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    Jennifer Ouellette Jennifer Ouellette is a science writer who loves to indulge her inner geek by finding quirky connections between physics, popular culture, and the world at large. Follow on Twitter @JenLucPiquant.
  • The third eBook in our Ask the Experts series, The Human Body and Mind tackles questions about our own strange and mysterious biology. ...

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  • Physics Week in Review: April 25, 2015

    Credit: Julian Salaud, http://julien-salaud.info

    Here’s a treat for fans of movies and the brain: an article called Strange Continuity. Throughout evolutionary history, we never saw anything like a montage. So why do we hardly notice the cuts in movies?  Sure, it’s not technically physics but it’s a topic I love and have written about for Pacific Standard and on [...]

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    Physics Week in Review: April 18, 2015

    “Ride of the Valkyries” by Richard Wagner. Credit: Reify, http://reifynyc.tumblr.com

    In honor of Tax Day in the US, here is a piece on the IRS’s Favorite Mathematical Law: Armed with Benford’s law, “the IRS can sniff out falsified returns just by looking at the first digit of numbers on taxpayers’ forms.” So, beware. A Grand Theory of Wrinkles: A collaboration between mechanical engineers and mathematicians [...]

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    Putting a New Spin on Space Elevators

    Credit: LiftPort.

    Fans of sci-fi author Arthur C. Clarke know and love his 1979 classic novel, The Fountains of Paradise. The plot centers on efforts of a visionary structural engineer in the 22nd century, Dr Vannevar Morgan, to construct a space elevator connecting the surface of the earth with a satellite in geostationary orbit, almost a kind [...]

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    Neutron Stars Serve Up Plates of Nuclear Pasta

    Different phases of "nuclear pasta"

    Along with black holes, neutron stars are the result of stars collapsing under gravity once their fuel burns out, until their density is about the same as that of the nucleus of an atom, at which point the protons and electrons “melt” into pure neutrons. Just how dense are we talking? If you had a [...]

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    New Dark Matter Map Confirms Current Theories

    Credit: Dark Energy Survey

    The American Physical Society is holding its annual April Meeting at the moment in Baltimore, Maryland, and one of the highlights, research-wise, comes to us courtesy of the Dark Energy Survey (DES) collaboration. This afternoon, the researchers released the first in a series of maps of the dark matter that makes up some 23% of [...]

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    Physics Week in Review: April 11, 2015

    Credit: Niyoko Ikuta, http://www.yufuku.net/artists/niyoko-ikuta

    The Large Hadron Collider’s Second Run broke its own energy record for accelerating particles when it started up again this week. Here’s an inside look at how the atom smasher has been amped up.  Related: The LHC made simple: here’s what it’s doing in five simple steps. Also: The three main ways physicists look for [...]

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    Physics Week in Review: April 4, 2015

    Credit: Mana Morimoto, http://manamorimoto.tumblr.com

    First up: a spot of science-y April Foolery: Physicists Warming Up the LHC Accidentally Create a Rainbow Universe. Related:  CERN researchers confirm existence of the Force (the photos alone are hilarious).  Also: Smithsonian displays Wonder Woman’s invisible jet for April Fools’ Day. Bonus: Six of Ben Franklin’s Greatest Hoaxes and Pranks.  A bit of foolish [...]

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    Physics Week in Review: March 28, 2015

    Credit: Ben Shields et al./University of Adelaide

    The much-ballyhooed Large Hadron Collider restart hit a snag this week, thanks to an electrical short discovered over the weekend, apparently caused by a metal particle. (Hey, it’s the most complicated machine ever built! It’s sensitive! Remember that infamous baguette that knocked it off kilter back in 2009?) Engineers and technicians may need to warm [...]

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    Physics Week in Review: March 21, 2015

    Credit: Tom Wagner, http://iowatom.weebly.com

    That deafening sound you heard over Wednesday and Thursday was the sound of millions of science-minded folks collectively banging their heads against their computer screens in frustration. The trigger: a fear-mongering Op-Ed in the New York Times Style section by Nick Bilton, who decided that the new Apple watch and similar smart watches and wearable [...]

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    CSI: Picasso: X-Rays Reveal the Master’s Materials

    "Wheat Stack Under a Cloudy Sky," Vincent van Gogh

    Every field has its raging debates among impassioned experts, and the art world is no exception. Case in point: some art historians long suspected that master painter Pablo Picasso used common house paint rather than the oil paints traditionally used in his era, which would make him the first known artist to do so. But [...]

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