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Physics

— Science

Nanoparticles found to violate second law of thermodynamics

By - April 3, 2014 2 Pictures
It may be a little late for April Fool’s, but your skepticism is nonetheless warranted when reading that researchers have shown nanoparticles to disobey a fundamental law of physics which dictates the flow of entropy and heat in, it was believed, any situation. Specifically, researchers from three universities theoretically proposed then demonstrated that a nanoparticle in a state of thermal non-equilibrium does not always behave as larger particles might under the same conditions, with implications for various fields of research. Read More
— Space

NASA's Cold Atom Lab to make the ISS the coldest spot in the Universe

By - February 13, 2014 4 Pictures
Quantum physics likes the cold. In particular, macroscopic quantum phenomena such as superconductivity, superfluidity, and Bose-Einstein condensates (BECs) are only found at quite low temperatures. While current refrigeration methods can attain temperatures of a few nanoKelvins, attaining still lower temperatures is largely prevented by the need to support the cooling matter against the pull of Earth's gravity. Now NASA's Cold Atom Lab, scheduled for installation on the ISS in 2016, will aim for temperatures roughly four orders of magnitude smaller. Read More
— Science

First optical spectrum taken of ball lightning

By - January 22, 2014 2 Pictures
A scientific team in China fortuitously recorded the first optical spectrum of an example of ball lightning. The ball lightning, which was accompanied by a cloud to ground lightning strike, appears to have consisted at least partially of vaporized soil from the location of the strike. While ball lightning may result from a variety of sources, this observation provides considerable evidence that the vaporized silicon explanation is valid, although possibly not unique. Read More
— Science

Michigan Tech physicists search for time travelers on Twitter

By - January 2, 2014 1 Picture
At this juncture in time, humanity does not know how to travel into the past, or even if such a concept has any meaning. So if you are an astrophysicist who wants to uncover evidence of time travel, what do you do? If you're Michigan Technological University astrophysics professor Robert Nemeroff and his PhD student Teresa Wilson, you look for time travelers on Twitter. Read More
— Science Feature

Archaeology vs. Physics: Conflicting roles for old lead

The study of archaeology has long been carried out using tools from the physics lab. Among these are carbon-14 dating, thermoluminescence dating, x-ray photography, x-ray fluorescence elemental analysis, CAT and MRI scanning, ground-penetrating sonar and radar, and many others. What is less well known is that archaeology has also made substantial contributions to physics. This is the story of old lead; why it is important to physics, and what ethical problems it presents to both sciences. Read More
— Science

Do the largest structures in the Universe actually exist?

By - November 20, 2013 4 Pictures
Our knowledge of the large-scale structure of the Universe is gradually taking shape. However, our improved vision is mostly being statistically squeezed from huge data sets. Working backward from a statistical analysis to a putative fact about the (singular) Universe, to which statistics do not apply on a cosmological scale, is a dicey business. A case in point is a recent look at the biggest known structures in the Universe – large quasar groups. Read More
— Games

Google's qCraft brings quantum mechanics fun to Minecraft

By - October 23, 2013 6 Pictures
“Anyone who is not shocked by quantum theory has not understood it,” Niels Bohr famously wrote. However, Minecraft players can now be slightly closer to parsing the perplexities of quantum theory, thanks to qCraft, a collaboration between Google and Dr. Spyridon Michalakis, a scholar of quantum mechanics. What does this new mod bring to the game? Only quantum teleportation, observer dependencies, and Schrödinger’s Cat, for starters. Read More
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