Thursday, May 23, 2019

Mayo goes nuclear: Researchers study dynamics in fusion reactors using mayonnaise

Hold the sriracha, put down the bbq sauce, and toss the mustard, because mayonnaise is finally getting its time to shine. Rather than spreading the condiment colloid on a sandwich though, researchers are using the product to study how materials interact in nuclear fusion reactors. A team of scientists from Lehigh University just published their latest research in Physical Review Fluids, which illustrates how this common household item can be used to explore a surprising question.

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Tuesday, May 21, 2019

The First Signals of a Magnetic Supersolid

We live in a world full of color, noise, and causes that demand attention. In order to avoid being completely overwhelmed, most people quickly and instinctively sort things into neat categories that help them make sense of the world.

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Thursday, May 16, 2019

10 Facts About Light to Brighten your Day

May 16th is the International Day of Light, a worldwide initiative sponsored by UNESCO to celebrate the role light plays in scientific innovation, culture, and art. This day is a special day in history because it marks the first successful operation of the laser in 1960 by Theodore Maiman. In the past century, we have learned ways to manipulate light far beyond anything previously. Hopefully, these facts help you get lit, for the International Day of Light.

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Tuesday, May 14, 2019

To Build a Better Teapot, Researchers Create Liquid Helix

It is a truth universally acknowledged that nothing—nothing—is more pointlessly irritating than a poorly designed water jug. You know—the kind that mindlessly dribbles all over the table every time you try to serve yourself? For centuries ceramicists and potters have slowly perfected ways to get around the so-called “teapot effect”, but scientists have long struggled to properly model the phenomenon.

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Thursday, May 09, 2019

Using an X-Ray Laser, Researchers Make the Loudest Underwater Sound

Researchers from SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory have produced an underwater sound so intense that it rivals the Earth-shaking roar of a rocket launch. “It is just below the threshold where [the sound] would boil the water in a single wave oscillation,” according to lead researcher Claudiu Stan, now at Rutgers University Newark. This research by Gabriel Blaj et al. was published in a recent issue of the American Physical Society’s journal Physical Review Fluids.

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Tuesday, May 07, 2019

Gargantua: The Science behind Interstellar's black hole

If there is one thing that everyone thinks they understand about black holes, it’s spaghettification. After all, it’s a popular plot device in countless sci-fi books and movies; there’s just something incredibly gripping about the image of some intrepid—or massively unlucky—soul being strung out until she is merely atoms thick.  In fact, the concept is so ingrained in the minds of scientists and the general public alike that reviewers tore the 2014 film Interstellar to shreds (see here and here) precisely because the protagonist wasn’t stretched into oblivion!

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Thursday, May 02, 2019

Lab-Created Nano Aerosols Could Improve Climate Models

“Climate change will affect nearly every person on the planet in the coming decades,” according to Jake Fontana, a research physicist at the U.S. Naval Research Laboratory (NRL). Our ability to reliably predict and reasonably prepare for that change depends on how well we can model the climate. Thanks to a new tool developed by Fontana and his team at NRL, more accurate models may be on the way. Their results are reported in a recent issue of the American Physical Society’s journal Physical Review B.

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Tuesday, April 30, 2019

What's a Marsquake?

On April 23rd, NASA InSight scientists announced they had detected a small seismic event on Mars, aptly referred to as a marsquake. This event, the first of its kind ever detected, promises to bring revolutionary insights about planetary interiors and seismic activity on other worlds.

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Wednesday, April 24, 2019

The Science of Knitting

If you’ve ever been lucky enough to receive a handmade sweater as a gift, you likely spent more time than strictly necessary listening to its creator describing each of its virtues in detail: Look, it won’t stretch out under your arms! The weight of this yarn will make the sweater grow with you. Notice how closely knit it is to keep you warm!

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Friday, April 05, 2019

Fluid Physics Tackles Fondue

During the cold of winter, the Swiss will often prepare a warm pot of fondue for supper. The famous melted cheese dish is traditionally made with grated cheese, white wine, a thickener like corn or potato starch and seasonings like garlic, pepper and nutmeg.

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