Physics

Category archives for Physics

Have you ever thought about what “nothing” truly is? We used to think about it in terms of simply removing all the particles from a given region of space, which is a pretty intuitive definition of nothing. But quantum physics is notorious for defying our intuition. When we take a look at this “empty” space,…

The status of the Universe: 2015 (Synopsis)

“People are trapped in history and history is trapped in them.” -James A. Baldwin We’ve come a long way since we first started watching the night skies. Even just a century ago, we thought our Universe was governed by Newtonian gravity and consisted only of our Milky Way and the stars inside. In the past…

Quantum Immortality (Synopsis)

They say that a cat has nine lives, mostly because of their uncanny ability to find themselves in — and escape from — frequently perilous situations. Perhaps, of all the animals that he could have chosen, that’s why Schrödinger made his famous thought experiment about the most diminutive of felines. But there’s an incredible outcome that…

We all have our own interpretation of what “the scientific method” is, but there’s always at least one thing that they all have in common: the ultimate arbiter of whether a theory or idea is valid depends on the evidence that comes back from physically observable phenomena. But not everyone necessarily agrees with this in the way…

Does water freeze or boil in space? (Synopsis)

“You can’t cross the sea merely by standing and staring at the water.” -Rabindranath Tagore And you can’t answer a hypothetical question for certain, at least in science, without doing the experiment for yourself. Here on Earth, liquid water is plentiful; our planet has the stable temperatures and pressures that water needs to exist in its…

“We… are what happens when a primordial mixture of hydrogen and helium evolves for so long that it begins to ask where it came from.” -Jill Tarter But that doesn’t mean we can’t also look to the hydrogen itself, and use its information to learn about where other things may have come from! An extraordinary example…

Physics at the Universe’s Limits (Synopsis)

When you think about cosmology and the fundamental questions scientists are trying to address, you inevitably wind up thinking about dark matter, dark energy and black holes as the three biggest topics that shape our view of the Universe. But there are plenty of other aspects to this branch of science that deserve at least…

The Chameleon in the Vacuum Chamber (Synopsis)

The particles of the standard model, some type of dark matter and dark energy, and the four fundamental forces. That’s all there is, right? What if that isn’t true? What if dark energy, for example, isn’t simply energy inherent to space itself? What if it isn’t just an unusual property of gravitation, but rather a dynamical…

Wishing Doesn’t Make It So (Synopsis)

When our science fiction fills our heads with ideas that could make our lives tremendously improved, we like to believe it’s only a matter of time before technology catches up with our imaginations. Indeed, tricorders, wireless communicators and rocket ships were just some of the breakthroughs predicted by sci-fi on their way to becoming commonplace technology.…

Nature is not symmetric (Synopsis)

“It is possible to commit no mistakes and still lose. That is not a weakness. That is life.” -Jean-Luc Picard We like to think of nature as beautiful, elegant and infallible. Yet our notions of what’s beautiful and elegant don’t always line up with what reality gives us. Take the notion of symmetry, for example:…