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. (It's not only the accelerator that has been upgraded – the particle detectors have some new tricks too.) Sadly -- because everyone is hoping for signs of new physics -- the Standard Model passes the test again. Rare particle decay, detected for the first time, occurs just as predicted. The joint result from the CMS and LHCb experiments precludes or limits several theories of new particles or forces.
Time traveling particles in the LHC: "Four years ago, Vanderbilt Professor of Physics, Tom Weiler, and graduate fellow Chiu Man Ho, now at Michigan State University, published a theory proposing that the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) could be creating a peculiar kind of particle that’s capable of traveling ahead and back in time." Read all about it: Part I and Part II.
The accelerator in the Louvre -- there is an accelerator in the Louvre, you guys! -- solves ancient mysteries with powerful particle beams.
The "Oh My God!" Particle That Broke a Cosmic Speed Limit. (No, not the speed of light in a vacuum -- another kind of speed limit.) Physicists are beginning to unravel the mysteries of ultrahigh-energy cosmic rays, particles accelerated by the most powerful forces in the universe. Paris: City of lights and cosmic rays.
Rogue antimatter found in thunderclouds. Aeroplane detects signature spike in photons that does not fit any known source of antiparticles.
Will we ever understand the beginning of the universe? Cosmology has been on a long, hot streak, racking up one imaginative and scientific triumph after another. Is it over? (I wouldn't bet on it, but this is a thought-provoking read.)
World Without End: Creating a Full-Scale Digital Cosmos. "The universe is being built in an old two-story building, in the town of Guildford, half an hour by train from London."
Physicists Are Philosophers, Too. In his final essay the late physicist Victor Stenger argues for the validity of philosophy in the context of modern theoretical physics. Related: The Role Of Philosophy In Physics.
Alan Lightman on Our Yearning for Immortality and Why We Long for Permanence in a Universe of Constant Change.
The Physics Behind Age of Ultron's Earth-Shaking Ending. And yes: SPOILER ALERT!
Measuring the Field of View for the iPhone 6 Camera.
Appliance Science: Dishwashers and the physics of water. What do rockets have in common with your dishwasher?
The physics of sailing: How does a sailboat move upwind?
Physics of Low Pressure Popcorn Popping: an adiabatic process.
One of the Strongest, Lightest Metals Ever Made Is Less Dense Than Water: meet "syntactic foam," composite materials that are filled with hollow particles.
The Man Who Built the Universe: Dan Dixon's Universe Sandbox is a comprehensive space and gravity simulator.
Listening in on the nuclear underground. "A global network of seismic and infrasound monitoring stations listens constantly for underground clues that a nuclear test has taken place."
Happy Birthday, Richard Feynman: The Great Explainer on Science, Religion and Why Uncertainty Is Central to Morality.
The Worm with the Fractal Nose Glove. "Imagine you have a hole where your nose should be, and that hole is filled with a fleshy glove, with the fingers of the glove reaching into your head. Imagine blowing the glove outwards (turning it inside out in the process). Now, imagine that there are smaller gloves on the tips of the first glove’s fingers, and so on, and so on."
That NASA Warp Drive? Yeah, It’s Still Poppycock. Did NASA validate an 'impossible' warp space drive? In a word: no. "The story of 'NASA’s impossible space engine' has roared back to life, prompted by an updated report on NasaSpaceflight.com. But the sad truth is that not much has really changed since my original investigation. The space engine still violates known laws of physics. The evidence that it works is still marginal, based on the limited information that the NASA Eagleworks team has reported. Those findings have not been submitted to peer review, so there is no way to evaluate them independently. And NasaSpaceflight.com is not in any way a NASA outlet. The official NASA statement: 'This is a small effort that has not yet shown any tangible results.'"
Now here' a spacey topic near and dear to Jen-Luc Piquant's heart: Space lab to elucidate how liquid cocktails mix. Zero-gravity experiments can tell us a great deal about the effects of temperature change on the concentrations of three different liquids that are mixed together.
Sustainability in SPAAACE! Living in Space Will Mean Recycling Everything. "That means the basics of survival, like radiation safety, breathable air, and drinkable water. It also means more mundane everyday living solutions, like clothing and washing. The space agency needs to build rockets capable of getting humans to Mars, but it also needs to figure out a sufficient supply of wet wipes for everyone."
An astronaut’s surprisingly helpful guide to pooping in space. "The main takeaway: The weightlessness in space means you need to use suction to get rid of your business."
Air Pressure on the ISS is Maintained by These Two Tiny O-Rings.
The first space walk – in pictures. Fifty years ago, cosmonaut Alexei Leonov became the first person to walk in space, stepping out of the Voskhod-2 spacecraft.
How Many G’s Would You Feel in the SpaceX Capsule Abort? A video analysis of the Dragon launch abort system.
Hunting for heartbeats: NASA technology rescues 4 quake survivors in Nepal. "This is a different way to solve the problem of looking for people.”
NASA Is Considering The Use Of Soft Robotic Squids To Explore Europa.
The 15 moonshot technologies NASA is funding to make science fiction a reality. Related: 'Space Tethers' Can Be Used to Fling Spacecraft Into Interplanetary Space. Also: Space elevators: possible with *existing* materials on the moon?
Dark Matter: Giver of Life. "Without dark matter — a substance that doesn’t interact in any (yet) measurable, non-gravitational way with anything else (or even itself) in the Universe — life as we know it would be unable to exist. The gravitation from dark matter is the only thing keeping supernova ejecta from escaping from our galaxy, and enabling heavy elements to participate in later generations of stars, planets, and biochemical reactions."
Exoplanet Forecast: Cloudy Morning. Outlook: Horrific Heat. By tracking the phases of six exoplanets, astronomers have tracked their daily weather cycles for the first time.
Did you ever think waves could be so beautiful? "Clark Little (see image, above), a photographer based in Hawaii, has two passions, surfing and photography. So he combined his love for the ocean and waves with his passion and talent for photography, creating a photo series of waves when they are about to break shore."
New Study Finds There Are 1600-Foot-Tall Waves Under the Ocean. “It’s like a giant washing machine.”
An Antarctic iceberg flipped over, and its underside is breathtaking. So is the underlying physics. "When glacier ice becomes extremely dense, the ice absorbs a small amount of red light, leaving a bluish tint in the reflected light... In addition, minerals and organic matter may have seeped into the underwater part of the iceberg over time, creating its vivid green-blue color."
High adventure physics. Three groups of hardy scientists recently met up in Antarctica to launch experiments into the big blue via balloon.
Galactic Strangulation Behind Cosmic Murder Mystery: dying galaxies can no longer create new stars.
NuSTAR provides explosive evidence for supernova asymmetry.
Spring-loaded jaws rocket ants to safety. Insects launch themselves into the air by striking the ground. Related: Biting Off What They Can Chew: Scientists Use 3D Reconstructions to Study Animal Jaw Mechanics.
Fire ants build tunnels like they're playing Jenga, with each particle supporting the one above it.
Animal Copies Reveal Roots of Individuality. A Groundhog Day device for fruit flies may help solve the puzzle of individuality.
Researchers say combining bacteria with nanoscale semiconductors opens a new path toward efficient artificial photosynthesis.
Do snails have eyes? A 17th Century ‘mythbuster’ investigates. Sir Thomas Browne was a seventeenth century doctor who championed rational thinking, challenged established thought, and investigated the natural world. Yet he first became famous for writing about his religious faith.
Meet the Newest State of Matter: "'Jahn–Teller metals,' after the Jahn-Teller effect, which relates structural deformations among molecules found within a material to its electrical properties. Put simply, by applying or removing pressure, it's possible to boost the conductivity of what may have been an insulator at lower pressures. High pressure: conductivity."
Researchers create first whispering gallery for graphene electrons.
Unboiled Egg Untangles a Knotty Protein Problem. New machine could help biotech w/ fast, cheap way to purify proteins.
Five Pictures Physicists Draw When They Talk About Physics.
Quantum 'gruyere's (topological insulators) for spintronics of the future.
Atoms Under the Floorboards: An excerpt from Chris Woodford's new book.
Rydberg Atoms, Qubits And Magic Wavelengths In Quantum Computing.
Quantum shortcut could speed up many quantum technologies.
Check out this nifty explainer video about the ultimate Hard Problem in mathematics and computer science. "If P=NP, everyone who could appreciate a symphony would be Mozart":
World's First Solar Cycle Path in the Netherlands Is Performing Better Than Anticipated.
Graphene-wrapped diamond ball bearings cut friction to virtually nothing.
50 years of Moore's law. If it applied to cars, you'd be getting two million miles per gallon.
The birth of soft matter physics, the physics of the everyday. Sir Sam Edwards, who died last week, was a founding father of this still rather unfamiliar sub-discipline of physics.
Fibonacci clock: can you tell the time on the world's most stylish nerd timepiece? Hipster chronometer uses squares inside a golden rectangle to tell the time, and even doubles as a lava lamp.
Virtual Reality Lets Robots Work Out Their Kinks. A highly realistic simulated world is proving vital to robotics researchers.
The right ratio to engineer a swarm. "Malcolm A. MacIver, Neelesh A. Patankar and other researchers at Northwestern ... used computer analysis and studies of a robot with an undulating fin in a water tunnel to determine that the 20-to-1 ratio was the optimal engineering solution for this kind of swimming."
Outsider Cosmology and a Theory of a Fiery Universe (1781).
A Medical Lab In A Music Box: one of ten awesome inventions in Popular Science's 2015 Invention Awards.
To the lightshow: how astronomy and Virginia Woolf inspired the Royal Ballet. Woolf Works by the Royal Ballet takes its inspiration from Virginia Woolf and her fascination with the huge changes in scientific thought during her lifetime.
Dances with Drones: When a Flock of UAVs Joins a Human Dancer. It's the result of "a collaborative project between choreographer Nina Kov and a team of biological physicists headed up by Tamás Vicsek from the ERC CollMot Project at the Eötvös Loránd University in Budapest."
Listen to Wikipedia change and grow. Hatnote lets users hear the edits that are happening to Wikipedia in real time.
How Data Nerds Found A 131-Year-Old Sunken Treasure. "Part mystery, part adventure story, In Deep Water, directed by Steven Leckart and presented by ESPN Films and FiveThirtyEight, recounts the tale of a group who used Bayesian theory to find the ship — and the gold."
Music for a String Quartet Made from Global Warming Data: Hear Planetary Bands, Warming World. “Each instrument represents a specific part of the Northern Hemisphere. The cello matches the temperature of the equatorial zone. The viola tracks the mid latitudes. The two violins separately follow temperatures in the high latitudes and in the arctic.” Each note’s pitch “is tuned to the average annual temperature in each region, so low notes represent cold years and high notes represent warm years.”
Painting by Numbers, From Paint to Pixels: How Data Became the New Medium for Artists. A growing number of artists are using data from self-tracking apps in their pieces, showing that creative work is as much a product of its technology as of its time. What can art made from massive amounts of facts and figures about our lives reveal about the human condition? Pictured above: Floating Data, Walking Patterns, 2014. Image Credit: Laurie Frick.
The Machine Vision Algorithm Beating Art Historians at Their Own Game. Classifying a painting by artist and style is tricky for humans; spotting the links between different artists and styles is harder still. So it should be impossible for machines, right?
Artist uses a special folding technique to give these animal origami sculptures their curves
Scientific Inconsistencies in 1980s Pop Music: An Audio-Visual Analysis. For example, Disregard for the Laws of the Universe: “It’s Raining Men,” The Weather Girls (1982). "A man falling from the sky will reach terminal velocity after approximately 450 metres. The video clearly shows these men dancing in Speedos after this occurrence (though strangely keeping their shoes and socks on). They should, in fact, be dead. This is clear evidence of a faulty mathematical method, and in the interests of safety, The Weather Girls should really reconsider the line 'According to our sources / the street’s the place to go' (we note that they do not provide references here)."
Bamboo Mathematicians. "bamboo [flowering] cycles have reached their remarkable lengths through some simple arithmetic."
MinutePhysics demonstrates how to subtract by adding.
Don't know how to get your kid to do math? Try patterns (predictable sequences).
Fighting Epidemics With Math: Researchers tame the complicated social dynamics of infection by re-thinking reality.
150 years of mathematics in the UK – in pictures. As the London Mathematical Society celebrates its 150th anniversary, the Guardian looks back at some of the key moments and players that helped shape and influence mathematics, including Mary Cartwright, the first female mathematician who founded the chaos theory, and twice president GH Hardy who aptly named his cricket team ‘Hardy’s Mathematicals.’
Performing Math and Mime, for Fun and Profit.
Beware the bad survey: Science literacy isn’t as bad as the statistics make it look. "Treat new survey data the way you’d treat any new scientific finding: try and find the original source and evaluate it. Did they do everything they could to avoid bias? Is there anything you would’ve done differently? Once you have a good finding, you have a choice about how to use it. Do you want to make fun of people who are less educated than you and reinforce the stereotypes of the dumb layman and sneering scientist? Or do you want to try and learn something about the people you’re talking to and become a better science communicator?"
Why scientists are upset about the Facebook filter bubble study. "the study has major flaws, and its conclusion suggests that the news feed algorithm does hide news stories it thinks you will disagree with."
All Black astro/physicists (and scientists of all kinds) are diamonds in the rough. Read their history and you'll know.
Can you name the sci-fi movie from just the computer screen?
Analogue Experiments with Gravity Filmed by Clemens Wirth. "With the exception of a segment depicting digital black fabric, all the visuals were made with practical effects inside a special rig that can be rotated 360° with or without the camera."