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Cocktail Party Physics

Cocktail Party Physics

Physics With a Twist

  • Physics Week in Review: May 23, 2015

    Physics Week in Review: May 23, 2015

    By Jennifer Ouellette | May 23, 2015 |

    Physicists Carved 'Logrithmic Spirals' Into Steel with Laser Vortexes.  "I think this is a significant experimental step to elaborate the beauty of photons that follow a series of twisted patterns in space," MIT nanoplasmonics expert Nicholas Fang told Physics World .  The Large Hadron Collider broke its own record again in 13-trillion-electronvolt test collisions, producing the first images of those collisions. […]

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  • Science Writer Throwdown: Fear and Loathing of Physics

    Science Writer Throwdown: Fear and Loathing of Physics

    By Jennifer Ouellette | May 22, 2015 |

    Breaking news: Physics has a serious image problem. Okay, that's not really news to anyone engaged in the Sisyphean task of physics-related education and outreach to the general public. But it seems the problem has spread to the science writing community. […]

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  • Physics Week in Review: May 16, 2015

    Physics Week in Review: May 16, 2015

    By Jennifer Ouellette | May 16, 2015 |

    New nanomaterials inspired by bird feathers play with light to create color. Related: Check out these Beautiful Abstract Bird Plumage Photographs by Fashion Photographer Thomas Lohr : "instead of capturing the animals in their entirety, he decided to focus on what intrigued him the most: the color, texture, and form of their feathers." Exciting news for particle physics fans: The first collision data is in from the newly upgraded Large HardonCollider. […]

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  • Physics Week in Review: May 9, 2015

    By Jennifer Ouellette | May 9, 2015 |

    It’s back, baby! The Large Hadron Collider sees its first low-energy collisions after restarting. A government laboratory found a way to listen to recordings on fragile wax cylinders inside dolls made by Thomas Edison in 1890. The overall effect is, well, kinda creepy. […]

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  • Physics Week in Review: May 2, 2015

    By Jennifer Ouellette | May 2, 2015 |

    This week, Quanta featured a three-part series on spacetime. Part 1 is by K.C. Cole: Wormholes Untangle a Black Hole Paradox. A bold new idea aims to link two famously discordant descriptions of nature. In doing so, it may also reveal how space-time owes its existence to the spooky connections of quantum information. […]

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  • Physics Week in Review: April 25, 2015

    By Jennifer Ouellette | April 25, 2015 |

    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 this blog . […]

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  • Physics Week in Review: April 18, 2015

    Physics Week in Review: April 18, 2015

    By Jennifer Ouellette | April 18, 2015 |

    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. […]

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  • Putting a New Spin on Space Elevators

    Putting a New Spin on Space Elevators

    By Jennifer Ouellette | April 15, 2015 |

    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 of "cosmic sling" -- the better to raise payloads up there without relying on pricey rockets. […]

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  • Neutron Stars Serve Up Plates of Nuclear Pasta

    Neutron Stars Serve Up Plates of Nuclear Pasta

    By Jennifer Ouellette | April 14, 2015 |

    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. […]

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  • New Dark Matter Map Confirms Current Theories

    New Dark Matter Map Confirms Current Theories

    By Jennifer Ouellette | April 13, 2015 |

    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 all the "stuff" (matter and energy) in our universe. […]

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