Start your weekend by savoring this Stunning Arabic Light Calligraphy by Julien Breton, aka "Kaalam," a "master of photographic light painting, turning full-body gestures reminiscent of dance movements into the invisible pen strokes of Arabic calligraphy." For more on light painting, check out my 2013 post, Tripping the Light Fantastic: Artists Paint with light.
Nanoparticle cats drawn at the flick of a switch. Researchers create colourful self-erasing pictures of cats and flags using nanoparticles that self-assemble in response to light.
Physicist who brought symmetry breaking to particle physics dies at 94: R.I.P., Yoichiro Nambu 1921-2015. As Caltech's John Preskill observed on Twitter: "One of the great theoretical physicists of his era, and a very kind man. Among other great ideas, Nambu proposed that quarks have three colors and that the pion is light because of spontaneous symmetry breaking."
Kepler Data Reveals What Might Be Best ‘Goldilocks’ Planet Yet. And Frank Drake Totally Saw Kepler-452b Coming. Related: Actually, Earth’s Cousin May Be Nothing Like Earth At All. Also: Things That Could Go Wrong With Habitabilty Of Kepler 452B -- and Could We Detect Intelligent Life There?
Famous Fluid Equations Are Incomplete. A 115-year effort to bridge the particle and fluid descriptions of nature has led mathematicians to an unexpected answer.
Three Experiments That Show Quantum Physics Is Real.
Dark Crystal: The Secrets of Swarovski. "Glass is more like a popsicle. It’ll hold its shape, but you can make that shape whatever you’d like, and can change that shape by melting and reforming it whenever you’d like. Cutting glass can be tricky, but it doesn’t work the same way cutting crystals does."
Your body, the battery: Powering gadgets from human “biofuel.” If our bodies burn 2,000-2,500 calories per day anyway, that could power a smartphone.
How Much Radiation Does the Human Body Emit? "Sleeping next to a person for a year gives you about 1 millirem of radiation." Related: In 2009, Scientists Tested The Revigorator, A Vintage Uranium Health Product (i.e., a pot lined with uranium) from the 1920s and 1930s.
Party of Five! Physicists Discover Long-Sought ‘Pentaquark’ In Stroke of Luck. What does a pentaquark mean for you? Related: Pentaquarks were predicted over 30 years ago. Tetraquarks, also recently discovered, were not predicted at all, per this 2014 Quanta article. Also: The Frontiers of Subatomic Physics: How the discovery of the first pentaquark is only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to nuclear riches. "The amazing thing about pentaquarks and all sorts of exotic states of matter isn’t that they exist, but that they enable us to push the limits of physics even farther, and to probe the boundaries of our most sacred theoretical predictions."
Watching rain drops hit a puddle or lake: Each drop creates a little cavity in the water surface when it impacts.
The Physics of Ray Bradbury's Time Travel Classic "A Sound of Thunder."
More science fun with Ant-Man -- yes, there is some real science behind the new Ant-Man film. First: The Real Physics Of Ant-Man: Blind, Deaf, And His Voice Would Be Hilarious. Second: Physics Says Tiny Ant-Man Should Be Running Weirder. Third: Ant-Man Commands the Most Painful Sting Known to Man. Fourth: Ant-Man Shrinks by Stretching Into Other Dimensions. Related: What happens to Ant-Man's mass when he shrinks? What if he doesn't? Also: Ant-Man and the Quantum Realm.
That means Ant-Man is perfect Edutainment In The Classroom. Related: Q&A with physicist Spiros Michalakis, who consulted on the film: "if I could have any superpower I wanted, it would be this: To see the multitudes contained in others." Also: You can Nerd Out About Ants Before You See the film. Bonus: Vsauce3 and Paul Rudd Explore the Science of Ant-Man and Explain What Would Happen if We Were Shrunk:
"Suppose that Alice accidentally drops a spin qubit into the black hole...." Aidan Chatwin-Davies on a recent physics paper describing a possible new protocol for recovering one qubit from a black hole.
Is the Fermi gamma-ray excess evidence for dark matter or due to millisecond pulsars? Puzzle isn't solved yet, but apparently things are leaning in pulsar scenario's favor (for now).
The CMB: how an accidental discovery became the key to understanding the universe.
Conjuring a Neutron Star from a Nanowire. Using tiny mechanical devices to create accelerations equivalent to 100 million times the Earth's gravitational field—mimicking the arena of quantum gravity in the lab.
US wins its first International Mathematical Olympiad in 21 years.
Insulating Wallpaper Using Volcanic Popcorn. "vacuum insulation panels can be made with a core of perlite - the volcanic ore 'popcorn' used in horticulture to improve drainage and water retention."
Pendulums Synchronize Due To Ticking Sound Pulses In Oddly Fascinating Experiment. "research such as this is useful for working out how so-called coupling oscillations occur in physics."
How Next-Generation Fabrics Will Keep You Cool in Summer Heat. Fabrics that are transparent in the infrared can radiate body heat at rates that will significantly reduce the burden on power-hungry air-conditioning systems.
Why the Dark Side of the Force Had to Be Dark.
What would happen if a black hole met an antimatter black hole? "you’d end up with a black hole with twice the mass that you had before."
Infinite (Hilbert) hotels in swirling beams of light. "There is always a vacancy at the Hilbert Hotel, no matter how many new guests arrive."
Check out this gorgeous global mosaic of Pluto in exaggerated color (above). Per Slate's Bad Astronomy: "The colors have been enhanced to bring out overall patterns and regional differences. The images were taken on July 14, when New Horizons was 450,000 kilometers from Pluto—not much farther than the Moon is from Earth." Related: Glacierlike ice flows detected on Pluto’s surface
New Horizons Returns Stunning Image Of Charon That Includes A Mountain In A Moat. "It looks like somebody just dropped a giant boulder on Charon.” Related: NASA Releases Simulated Flyby Animations of Pluto's Mountains and Plains Taken From New Horizons Images. Also: Pluto is just a baby step in humankind's exploration of the planets and stars. Bonus: NSFW Poem About Pluto Blows Up Twitter: "All the cold/ you have yet to feel." (That's the SFW line)
Why chirpy cicadas are a bunch of math geniuses. "Why 13 and 17 years? By living life in the prime, cicadas can minimize the number of times their big debut coincides with the birth year of a predator."
A new first for T2K: The Japan-based neutrino experiment has seen its first three candidate electron antineutrinos.
Non-magnetic Elements Titanium and Gold Combine Just So To Form Unique Magnet.
The Proto-Trolling of Charles Babbage. "Babbage trolled Tennyson. Babbage trolled Tennyson hard."
Visualization Scientist Robert Hurt Takes NASA’s Space Images And Makes Them Beautiful.
Three Experiments That Show Relativity Is Real.
What the Hell Are You Wearing: The Materials Science of Tacky Formal Wear.
Graphene nanoscrolls used in design of near-frictionless material.
Fun with Anagrams: GADZOOKS! (Gadolinium Antineutrino Detector Zealously Outperforming Old Kamiokande, Super!)
How Do Sea Sapphires Become Invisible? "The sea sapphire combines the brilliance of a morpho butterfly, the cuteness of copepod, and the cloaking skills of a Klingon Bird-of-Prey."
How Close Are We To Creating A Star Trek-Like "Holodeck"?
How Big Does Batman's Cape Need to Be? "I am vengeance, I am the night…I am a hanglider! Nope, that just doesn’t have the same ring to it."
Qubit chemistry: Scientists show how two qubit types - atomic spins and quantum dot spins - can be combined into a workable quantum system.
Finding NEEMO: NASA is training astronauts for space in an underwater station—and you can watch them live.
What can, and can't, NASA's Valkyrie robot do? Kim Hambuchen, the robot's master, explains.
NASA’s Newest Space Telescope is Calibrated by the Same Technology Now Used in LASIK.
Stellar Wrecking Ball: Pulsar Punches Hole Through Star's Disk.
Bursting Balloons in a Sand Box Reveals the Origin of Mysterious Craters.
Are Invisibility Cloaks Possible? the science behind light, sight and invisibility.
Bruno Pontecorvo, Physicist or Spy? An interview with Frank Close.
The New $100 Million Search For Life in the Cosmos.
Astronauts are reading bedtime stories and videotaping science experiments from space.
The Failed Astronaut. "after NASA rejected him, [Brian] Shiro started his own astronaut preparation and networking organization, called A4H (“Astronauts4Hire”)."
The Smithsonian launches its first Kickstarter campaign to preserve a historic spacesuit.
Moonwalkers: Stunning Photos from Apollo 11.
Buckyballs discovered in interstellar space. Soccer ball-shaped carbon molecules match the spectra of interstellar material.
That Physicist in Omaha Is Still Working on a Warp Drive in His Garage. Hope springs eternal...
The "Pillars of Creation" Have Already Been Destroyed by a distance explosion.
Antineutrino Detector Could Keep Iran Honest on Its Nuclear Deal by Providing a Foolproof Way of Monitoring the Country;s Reactors. "Because antineutrinos can go right through reactor walls—they’re almost massless and travel nearly the speed of light—an antineutrino detector could do the job “right in the parking lot next to the reactor,” says Patrick Huber, a UVA physicist who is leading development of a detector."
Trinity 2015: The Nuclear Age Began 70 Years Ago. "At exactly 5:29:45 a.m., Mountain War Time, the New Mexico sky lit up with a scalding white light that measured 18.6 kilotons and quickly turned into an ominous mushroom cloud."
What's Happening To The Flowers At Fukushima? "These daisies are likely the result of a rare, but natural condition called fasciation, or crested growth." Related: Stop freaking out: Fukushima isn't mutating the daisies. "It turns out that particular type of deformity can also be the result of a virus or insect damage, and moreover, the background radiation reported is unlikely to harm a plant."
Non-magnetic Elements Form Unique Magnet. "Titanium and gold are usually not magnetic and cannot be magnets – unless you combine them just so."
How the story of a box, a Geiger counter, and a zombie cat revealed quantum. weirdness.
Charles Wilson's cloud chamber "made radioactivity visible to everyone. But it also ushered in much more sophisticated ways to study the atmosphere."
Talking to the Beyond Through the "Luminiferous Ether" in the 19th Century -- back when scientists thought such a thing as the luminiferous ether existed.
"The Rayleigh Taylor instability is a common fluid phenomenon in which the interface between fluids of differing densities becomes unstable. It’s what’s responsible for all those awesome pictures of milk in ice coffee."
How many universes are necessary for ice cream to freeze rather than melt? Scientific paper "considers the possibilities of other universes where a soft ice cream, left to its own devices, might be generally more likely to freeze rather than to melt. In other words one (or more) where the arrow-of-time might point in a different direction than it does here."
This Week in the Lego Optics Lab: How To Build a Pan/Tilt Mount.
Beyond Graphene, a Zoo of New 2-D Materials is being created. Related: In perfect harmony: "the National Graphene Institute’s composer-in-residence Sarah Lowes spent the last few months composing the Graphene Suite."
Watch new strobe-lit cymatics experiments (i.e., using sound waves) reveal more complex periodic patterns (h/t: Boing Boing):
The Ambiguous Colors of Nanotechnology: Kate Nichols’ nanoparticle paints have changed how she sees color.
From the Onion, of course. Astronomers Just Going To Go Ahead And Say Dark Matter Nitrogen. "Before walking away from the lectern, an exhausted Marshall added that dark energy was gravity and that the formula for a grand unified theory was E=10."
Forget 4K: This Low-Res Screen Creates Images Out of Thread.
The world’s most charismatic mathematician. "John Horton Conway is a cross between Archimedes, Mick Jagger and Salvador Dalí."
The Singular Mind of Terry Tao: A prodigy grows up to become one of the greatest mathematicians in the world.
Digital Seashells and David Raup, who demonstrated that the shape, and beauty, of a snail’s shell could be described mathematically, i.e., logarithmic spirals.
A Unique Elliptical Pool Table Designed by a Mathematician and the Game Created Specifically for the Table: "it can be used to demonstrate elliptical focus points. When the ball is shot from the complementary focus point from the hole it should always go in, regardless of the direction of the shot."
"Donald Duck taught me how to play billiards. Before the age of YouTube, you cherished the chance to see a rerun—and you had to take notes. I, too, always loved Donald in Mathemagic Land.
Gödel's Second Incompleteness Theorem Explained in Words of One Syllable (PDF).
Better drinking through science. Tales of the Cocktail seems to be a drinking conference with a science problem.
You Can Thank a Fungus for These Crazy Hair Ice Sculptures (and capillary action).
“The action of the fungus is to enable the ice to form thin hairs — with a diameter of about 0.01 mm — and to keep this shape over many hours at temperatures close to 0°C. Our hypothesis includes that the hairs are stabilized by a recrystallization inhibitor that is provided by the fungus.” Related: My own 2012 post on Frost Flowers and Hot Capillary Action. "They tend to happen in early winter, when the ground is not already frozen: the "first freeze." The ground temperature has to be warm enough so that the plants' root systems are still active, and the air temperature has to be cold enough to freeze water." And, apparently, you need fungus as well.
Is there such thing as the beginning and end of time? In homage to the 60th anniversary of the world’s first atomic clock, it's time to ask what time actually is and whether it even exists.
Star Wars lands in 17th-century Japan with ukiyo-e woodblock prints.
"Science and Islam": BBC documentary about the history of science in medieval Islamic civilization presented by Jim Al-Khalili.