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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Monday, May 14, 2018

Laser Blasts Clear a Path Toward Clean Energy

“Fusion is the ultimate goal of energy research. It is clean, abundant, and safe,” says Dr. Luke Ceurvorst, a researcher at the University of Bordeaux in France. Recently, Ceurvorst and a team of collaborators from around the world reported new research results in the American Physical Society’s journal Physical Review E that will help scientists working to achieve nuclear fusion using a technique called fast ignition.

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Monday, May 07, 2018

Using Springs to Bypass Traditional Speed Limits

Carnivorous trap-jaw ants clamp down on prey in a split second, with jaw speeds approaching 145 mph. Like a bullet from a gun, a chameleon's tongue shoots out with amazing accelerations to capture flies in midair. Animals like these are fascinating studies of physics and biology. How do these little guys pack so much speed compared to the rest of us?

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Friday, May 04, 2018

Ask a Physicist: Is Time Travel Possible?

Luke, from California, wrote in last week:

I'm writing a research paper on time travel. Do you think time travel is possible?

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Thursday, May 03, 2018

Sports Science: How Much Energy is in a Record-Breaking Fastball?

A recent article on rookie Jordan Hicks claims he is the new hardest thrower in Major League Baseball (MLB). This piqued my interest for several reasons. The admittedly out-of-touch baseball fan in me immediately wanted to know who he is playing for (St. Louis Cardinals). The physicist in me started asking questions like what exactly does it mean that he’s the “hardest thrower?” How much energy does a ball thrown by Jordan Hicks have? How does this compare to other sports?


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Wednesday, May 02, 2018

Scottish Scientists Just Made a Contact Lens That Lets You Shoot Lasers from Your Eyes

There's an old one-liner: "Laser eye surgery isn't nearly as cool as it sounds". Now, I don't know if this is fair—in my opinion, blasting a person's cornea back into shape so that they can see without glasses is one of the most awesome applications of laser tech. But as cool as that is, it's still not as cool as a surgery that gives you the ability to shoot lasers from your eyes—something that may be on the horizon thanks to researchers at Scotland's University of St. Andrews.

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Wednesday, April 25, 2018

Spiders can Fly—Why Can't Spiderman?

Imagine you’re a spider marooned on a post in the middle of a large lake. A human might fret over escaping such a trap, but as a spider, you know just what to do. You raise your rear end to the breeze, shoot out a spray of gossamer threads, and wait until a rising air current carries you up, up and away.

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Monday, April 23, 2018

Not So Noble? Under Pressure, Helium Helps Atoms Come Together

Helium is the most chemically inert element in the universe, but last year, scientists proved it could successfully form a stable compound with another element. Now researchers suggest they know why—helium can act much like a peacekeeper, helping otherwise unruly atoms keep civil. These new findings also suggest that helium may form compounds more often than previously thought, including perhaps deep within Earth.

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Wednesday, April 18, 2018

In Search of New Worlds—Meet TESS, Humanity’s Newest Exoplanet Scout

A new voyage is hopefully setting sail tonight; one that could lead to the discovery of many new worlds, some of which may even harbor life. Guided by the moon and pointed toward the stars, the goal of TESS—the Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite—is to identify rocky planets around nearby stars by detecting and analyzing distinctive dips in starlight.

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Tuesday, April 17, 2018

The Suspense in Failure: A Simple Model of Breakage Goes Universal

It’s a classic scene in action movies: The hero is dangling from a rope, staring down at certain death. Just as he starts climbing, a fiber snaps above his head. A suspenseful score swells as a hidden clock begins to count down until the final fiber breaks. We see another snap, and then another. Just in the nick of time, the hero lands safely on a ledge as the rope plummets into the depths.

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