead of fumbling for a snooze button, you wave your hand in the air in the general direction of the clock. There, in mid-air, you find it: an invisible button. It’s an illusion you can feel, [Read More]

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Latest Topics

Resurrecting the Riverkeepers

Resurrecting the Riverkeepers

Under cover of darkness, thieves dove into the inky waters of Tennessee’s river sanctuaries and scooped up [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 [Read More]

Auto-focus eyeglasses rely on liquid lenses

Auto-focus eyeglasses rely on liquid lenses

With round lenses set in super-thick frames, these new eyeglasses look like they belong on a cartoon character. But [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 [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 [Read More]

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