Gambit…

Topics: Civics, Civil Rights, Climate Change, Existentialism, Fascism, Human Rights Noun: a chess opening in which a player risks one or more pawns or a minor piece to gain an advantage in position Ninety percent of Fox Propaganda employees are fully vaccinated. The employees are required to disclose their vaccine status. The network tests theContinue reading “Gambit…”

Alvarez, and Apocalypse…

Topics: Dinosaurs, Nobel Prize, Research In the run-up to the announcement of the 2021 Nobel Prize for Physics on 5 October, we’re running a series of blog posts looking at previous recipients and what they did after their Nobel-prize-winning work. In this first instalment Laura Hiscott explores the wide-ranging research of Luis Walter Alvarez, who won theContinue reading “Alvarez, and Apocalypse…”

Cooling Teleportation…

Topics: CERN, Condensed Matter Physics, Entanglement, Lasers, Quantum Mechanics Much of modern experimental physics relies on a counterintuitive principle: Under the right circumstances, zapping matter with a laser doesn’t inject energy into the system; rather, it sucks energy out. By cooling the system to a fraction of a degree above absolute zero, one can observeContinue reading “Cooling Teleportation…”

LCE…

Topics: Materials Science, Mechanical Engineering, Nanotechnology, Robotics A new artificial fiber spun from a polymer called liquid crystal elastomer (LCE) using high-voltage electricity replicates the strength, responsiveness, and power density of human muscle fibers, scientists report. When powered by heat or near-infrared light, the fibers pulled upward and downward or oscillated back and forth. “OurContinue reading “LCE…”

Life As We Don’t Know It…

Topics: Astrobiology, Philosophy, SETI, Space Exploration In my freshman seminar at Harvard last semester, I mentioned that the nearest star to the sun, Proxima Centauri, emits mostly infrared radiation and has a planet, Proxima b, in the habitable zone around it. As a challenge to the students, I asked: “Suppose there are creatures crawling on the surfaceContinue reading “Life As We Don’t Know It…”

It Can Happen Here…

Topics: Civics, Civil Rights, Existentialism, Fascism, Human Rights The novel was published during the heyday of fascism in Europe, which was reported on by Dorothy Thompson, [Sinclair] Lewis’s wife.[3] The novel describes the rise of Berzelius “Buzz” Windrip, a demagogue who is elected President of the United States, after fomenting fear and promising drastic economic and social reforms whileContinue reading “It Can Happen Here…”

E=mc^2…

Topics: Applied Physics, Einstein, General Relativity, Special Relativity According to Einstein’s theory of special relativity, first published in 1905, light can be converted into matter when two light particles collide with intense force. But, try as they might, scientists have never been able to do this. No one could create the conditions needed to transformContinue reading “E=mc^2…”

Tech Authoritarianism…

Topics: Computer Science, Politics, Social Media To build the metaverse, Facebook needs us to get used to smart glasses. Last week Facebook released its new $299 “Ray-Ban Stories” glasses. Wearers can use them to record and share images and short videos, listen to music, and take calls. The people who buy these glasses will soon be outContinue reading “Tech Authoritarianism…”

Steve Austin’s Beads…

Topics: Biotechnology, Magnetism, Materials Science, Medicine, Nanotechnology, Robotics Cultural reference: The Six Million Dollar Man, NBC In recent years, health and fitness wearables have gained popularity as platforms to wirelessly track daily physical activities, by counting steps, for example, or recording heartbeats directly from the wrist. To achieve this, inertial sensors in contact with theContinue reading “Steve Austin’s Beads…”

Exciton Surfing…

Topics: Alternate Energy, Applied Physics, Materials Science, Nanotechnology, Solar Power Organic solar cells (OSCs) are fascinating devices where layers of organic molecules or polymers carry out light absorption and subsequent transport of energy – the tasks that make a solar cell work. Until now, the efficiency of OSCs has been thought to be constrained byContinue reading “Exciton Surfing…”