It may look like something you’d use for target practice, but this is a new kind of sensor that can detect the presence of all kinds of light—and reacts to it in super-quick time, too.
You’ve heard it before: In space, no one can hear you scream. That’s because sound doesn’t move through a vacuum, and everyone knows that space is a vacuum. The thing is, that’s not completely true.
The act of boiling water helps us brew coffee and cook pasta—and it’s also what fuels most of the world’s energy sources. But boiling is really all about the bubbles, and until now their formation had been seen as random and haphazard. MIT engineers say they can now control the formation of bubbles, which might change the way power is generated.
The tractor beam, a beloved staple of science fiction, has been inching closer and closer to reality. We’ve got physicists building optical beams
A Hall thruster is powering many of the satellites moving around Earth right now. It needs 100 million (yes, you read that right, 100 million) times less fuel than chemical thrusters. But it was never remotely sturdy enough to get anything to Mars—until now.
Certain sand dunes make their own desert music, singing, booming, or even “burping” — a naturally occurring musical instrument. Scientists have discovered that these distinct sounds are each created by different types of waves moving through the dunes.
Cheetahs sprint at a blistering top speed
That’s not a painting or chalk drawing above, it’s a photograph of two painted physicists interacting in real time within a three-dimensional chalkboard “canvas” — and apart from cropping, it hasn’t had a lick of Photoshop.
Archaeologists can figure out how old a substance is by radiocarbon dating, but to do that they need to know what the substance is—and that’s not always clear. Radioactive material comes to the rescue again!
The ever-entertaining American Chemical Society gives us a run down on what black is, how very little black we see as we go about our lives, and what it takes to get make real black.
Antioxidants have made a fortune for the dietary supplement industry, but how many people really know what they are and why they’re supposedly good for you? One common claim is that the these molecules can protect you from cancer. This is supposedly because they can counteract other molecules known as “reactive oxygen species” or “free radicals” that can be created in our cells and then damage DNA, potentially leading to cancer.
When a balloon bursts, it doesn’t just simply burst. New high-speed camera footage shows that they either snap cleanly open or become covered in many cracks, depending on the stresses within the skin.
Silly putty is pretty weird stuff, but magnetic putty is like an alien life form. Not only can it be twisted, stretched, and compressed every which way, give this souped-up putty enough time and it’ll devour your magnetic objects like a voracious amoeba, all thanks to the laws of magnetism.
Turbulent motion is a tricky concept to convey to the public without resorting to complicated mathematical equations. But what if you could take those abstract notions and turn them into a dance?
Everybody knows not to shine laser pointers in your eye. They could damage your vision! (Emphasis on could, since your eye’s blink reflex would probably protect your retina.) But what if you were an evil villain determined to make a death ray? How many laser pointers would it take to create a deadly weapon?
A liquid oxygen droplet flattens, rushes back and forth, and then seems to be caught in an invisible trap in the above video. Why does this happen? There are two phenomena at work here: the Leidenfrost effect and paramagnetism.
This element is one of many first made at UC Berkeley in the 1950s. Unlike most manufactured elements, though, this one is actually useful. This is how it starts up nuclear reactions.
According to Albert Einstein, the speed of light is an absolute constant beyond which nothing can move faster. So, how can galaxies be traveling faster than the speed of light if nothing is supposed to be able to break this cosmic speed limit?
Toss a pebble in a pond and watch the tiny ripples radiate outwards. The waves you’ve created bear striking resemblance to another phenomenon, one taking place trillions of miles away at the center of a distant galaxy. The difference is, when two black holes collide, their impact surges across the fabric of spacetime itself.
How do you tie water in a knot? First you make parts of it into vortices, which move more like long continuous strings than groups of autonomous molecules. Then you need to tangle those strings together.
Scientists at SLAC decided it was time to upgrade some of their kit, and the result is the laboratory’s most powerful laser system ever. The device will create temperatures up to millions of degrees and pressures approaching 2 trillion pounds per square inch.
Despite their popular reputation as dark inescapable pits, black holes really put out a lot of energy. They thrust out jets of matter. They get matter to heat up through friction as it swirls around them. And, in some cases, they contribute to bursts of incredibly high energy photons, thanks to a phenomenon first encountered in the 1920s here on Earth.
The 2015 Nobel Prize in physics goes to Takaaki Kajita and Arthur B. McDonald for their work on neutrino oscillations. By tracking neutrinos in subterranean water tanks, the researchers watched neutrinos change flavour, in turn proving that the subatomic particles have mass.
We know it’s possible to levitate objects with sound, provided the objects are small and the sound is used carefully. It seems it’s also possible to make those objects form all kinds of shapes and then lose their minds.
Your sewers have T-junctions—places were two pipes come together and form a “T” shape. So do your arteries. A new study has found that these junctions can trap tiny particles of matter, blocking normal healthy flow.
You’re probably aware that normal elevators make use of counterweights, which reduce the amount of energy it takes to move people up and down skyscrapers with slightly frightening speed. But when it comes to moving hundred-ton boats, a little more precision is required.
Fluid dynamics is never not cool. Here we see ultra-thin sheets of polystyrene wrap themselves around shrinking water droplets.