Popular Science articles about Physics & Chemistry

The upper panel of this image represents initial hot spots created by collisions of one, two, and three-particle ions with heavy nuclei. The lower panel shows the geometrical patterns of particle flow that would be expected if the small-particle collisions are creating tiny hot spots of quark-gluon plasma.

As wind-turbine farms expand, research shows they could offer diminishing returns

Renewable wind energy is experiencing a boom, with more wind turbines popping up across landscapes in the U.S. and abroad. Indeed, wind energy accounted for 3.3 percent of electricity generation...

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Caltech chemists solve major piece of cellular mystery

A team of biochemists led by Caltech's André Hoelz has solved the architecture of the nuclear pore complex's complicated inner ring, a subcomplex that is central to the cellular machine's ability to serve as a barrier and transport facilitator. In the process, they disproved many previously held ideas about how the inner ring works.Not just anything is allowed to enter the nucleus, the heart of eukaryotic cells where, among other things, genetic information is stored. A double membrane, called the nuclear envelope, serves...

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Record-high pressure reveals secrets of matter

A research team at Link√∂ping University, together with colleagues in Europe and the United States, has shown that at extremely high pressure even the innermost electrons in the atomic nuclei...

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New approach could reduce human health impacts of electric power generation

A still frame from the air quality prediction model shows the expected location of impacts from the emissions of an electric generation facility in Georgia, based on data from 2007. Limiting the output of the plant when the impacts are occurring in major population centers could reduce health effects of the emissions.By combining information about power plant operation with real-time air quality predictions, researchers have created a new capability to minimize the human health effects of air pollution resulting from electric...

Major innovation in molecular imaging delivers spatial and spectral info simultaneously

Samuel Kenny, Zhengyang Zhang, Ke Xu, Margaret Hauser, and Wan Li (from left) invent a new type of imaging, combining single-molecule spectral measurement with super-resolution microscopy.Using physical chemistry methods to look at biology at the nanoscale, a Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab) researcher has invented a new technology to image single molecules with unprecedented...

Helping Siri hear through a cocktail party

This prototype sensor can separate simultaneous sounds coming from different directions using a unique distortion given by the slice of "pie" that it passes through.People trying to talk to Siri may soon no longer have to look like they're about to eat their iPhones, thanks to a new technology demonstration that solves the "Cocktail...

New technology could reduce wind energy costs

Engineers from the University of Sheffield have developed a novel technique to predict when bearings inside wind turbines will fail which could make wind energy cheaper.

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Droplets levitate on a cushion of blue light

A blue glow emanates from beneath a levitating droplet of weak hydrochloric acid. The glow comes from a plasma created when researchers applied above 50 volts of electricity across the droplet.Researchers in France have discovered a new way to levitate liquid droplets, which surprisingly also creates a mini light show, with the droplet sparking as it floats above a faint...

A sticky situation

Wet adhesion to a mica surface: A cationic amine (pink) penetrates the hydration layer, evicting potassium ions (gold balls) and preparing the mica surface for hydrogen bonding (green aura).Wet adhesion is a true engineering challenge. Marine animals such as mussels, oysters and barnacles are naturally equipped with the means to adhere to rock, buoys and other underwater structures...

Molecular trick alters rules of attraction for non-magnetic metals

Scientists have demonstrated for the first time how to generate magnetism in metals that aren't naturally magnetic, which could end our reliance on some rare and toxic elements currently used.

An engineered surface unsticks sticky water droplets

In conventional superhydrophobic rough surfaces, tiny liquid droplets in the Wenzel state will remain pinned to the surface textures. In contrast, the new slippery rough surface enables high mobility for Wenzel droplets.The leaves of the lotus flower, and other natural surfaces that repel water and dirt, have been the model for many types of engineered liquid-repelling surfaces. As slippery as these...

Soaking up carbon dioxide and turning it into valuable products

Conceptual model shows how porphyrin COFs embedded in a cathode could be used to split carbon dioxide (CO2) into  carbon monoxide (CO) and oxygen for making renewable fuels and other valuable chemical products.A molecular system that holds great promise for the capture and storage of carbon dioxide has been modified so that it now also holds great promise as a catalyst for...

New technique could enable design of hybrid glasses and revolutionize gas storage

A new method of manufacturing glass could lead to the production of 'designer glasses' with applications in advanced photonics, whilst also facilitating industrial scale carbon capture and storage. An international...

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UCLA physicist tests theories of dark energy by mimicking the vacuum of space

The researchers constructed a vacuum chamber, roughly the size of a soccer ball, in which the pressure was one-trillionth that of the atmosphere we normally breathe. An aluminum sphere roughly the size of a marble (center), functioned as a dense object to suppress the chameleon fields and allow the researchers to measure small forces.Besides the atoms that make up our bodies and all of the objects we encounter in everyday life, the universe also contains mysterious dark matter and dark energy. The latter,...

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Scientists discover atomic-resolution details of brain signaling

This illustration shows a protein complex at work in brain signaling. Its structure, which contains joined protein complexes known as SNARE and synaptotagmin-1, is shown in the foreground. This complex is responsible for the calcium-triggered release of neurotransmitters from our brain's nerve cells in a process called synaptic vesicle fusion. The SNARE structure is shown in blue, red, and green, and synaptotagmin-1 is shown in orange. The background image shows electrical signals traveling through a neuron.Scientists have revealed never-before-seen details of how our brain sends rapid-fire messages between its cells. They mapped the 3-D atomic structure of a two-part protein complex that controls the release...

Protons and antiprotons appear to be true mirror images

The work, published in Nature, was carried out using CERN's Antiproton Decelerator, a device that provides low-energy antiprotons for antimatter studies.

Quantum computing advance locates neutral atoms

For any computer, being able to manipulate information is essential, but for quantum computing, singling out one data location without influencing any of the surrounding locations is difficult. Now, a...

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Discovery in growing graphene nanoribbons could enable faster, more efficient electronics

Graphene, an atom-thick material with extraordinary properties, is a promising candidate for the next generation of dramatically faster, more energy-efficient electronics. However, scientists have struggled to fabricate the material into...

Fermilab experiment sees neutrinos change over 500 miles

A candidate electron neutrino interaction seen in the NOvA far detector on March 23, 2015. The upper panel shows the top view, looking down into the detector; the bottom panel shows the side view. Each golden box shows a cell of the detector in which particles from the interaction were spotted. The longer of the two tracks in each view is identified as a high-energy electron, telling us that this is likely an electron neutrino interaction. The shorter track is most likely a proton.Scientists on the NOvA experiment saw their first evidence of oscillating neutrinos, confirming that the extraordinary detector built for the project not only functions as planned but is also making...

Safe motorcycle helmets -- made of carrot fibers?

Motorcycle helmets consist of fiber-reinforced synthetic material. Does it make sense to replace glass fibers with plant fibers from the production of carrot juice? Empa researchers are now able to analyze whether this kind of production makes sense from an ecological and economical perspective -- before money is actually invested in production plants.All over the world, research is being conducted into biodegradable and recyclable synthetics. However, fiber-reinforced components remain problematic - if glass or carbon fibers are used. Within the scope of...

Two spin liquids square off in an iron-based superconductor

Brookhaven physicists Igor Zaliznyak, Alexei Tsvelik, and Cedomir Petrovic are with models representing electron spin correlations in an iron-based superconductor.Despite a quarter-century of research since the discovery of the first high-temperature superconductors, scientists still don't have a clear picture of how these materials are able to conduct electricity with...

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