The Physicist Who Defied the Temperance Laws of 1905 Berkeley

Ludwig Boltzmann is best known as the Austrian physicist who wrote down the statistical formula for entropy, but if the physics thing hadn’t worked out, he would have made an excellent travel writer. The travelogue he composed of his 1905 trip to Berkeley, California, is chock-full of amusing anecdotes, keen… »Saturday 1:30pm11/21/15 1:30pm


A Satellite Mishap Is Letting Physicists Test Einstein's Theory of Relativity

When life gives you lemons, make lemonade, right? That, at least, is the motto the European Space Agency seems to have embraced with respect to two wayward satellites, which are being repurposed to provide the most accurate assessment yet of how gravity affects the passage of time. »11/14/15 5:30pm11/14/15 5:30pm

A New Laser Could Make Materials Hotter Than the Sun Almost Instantly

Ever feel like an insanely high powered laser could solve your problems? Fusion researchers sure do! And now, they may have the blueprint they’ve been searching for. New theoretical work indicates it could be possible to build a laser that heats materials to temperatures hotter than the center of the sun—within a… »11/13/15 1:00pm11/13/15 1:00pm

A New Way of Thinking About Spacetime That Turns Everything Inside Out

One of the weirdest aspects of quantum mechanics is entanglement, because two entangled particles affecting each other across vast distances seems to violate a fundamental principle of physics called locality: things that happen at a particular point in space can only influence the points closest to it. But what if… »11/10/15 4:00pm11/10/15 4:00pm

For the First Time, Physicists Have Measured the "Strong Force" of Antimatter

The nuclear strong force binds the smallest bits of matter together to form atoms, thereby making our material world possible. Physicists at Brookhaven National Laboratory have made the first-ever measurement of a similar strong force for antimatter — the mirror image of regular matter that lies at the heart of one of… »11/09/15 6:34pm11/09/15 6:34pm

We Probably Haven't Found Evidence for the Multiverse

Perhaps you saw the news this week about new evidence that we do, indeed, live in a multiverse. A scientist claims he’s found signs in the cosmic microwave background radiation — the afterglow, so to speak, from the Big Bang — that our universe collided with another universe early in our cosmic history. »11/06/15 9:15am11/06/15 9:15am

Lampreys Could Hold the Key to Better Underwater Robots

The lamprey—a jawless, toothy suction funnel that looks like it sprung to life out of the Alien storyboards—is the sort of creature whose existence most of us would prefer not to dwell on. But lampreys are among the most efficient swimmers on Earth, and their unusual stroke could help engineers design low-cost… »11/03/15 5:00pm11/03/15 5:00pm

How Many Laser Pointers Would It Take to Kill a Human?

Everybody knows not to shine laser pointers in your eye. They could damage your vision! (Emphasis on could, since your eye’s blink reflex would probably protect your retina.) But what if you were an evil villain determined to make a death ray? How many laser pointers would it take to create a deadly weapon? »10/15/15 4:20pm10/15/15 4:20pm

How Is It Possible That Galaxies Are Moving Away From Us Faster Than the Speed of Light?


According to Albert Einstein, the speed of light is an absolute constant beyond which nothing can move faster. So, how can galaxies be traveling faster than the speed of light if nothing is supposed to be able to break this cosmic speed limit?
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Here's How Black Holes Turn on the Lights In the Universe Around Them

Despite their popular reputation as dark inescapable pits, black holes really put out a lot of energy. They thrust out jets of matter. They get matter to heat up through friction as it swirls around them. And, in some cases, they contribute to bursts of incredibly high energy photons, thanks to a phenomenon first… »10/06/15 7:35pm10/06/15 7:35pm