Physics

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Category archives for Physics

Double Negative Kelvin

Reports that researchers elicited a temperature “lower than absolute zero” might make one question the meaning of the word absolute.  On Built on Facts, Matt Springer writes “temperature is a relationship between energy and entropy, and you can do some weird things to entropy and energy and get the formal definition of temperature to come…

Making Waves

On Built on Facts, Matt Springer writes that “there’s really no such thing as a purely continuous monochromatic light wave” and “any pulse of light that lasts a finite amount of time will actually contain a range of frequencies.” Pass this pulse of light through a medium such as glass, which “can have a different…

Reaching for the Moon

The moon entrances us—it is near yet far away, familiar, yet unremittingly mysterious. In synchronous rotation, it has a face it never shows. It pulls the oceans; it stirs the blood. It beckons into the unknown. On Universe, Claire L. Evans says that in 1969, six artists snuck “a minuscule enamel wafer inscribed with six…

Making Atoms Cold

While the superstar of the particle physics world, the Large Hadron Collider, gets all of the attention (and the glamor shots), there’s plenty of interesting science that can be done on the atomic level within an otherwise ordinary laboratory on the campus of an update New York university. Consider, for instance,the lab of Uncertain Principles‘…

Team USA’s World Cup dreams may have been dashed by Ghana over the weekend, but there’s nary a bad word to be said by the performance of its goalkeeper, Tim Howard, who again proved he’s capable of hanging with his peers from the global soccer powerhouses. But besides his spectacular saves, the one thing World…

Olympian Physics

Equations can hurt, although not as much as wiping out on the downhill or faceplanting in the halfpipe. On Dot Physics, Rhett Alain explains the amazing angles at which Apolo Ohno leans around the short track, writing “a skater wouldn’t have to lean at all if the skater was stopped. As the angle gets smaller…

Endless Frontiers of Science

Science is knowledge, and knowledge can inspire certainty. But certainty, as much a fruit of science, can be its enemy. Whatever wonders may meet the eye, there has always been more to the world. On Oscillator, Christina Agapakis explores the frontiers of synthetic biology, where researchers hope to manufacture “altered proteins or entirely different biological…

A Few Head Scratchers

Love it or hate it, physics is a demanding subject. It defines much of our knowledge and experience in a daunting variety of ways. But really, you do love physics, don’t you? On Uncertain Principles, Chad Orzel describes a modern implementation of “Maxwell’s Demon,” a dreamed-of 19th century device that could “cool a gas without…

High in the Sky

It’s Friday, time to kick back and let ScienceBlogs do your homework for you. On Cognitive Daily, Dave Munger wonders how outfielders are so good at running to the right spot to catch a fly ball—are they calculating trajectories in their heads, or making optical deductions? To answer this question, researchers put virtual reality helmets…

Round and Round

Yesterday was the winter solstice, meaning the sun concluded its six-month southward course and seemed to “stand still” before beginning its journey north. Of course, this being a heliocentric neighborhood, the tilt, orbit, and rotation of Earth are what really move the sun through the sky. But don’t let that stop you from appreciating colorful…