Car crashes, nuclear explosions and even asteroid impacts are relatively puny compared with some of our universe's other explosive events. Heck, a violent, seemingly infinitely hot explosion is probably what set the whole universe in motion in the first place. So big collisions, like those between black holes many times the mass of our sun, could have some pretty wild consequences. Like scarring spacetime itself.
Tagged With physics
Something unusual happens when a drop of molten glass falls into water. As it cools, it creates a crystal clear tadpole-like droplet that's bulletproof on one end, but impossibly fragile on the other. We've known about these droplets for 400 years, but scientists have only recently figured out what makes them almost indestructible.
Remember how you spent half your time at uni complaining about how expensive textbooks were? It could've been much worse. A few weeks ago, a copy of Galileo's Discourses and Mathematical Demonstrations Relating to Two New Sciencessold at auction for just over $US790,600 ($1,073,570). Thankfully, the text is no longer required reading.
Anyone with a colour printer knows that selling replacement ink cartridges is the quickest way to become a millionaire. But what if your printer never needed a single drop of ink to produce colour images at impossibly high resolutions? A new laser printer can already do that by etching microscopic patterns onto sheets of plastic.
FERNEY-VOLTAIRE, FRANCE — Some particle physics experiments are easier to ride than others. The giant detectors that take pictures of particle collisions on kilometres-round rings don't really have anywhere to sit, and the intense bureaucracy would probably demand an unwieldy amount of paperwork for would-be riders. The thing that stopped me from riding the whale-sized CAST experiment, however, wasn't fear of disrupting its search for dark matter particles. It was that deputy spokesperson Giovanni Cantatore misplaced the harness.
GENEVA, SWITZERLAND — Hiding in the suburbs behind trees and a meadow with furry brown donkeys is a warehouse with an elevator that only visits negative floors. Hundreds of feet down, hyper complex detectors inside an octagonal tube the colour and size of a large barn whistle loudly and peer like cameras at protons, the positively charged bits at the center of every atom. Those cameras may have just produced an exotic phase of matter in a brand new way. Maybe.
Conceptually, particle physics experiments are surprisingly simple. Smash a buttload of particles together, and look at what comes out. The results will either confirm whatever the business-as-usual theory is, or, if there's a really crystal clear deviation from that theory, they might prove some new hypothesis about some new particles. But the middle ground, where the difference between what we know and what we see is still fuzzy, is where a lot of results live.
Nothing seems to sum up the universe's descent into disordered chaos quite like shoes getting untied. Try as your shoes might to keep themselves together (unless you're rocking Velcro straps), inevitably their strings will come unravelled, causing you to trip and fall in some embarrassingly public setting.
Most asteroids orbit the Sun in a counterclockwise fashion, but a newly-discovered object nicknamed Bee-Zed goes against the grain, spinning around the Solar System the opposite way. Not only that, it frequently ventures within Jupiter's orbital space — putting it on a potential collision course with the gas giant and its 6000 co-orbiting asteroids.
The past few years have been incredible for physics discoveries. Scientists spotted the Higgs boson, a particle they'd been hunting for almost 50 years, in 2012, and gravitational waves, which were theorised 100 years ago, in 2016. This year, they're slated to take a picture of a black hole. So, thought some theorists, why not combine all of the craziest physics ideas into one, a physics turducken? What if we, say, try to spot the dark matter radiating off of black holes through their gravitational waves?
Orbiting our dusty red neighbour are two puny potatoes, Phobos and Deimos. They look like they belong among the worst (but not the absolute worst) moons in the solar system, but their existence might tell a crazy story about Mars' history.