Friday, July 28, 2017

When the Moon and Sun Align: The Great American Eclipse, Part I

Summer may be winding down for those readers in the United States, but don’t despair—there is at least one fantastic reason to be excited about August. THE SOLAR ECLIPSE IS COMING!

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Thursday, July 27, 2017

New Study Finds the Proton to be Surprisingly Light

Imagine hefting a liter of water in your hands. That's a kilogram of weight. Divide that by a billion, and you've got a quantity called a microgram—a thousandth of a single milligram. Divide that amount by a billion, and you've got a femtogram—which it's almost impossible to get an intuitive sense for. But divide by a billion yet again, you've got roughly the mass of a single proton—and that's what scientists have measured with unprecedented precision in a surprising new experiment at the Max Planck Institute in Germany.

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Friday, July 21, 2017

Talking in a Bubble: Using Physics to Explain Dialects

When you know the laws of the universe, many things become predictable—the next full moon, the trajectory of a bullet, and even the fate of the Earth. Physics can be an excellent tool for predicting how objects behave under certain conditions. It turns out that physics may also be a valuable tool for predicting where dialects emerge, according to research published this week in the American Physical Society journal Physical Review X.

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Wednesday, July 12, 2017

A Study About Nothing

A vacuum is a space absolutely devoid of matter, at least according to the Merriam-Webster dictionary. But if you talk to a physicist you may get a different answer. According to quantum physics, even vacuums are not completely empty. Constant fluctuations in energy can spontaneously create mass not just out of thin air, but out of absolutely nothing at all.

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Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Borophene Nanoribbons: A Barbecue-Inspired Breakthrough

Graphene is one of the lightest, strongest, and highest-conductivity materials in existence. Since it was introduced to the world in 2004, many scientists have focused on understanding and harnessing the incredible potential of this two-dimensional form of carbon—but the discovery of graphene also kicked off a search for similar forms of other elements, in hopes that they might have unique and valuable properties as well.

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Monday, July 10, 2017

A Star is Born...in Surprising Circumstances

Stellar nurseries, the birthplace of new stars, are not as cozy and color-coordinated as Pinterest nurseries. Stellar nurseries feature dust and gas rather than lovable characters and perfect shades of blue or pink—cold expanses rather than cozy nooks.

As scientists have pieced together the story of how stars form, a model has emerged that highlights the role of a strong magnetic field. However, research recently published in The Astrophysical Journal Letters reveals that stellar nurseries may have environments that are much more varied and complex than previously thought. This information could help us better understand how stars like our sun form.

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