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Physics

Galaxy cluster Abell 3827 (Image: ESO)

New studies by astronomers are slowly throwing some light on dark matter, the invisible and mysterious stuff that scientists believe makes up much of the universe. For the first time, astronomers believe they've observed the interactions of dark matter via a factor other than the force of gravity.  Read More

The LLNL laser diode arrays are the most powerful of their type ever built, producing an i...

The High-Repetition-Rate Advanced Petawatt Laser System (HAPLS) under construction in the Czech Republic is designed to generate a peak power of more than 1 quadrillion watts (1 petawatt, 1015 watts). The key component to this instrument – the laser "pump" – will be a set of solid-state laser diode arrays recently constructed by Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL). At peak power, this electronic assemblage develops a staggering 3.2 million watts of power and are the most powerful laser diode arrays ever built.  Read More

An artist's impression of a quasar (Image: ESO/MKornmesser)

Astronomers have discovered a distant, massive and ancient black hole that calls into question current models for the early expansion of the universe. A team of scientists from China and Arizona spotted the brightest quasar from the early universe, named SDSS J0100+2802, centered on a black hole 12.8 billion light years away and as bright as 420 trillion suns.  Read More

MIT researchers have used a superthin film of niobium and nitrogen atoms to aid their disc...

The immutable laws that govern our universe – such as those that reign over the observable world in classical mechanics and those that rule the atomic physics world – are at the core of all of our scientific principles. They not only provide consistent, repeatable, and accurate rules that allow calculations and experiments to be tested or verified, they also help us make sense of the workings of the cosmos. MIT researchers claim to have discovered a new universal law for superconductors that, if proved accurate, would bring the physics of superconductors in line with other universal laws and advance the likes of superconducting circuits for quantum and super low-power computing.  Read More

Interstellar gas forming galaxies in EAGLE

Astronomers have created a simulation of the universe that includes more realistic galaxies similar in mass, size and age to real observed galaxies, enabling better research into how the cosmos evolved into its current state over the past 14 billion years.  Read More

Engineers have designed an experiment that uses Lego blocks to determine a fundamental ato...

Lego is a popular Christmas gift, and young and old alike can derive hours of pleasure building with those little plastic blocks. But, like a lot of playthings, the novelty wears off soon enough and you find yourself drifting back to watch Christmas TV re-runs. But what if you could use that Lego to construct real scientific equipment; would that maintain your enthusiasm? Well hang on to your plastic blocks, because engineers have designed an experiment that uses Lego and a few other bits and pieces that allows any keen tinkerer to build a device that not only determines Planck's Constant but may also help quantify the international standard unit of mass.  Read More

Researchers a Berkeley have claimed a world record energy level with their tabletop-size p...

Taking careful aim with a quadrillion watt laser, researchers at the US Department of Energy’s Lawrence Berkeley National Lab claim to have managed to speed up subatomic particles to the highest energies ever recorded for a compact accelerator. By blasting plasma in their tabletop-size laser-plasma accelerator, the scientists assert that they have produced acceleration energy of around of 4.25 giga-electron volts. Acceleration of this magnitude over the short distances involved correlates to an energy rise 1,000 times greater than that of a traditional – and very much larger – particle accelerator.  Read More

Researchers are studying the physics behind cats' ability to land on their feet to help im...

The animal kingdom is fertile ground for roboticists looking to improve on their designs, with everything from insects, fish, seahorses, jellyfish, caterpillars, snakes and birds providing inspiration. Now researchers at Georgia Tech are turning to cats to help soften robot landings. Rather than strapping some felines to a robot's underside, the team is studying the way cats twist in the air when falling to let future robots land safely from a jump or fall.  Read More

A light pulse fired from a 10 TW laser, dispersing into water vapor – the blue glow is las...

It's no secret that Star Wars is full of scenes that defy the laws of physics. From space battles inspired by WW I and II dogfights to beams of light clashing in lightsaber duels. The laser bolts fired from Han Solo's trusty blaster and Luke's X-wing also play by their own rules, traveling much slower than the speed of light and being perfectly visible in the vacuum of space. Researchers in Poland have now created a film to show what a laser bolt would actually look like.  Read More

Researchers at Princeton University have devised a method for giving light the properties ...

Scientists have been observing the wave-particle duality of light for centuries, but never has light been seen to behave like matter. Until now, that is. Researchers at Princeton University have devised a method for giving light the properties of liquids and solids, with huge potential ramifications in the study of quantum mechanics and other areas of physics.  Read More

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