Why are electrons doomed to remain forever separated from their…

We all know the story. Electrons and protons are attracted to each other. That's why a balloon rubbed on hair clings to clothes. The electrons it gained are crying out for protons and dragging the rest of the balloon along with them. But electrons and protons are right next to each other in the atom. Why don't they… » 2/24/12 7:20am 2/24/12 7:20am

Brian Cox explains the interconnectedness of the universe, explodes…

The Pauli exclusion principle is the quantum mechanical concept that no two identical particles in all the Universe may occupy the same quantum state simultaneously. What does that mean, exactly? Well, for starters, it means that the butterfly effect has nothing on the consequences of the Pauli exclusion principle. » 2/21/12 8:50am 2/21/12 8:50am

Is the periodic table the law or just a good suggestion?

This week on "Ask a Physicist" we have a doomsday twist. Is it possible to make strange new elements that could ultimately destroy the world or are you destined to be Mendeleev's bitch? In this week's column, we find out. » 4/13/11 11:00am 4/13/11 11:00am