Wednesday, July 18, 2018

A Bright Future: Quantum Dots and the Quest for Energy Efficient White Lights

From stadium lights to night lights, the modern way of life runs on artificial illumination. This lighting is costly—in both environmental and economic terms—but last week in the journal Optica, a team of researchers from KoƧ University in Turkey introduced a new kind of white light source, based on blue LEDs and quantum dots, that could lower the costs of lighting up our world.

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Thursday, July 12, 2018

Scientists Identify Likely Source of High-Energy Cosmic Neutrinos

An international team of scientists has found compelling evidence that some the tiniest, most elusive particles we know about—neutrinos—are produced by one of the brightest, most energetic events in the universe. The key to this evidence? A single neutrino, detected by the IceCube Neutrino Observatory on September 22, 2017.

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Wednesday, July 11, 2018

Watch: How Does a Dead Fish Swim Upstream?

Take a quick look at this trout swimming upstream. Notice anything unusual?

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Sunday, July 08, 2018

Big Bangs and Squibs: A Physicist Turns Pyrotechnician for the Day

Last week, I got to watch a great fireworks show from pretty close up—because I was part of the team that made it happen! By the end of the day, I had broken all of my nails, was covered in dirt from origins unknown, and had ash in my ears. It was awesome.

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Monday, July 02, 2018

What Happens When You Plug a Wire into a Lightning Bolt? Electrical Instability Caught on Camera

“It’s easy to forget, looking at a lightbulb filament, that electricity is still untamed and dynamic,” says Trevor Hutchinson, a graduate student in the physics department at the University of Nevada, Reno (UNR).

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Wednesday, June 27, 2018

These "Microlasers" Turn Infrared into Laser Light, and May Play a Role in Next-Gen Medical Tech

The biggest, brightest lasers make for good headlines, but this isn’t a story about those. This is a story about lasers so tiny you need a microscope just to see them—lasers smaller than red blood cells. These tiny lasers could play an important role in next-generation medical care (among other technologies), and that makes them a big deal.

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Tuesday, June 26, 2018

Oak Ridge Cuts the Ribbon on the World's Most Powerful Supercomputer

When you think of a scientist, do you imagine some lone figure, wreathed in a meticulous lab coat, furtively working late into the night, combining strange ingredients in a beaker or measuring something with a set of calipers? While it’s certainly true that many physicists engage in some sort of hands-on research, in the era of modern science that’s only half of the picture.

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Friday, June 22, 2018

These Exotic Fish Use an Electric "Sixth Sense" to Communicate

Ghost knifefish use electricity as a sixth sense. Now scientists exploring tropical jungle streams have unearthed secrets regarding how these fish use electric signals to communicate in the wild. This work could shed light on how nervous systems in general process weak, ambiguous sensory data, which could help improve the design of bionic devices that interact with the nervous system.

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Thursday, June 21, 2018

The Twinkle in Mother Earth’s Eye: Laser Blasts Produce Promising Fusion Advances

What if you could have a miniature star powering your house, your computer, and your car? How cool would that be! Stars produce a lot of energy, and they get that energy through a process called fusion. Thanks to recent research at the National Ignition Facility (NIF), we’re now one step closer to using fusion as a power source—unlocking a virtually infinite supply of clean energy.

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Wednesday, June 20, 2018

A Cleaner Cosmological Ruler Could Shed Light on Dark Energy

A 12-inch ruler isn’t much help when you’re trying to trying to measure the universe. To handle the enormous distances between planets, stars, galaxies, and groups of galaxies, astronomers have developed a whole set of measuring tools and units of measurement. In an upcoming issue of the American Physical Society’s journal Physical Review Letters, a team of scientists is proposing a pristine new tool that could help us unravel the nature of dark energy.

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