physics

If You Fold A Paper In Half 103 Times It Will Get As Thick As The Universe

The myth: You can’t fold a paper in half more than eight times.* The reality: Given a paper large enough — and enough energy — you can fold it as many times as you want. The problem: If you fold it 103 times, the thickness of your paper will be larger than the observable Universe: 93 billion light-years. Seriously.


How Quantum Mechanics Explains Global Warming

We all know that carbon dioxide is contributing to the warming of our planet, but… how, exactly? In this video, Lieven Scheire explains how quantum mechanics holds the answer.


This Machine Generates Electricity From Humidity

This silver cube looks like it belongs on a spaceship — but actually it’s way more exciting than that. In fact, it can create electricity from humidity, as water condenses on its internal surfaces.


Science May Have Found A Boron-Based Bucky Ball Replacement

Buckminster fullerene molecules, the naturally occurring spheres made up of 60 carbon atoms, have long been a darling of the nanotechnology industry. But now, scientists have found a similar structure of boron that could prove equally exciting.


There's A New Material That's So Black You Can't See It

A team of British researchers has created a record-breaking material, but you might struggle to tell — because it’s so black that you can barely see it. The new material, called Vantablack, is a coating made using carbon nanotubes, which absorbs all but 0.035 per cent of visible light.


Explaining Particle Accelerators With A Vacuum And 1000 Foam Balls

If you know what a “Time Projection Chamber” or “Proton Synchrotron Booster” is, you’re probably a physicist. And if you can explain them to non-physicists, you’re a hero. This complicated glass model attempts to make understanding particle physics a little bit easier — with the help of a vacuum cleaner and 150 metres of tubing.


If Einstein Had Never Been Born, Would We Still Have Nuclear Weapons?

Albert Einstein and his equation E=mc² are famously connected to the modern atomic age. But as nuclear historian Alex Wellerstein writes in this counter-factual account of history, the great physicist mattered less than you’d think in the invention of the nuclear bomb.


The Aloof Blackjack Player Who Created Our Digital World

Every digital device you use operates on a string of ones and zeroes, the binary “yes/no” decision at the foundation of modern computing. It’s a concept so fundamental to our modern day that we rarely stop to wonder where it came from. But it’s all the work of one man: Claude Shannon, whose fascinating story you’ve likely never heard.


Why The Moon Looks Bigger On The Horizon

This is a question that has been debated for several thousand years. One popular myth, dating all the way back to Aristotle in the 4th century BC and which still endures somewhat today, is that it is simply a case of magnification caused by the Earth’s atmosphere.


Your Next Smartphone Could Have Security Sensors Built Into Its Screen

The slab of glass on the front of your phone currently detects your finger prods and allows light to pour through — but soon it could provide an extra layer of security too.