Meet the telescope behind the Pac-Man photos

According to the memes circling around this weekend, Mecha Pac-Man has a fondness for lunar cheese and starlight, gaping wide to gobble them both. In reality, the telescope behind the Pac-Man photograph is Auxiliary Telescope 2, an essential component of the most productive ground-based telescope on the planet. » 3/11/14 6:08pm 3/11/14 6:08pm

Real life laser scientists photographed as B-movie heroes

We don't see scientists portrayed as heroes very often in pop culture these days. Usually, scientists are the ones who unleash something terrible onto the world. But when photographer Robert Shults visited the Texas Petawatt Laser, one of the world's most powerful lasers, he was determined to capture the heroism of… » 2/26/14 6:00pm 2/26/14 6:00pm

What does a record made out of wood sound like?

Not great, but it's an interesting process. Maker Amanda Ghassaei decided to test how maple worked as a song-delivery medium by laser cutting her own wooden records. You can certainly hear the songs on each record, but Ghassaei explains the challenges of making high quality wooden records. » 5/11/13 11:30am 5/11/13 11:30am

Tomorrow's Material World is Being Built at the Molecular Foundry

The Molecular Foundry sounds like a laboratory out of a science fiction story, but it's as real as the rubber gloves sticking out of this metal-organic chemical vapor deposition tool. Last weekend, I went on a tour of this UC Berkeley facility, where scientists and entrepreneurs work at nanoscale, literally rebuilding… » 4/04/13 4:58pm 4/04/13 4:58pm

Physicist aims to publish a science fiction novel to raise $2 million…

A physicist is asking for help publishing his wild new science fiction book series — and possibly also creating a new superweapon that would change the face of war forever. Australian-born physicist Adam Weigold is trying to raise $20,000 on Kickstarter to pay for editing and marketing for his novel Dragon Empire,… » 1/15/13 5:30pm 1/15/13 5:30pm

Physicists demonstrate an actual tractor beam in the lab

It seems like we're getting closer to the Star Trek future by leaps and bounds these days. We recently learned that a NASA scientist has set his sights on building a warp drive, and now news has come in that a team of physicists have built their own tractor beam in the lab. Now, it's nothing to get too excited over —… » 10/24/12 2:40pm 10/24/12 2:40pm

Watch as lasers transform a centuries-old church into a psychedelic…

The projection mapping artists at the Macula Project have done something incredible with this baroque chapel in the Czech town of Olomouc. By using interactive light technology, they converted the church's interior into a massive musical instrument that can be manipulated by laser-pointer-wielding visitors. » 3/27/12 4:05pm 3/27/12 4:05pm

In the battle of puffer fish vs. laser pointer, we all win

It seems cats aren't the only creatures with an affinity for chasing little red dots. This puffer fish just can't resist chasing a laser around its tank. But if you try this home, please remember to dislodge your laser from your rifle before aiming it at the tank. We don't want any puffer fish harmed in the name of… » 2/26/12 10:30am 2/26/12 10:30am

Revolutionary laser technologies that could become tractor beams

The closer we come to inventing a viable tractor beam - a ray of light that can move objects - the more obvious it is that real tractor beams will not look anything like the glowing blue rays from science fiction. So how will beams of light actually move matter? Let's find out by looking at three ways that scientists… » 12/26/11 12:30pm 12/26/11 12:30pm

The acousto-optical effect that uses lasers to see sound

If you've ever sat in a sound "dead zone" in a movie theater or concert, you know what it's like to be at a loud event where everything sounds muffled and distorted. Luckily, lasers may soon put an end to these dead zones. The UK's National Physical Laboratory has figured out how to use lasers to see sound waves in a… » 11/08/11 7:00am 11/08/11 7:00am