Articles from General Physics News

Running roaches, flapping moths create a new physics of organisms

Sand-swimming lizards, slithering robotic snakes, dusk-flying moths and running roaches all have one thing in common: They're increasingly being studied by physicists interested in understanding the shared strategies these creatures have developed to overcome the challenges of moving though their environments.

Rogue wave analysis supports investigation of the El Faro sinking

A new analysis done to support the investigation into the 2015 sinking of the El Faro cargo ship has calculated the likelihood of a massive rogue wave during Hurricane Joaquin in October of that year - and demonstrated a new technique for evaluating the probability of rogue waves over space and time.

Nonlinear physics bridges thoughts to sounds in birdsong

The beautiful sound of birdsongs emerging from the trees is a wonderful example of how much nature can still teach us, even as much about their origins are still mysterious to us. About 40 percent of bird species learn to vocalize when they are exposed to a tutor, a behavior of interest to many neurologists and neurobiologists. The other 60 percent can vocalize instinctually in isolation. The variety across species, and the relationship between the nervous system and biomechanics makes birdsong production a complex process to unravel and understand.

New approach boosts performance in thermoelectric materials

Thermoelectric materials are considered a key resource for the future - able to produce electricity from sources of heat that would otherwise go to waste, from power plants, vehicle tailpipes and elsewhere, without generating additional greenhouse gases. Although a number of materials with thermoelectric properties have been discovered, most produce too little power for practical applications.

An original method of cooling ions could have new and interesting uses

When investigating atoms, scientists face a challenge: At room temperature, individual atoms in a gas have kinetic energy, and fly around at large velocities. Temperature is, in essence, the relative movement between atoms; thus the goal of getting the atoms to have small relative velocities involves freezing them to extremely cold temperatures. A group at the Weizmann Institute of Science has now developed new universal method for cooling ions.

Physicists guide electromagnetic waves along an infinitesimal line

(—Physicists have demonstrated a new mode of electromagnetic wave called a "line wave," which travels along an infinitely thin line along the interface between two adjacent surfaces with different electromagnetic properties. The scientists expect that line waves will be useful for the efficient routing and concentration of electromagnetic energy, with potential applications in areas such as integrated photonics, light-matter interactions, and chiral quantum optics.

Possible evidence for small, short-lived drops of early universe quark-gluon plasma

Particles emerging from even the lowest energy collisions of small deuterons with large heavy nuclei at the Relativistic Heavy Ion Collider (RHIC)—a U.S. Department of Energy Office of Science User Facility for nuclear physics research at DOE's Brookhaven National Laboratory—exhibit behavior scientists associate with the formation of a soup of quarks and gluons, the fundamental building blocks of nearly all visible matter.

A new efficient and portable electrocaloric cooling device

(—A team of researchers with the University of California and SRI International has developed a new type of cooling device that is both portable and efficient. In their paper published in the journal Science, the team describes their new device and possible applications for its use. Q.M. Zhang and Tian Zhang with the Pennsylvania State University offer some background on electrocaloric theory and outline the work done by the team in California in a Perspectives piece in the same journal issue.

The hunt for light dark matter

Technology proposed 30 years ago to search for dark matter is finally seeing the light.

Researchers find new way to manipulate magnetism

In a pioneering effort to control, measure and understand magnetism at the atomic level, researchers working at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) have discovered a new method for manipulating the nanoscale properties of magnetic materials.