Sunday May 28th 2017

‘Physics’ Archives

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]

Going deep

Going deep

  HOW low can you go? Dedicated deep cavers plumb the depths for an answer, and a newly announced expedition may just get to the bottom of it all.   For decades, cavers have competed informally to find the world’s deepest cave, pushing the boundaries of science [Read More]

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Latest Topics

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 [Read More]

Solving a math problem to create art

Solving a math problem to create art

Optimization is the mathematical quest for the best way to do something, from finding the shortest distance between two [Read More]

The Internet of Things wants to link all facets of our world

The Internet of Things wants to link all facets of our world

A 94Fifty looks like an ordinary basketball. You can inflate, dribble, pass, shoot, swoosh and slam-dunk it. But [Read More]

When your stuff spies on you

When your stuff spies on you

In October 2016, hackers hit a company called Dyn. Hackers are people who write computer programs that can break into [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. [Read More]

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