James Riordon is a freelance science writer who covers physics, math and astronomy, and coauthor of the book Ghost Particle – In Search of the Elusive and Mysterious Neutrino.

All Stories by James R. Riordon

  1. Physics

    Physicists stored data in quantum holograms made of twisted light

    Light that travels in corkscrew-like paths provides a way to make holograms that store large amounts of data in ultrasecure packages.

  2. Physics

    Muon scanning hints at mysteries within an ancient Chinese wall

    Density fluctuations within the ancient rampart encircling the city of Xi’an could be defects or yet-to-be-discovered archaeological finds.

  3. Astronomy

    Lots of Tatooine-like planets around binary stars may be habitable

    A new simulation suggests that planets orbiting a pair of stars may be plentiful, and many of those worlds could be suitable for life.

  4. Materials Science

    Want a ‘Shrinky Dinks’ approach to nano-sized devices? Try hydrogels

    Patterning hydrogels with a laser and then shrinking them down with chemicals offers a way to make nanoscopic structures out of many materials.

  5. Planetary Science

    Methylated gases could be an unambiguous indicator of alien life

    On Earth, methylated gases are produced by organisms cleaning up their environment — and by little else. The same might be true on some exoplanets.

  6. Physics

    Here’s how to make a fiber-optic cable out of air using a laser

    A hollowed-out laser beam heats a tube of air that surrounds cooler air, providing a way to guide light much the way fiber optics do.

  7. Physics

    Tiny bubbles that make icicles hazy are filled with water, not air

    Like tree rings, layers of itty-bitty water pockets also preserve a record of an icicle’s growth.

  8. Animals

    Jumping beans’ random strategy always leads to shade — eventually

    Jumping beans use randomness to maximize their chances of getting out of the sun’s heat, a new study finds.

  9. Physics

    We could get messages back from spacecraft sent through a wormhole

    A simulation of a probe sent to the other side of a wormhole shows it could send speedy messages back before the hole closes and the probe is lost.

  10. Space

    Humans haven’t set foot on the moon in 50 years. That may soon change

    In 1972, the era of crewed missions to the moon came to an end. Fifty years later, a new one has begun.

  11. Physics

    In a breakthrough experiment, nuclear fusion finally makes more energy than it uses

    The sun creates energy through nuclear fusion. Now scientists have too, in a controlled lab experiment, raising hopes for developing clean energy.

  12. Astronomy

    A new supercomputer simulation animates the evolution of the universe

    The detailed simulation shows the cosmos changing from a dark, featureless gas to a web of stars and galaxies radiating light.