It seems like a basic enough question, but when you realize that energy can’t be created or destroyed, things get less obvious fast. The knee-jerk reaction is to say that the light gets absorbed into the walls, but how? What does it even mean to say that light gets “absorbed?”
February 20th, 20132 Comments, All Posts, by Carter Bowles.
November 28th, 2012No Comments, All Posts, by Carter Bowles.
MIT physicists working at the LHC may have discovered a new kind of matter by accident. The existence of this type of matter, called “color-glass condensate,” was proposed shortly before the discovery.
Up until the the 1960s, physicists believed that time worked the same forward as it did backward. For example, in classical physics, if you reversed the momentum of every particle in the universe, the universe would look exactly like a tape being run in reverse.
This of course begs the question: if the laws of physics work the same way forward as they do backward, why does time flow forward and not the other way around?
A new paper hints at an answer. The forward flow of time may not be an illusion. At the very least, we can now be sure time has an “arrow.” The laws of physics work differently in reverse. Now we just need to figure out why.
October 29th, 2012No Comments, All Posts, by Carter Bowles.
Is it possible to send messages faster than the speed of light? A new theory could have us testing for an answer within just a few years.
The possibility of faster than light communication is loved by science fiction authors, and mostly loathed by the physics community, mainly because according to Einstein’s (very well tested) theory of relativity it ought to mean time travel is possible, which creates all kinds of unsightly logical paradoxes (among other things).
It is actually for precisely this reason that Einstein despised what quantum theory ended up being, despite his important role in its creation. Einstein and others mathematically demonstrated a phenomenon called quantum entanglement. This phenomenon allows two particles to communicate with one another instantaneously, apparently in complete violation of relativity.
October 17th, 2012No Comments, All Posts, by Carter Bowles.
Engineers at the Johns Hopkins and Lehigh Universities are pushing the limits of a phenomenon called Raman scattering, and are beginning to ask if it is possible to actually cool a circuit using beams of light.
October 10th, 2012No Comments, All Posts, by Carter Bowles.
You are almost certainly familiar with the popular equation: E=mc^2, but do you know what it means? If you’ve read a pop science book every now and then, or paid attention in physics and chemistry classes, you may already know that it means mass and energy are equivalent. But this doesn’t necessarily mean what you think it does, either.
First off, we need to distinguish between mass and matter. Mass is a measurable quantity related to concepts like force and momentum. The more mass an object has, the more force it takes to accelerate it at the same pace.
Matter, at this point in our understanding of physics, isn’t necessarily as easy to define as we might think it should be. Matter isn’t necessarily solid (it can be liquid, solid, gas, or plasma), or even “tangible” (neutrinos are matter, but they pass through almost everything like a ghost).
October 5th, 2012No Comments, All Posts, by Carter Bowles.
Scientists recently measured a quantum state without changing it, and researchers discover that human beings appear to be generous when they think intuitively, and greedy when they think carefully and deliberately.
September 21st, 2012
Friday Roundup: A Room Temperature Superconductor? Evolution in the Lab, and Turning Heat to ElectricityNo Comments, All Posts, by Carter Bowles.
In today’s Friday Roundup we spot evidence of superconductivity at room temperature, and researchers beat a record for transforming heat directly into electricity. Meanwhile, the genetic evolution of a new trait in bacteria is documented in detail.
September 14th, 2012No Comments, All Posts, by Carter Bowles.
This week we look back on yet another record set for quantum entanglement. Meanwhile, astronomers spot a spiral galaxy in images of the early universe, the very first of its kind. And could a Japanese mathematician have proven a relationship between prime numbers?
August 16th, 2012
Friday Roundup: New Breakthrough at LHC, Record Shattering Entanglement, and Plate Tectonics on MarsNo Comments, All Posts, by Carter Bowles.
For today’s Friday Roundup, the LHC probes quark soup, plate tectonics are discovered on Mars, and a quantum entanglement record has been shattered. Also a method for extracting energy from wastewater could turn water treatment plants into giant batteries.