Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Time, Randomness, and Correlations in a Quantum Model

How do you know if something is random? If you were a substitute teacher that only taught on Wednesdays, you might interpret a dip in attendance as a random fluctuation. If you taught that same class every single day, however, the dip might signal the tail end of a local flu epidemic that caused even more students to miss class on Monday and Tuesday. Most “random” events are not as random as they appear.

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Thursday, March 23, 2017

Synthetic Brains Made of Superconductors and Light

You have 100 billion neurons in your brain, each one connected to a multitude of others. Every time you think, feel, or move, neurons in this massive network react, rapidly sending, processing, and receiving signals. Through this behind-the-scenes activity we learn about and navigate the world. Well, through our brains and Google.

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Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Implants by Design: Mimicking Tissue with a New Class of Materials

A new kind of material discussed at last week’s American Physical Society March Meeting in New Orleans, Louisiana could someday make its way into your body. From artificial hips to pacemakers, medical implants give countless people relief, health, confidence, and more time to do the things they love with the people they love. Developing implants that are durable, reliable and well-matched to the body is an active and important area of biomedical research.

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Tuesday, March 14, 2017

A Recipe for the Perfect Pi Day

What goes better with mornings than coffee? And what goes better with coffee than pie? Today, of all days, is the perfect day to enjoy a slice of pie with your morning coffee—it’s Pi Day!

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Thursday, March 09, 2017

How Nature Controls Traffic on the Surface of Cells

Like a busy interchange, the surface of every living cell hums with activity. Proteins and lipids are constantly in motion, detecting, processing, and responding to signals from the outside world. They interact and move along a surface called the plasma membrane, a complex fluid barrier that separates the inside of a cell from everything else.


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Wednesday, March 08, 2017

Old Equations Find New Life: The Physics of Ice Bridges

As nights lengthen with the coming of arctic winter, one can sometimes walk across water—on natural, frozen bridges. Wind and waves can drive sea ice together to form giant superstructures of ice stretching miles longer than any bridges that people have built over water. Now scientists have developed models describing how these ice bridges form and break up, findings that could shed light on a variety of seemingly unrelated phenomena, including jamming in grain silos that can lead to explosions.

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Tuesday, March 07, 2017

The Musical, Mathematical Genius in You

Hum a note to yourself, even just in your head. Any note will do.


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Friday, March 03, 2017

The Quantum Storm Inside of a Superfluid

The mini tornadoes that form in superfluids won’t send any cows flying through the air, but the scientists from Newcastle University behind a new study were surprised to see that these mini twisters can create quite a tangled storm. Their results suggest that superfluids have a deeper connection to everyday fluids than previously thought, and will soon be published in the American Physical Society’s journal Physical Review Letters.

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Wednesday, March 01, 2017

Wiring a Rose to Store Energy

Roses are a common sign of love, or of an attentive gardener, not a common sign of cutting-edge scientific research. However, new work published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences shows roses in a whole new light—as beautiful energy storage devices. This work brings us one step closer to being able to harvest energy from plants.

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Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Strides & Hurdles

It was a hundred years after the founding of this country, and only eleven years after the end of the civil war, that a man of African descent first earned a PhD from an American university. His name was Edward Bouchet, and he made history when he graduated from Yale with his PhD in physics in 1876. Despite being effectively locked out of academia and research at any institution that wasn’t specifically for people of color, Bouchet became a trailblazer and a role model, serving as an educator for most of his later life, a living example of what America was struggling to become in the post-reconstruction era: a place where merit and dedication are rewarded regardless of who you are.


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