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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