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  • News

    Easy Answers: Quantum computer gives results without running

    Physicists have long known that quantum computers have the potential to race through calculations trillions of times as fast as ordinary computers do. Now, it seems that those machines may not have to calculate at all to deliver answers.

    That seemingly absurd possibility, which was advanced as a theory several years ago, has now received experimental verification. What's more, although...

    02/22/2006 - 12:18 Physics
  • News

    Quantum Chip: Device handles ions as if they were data

    Physicists have created a microchip that can hold an electrically charged atom and move it back and forth within a narrow channel. These manipulations lay the groundwork for using trapped ions as data bits in computer chips, the developers of the new device say.

    The scientists created the chip as a step toward a new breed of computers, called quantum computers, which represent...

    01/04/2006 - 13:08 Physics
  • Feature

    That's the Way the Spaghetti Crumbles

    Great scientists sometimes do silly experiments. The renowned physicist and Nobel prize winner Richard P. Feynman, for instance, once got it into his head to figure out why uncooked spaghetti doesn't snap neatly in two when you bend it far enough to break. Pay attention next time, and you'll notice that the pasta tends to shatter into three or more fragments of unequal lengths.

    ...
    11/08/2005 - 11:51 Physics
  • Food for Thought

    Light Therapy for Tainted Fish

    Aquaculture—farming fish for our dinner tables—is a big and growing international industry. Because many of the tastiest and most-profitable farmed fish are carnivores, their prepared diets usually include flakes or powders made from low-value fish, from fish processed for their oil, or from scraps of fish prepared for restaurants and supermarkets. Fish farmers happily bulk up their products...

    10/20/2005 - 12:06 Nutrition
  • News

    Champion of strength is forged in mighty anvil

    A newly created form of carbon has captured the crown of world's strongest known material. A team of researchers in Germany and France made the new material using a specialized, multijawed anvil that simultaneously squeezed and heated a powder of all-carbon molecules known as buckyballs.

    At 200,000 times atmospheric pressure and a temperature of 2,500 kelvins, the powder...

    09/13/2005 - 12:18 Physics
  • Feature

    Armor-Plated Puzzle

    A few years after Francis H. Crick and James D. Watson unveiled the structure of DNA in 1953, they rocked the fledgling field of molecular biology again with a bold notion: Viruses are, in part, structured as crystals are. That idea captivated Donald L.D. Caspar and Aaron Klug, who then systematically applied what they knew about crystal geometry to classify and predict the structures that...

    08/29/2005 - 10:49 Numbers
  • News

    When a chipmunk teases a rattlesnake

    From Snowbird, Utah, at a meeting of the Animal Behavior Society

    Several of the Northeast's least ferocious forest creatures taunt rattlesnakes. In woodland-surveillance videos, scientists have watched chipmunks, gray squirrels, and a thrush lunge at and hop over the vipers.

    Harassing of North American snakes had previously been reported along the West Coast (SN: 6/26/04, p. 403:...

    08/23/2005 - 09:54 Animals
  • Feature

    Cosmic Computing

    To see the light, you sometimes have to journey through darkness. That aphorism, it seems, applies not only to journeys of the heart but also to excursions through the history of the universe. In the largest and most detailed computer simulation of this cosmic saga, something utterly dark shapes the universe as it unfolds over some 13.7 billion years.

    That new simulation traces...

    08/09/2005 - 08:18 Astronomy
  • News

    Dee for Danger: Chickadees add notes as threat grows

    Biologists report new progress in translating the sophisticated communication system of black-capped chickadees.

    When the little birds spot a lurking predator, they burst out with variations on their "chickadee" calls. Tests with 15 predator species show that birds vary those calls depending on how dangerous the predator is, says Christopher N. Templeton of the University of...

    06/22/2005 - 09:47 Animals
  • Feature

    Empty Nets

    In the 1850s, 43 schooners from a single port, Beverly, Mass., plied the North Atlantic's Scotian shelf, which is prime cod territory in Canadian waters. Over the sides of the ships, crews dropped lines with single hooks and doggedly jigged their bait along the seafloor to entice the big predatory fish. Although the combined fleet used fewer than 1,200 hooks, the ships' logs indicate that...

    05/31/2005 - 18:30 Ecology