Wednesday, June 13, 2018

Tuesday, June 12, 2018

Black Holes, Galaxy Mergers, Quasars: A Quest to Understand the Ordinary

There are more than 100 billion galaxies in the universe, according to most estimates. Some estimates go as high as 2 trillion (a “2” followed by 12 zeros). Whether hundred billion or trillion, the fact is that there are a lot of galaxies. Most of us, on this tiny planet orbiting a random star in an average-sized galaxy, imagine black holes and galaxy collisions to be rare and exotic. They’re not.

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Friday, June 08, 2018

Questioning Assumptions: Have Binary Stars Been Tricking us into Overestimating the Age of Clusters?

For decades, astronomers have puzzled over the age of globular clusters, heavenly objects made up of hundreds of thousands of stars, living and dying together as they travel through their galaxies. They tend to shine red, indicating that their stars are ancient; in fact, their accepted age is somewhere between 10 and 14 billion years. This is only slightly younger than the Universe itself (13.7 billion years)—which begs the question, how could such complex objects form so soon after the Big Bang? Stars need time to form and drift together into clusters, and gravity works slowly at large scales.

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Thursday, June 07, 2018

This Next-gen Material Can Only be Made in Zero-G

It sounds crazy, but one company is trying it...and it looks like it's going to work.

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Thursday, May 31, 2018

Dig in to the Physics of Donuts for National Donut Day!

Before you ingest your annual delicious (possibly free) treat for Friday's annual celebration, why not learn about the physics of donuts? From topology to nuclear fusion, donuts are the physicist's breakfast pastry of choice. Not just because they’re tasty, but because their shape, the torus, is the subject of fascinating physics. Let's dig in to some of the multitude of donut sightings in physics, and answer the age-old question: Which rolls downhill faster, the holed donut or the filled doughnut?

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Tuesday, May 29, 2018

Research Revisited: Knotted Hearts, Boson Stars, and Magnetic Particles

Sometimes, science news coverage can package research a little too neatly—with a clear beginning, middle, and end. In reality, research is a messy process with lots of back-and-forth, frustrations, and surprises. Scientists publish journal articles that highlight their results, but these are more like trail markers than final destinations. With this in mind, we’re introducing a new occasional feature on Physics Buzz, getting back in touch with scientists whose work we’ve profiled to see the twists and turns their research is taking.

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Friday, May 25, 2018

European Space Agency Sponsors "Graffiti Without Gravity" Contest

On a cold day in Holland last week, 12 of the top street artists in Europe took their places in front of a chain link fence. Each artist faced a 2x2-meter canvas, and the possibility of being the first street artist to experience zero gravity. Not actually in space, but the first to experience weightlessness on one of the European Space Agency’s (ESA) parabolic flights—and to create art in that environment.

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Thursday, May 24, 2018

Listening for a Tornado's Infrasound Roar May Provide Better Warning Systems

In May of 2013, an EF5 tornado—the most powerful class—devastated the city of Moore, Oklahoma and the surrounding area, killing 24 people and wounding more than 200. The tornado leveled entire blocks of houses, destroyed schools and medical buildings, and tossed cars around, wreaking havoc on the city.

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Wednesday, May 23, 2018

Art Meets Science and Light Turns Liquid at ARTECHOUSE's "Naked Eyes"

In the southwest corner of Washington DC, just across the river from the Pentagon, you'll find the unassuming entrance to one of the city's most fascinating places: ARTECHOUSE. Descend the seemingly endless staircase inside, and you'll emerge into a cavernous underground space where light and sound are twisted into dazzling, dynamic displays. This is Naked Eyes.

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Friday, May 18, 2018

Physicists Introduce "Quantum Fraud" Detection Tests

It’s hard enough to identify a knockoff Louis Vuitton bag. When quantum computers hit the market, how will buyers know they’re not getting duped...or settling for something that isn’t quite as “quantum” as they think?

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