Sunday July 23rd 2017

‘Features’ Archives

Resurrecting the Riverkeepers

Resurrecting the Riverkeepers

Under cover of darkness, thieves dove into the inky waters of Tennessee’s river sanctuaries and scooped up endangered washboard mussels by the thousands. The thick shells of these animals—some as big as Frisbees— were destined to be cut into cubes, polished round, [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]

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 places to figuring out the best way to pack a suitcase. It often involves calculating the highest or lowest value of something. The applications are [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 other computer programs. And here, their target was an important one. Dyn makes sure the right website pops up when you type in a web address. After the [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]

Let the structural symphony begin

Let the structural symphony begin

Like other structural biologists, Eva Nogales works in extraordinary times. The University of California, Berkeley, faculty member now has the tools to tackle important questions about cells’ molecular machinery that would have been impossible to answer just a few [Read More]

Inside the lost cave world of the Amazon’s tepui mountains

Inside the lost cave world of the Amazon’s tepui mountains

They are vast towers rising out of the jungles of the Amazon basin. Tepuis, rocky tabletop mountains isolated by hundreds of metres of steep cliffs, form a unique habitat on their tops and inside their maze of caves. Untouched for millions of years, they host a secret world [Read More]

You Swine!

You Swine!

RODNEY WOODSON never set out to be a pig trapper. He joined the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency because he was passionate about conserving water birds. But that was before the hogs rocked up, with their high libidos and low cunning. Across the world, and especially in [Read More]

Of Waves and Wallpaper

Of Waves and Wallpaper

To most people, wallpaper is little more than a decorative background on a flat surface: Pleasing designs, pasted in vertical strips from wall to wall. But in the minds of mathematicians, the repetition of figures—coupled with the idea of covering 2D space—suggests a [Read More]

Edging into the spotlight

Edging into the spotlight

“He had been trying to get his colleague Charles Kane to listen to him, but Kane wasn’t having any of it.” This article about lattices from Physics World covers some arcane ground but was fun to work on.    Image: CC James Mallos via flickr [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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