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E.g., 11/20/2017
Your search has returned 19 articles:
  • Feature

    Fractal or Fake?

    Jackson Pollock couldn't possibly have been thinking of fractals when he started flinging and dripping paint from a stick onto canvas. After all, mathematicians didn't develop the idea of a fractal until a couple of decades later. But if one physicist is right, Pollock ended up painting fractals anyway. And that mathematical quality may explain why Pollock's seemingly chaotic streams of paint...

    02/20/2007 - 10:14 Humans & Society
  • Food for Thought

    New Estimates of the Shark-Fin Trade

    Immense numbers of sharks each year are slaughtered for their fins—not meat, just their fins. This harvest helps feed a growing appetite throughout Asia for a popular soup, one with snob appeal comparable to that of caviar. Indeed, a single bowl of shark-fin soup can cost $100 in a high-end Hong Kong restaurant.

    The key ingredient of shark-fin soup is...

    11/01/2006 - 13:22 Earth & Environment
  • News

    Revisiting Einstein's incomplete theory

    Scientists have long known that Albert Einstein skipped something a century ago when he analyzed Brownian motion—the jiggling of particles in a fluid, such as pollen in water. Now, researchers using measurements of unprecedented precision have observed the discrepancy between Einstein's model and a single particle's path.

    In a landmark 1905 study that helped establish the existence of...

    11/08/2005 - 13:29 Physics
  • 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

    Making Stuff Last

    Around the world, archives, museums, and their storage facilities brim with society's most prized objects. Some have been stashed on dusty back shelves for decades, while others bask under spotlights and curious gazes.

    If you're a patron of museums and archives, how can you be sure that on those shelves or under that glass, the treasures you value aren't...

    11/08/2004 - 17:25 Materials
  • News

    Inside Plastic Transistors: Crystal-clear window opens on hidden flows

    Plastic semiconductors are spawning a new breed of electronic devices that are cheap to make, lightweight, and flexible. The microscopic details of how electric charges move through transistors and other devices made of such materials have remained obscure, however.

    Now, by creating a new type of transistor from such materials, known as organic semiconductors (SN: 8/30/03, p. 133...

    07/21/2004 - 10:32 Physics
  • Feature

    Breaking the Law

    Hopeful inventors have for centuries tried to create machines that would run forever: gizmos such as wheels that turn unceasingly with no motor to drive them and engines that endlessly exploit the heat in the oceans to power ships.

    The consequences of devising such perpetual motion machines would be wondrous because these tools would unleash energy without consuming fuel.


    01/16/2004 - 17:00 Physics
  • Feature

    Warm-Blooded Plants?

    "The dead-horse arum of Corsica looks and smells like the south end of a horse that died going north," says Roger Seymour. He's actually talking about a plant, and a more prosaic soul might add that it belongs to the same family as calla lilies and jack-in-the-pulpits. Seymour is a zoologist, and the plants he studies show an animalistic feature: They can generate body heat. Most plants,...

    12/07/2003 - 18:02 Plants
  • News

    Press 'n' Peel Lasers: Coaxing light beams out of cheap plastic

    Like poker chips, lasers may someday be molded out of plastic by the millions. A new laser-making method takes a major step in that direction, its Austrian developers say.

    Lasers are devices that emit a coherent beam of light of a single wavelength. Their prices have been coming down over the years, but dirt cheap plastic ones could serve as the heart of mass-produced...

    07/23/2003 - 11:12 Technology
  • Feature

    Mastering the Mixer

    Part of the fun of experimenting with granular materials, says Stephen W. Morris, is the showmanship. In one stunt that he has demonstrated in settings ranging from high school classrooms to television studios, the University of Toronto physicist loads clear plastic tubes with white table salt and black sand and starts them rotating. What transpires in the tubes usually knocks the socks off...

    07/20/2003 - 13:13 Physics