Advertisements

Trump’s New Space Force Missile Might Be Too ‘Super-Duper’

Last week the White House unveiled the flag for the new branch of the US military, the Space Force. But wait! There’s more. The president also said the US is developing a new “super-duper missile” that will be 17 times faster than the ones we have today. I don’t know everything there is to know […]

Advertisements
Read More

A Grad Student Solved the Epic Conway Knot Problem—in a Week

To make a knotted object in four-dimensional space, you need a two-dimensional sphere, not a one-dimensional loop. Just as three dimensions provide enough room to build knotted loops but not enough room for them to unravel, four dimensions provide such an environment for knotted spheres, which mathematicians first constructed in the 1920s. It’s hard to […]

Read More

This Lab ‘Cooks’ With AI to Make New Materials

At the University of Toronto, Ted Sargent runs a test kitchen of sorts. His team, composed of researchers and students, develops recipes, measures and mixes ingredients carefully, and then evaluates the aftermath. The concoctions mostly—if not always—turn out to be inedible. Fortunately, though, flavor is not the point. They’re not making food. Sargent’s team cooks […]

Read More

‘Milestone’ Evidence for Anyons, a Third Kingdom of Particles

Every last particle in the universe—from a cosmic ray to a quark—is either a fermion or a boson. These categories divide the building blocks of nature into two distinct kingdoms. Now researchers have discovered the first examples of a third particle kingdom. Original story reprinted with permission from Quanta Magazine, an editorially independent publication of […]

Read More

The Science of Temperature Is Weirder Than You Think

The point I’m making in this section is that it’s super easy to make things hot—because it’s probably going to happen anyway. No matter what you do, something is likely to increase in temperature, because your actions tend to transfer energy to other objects. How to Make Stuff Colder But what about making things colder? […]

Read More

What Goes On in a Proton? Quark Math Still Needs Answers

Objects are made of atoms, and atoms are likewise the sum of their parts—electrons, protons, and neutrons. Dive into one of those protons or neutrons, however, and things get weird. Three particles called quarks ricochet back and forth at nearly the speed of light, snapped back by interconnected strings of particles called gluons. Bizarrely, the […]

Read More

Science Fairs Are Canceled. Maybe That’s Just as Well

The global pandemic has eliminated so many public events, and it sucks. Sports, canceled. Concerts, canceled. Graduations, canceled. In Louisiana, where I live, there are usually a bunch of awesome spring festivals; not this year. Also canceled, just about every school- and state-level science fair and, as far as I can tell, pretty much every […]

Read More

The Universe Is Expanding Faster Than It Should. Why?

The discrepancy between how fast the universe seems to be expanding and how fast we expect it to expand is one of cosmology’s most stubbornly persistent anomalies. Cosmologists base their expectation of the expansion rate—a rate known as the Hubble constant—on measurements of radiation emitted shortly after the Big Bang. This radiation reveals the precise […]

Read More

Physicists Clear the Air With a Sweet Frickin’ Laser Beam

In the first two months of 2019, Malte Schröder spent several weeks on a suburban Maryland college campus directing a dramatic scene that was set entirely inside a small styrofoam box. First, he set the stage by filling the box with thick fog, a thousand times denser than a cumulus cloud. Then—the lights. To illuminate […]

Read More

The Legacy of Math Luminary John Conway, Lost to Covid-19

In modern mathematics, many of the biggest advances are great elaborations of theory. Mathematicians move mountains, but their strength comes from tools, highly sophisticated abstractions that can act like a robotic glove, enhancing the wearer’s strength. John Conway was a throwback, a natural problem-solver whose unassisted feats often left his colleagues stunned. Original story reprinted […]

Read More

‘Common Sense’ Is No Substitute for Science in a Pandemic

In his daily coronavirus briefings, President Trump regularly touts the malaria drug hydroxychloroquine as possibly one of the “biggest game-changers in the history of medicine”—based on what seems to be a few anecdotal reports of mild benefits in Covid-19 patients. When a reporter asked Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious […]

Read More

An Imbalance Among Tiny Particles Offers a Big Cosmology Clue

Physicists have detected the strongest evidence yet of a behavioral difference between elementary particles called neutrinos and their mirror-image twins, antineutrinos. The asymmetry could be the key to why so much more matter than antimatter arose during the Big Bang—further explaining why anything at all exists today, since matter and antimatter in equal portions would […]

Read More

Stephen Wolfram Invites You to Solve Physics

Holy matrix! In other words, he’s suggesting that what happens in these models, which exist only as computations, is as valid as phenomena in what we call the real world—even though these model universes are spectacularly less complex than the actual universe. (Even building his simulations with a 100-core network he has access to as […]

Read More