Physics

Pure Pedantry

Category archives for Physics

I caught this interesting sentence over at Marginal Revolution: as consumption approaches satiation, workers reduce their hours of work to prevent themselves from actually reaching satiation. More technically, as workers approach satiation, their labor supply curves start to “bend backwards.” The result is that rising labor demand stemming from rising productivity raises wages yet reduces…

Scientists by have found evidence for the holographic principle in the search for gravity waves: According to Hogan, the holographic principle radically changes our picture of space-time. Theoretical physicists have long believed that quantum effects will cause space-time to convulse wildly on the tiniest scales. At this magnification, the fabric of space-time becomes grainy and…

Apparently, some people think that the name “Large Hadron Collider” fails to capture the terrific grandeur of the device’s mission. The Royal Society of Chemistry had a contest to pick an newer, better name, but the winning name proved to be “Halo.” No way can they call it that. That name is so copyrighted that…

Large Hadron Rap

In honor of the opening of the Large Hadron Collider at CERN, Michigan State University graduate student Kate McAlpine has an LHC rap on YouTube. The best part: the science is dead on.

Dennis Overbye of the NYTimes had this to say of cosmologists who are speculating about disembodied brains spontaneously generated in empty space: If you are inclined to skepticism this debate might seem like further evidence that cosmologists, who gave us dark matter, dark energy and speak with apparent aplomb about gazillions of parallel universes, have…

This warp drive is not eco-friendly

I am not even close to qualified enough to critique this paper, but I did find it interesting. The authors speculate about how you could create a warp drive — an engine for faster than light travel — by creating a bubble of expansion and contraction in spacetime. They speculate that an advanced enough civilization…

I had not thought that water was a poorly understood substance. Here are two interesting water articles that show that there is still more to learn. Who knew. First, if you put water in a high DC current it can form a bridge between two beakers: When exposed to a high-voltage electric field, water in…

Optical buffering of light

Photons can carry enormous amount of information, but one of the problems in using them to encode information is that they are difficult to store for even short periods (they are moving at the speed of light after all!). University of Rochester scientists have taken a step in solving the practical problems of using photons…

German scientists have created a metamaterial with a negative refractive index for far red light: The trick is to assemble an array of electronic components that resonate with the electric and magnetic fields of the light waves as they pass through. These materials are unlike any conventional substance, hence the name “metamaterial”. Pendry suggested that…

Hydrogen is great, but I feel like there are some structural and technical issues that have to be solved before…you know…the angels fly down to save us and hugs and bunnies abound. Popular Mechanics introduces a note of realism to the debate on alternative fuels with a great article on hydrogen fuel: At first glance,…