Physics

How a walk through CERN's corridors helped lead to the discovery of the gluon 40 years ago

Forty years ago, in 1979, experiments at the DESY laboratory in Germany provided the first direct proof of the existence of gluons—the carriers of the strong force that "glue" quarks into protons, neutrons and other particles known collectively as hadrons. This discovery was a milestone in the history of particle physics, as it helped establish the theory of the strong force, known as quantum chromodynamics.

Speeding up the journey towards clean energy through photocatalyst optimization

Researchers have studied the photocatalytic activity of oxyhalide materials and were able to demonstrate a relationship between parameters measured by time-resolved microwave conductivity (TRMC) and oxygen generation.

Researchers solve mystery of how gas bubbles form in liquid

The formation of air bubbles in a liquid appears very similar to its inverse process, the formation of liquid droplets from, say, a dripping water faucet. But the physics involved is actually quite different, and while those water droplets are uniform in their size and spacing, bubble formation is typically a much more random process.

100-year-old physics model replicates modern Arctic ice melt

The Arctic is melting faster than we thought it would. In fact, Arctic ice extent is at a record low. When that happens—when a natural system behaves differently than scientists expect—it's time to take another look at how we understand the system. University of Utah mathematician Ken Golden and atmospheric scientist Court Strong study the patterns formed by ponds of melting water atop the ice. The ponds are dark, while the ice is bright, meaning that the bigger the ponds, the darker the surface and the more solar energy it absorbs.

Using waves to move droplets

Controlling individual droplets leads to more efficient self-cleaning surfaces and lab-on-a-chip implementations. University of Groningen professor Patrick Onck and colleagues from Eindhoven University of Technology have shown that this is possible by using a technique named mechanowetting. The researchers report a way of transporting droplets by using transverse surface waves, which even works on inclined or vertical surfaces. The research was published in Science Advances on 14 June.

A simple formula that could be useful for air purification, space propulsion, and molecular analyses

When a raindrop falls through a thundercloud, it is subject to strong electric fields that pull and tug on the droplet, like a soap bubble in the wind. If the electric field is strong enough, it can cause the droplet to burst apart, creating a fine, electrified mist.

Could the Big Bang be Wrong?

A short history of the universe since the time of the Big Bang. We can directly observe more than 13 billion years of change, but the beginning itself is an enduring mystery. (Credit: ESA)

The Big Bang is the defining narrative of modern cosmology: a bold declaration that our universe had a beginning and has a finite age, just like the humans who live within it. That finite age, in turn, is defined by the evidence that universe is expanding (again, and unfortunately, many of us are familiar

Immortal quantum particles

Decay is relentless in the macroscopic world: broken objects do not fit themselves back together again. However, other laws are valid in the quantum world: new research shows that so-called quasiparticles can decay and reorganize themselves again and are thus become virtually immortal. These are good prospects for the development of durable data memories.

Gaining a better understanding of what happens when two atoms meet

An international team of researchers has demonstrated a new way to gain a detailed understanding of what happens when two atoms meet. In their paper published in the journal Physical Review Letters, the group describes their experiments, which involved observing closely as two atoms came into contact with one another.

Discovery of light-induced ferroelectricity in strontium titanate

Light can be used not only to measure materials' properties, but also to change them. Especially interesting are those cases in which the function of a material can be modified, such as its ability to conduct electricity or to store information in its magnetic state. A team led by Andrea Cavalleri from the Max Planck Institute for the Structure and Dynamics of Matter in Hamburg have used terahertz frequency light pulses to transform a non-ferroelectric material into a ferroelectric one.

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