Reviews & Previews
Einstein’s ShadowSeth FletcherEcco, $26.99
Right now, a ragtag team of astronomers, assembled from institutes across the globe, may be peering in wonder at the first picture of a black hole’s shadow. The quest to create such an image has involved a massive level of scientific coordination, combining data from telescopes at eight observatories scattered from the South Pole to Hawaii...
Blazingly fast lasers have just leveled up.
Ultrafast lasers emit short, rapid-fire bursts of light, with each pulse typically lasting tens of millionths of a billionth of a second. A new laser pulses 30 billion times a second — about 100 times as fast as most ultrafast lasers, researchers report in the Sept. 28 Science.
The speed boost was thanks to a new technique for making...
Fantastic feats performed with lasers have earned three scientists the 2018 Nobel Prize in physics.
Half of the award, which totals 9 million Swedish kronor (about $1 million), went to physicist Arthur Ashkin for his development of optical tweezers. The technique uses laser light to manipulate tiny particles such as viruses and bacteria.
The other half of the prize went to two...
Three scientists who invented innovative ways to manipulate light have won the Nobel Prize in physics. The 9-million-Swedish-kronor award (about $1 million) will be doled out to Arthur Ashkin of Bell Laboratories in Holmdel, N.J., Gérard Mourou of École Polytechnique in Palaiseau, France, and Donna Strickland of the University of Waterloo in Canada, the Nobel Prize committee announced October...
Manta rays were built for speed — and to filter feed.
The aerodynamic ocean dwellers efficiently separate plankton from seawater using a previously unknown kind of filtration system that resists clogs and captures tiny bits of plankton, researchers report September 26 in Science Advances.
Mantas are filter feeders, like many other ocean creatures. They pull plankton-laden seawater...
Ibrahim Cissé, 35Physics and biophysicsMIT09/26/2018 - 08:33 Genetics, Physics, Cells
Ibrahim Cissé expected to join his father’s law firm one day. “There were no scientists where I grew up in Niger,” says the MIT biophysicist. “I certainly didn’t know [science] was a profession one could do.”
But Cissé’s parents had a telling clue about their young son’s eventual career path: a door sign he made that read “Laboratoire de...
Lisa Manning, 38Physics and biologySyracuse University09/26/2018 - 08:30 Biomedicine, Cells, Development, Physics
Think of tissues as mosh pits of cells. The cells may not be able to crowd surf, but they can jam.
Specifically, cells can undergo a jamming transition, a physical role change that was previously known to occur only among foams, sand and other nonliving materials. It’s one of the ways that physicist Lisa Manning has shown how...
A strand of spaghetti snaps easily, but an exotic substance known as nuclear pasta is an entirely different story.
Predicted to exist in ultradense dead stars called neutron stars, nuclear pasta may be the strongest material in the universe. Breaking the stuff requires 10 billion times the force needed to crack steel, for example, researchers report in a study accepted in Physical Review...
News in Brief
Save your breath: A new way to make bubbles requires only sound waves.
Scientists made the bubbles in levitated drops of liquid, held aloft with sound waves. Tweaking the sound waves caused the hovering drop to balloon into a bubble.
The team formed the bubbles using a variety of liquids, including water. Increasing the intensity of the sound made the liquid first buckle into a...
Superconductors are heating up, and a world record-holder may have just been dethroned.
Two studies report evidence of superconductivity — the transmission of electricity without resistance — at temperatures higher than seen before. The effect appears in compounds of lanthanum and hydrogen squeezed to extremely high pressures.
All known superconductors must be chilled to function,...