Why Nuclear Fusion is Gaining Steam – Again

The coils winding facility building in France, where a global effort to build the ITER fusion energy reactor is underway. Rob Crandall/Shutterstock.com As fusion becomes more technically viable, it’s time to assess whether it’s worth the money because breakthroughs in the lab don’t guarantee success in the marketplace. By Dr. Scott L. Montgomery / 04.09.2018 Lecturer, Jackson School[…]

A History of the Search to Measure the Speed of Light

Photo by kallerna, Wikimedia Commons By Dr. Michael Fowler Maxine S. and Jesse W. Beams Professor of Physics , Physics Education,Theoretical Condensed Matter Physics University of Virginia Early Ideas about Light Propagation Portrait of Galileo Galilei (1636), by Justus Sustermans / National Maritime Museum via Wikimedia Commons Attempts to measure the speed of light played an important part[…]

Counting in Babylon

Creative Commons By Dr. Michael Fowler / 06.12.2015 Maxine S. and Jesse W. Beams Professor of Physics , Physics Education,Theoretical Condensed Matter Physics University of Virginia The Earliest Written Language Sumer and Babylonia, located in present-day Iraq, were probably the first peoples to have a written language, beginning in Sumer in about 3100 BC.  The language[…]

Understanding the Hidden Dimensions of Modern Physics through the Arts

Can the arts be a bridge to other worlds? Daniel Parks, CC BY-NC Is a novella published 130 years ago our best bet for explaining the worlds of 4D and beyond? By Dr. Djuna Croon / 09.28.2015 Postdoctoral Associate in Physics and Astronomy Dartmouth College Sometimes, the hardest job for a theoretical physicist is telling the story. The work in this[…]

Crafting Quantum Theory: Margrethe Bohr and the Labor of Theoretical Physics

Margrethe and Neils Bohr, 1910. (Wikimedia Commons | Public Domain)  By Dr. Megan Shields Formato / 03.15.2018 Lecturer in Writing and Rhetoric Stanford University While the personal correspondence and public lectures of the Nobel Prize winning theoretical physicist, Niels Bohr, often struck readers and listeners as spontaneous or unrehearsed, a painstaking  writing process preceded all of his[…]

Stephen Hawking: A Life of Success against All Odds

By Dr. Martin Rees / 03.14.2018 Emeritus Professor of Cosmology and Astrophysics University of Cambridge Soon after I enrolled as a graduate student at Cambridge University in 1964, I encountered a fellow student, two years ahead of me in his studies, who was unsteady on his feet and spoke with great difficulty. This was Stephen[…]

What is “Information” in Information Philosophy?

Stanford University / Creative Commons By Dr. Bob Doyle Associate, Astronomy Department Harvard University Information The simple definition of information is the act of informing – the communication of knowledge from a sender to a receiver that informs (literally shapes) the receiver.By information we mean a quantity that can be understood mathematically and physically. It corresponds[…]

Why Physics Needs Art to Help Picture the Universe

Fig 1 By Dr. Frank Wilczek / 12.11.2015 Herman Feshbach Professor of Physics Massachusetts Institute of Technology Historians of science usually date the origin of the Scientific Revolution as 1543, when Copernicus’ De Revolutionibus first put the Earth in motion. While that is a convenient and defensible choice, it is not the only good candidate. An earlier[…]

Dark Matter: The Mystery Substance Physics Still Can’t Identify that Makes Up the Majority of Our Universe

Map of all matter – most of which is invisible dark matter – between Earth and the edge of the observable universe. ESA/NASA/JPL-Caltech, CC BY By Dr. Dan Hooper / 10.25.2017 Associate Scientist in Theoretical Astrophysics, Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory Associate Professor of Astronomy and Astrophysics, University of Chicago The past few decades have ushered in an[…]

Cosmic Alchemy: Colliding Neutron Stars Show Us How the Universe Creates Gold

Illustration of hot, dense, expanding cloud of debris stripped from the neutron stars just before they collided. NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center/CI Lab, CC BY    By Dr. Duncan Brown (left) and Dr. Edo Berger (left) / 10.24.2017 Brown: Professor of Physics, Syracuse University Berger: Professor of Astronomy, Harvard University For thousands of years, humans have searched[…]

Soundscapes in the Past: A New Dimension to Our Archaeological Picture of Ancient Cultures

What sounds did the people of Chaco Canyon hear during daily life? David E. Witt    By Kristy E. Primeau and David E. Witt / 08.02.2017 Primeau: PhD Candidate in Archaeology, University at Albany Witt: PhD Candidate in Archaeology, University at Buffalo The State University of New York Picture an archaeological site, what comes to mind?[…]

How the Rainbow Illuminates the Enduring Mystery of Physics

Rainbow over the Helford estuary, Cornwall, England. / Photo by Susan Butterworth By Dr. Jonathan Butterworth / 01.03.2017 Professor of Physics University College London This summer I went on a family holiday to Cornwall, on the Helford River. The peninsula south of the river is, rather wonderfully, called The Lizard. Standing on its cliffs, you are[…]

Measuring Ripples in the Cosmic Web

Astronomers have made the first measurements of small-scale fluctuations in the cosmic web 2 billion years after the Big Bang. These measurements were conducted using a novel technique which relies on the light of quasars crossing the cosmic web along adjacent lines of sight. 04.29.2017 The most barren regions of the Universe are the far-flung[…]

SmallSat Revolution: Tiny Satellites Poised to Make Big Contributions to Essential Science

Tiny CubeSats are ready to be our eyes in the skies. Earth Background: NASA; HARP Spacecraft: SDL; Montage: Martins, UMBC By Dr. J. Vanderlei Martins / 01.26.2017 Professor of Physics University of Maryland, Baltimore County Tiny satellites, some smaller than a shoe box, are currently orbiting around 200 miles above Earth, collecting data about our[…]

Gravity’s Reverb: Listening to Space-Time

Black holes merging By Dr. Stefan Helmreich / 11.2016 Etting E. Morison Professor of Anthropology Massachusetts Institute of Technology I heard gravitational waves before they were detected.1 I was sitting in a pub in May 2015 with MIT physicists Scott Hughes and David Kaiser, my headphones looped into a laptop. Hughes was readying to play[…]

Lost in High-Dimensional Space: Study Improves the Cure for the ‘Curse of Dimensionality’

Researchers have developed a new method for making effective calculations in “high-dimensional space” – and proved its worth by using it to solve a 93-dimensional problem. 10.13.2016 Researchers have developed a new technique for making calculations in “high-dimensional space” – mathematical problems so wide-ranging in their scope, that they seem at first to be beyond[…]

Teleporting Toward a Quantum Internet

This image shows crystals used for storing entangled photons, which behave as though they are part of the same whole. Scientists use crystals like these in quantum teleportation experiments. / Credits: Félix Bussières/University of Geneva Quantum physics is a field that appears to give scientists superpowers. Those who understand the world of extremely small or[…]

Odd States of Matter: How Three British Theorists Scooped the 2016 Nobel Prize for Physics

The Nobel Committee making the announcement. TT news agency/EPA By Dr. Stephen Clark / 10.04.2016 Lecturer in Physics University of Bath The Nobel Prize in Physics for 2016 has been awarded to three British scientists working in the US for their theoretical work explaining strange states of matter, including superconductors, superfluids and thin magnetic films.[…]

A Tight Squeeze for Electrons – Quantum Effects Observed in ‘One-Dimensional’ Wires

Researchers have observed quantum effects in electrons by squeezing them into one-dimensional ‘quantum wires’ and observing the interactions between them. The results could be used to aid in the development of quantum technologies, including quantum computing. 09.15.2016 Scientists have controlled electrons by packing them so tightly that they start to display quantum effects, using an[…]

The Reality of Consciousness (VIDEO)

Is Consciousness a fundamental pre-existing awareness? What is the universe made of? According to visionary author and revolutionary futurist, Peter Russell … Nothing. It’s not made of any “thing.” There is this aware field of being, that is already there. He believes that the current worldview stating that the world exists of space, time and matter,[…]