Physics

By: Hannah Pell Image credit: Wikimedia Commons. In early May 2021, a ransomware attack on the Colonial Pipeline caused massive disruption to the East Coast’s fuel supply. Pictures of cars lined up at gas stations and warnings not to “panic buy” gasoline evoked memories of the 1973 oil crisis. Colonial Pipeline Co. paid a $4.4
0 Comments
Allison Kubo Hutchison We’ve already covered some important questions like do trilobites bites (spoiler: they don’t) but recent research has given insight into another important question: what is it like to be eaten by a baby T-Rex? The answer is it is between being eaten by a hyena and a crocodile. To get this result,
0 Comments
By Allison Kubo Hutchison USGS: Pyroclastic flow at Mount Saint Helens on August 7, 1980. The volcano erupts. The immense pressure within the volcano due to the build-up of gases causes fragmentation. The thicker and more viscous the magma the more fragmentation occurs (Read more about that here). The fragmented magma cools into sharp, glasslike
0 Comments
By Allison Kubo Hutchison NASA announced on June 2 that it would send two missions to the hot house planet. Once again NASA made robots will vist the Venusian skies for the first time since the Magellen orbiter mission which ended in 1994. These missions come after renewed interest in Venus due to the hotly
0 Comments
By: Hannah Pell On 11 June 2021, UNESCO (United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization) released a report titled “The Race Against Time for Smarter Development.” This report consolidates a culmination of research over five years (2014-2018) on worldwide science policy trends and governance, centering on three key areas: research spending, digital technologies, and sustainability.
0 Comments
By: Hannah Pell RR Auction, an auction house based near Boston, Massachusetts, recently sold one of Albert Einstein’s hand-written letters for $1.2 million. The letter is addressed to Polish-American physicist Ludwik Silberstein, a known challenger to Einstein’s relativity theory, going so far as to publish a 1936 essay in the Toronto Evening Telegram titled: “Fatal
0 Comments
By: Hannah Pell Image credit: ProtoDUNE / CERN. Why does matter exist in the universe? Can we find evidence of proton decay, supporting Einstein’s dream of unified forces? These questions, among a host of others, are very much open for debate within high-energy physics, and one particle has the potential to help answer all of
0 Comments
By: Allison Kubo Image Credit: Nature 593, 249-254(2021) https://www.nature.com/articles/s41586-021-03506-2 The study participant, T5, was paralyzed from the neck down, but it was translated onto the screen when he imagined writing. Brain-computer interfaces (BCI) aim to restore function to those who have difficulty or even lost the ability to move or speak. And, yes, it would
0 Comments
By: Hannah Pell Neutrinos are ubiquitous and notorious. Billions are passing through you at this moment. Occasionally described as a “ghost of a particle,” neutrinos are nearly massless, thereby making them extremely difficult to detect experimentally (“Neutrino,” meaning “little neutral one” in Italian, was first used by Enrico Fermi in the early 1930s). Neutrinos were
0 Comments
By Allison Kubo Hutchison Although today it may be easy to buy your maternal figure an orchid for Mother’s Day from the grocery store, in the 1800s, the acquisition of orchids was a dangerous, competitive and lucrative business. Orchids, which are generally tropical plants, grow across the globe and their family makes up 6-11% of
0 Comments
By Allison Kubo Hutchison Stack of papers on a black background. ISTOCK.COM/PURPLEANVIL How does work become a scientific consensus? Nowadays, it has to go through a process called peer-review. Science is conducted by researchers at universities, NGOs, national labs, observatories, and private entities. Then this work is compiled into a paper or journal article which
0 Comments
By: Hannah Pell  In 2005, future projections for emissions published by the Energy Information Administration (EIA) in their Annual Energy Outlook were bleak; business-as-usual for the power sector meant that carbon dioxide (CO2) emission levels could reach up to 3,000 million metric tons by 2020 (equivalent to CO2 emissions from roughly 544 million homes’ electricity
0 Comments
By: Hannah Pell The potential impact of a work of art is by no means limited by or related to its size. Whether an intricate mural spanning the side of a building or sculpture carved on the tip of a pencil, the art of all scales is significant and meaningful to us, and the principles
0 Comments
by Allison Kubo Hutchison Approximately 20 million years ago, prehistoric horses grazed on the flat grasslands and the now extinct bear-dog dug burrows for their young throughout the lands we now call Oregon and Washington. But below the ground, there was an eruption brewing that would shape over 81,000 square miles (200,000 square kilometers) reaching
0 Comments
By Allison Kubo Hutchison Graphs are the bread and butter of scientists. We love them. Lines plots, bar graphs, line plots. Visual representations of data are the default on science. However, sonification, the transformation of data into sound rather than images has been gaining interest. One reason is that our ears actually have better time
0 Comments
By Allison Kubo Hutchison Left: Glowing basaltic eruption in Iceland taken at night (image: Áslaug Arna Sigurbjörnsdóttir / twitter). Right: Grey ash clouds rise into the atmosphere over St. Vincent (image: University of West Indies Seismic Research Center / twitter). In Iceland, where we lay our scene, lava spills orange and black tendrils from three
0 Comments
By: Hannah Pell On 29 March 2021, the Biden administration announced another ambitious clean energy goal: deploy 30 gigawatts of offshore wind by 2030. According to the Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy, the U.S. offshore wind capacity was 28,521 megawatts (or 28.5 gigawatts) in 2019. Deploying an additional 30 gigawatts over a decade
0 Comments
By Jill Kathleen Wenderott Women Supporting Women in the Sciences (WS2), an international organization unifying and supporting graduate and professional-level women and allies in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM), has recently been awarded an American Physical Society (APS) Innovation Fund to form international teams that will design and distribute low-cost physics and materials science
0 Comments
By Allison Kubo Hutchison Synthetic diamond created using vapour deposition process. Steve Jurvetson, Apollo synthetic diamond, CC BY 2.0 In late 1940, the Debeers Diamond company started using the slogan “Diamonds are forever” to popularize diamond engagement rings. What they didn’t know is that in terms of quantum mechanics that might be true. Diamonds are
0 Comments
By: Hannah Pell “Go out and make the world a better place.” So ends the foreword to CDR Primer, an online, freely available digital booklet co-authored by more than a dozen climate scientists, social scientists, engineers, and writers in dialogue about carbon dioxide removal (CDR) technology and its important role in addressing our climate crisis.
0 Comments
By Allison Kubo Hutchison Noah Friedlander, San Francisco from the Marin Headlands in March 2019, CC BY-SA 4.0  As you walk the pavement of your city, the buildings rising around you, the impact of a city on the landscape is clear. It changes the skyline and the view. But how does it change the ground
0 Comments
By: Hannah Pell I recently relocated from the bustling Washington, D.C. metro area back to my south-central Pennsylvania hometown. My new space is in a quiet, wooded area; outside my back window I see an expanse full of trees (“Pennsylvania” actually means “Penn’s Woods”) — and a small solar farm is nestled in between them.
0 Comments
By Allison Kubo Hutchison The same animal was once described by paleontologists as a shrimp, jellyfish, sea cucumber, and a sponge at different times during its study. Anomalocaris, Latin for “abnormal shrimp”, is a creature of exceeding strangeness to modern hominids; it is related to modern-day shrimp with a flat segmented body, faceted eyes on
0 Comments
By: Hannah Pell “The most important car in 100 years.” Such is how James May, co-host of the British car show Top Gear, described the Honda Clarity during his test drive several years ago. “This is the future of motoring.” What is it about this car that seemed so revolutionary? It’s the fact that it’s
0 Comments
By Allison Kubo Hutchison  Elizabeth Ann, the first cloned black-footed ferret taken on Jan 29,2021. U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service via AP. Although all births are special and joyous occasions, on December 10, 2020, researchers celebrated the birth of an extraordinary ferret kit. Elizabeth Ann, born from a domestic ferret surrogate, is not biologically related
0 Comments
Nuclear science first penetrated American consciousness with the building of the atomic bomb. It has become both a beneficial and destructive force that influences many aspects of human life from energy, to the environment, to medicine. Yet this field of study —that peers into the atomic nuclei — is something people generally don’t teach or
0 Comments
By: Hannah Pell On March 7, 1995, Gary Mansfield, a health physicist at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, sent out an email to members of the RadSafe nuclear safety mailing list. The subject line read: “Banana Equivalent Dose.” “Some time ago (when I almost had time to do such things), I calculated the [radiation] dose
0 Comments
By Allison Kubo Hutchison Parke Radio Telescope detected unnatural signals from the region around Proxima Centauri on April 29 2019. Photo by Stephen West. Scientists at the Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence (SETI) have detected a narrow band of radio signals coming from a narrow area around Proxima Centauri, our nearest neighbor star at 4.2465 light-years
0 Comments
By: Hannah Pell  With instantaneous communication and access to far more information than any of us could ever know or need, it’s important that there are people we trust to clearly explain the messiness of the world around us. The COVID-19 pandemic has especially demonstrated the challenges of disseminating complex scientific research to the general
0 Comments
By Allison Kubo Hutchison Elevation map of the Jezero Crater, landing site of the Perseverance Rover. NASA/Tim Goudge Located on the Northwest side of Isidis Basin, Jezero Crater’s lay undisturbed except for dust storms and meteorite impacts for countless eons. Jezero Crater is an uneven half-circle where the Northeast side is worn away. There are
0 Comments
By Allison Kubo Hutchison You are enjoying a sunny beach day, showing off a new swimsuit. You take a dip in the water, you feel something brush your foot. You look down and it’s a trilobite. Your first panicked thought: Do trilobites bite? Other than the fact that trilobite went extinct 252 million years ago,
0 Comments
By: Hannah Pell Being homebound during winter often means higher electricity bills for those of us north of the Sun Belt. And for many currently working remotely or attending school virtually, there may be added strain on top (although hopefully not to the same extent as the Griswold family’s infamous holiday lights). When so many
0 Comments
Kilauea summit lava lake at a depth of 515 ft (156 m) taken 8 a.m. Dec. 23. USGS photo by H. Dietterich By Allison Kubo Hutchison On December 20, 2020, at about 9:30 PM, Halema’uma’u Crater, the traditional home of the goddess Pele, hosted the first eruption of the Kilauea volcano since going silent in
0 Comments
By Cristian Cernov and Tatiana Erukhimova With support from the American Physics Society, we started Real Physics Live. Since then, our 14 person team composed of Texas A&M undergrads, grads, and one faculty member has produced over 20 high-quality videos, which you can view at our website: realphysicslive.com   Needless to say, Real Physics Live
0 Comments
By: Hannah Pell Many of us have been spending a lot of time on our own lately. It can be difficult to feel like we’re accomplishing all that much individually — especially when social media is always there to remind you of how productive your friends and colleagues have been during quarantine. I long for
0 Comments
By: Hannah Pell Nuclear power is an important aspect of our diverse energy infrastructure. According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, nuclear power plants produced 19.6% of the total electricity generated in the U.S. in 2019. Over the last several years, however, there has been a decline in the number of operating nuclear power plants.
0 Comments
If you live in a part of the world with cold winters, you probably know the awful feeling that comes with an unexpectedly early frost or snow—one that covers your car in a layer of ice before you’ve pulled out your gloves and ice scraper for the season. The one that makes your fingers freeze
0 Comments
As someone whose job it is to help people understand and appreciate physics, I absolutely hate the way most people talk about Isaac Newton and how he developed his theory of gravity. It’s not the apple bit that I have a problem with; that’s an important part of the story, and even historically accurate! The thing
0 Comments