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  • News

    The strength of gravity has been measured to new precision

    We now have the most precise estimates for the strength of gravity yet.

    Two experiments measuring the tiny gravitational attraction between objects in a lab have measured Newton’s gravitational constant, or Big G, with an uncertainty of only about 0.00116 percent. Until now, the smallest margin of uncertainty for any G measurement has been 0.00137 percent.

    The new set of G values,...

    08/29/2018 - 13:00 Physics, Technology
  • News

    Quantum computer simulates two types of bizarre materials

    Scientists have used a quantum computer to conduct large-scale simulations of two types of quantum materials. These studies involved about 2,000 quantum bits, or qubits — many more than the tens of qubits available in most quantum computers.

    The results, published in two recent studies in Science and Nature, provide a new realization of the vision of physicist Richard Feynman, who hoped...

    08/28/2018 - 11:00 Quantum Physics, Technology
  • Mystery Solved

    Here’s how to bend spaghetti to your will

    Here’s good news for anyone who’s had to sweep up pasta shards after snapping dry spaghetti and thought, “there’s got to be a better way.”

    There is.

    Simply bending a stick of spaghetti in half typically shatters it into three or more fragments. That’s because when the stick breaks, vibrations wrack the remaining halves, causing smaller pieces to splinter off (SN: 11/12/05, p. 315...

    08/27/2018 - 16:00 Physics, Materials
  • Science Visualized

    See the ‘periodic table’ of molecular knots

    Like a scouting handbook for the molecular realm, a new chart reveals how to tie molecules up in knots of increasing complexity.

    Mathematicians have cataloged billions of distinct knot types, but researchers have been able to make only a few molecular versions. Scientists craft the minuscule knots using a solution filled with building blocks of curved strings of atoms, which glom onto...

    08/27/2018 - 07:00 Chemistry, Physics, Materials
  • News

    Lithium-oxygen batteries are getting an energy boost

    A new type of lithium-oxygen battery could pack more energy and last longer than its predecessors.

    Lithium-oxygen batteries, which are more energy-dense and made of more sustainable materials than typical lithium-ion cells, are promising candidates for the next generation of rechargeable batteries (SN: 1/21/17, p. 22). But lithium-oxygen batteries aren’t widely used yet because they die...

    08/23/2018 - 14:00 Chemistry, Technology
  • News

    A new quantum device defies the concepts of ‘before’ and ‘after’

    One thing leads to another. It sounds obvious, but in the quantum realm, the saying doesn’t always ring true. A new quantum device can jumble up a sequence of two events so that they take place in both orders simultaneously, researchers report in a paper in press in Physical Review Letters.

    “In everyday life, we are used to thinking of events having a definite order,” says physicist...

    08/23/2018 - 07:00 Quantum Physics
  • The –est

    Cheese found in an Egyptian tomb is at least 3,200 years old

    What may be the oldest known solid cheese has been found in an ancient Egyptian tomb.

    Made from a mixture of cow milk and either sheep or goat milk, the cheese filled a broken clay jar unearthed from a 13th century B.C. tomb for Ptahmes, the mayor of the ancient city of Memphis, researchers report online July 25 in Analytical Chemistry.

    Chemist Enrico Greco, who did the work while...

    08/17/2018 - 08:53 Science & Society, Archaeology, Chemistry
  • News in Brief

    A filter that turns saltwater into freshwater just got an upgrade

    Smoothing out the rough patches of a material widely used to filter saltwater could make producing freshwater more affordable, researchers report in the Aug. 17 Science.

    Desalination plants around the world typically strain salt out of seawater by pumping it through films made of polyamide — a synthetic polymer riddled with tiny pores that allow water molecules to squeeze through, but...

    08/16/2018 - 14:00 Materials, Chemistry, Sustainability
  • News

    Strange metals are even weirder than scientists thought

    Curiouser and curiouser: Strange metals are getting a little stranger.

    Normal metals such as copper and aluminum are old hat — physicists have a strong grasp on the behavior of the electrons within. But strange metals behave in mysterious ways, and researchers have now uncovered an additional oddity. A type of strange metal called a cuprate behaves unexpectedly when inside a strong...

    08/06/2018 - 06:00 Condensed Matter, Materials, Physics
  • News

    A star orbiting a black hole shows Einstein got gravity right — again

    A single star, careening around the monster black hole in the center of the Milky Way, has provided astronomers with new proof that Albert Einstein was right about gravity.

    More than 100 years ago, Einstein’s general theory of relativity revealed that gravity is the result of matter curving the fabric of spacetime (SN: 10/17/15, p. 16). Now, in a paper published July 26 in Astronomy...

    07/26/2018 - 08:00 Physics, Astronomy