Skip to main content

Posts

Showing posts from December, 2017

Waves & Whirlpools: on Energy, Structure, Matter, & Antimatter (Part II)

In our last post, we introduced the pond—the surface of a body of water serving as an intriguing analogy for spacetime—with waves as a transient expression of energy, much like photons or gravitational waves, and eddies representing charged particles like protons and electrons. We found that two whirlpools spinning the same direction will repel one another, much like two particles of the same charge—but what about ones spinning opposite directions?

Waves & Whirlpools: on Energy, Structure, Matter, & Antimatter (Part I)

When physicists try to describe spacetime and its interactions with matter, the analogy we invariably seem to fall back on involves an elastic sheet, with bowling balls creating curvature on it and marbles orbiting those bowling balls like planets around a sun.

Ask a Physicist: Time Dilation

This week, Amandeep from Toronto wrote in to ask:
According to Einstein’s theory of relativity time slows down as speed of the object increases. What is the rate of change of time? E.g. if time was being measured by a simple clock, can we see the hands of the clock slowing down at a certain rate as a result of increase in speed?
Thanks,
Amandeep

Small Chirps Could Provide Big Insights on Tiny Structures

Chirps, short bursts of (often annoying) high-pitched sounds, are generally a way of conveying information. Birds chirp to warn their feathered friends of impending danger. Male crickets chirp to announce their intentions to females. Smoke alarms chirp to keep you awake all night until you finally get up and change that low battery.

How To Build Better Rockets By Crumpling Beer Cans

Knowing more about how a metal tube crumples might improve the design of everything from beer cans to space rockets. Now scientists find that poking such cylinders in the side could help predict when they might buckle from weights or pressure from above.

Celebrate the Holidays with Famous Physicist Snowflakes!

It's the holiday season again, and the PhysicsCentral HQ has become a festive wonderland of garlands, snowflakes, and enormous tins of flavored popcorn tempting us at every turn. Today, we're going to help you get into the holiday spirit with the help of our friends at the Niels Bohr Library, who have cooked up a special set of winter decorations for your home, classroom, and office!

What Does a Leader Sound Like? Scientists Reveal the Power of a Voice

What is it that makes us trust one politician over another? Surely vision and values are key, but as science demonstrates, we are influenced by much subtler things as well. It turns out that our perception of political leaders and even our voting preferences can be swayed by something as simple as the acoustic properties of a leader’s voice, according to Rosario Signorello and Didier Demolin from the Laboratoire de Phonétique et Phonologie in Paris. This is the subject of the work they presented at this week’s 174th Meeting of the Acoustical Society of America in New Orleans, Louisiana.

Surprising Complexity in One Dimension

Unlike one-dimensional personalities, one-dimensional materials are actually very complex—so complex that scientists are still working to decipher their behaviors. In 1-D materials, particle movement is confined to a line. Two independent groups of researchers, one based in Australia and one in China, performed some of the first experiments to put a 50-year-old theory about such materials to the test.

Whispers of Light Reveal Secrets of Ultracold Water

How low can you go? That's the question a collaboration of sixteen European scientists have set out to answer, in regards to one of the most ubiquitous-yet-mysterious substances on Earth: water.