Today is Valentine's Day. In love? Or just the opposite? Express how you feel with physics-inspired Valentines—and anti-Valentines for those who perhaps aren't huge fans of the holiday. Or check out these science-y valentines for geeks in love. Related: The stats of Sex & Love: Mathematician's formulae for how to pull abd who to marry. More: How to Win at Online Dating. Also: Schematics: A Love Story in Geometric Diagrams. The mathematical poetics of time, or what matrices reveal about the matters of the heart. Bonus: A real Cupid would be a human-vulture hybrid crossbow-wielding monster. Marriage and the making of scientific careers. Is there room for personal relationships in science? And from 2012, check out The Calculus of Love: "a story of science, obsessions, and of course love" -- nifty short film by Dan Clifton. And here's my own 2012 ruminations on Love Among the Equations.
New Particles Found at Large Hadron Collider. Two new “baryons” made of three quarks each are an exotic twist on normal protons and neutrons.
Planck reveals the dynamic side of the Universe. For instance, the first stars were born later than we thought. The latest results also constrain inflation and dark energy in the early Universe. Related: Ignore Phony Controversies, Failure In Real Science Is Good. Also: Confusion about the Big Bang points to its 'identity crisis.' Bonus: How can we still see the Big Bang? Why the Cosmic Microwave Background hasn't passed us by, yet.
"The team responsible for the Oscar-nominated visual effects at the centre of Christopher Nolan's epic, Interstellar, have turned science fiction into science fact by providing new insights into the powerful effects of [spinning] black holes.... Using their code, the Interstellar team, comprising London-based visual effects company Double Negative and Caltech theoretical physicist Kip Thorne, found that when a camera is close up to a rapidly spinning black hole, peculiar surfaces in space, known as caustics, create more than a dozen images of individual stars and of the thin, bright plane of the galaxy in which the black hole lives. They found that the images are concentrated along one edge of the black hole's shadow."
Physicists Calculate the Number of Licks to Get to the Center of a Tootsie Pop. Because of course they did. But there was method to their seeming madness. Per Mental Floss: "Their study, published in the Journal of Fluid Mechanics this month, is concerned with how materials dissolve within a fluid flow, such as rocks in geological environments and pills for pharmaceutical applications—or hard candy and saliva."
Mario's Physics Can Tell Us What Planet Is "Super Mario World":
The Future Affects the Past in the Quantum World. "By combining information about a quantum system’s evolution after a target time with information about its evolution up to that time, his lab was able to narrow the odds of correctly guessing the state of the two-state system from 50-50 to 90-10. It’s as if what we did today, changed what we did yesterday. And as this analogy suggests, the experimental results have spooky implications for time and causality—at least in microscopic world to which quantum mechanics applies."
Schrödinger's cat gets a reality check.
Purifying Physics: The Quest to Explain Why the "Quantum" Exists. A new framework for the laws underlying reality could explain why nature obeys quantum rules, the origin of time’s arrow, and the power of quantum computing.
Physicists Blast a Quantum-Shielded Encryption Key 307 Kilometers.
Uncovering the physics of popcorn -- what makes it pop, what makes it jump, and why it makes a sound.
The physics of levitating street performers, or the Floating Man Illusion.
A Wooden Mechanical Demonstration of Wave Propogation, 1897.
The Tragic Fate of Physicist Paul Ehrenfest: The Unraveling of a Probing Mind.
Look Inside The World’s Most Advanced X-ray-Shooting Superlab at Brookhaven: 14 acres of room for 60 beam lines and 4000 researchers. Related: Three Tech Futures A Particle Accelerator On Long Island With the World's Brightest X-Rays Could Bring Us.
Cosmos: Distorted Photos by Marcus DeSieno of Space Printed From Film Eaten by Bacteria From Body Parts and Public Places. Per Laughing Squid: "[DeSieno] created the series by first collecting bacteria from a variety of sources including public places (motel hot tub), electronic devices (iPhone), and various body parts (belly button). He then spread the bacteria on photographic film of space images. The bacteria were allowed to grow on the film–disintegrating it in unpredictable ways–before the film was finally scanned and printed." For example, "A Photograph of the Crab Nebula Eaten by Bacteria Found on a Table at a Red Lobster Restaurant." (left)
Behind the Ebb and Flow of Baby Names. "The idea of spontaneous emergence, has been around for decades. However, this study marks the first time it has been observed experimentally in a population of almost 100. The results were published online Monday in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences."
What a Few Extra Dimensions Can Do. "When the truth itself is so mind-blowing, no fanfare is needed."
Physicists Untangle Twisted Light - an approximation of a Bessel beam could have many applications.
Turing Patterns At The Nanoscale. "[A] team of researchers has found that the spontaneous formation of Turing patterns - responsible for the irregular yet periodic shapes of the stripes on zebras' bodies - can not only occur on the small scale, but can also be used for potentially very interesting applications." (For more on Turing patterns, check out my 2013 article in Quanta and accompanying blog post.)
NASA gives us an amazing look at the ‘dark’ side of the moon.
'Bionic leaf' uses bacteria to convert solar energy into liquid fuel.
Cosmic Cappuccino: Delicious Swirls in Mars' South Pole.
Comets Form Like Deep Fried Ice Cream Scoops.
Ripples in spacetime can create turbulence in the vicinity of a black hole.
Resolution of ambiguities in the half-life of iron-60 provides a new astronomical timescale.
Inside The 'Europa Clipper' Mission That NASA Is Planning To Send Past Jupiter.
Via Capturing Capacity: "Fluid dynamics are the focus of Mark Mawson‘s work. Also exploring and capturing the vaporous nature of smoke, Mawson’s photographs pique an innate fascination for blooming and warping forms."
Craft Astrophysics: Technicians on the Sloan Digital Sky Survey may be the last members of a spectroscopic survey to use hand-plugged fiber plates.
Does Science Need Falsifiability? "Falsifiability is “just a simple motto that non-philosophically-trained scientists have latched onto."
The Sand Reckoner: Sand, granular material, flocking birds and traffic jams.
Yes, It Matters If The Science In Your Science Fiction Story Is Accurate. "don't send people to a planet whose atmosphere is full of chemicals that would instantly explode in contact with each other, or people will have a hard time taking the story seriously."
Jodrell Bank work threatened by housing plans, say scientists. Background noise created by development near Cheshire observatory could harm attempt to observe gravity waves predicted by Einstein.
The Singular Universe and the Reality of Time by Roberto Mangabeira Unger and Lee Smolin – a review. Is time, after all, real? Two mavericks take an axe to the established theory of cosmology
Plus ca change: 21st Century Sunspots A Lot Like The 18th Century.
God, Watchmakers, and the Short Half-Life of Technology Metaphors. As time passes and tech evolves, historical context becomes critical to understanding.
Dr. Strangelove's Computer to calculate the "half life of cobalt thorium-G."
Q&A: Former Energy Secretary (and Nobel Laureate) Steven Chu Bets on Battery Chemistry and Carbon Capture, looks back on his successes and failures in government.
Secret stash of Moon artifacts found hidden in Neil Armstrong's closet. Related: Apollo 11 Experience uses virtual reality to put you in Neil Armstrong's boots. Irish startup Immersive VR Education is seeking £22,000 of crowdfunding for its app, which uses archive moon-landing footage and audio from NASA.
Controlling the Path of Least Resistance with Smart Wires.
"Ask without fear." For A Scientist, There Really Is No Such Thing As A Stupid Question.
How Structural Coloration Gives the Morpho Butterfly Its Gorgeous Iridescent Blue Color. "Ridges on the scales’ surface are a key component that affect how the wing spreads or refracts light, similar to a prism. When light hits these ridges, a phenomena called constructive interference comes into play. The spacing within the ridges,which look like little Christmas trees, perfectly reinforces specific wavelengths while canceling out others."
"If I Die on Mars is a short documentary by The Guardian that profiles three of the finalists being considered for the Mars One mission to colonize the red planet. The goal of the mission is to send crews of four people on one-way trips to Mars every two years beginning in 2024 to build a permanent colony there."
Should We Be Afraid of Aliens? Marcelo Gleiser Calms Your Fears. "[W]e should be very confident that, even if they do exist — and that's a huge if — they are very remote. From what we know now of space travel and all its difficulties — fuel, speed, radiation shielding — had the aliens the technologies to overcome all this, they would probably also have technologies that would have spotted us a long time ago, for example, by analyzing our atmospheric composition or, if closer than around 50 light years, by detecting our radio and TV broadcastings."
Moore's Law is about to get weird. Never mind tablet computers. Wait till you see bubbles and slime mold.
How to Make a Miniature Arc Furnace From Everyday Materials That Can Melt Steel in Under Two Minutes.
From space junk to asteroids, Dark Energy Camera unveils small objects in our solar system.
Heart of darkness: Scientists probe dark matter near Milky Way's core.
QCraft: a Minecraft mod that teaches kids some fundamentals of quantum physics.
How To Tell If You Are in a Logic Puzzle. "You never experience delays in transit. After leaving your starting point, you travel at a consistent speed until you reach your destination."
Computer spots fake Jackson Pollock paintings better than humans. "Lior Shamir of Lawrence Technological University in Michigan has developed computer program that uses machine vision to “see” and analyze Pollock paintings–real and forged. It demonstrated a 93 percent accuracy in spotting true Pollocks."
Artist Xavier Cortada explores Physics and Marine Biology. At Fermilab, "Cortada is showing five large 'digital tapestries' that he created as a fellow at CERN that portray the five search strategies which the CMS (compact muon solenoid) experiment used to discover a new Higgs-like particle."
The Potsdam Gravity Potato - a map of earth's variable gravity.
Note on Two Very Early Papers on Gravitational Lensing: Fritz Zwicky, 1937. "These two papers by Fritz Zwicky constitute among the earliest announcements on the use of gravitational lensing, and the first mention of the possibility of using galaxies as gravitational lenses."
The Fashionista Physicist: Theoretical physicist Ágnes Mócsy teaches art students science. Related: "Meteorite Shoes" by Studio Swine, made from aluminum foam to resemble the color and form of a meteorite.
"The appropriately-named SOFAR channel is a level of the ocean that allows whale calls to travel hundreds of miles, and lets a recording station in California record an underwater earthquake in Hawaii."
How Elementary School Teachers’ Unconscious Biases Can Discourage Girls From Math and Science. New study finds that math teachers score girls’ performance lower when they know their identities, "but it also highlights how powerful a little encouragement can be." Also: "The effect is larger for children from families in which the father is more educated than the mother and for girls from lower-income families." Related: Some Notes on Gender Bias in Elementary School Math. Per Chad Orzel: it's "a slightly less damning indictment of elementary school teachers than it might initially appear, but also a clear demonstration of a very real problem. Biased math instruction starts early, and has long-lasting effects."
"I was a fiftysomething numberphobe enrolling in an online Math class."
Carl Friedrich Gauss and Sophie Germain on Pleasure and Passion.
Philosopher of physics Elise Crull explains why Feynman is misguided, and what philosophers have to say about important issues in physics -- like quantum mechanics, physical laws, and whether anything "really" exists at all.
Experiments Get Underway on Novel Nuclear Reactor. Transatomic Power has begun tests on a very cheap and compact molten-salt reactor.
Cryptographic Systems Used in the Romanian Countries between the 15th – 19th Centuries.
"Artist U-Ram Choe is based in Seoul, South Korea, and designs these beautiful kinetic sculptures. He imagines them as living organisms, and each is created with a mythologized scientific nomenclature, accompanied by descriptions of the behavior of each “species,” its life cycle, and its place within the ecosystem of fellow creations."
Val Fitch, Who Discovered Universe to Be Out of Balance, Is Dead at 91. “It is highly improbable, a priori, to begin life on a cattle ranch and then appear in Stockholm to receive the Nobel Prize in Physics.”
George Smoot at TEDxSalford: You are a Simulation & Physics Can Prove It.