In the 1950s, physicist Chien-Shiung Wu was doing research at Columbia University when two other physicists approached her with a bold idea, but no way to prove it—until Wu found one. »
If you place a wineglass before a speaker emitting waves at the vessel’s resonant frequency, it will vibrate, or even shatter. But resonant frequencies aren’t unique to stemware; every object has one (or, more often, several). Even googly eyes. »
Red sprites are poorly-understood atmospheric phenomena. They are bright glowing shapes that temporarily appear above the clouds. The Florida Institute of Technology has captured high-speed video of a sprite in action. »
You might think early movies got called “flickers” and then “flicks” because they flicked through a series of images. Not true. What gave movies their nickname was a bug, not a feature. Learn about the outdated technology that made the images flicker far more than they should have. »
This is amazing. During the breeding season, American alligators call for mates with a deep loud roar. It’s preceded by a pulse of infrasound that sets the water dancing. »
Astronomers have spotted a Neptune-sized planet with a rather unexpected feature—a comet-like tail that trails for millions of miles. Nothing quite like it has ever been seen before.
This is so cool! Here’s a video that shows an ink drop getting hit, all of a sudden, by a laser. We can see what happens when the laser pulse is out of focus, and the drop is pushed. And we can see the drop get obliterated when it’s hit with a focused laser.
During WWII, American and British military developed a system to retrieve people following airborne operations, without landing. Then after the war, the Americans experimented with other ways to pull people aboard a plane in mid air. Check out some bizarre videos of people being plucked into the sky. »
At some future juncture, we’re going to need more living space, whether it be found on another planet or through the expanse of our planet’s existing surface area. In his latest venture into worldbuilding, Oxford University research fellow Anders Sandberg explores some of the more extreme possibilities.
Christopher Nolan’s Interstellar broke new ground in its scientifically accurate portrayal of black holes and wormholes. A scientific journal is now urging educators to feature the film in their classes when teaching such topics as general relativity.
Lithium batteries are compact, efficient, and store a lot of energy. They also, occasionally, catch on fire. Here’s how that happens. »
In less than five weeks, New Horizons will zip past the Pluto-Charon system in a brief but historic encounter. Given the huge interest in Pluto, it’s fair to ask: Why won’t mission planners let the probe hang out a while? »
Life is dependent upon a lot of coincidences, but there’s only one that was so improbable that physicists laughed at the very idea of it. Here’s why something known as the “beryllium bottleneck” should have choked out all life before it even got started. »
What caused this unique gas disk? Artist’s impression of vast disk of gas surrounding a bright Wolf-Rayet star whose companion star is pulling gas away from it, causing some of the stellar gas to escape and form this never-before-seen disk. »
Here’s an example of science becoming dangerously poetic. Under the right conditions, three atoms that all repel each other will be forced into an inseparable triad. It’s time to get existential. »
This is a fun video, not only because it combines many staples of mesmerizing internet videos – slow motion video, water, electric charge, fire – but because it shows us the scientists reacting to them. I love the group high-fives after they burst a bubble using static electricity.
As of today, the Large Hadron Collider will run at full, record-breaking power levels, as scientists kick off a new set of experiments that will help us understand the secrets of particle physics. »
This oddly beautiful video shows us how water warms over a heat source in little slow-motion eruptions. Watch the dye rise up from the hot plate and spread over the water like the world’s most benign mushroom cloud. »
For over six decades, scientists have speculated about the existence of plasma structures that reside in the magnetosphere’s inner layers. Researchers in Australia have now created 3D images of these tubes for the very first time, proving they’re quite real. »
Imagine a puff of cigarette smoke suddenly turning into a sphere and rolling around. That’s what happens with plasma becomes a plasmoid — it forms a structure that contains itself and moves as a unit. We finally have pictures of plasmoids as well as our first simulation of them. Here’s why that’s a big deal. »