It was Ada Lovelace Day this past week, So Here's The Life And Times Of Ada Lovelace, The First Computer Programmer. Related: Beyond Emmy (Noether) and Sophie (Germain): Resources for Learning about Women in Math. Also: Take the Guardian's quiz: how much do you know about women in science? Bonus: This Ada Lovelace Inspired Artwork Pits Musicians Against a Robot.
Speaking of women in science, here's a Q&A with physicist Katherine Freese, as she talks neutrinos, women in science, and the hunt for dark matter.
At the Far Ends of a New Universal Law: Beyond the Bell Curve. A potent theory has emerged explaining a mysterious statistical law that arises throughout physics and mathematics.
There are several different experiments hunting for dark matter -- read my 2013 article in Quanta for background context -- and the latest results from two don't seem to be clarifying matters. First, ATLAS revealed no evidence for light dark matter (a.k.a. WIMPs, Weakly Interacting Massive Particles). Adding to the confusion: Dark matter may have been detected in the form of axions – streaming from sun’s core. "Researchers at Leicester University spotted the curious signal in 15 years of measurements taken by the European Space Agency’s orbiting XMM-Newton observatory."
Lockheed Martin Says It'll Have A Truck-Sized Fusion Reactor In 10 Years. Here's What We Know So Far, plus all the details on Lockheed's new compact fusion reactor design. Related: Are there old secrets behind Lockheed's new fusion machine? Then again, don't get too excited, no one has cracked nuclear fusion yet. Lockheed Martin's fusion goals met with its fair share of scepticism. Also: U.S. fusion plan draws blistering critique.
Through the looking glass with switchable mirrors: Electrochemical mirror remains reflective without external power. Related: Atomic trigger shatters mystery of how glass deforms. Also: Artist Carol Milne knits with glass. Per Colossal:
"First, a model of the sculpture is made from wax which is then encased by a refractory mold material that can withstand extremely high temperatures. Next, hot steam is used to melt the wax, leaving behind an empty cavity in the shape of the artwork. Pieces of room temperature glass are then placed inside the mold which is then heated to 1,400-1,600 degrees Fahrenheit depending on the type of glass. Afterward, the piece is slowly cooled over a period of several weeks, followed by a careful excavation process, where Milne delicately chips away like an archaeologist to reveal the final piece."
Urban "Fingerprints" Finally Reveal the Similarities (and Differences) Between American and European Cities. Travelers have long noticed that some American cities “feel” more European than others. Now physicists have discovered a way to measure the “fingerprint” of a city that captures this sense.
Want to make the most perfect fluid ever discovered? All you need is a particle collider.
Microsoft’s Strange Quest for the Topological Qubit. Can an aging corporation’s adventures in fundamental physics research open a new era of unimaginably powerful computers?
Narrowing The Search For Sterile Neutrinos.
Networks shaped like snowflakes are the ones that are easiest to fix when disaster strikes.
Turn Your Phone Into A Cosmic Ray Detector. "physicists studying the origin of exotic space particles have developed a new app called CRAYFIS that could turn our global network of smartphones into the world’s largest telescope."
Searching for Superconductivity. The discovery involved "little heroism, more luck than good management, and a starring role for a trainee instrument-maker who dozed off." Maybe. "In 1911, in a lab at the Netherlands' Leiden University, physicist Heike Kamerlingh Onnes showed how, below certain critical temperatures, some materials have zero resistance—a discovery that helped create everything from MRI machines to particle accelerators and digital computers."
Relativity and Baseball: "Not even the hardest-throwing pitcher could stand at home plate and throw the ball into the second deck of a baseball stadium. Yet it’s not uncommon for the ball to end up there after being hit by a bat. So, how does that work?"
How a Human First Broke the Sound Barrier: October 14, 1947.
A Skipped Stone on a Frozen Lake Sounds Like Lasers. "You might expect cracking ice to sound more like a “thunk” kind of noise, but when ice snaps, it indeed produces something that sounds like a bird call/laser mash-up. It’s all about how the sound waves travel through a medium."
"Cymatic Sun" from artist Lachlan Turczan uses vibrating fluids to generate mesmerizing and surreal visuals.
The Fibonacci sequence says "I am large, I contain multitudes."
The Problems of Randomness: Is It Always Possible to Find Order in Chaos? A short primer on Ramsey theory.
Top quark still raising questions nearly 20 years after its discovery.
New imaging technique could detect “invisible” cracks.
Putting quantum forces on the map: Mapping the relationship between two quantum effects in materials known as topological insulators could facilitate the development of quantum-based, low-power electronics.
From Isaac Newton to the Genius Bar - Why it’s time to retire the concept of genius. Related: What to Do When Genius Fails - "genius is not a pure thing that pervades all of a person’s being, nor can it be."
A Beautiful Feature Telling the Story of Russian Cosmonaut Alexei Leonov and the First Spacewalk.
The Guardian Reviews Nick and Tesla's Super-Cyborg Gadget Glove. The newest installment in the Nick and Tesla “science mysteries” series, where young people learn to use their scientific and electronics knowledge to solve mysteries around them.
Eddie Redmayne's Forensic Method. "One is a world-famous cosmologist with a severe degenerative disease. The other is an able-bodied young actor with no science credentials. So how did Eddie Redmayne turn himself into Stephen Hawking? Clemency Burton-Hill follows him through the process."
Jokes for Nerds: Webcomic artist Zach Weinersmith fuels ‘Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal’ with grad student humor and almost half of a physics degree.
How to Capture High-Speed Photographs of Bullets Piercing Water Droplets.
How Science and Math See Each Other. "scientists view mathematics the way a handyman views a toolkit."
David Greenglass and Robert Oppenheimer: A lesson from history. "The age of McCarthy is always closer than we think."
The Strange Medical Case of the Radioactive Landslide of Köfels (named after a small village in Tyrol).
Suspended animation in space travel: what scientists still need to learn.
Dust to dust: What lessons can be learned from the presentation of the gravitational-waves story?
Travel Through Time With These Strange and Beautiful Visualizations of the Universe.
Concepts of time and change center the work of three artists in am exhibit entitled Density Fluctuations.
Can Science Fiction Spur Science Innovation? Without proper funding, the answer might not even matter.
Francis Halzen: How One Physicist's Pursuit of the Cosmos Took Off in Antarctica. A tiny particle’s superpower in graphic-novel form.
Scientific Chart Porn: A Spiraling Geological Timeline Of Earth's 4.5 Billion Years. Wibbly wobbly timey wimey!
Earth's Magnetic Field Could Flip In The Course Of A Human Lifetime.
This Math Model Is Predicting the Ebola Outbreak with Incredible Accuracy.
Ice-giant exoplanet detected: Let the jokes about aliens and Uranus begin!
Cookie Science: Collecting good data means taking a large sample. How do I calculate how many tasters I need?
A Father and His Two Kids Conduct an Experiment to Find the Optimal Angle for Spraying Whipped Cream.
A denture-friction scientist analyses the Ig Nobel-winning paper on the slippery-ness of banana skin.
Oh, look, Andrea Rossi is still pedaling his E-Cat 'cold fusion' device. The E-Cat: Cold Fusion or Scientific Fraud? What the “independent tests” really teach us, if we’re willing to look carefully. This time out it's a better study, but still flawed. "It would be like if I asked you to believe that by putting a dollar bill in a special laundry machine and spinning it for half an hour with some special detergent the dollar turns into a $1000 note. You are allowed to watch the machine as it does its work, but it is me who opens it and extracts the bill when it has finished its magic conversion. I doubt you would buy it." Also: Here's Starts With a Bang on The Foolish Fallacy of Cold Fusion And the undeniable physics of how fusion actually works.
The Twin Prime Hero - Rags, riches, and fame in mathematics.
Why Some Wines Taste Better With Age. A finely aged wine is the result of a drastic molecular transformation.
Mixology Expert Explains the Correct Circumstances Under Which a Cocktail Should Be Either Shaken or Stirred. …
Science at Burning Man: Say What? Singing Tesla Coils and more.
Finally, here's TED-Ed's new video on Schrödinger's cat: A thought experiment in quantum mechanics.