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E.g., 12/09/2016
E.g., 12/09/2016
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  • News

    Vacuum’s quantum effect on light detected

    Observations of the dense remnant of an exploded star have provided the first sign of a quantum effect on light passing through empty space.

    Light from the stellar remnant, a neutron star located about 400 light-years away, is polarized, meaning that its electromagnetic waves are oriented preferentially in a particular direction like light that reflects off the surface of water (SN: 7/8/...

    12/09/2016 - 08:00 Quantum Physics, Astronomy
  • News

    Cosmic test confirms quantum weirdness

    The spookiness of quantum mechanics has gone cosmic.

    Physicists have used starlight to perform a “Bell test” to verify the strange nature of quantum mechanics. For decades, such tests have repeatedly confirmed quantum physics’s quirks, but the tests contained loopholes. While the major loopholes have already been closed (SN: 12/26/15, p. 24), a lingering caveat remained, regarding...

    12/05/2016 - 07:00 Quantum Physics
  • News

    Whirlpools might have stirred up baby universe’s soup

    Complex swirls and vortices can appear in the souplike phase of matter that existed just moments after the Big Bang. Computer simulations show that this substance, called the quark-gluon plasma, can contain “the hottest smoke ring in nature,” says Xin-Nian Wang of Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, coauthor of a paper published in the Nov. 4 Physical Review Letters.

    Wang and...

    11/18/2016 - 07:00 Physics
  • News

    New analysis boosts case for smaller proton

    Editor’s Note: After this article was published, Horbatsch and colleagues discovered an error in their analysis, which weakened the conclusions. The new calculation of the proton radius falls in between the two previous estimates, and therefore does not add much additional support for the smaller proton.

    A spat over the size of the proton just got a bit more complicated.

    ...

    11/14/2016 - 07:00 Particle Physics
  • Reviews & Previews

    ‘Void’ dives into physics of nothingness

    VoidJames Owen WeatherallYale Univ., $26

    In empty space, quantum particles flit in and out of existence, electromagnetic fields permeate the vacuum, and space itself trembles with gravitational waves. What may seem like nothingness paradoxically teems with activity.

    In Void: The Strange Physics of Nothing, physicist and philosopher James Owen Weatherall explores how...

    11/13/2016 - 07:00 Physics, History of Science, Particle Physics
  • News

    Supersolids produced in exotic state of quantum matter

    A mind-bogglingly strange state of matter may have finally made its appearance. Two teams of scientists report the creation of supersolids, which are both liquid and solid at the same time. Supersolids have a crystalline structure like a solid, but can simultaneously flow like a superfluid, a liquid that flows without friction.

    Research teams from MIT and ETH Zurich both produced...

    11/07/2016 - 12:23 Condensed Matter, Physics
  • Context

    Why quantum mechanics might need an overhaul

    SAN ANTONIO — Quantum mechanics is science’s equivalent of political polarization.

    Voters either take sides and argue with each other endlessly, or stay home and accept politics as it is. Physicists either just accept quantum mechanics and do their calculations, or take sides in the never-ending debate over what quantum mechanics is actually saying about reality.

    Steven Weinberg...

    11/04/2016 - 15:37 Quantum Physics
  • News in Brief

    New technique shows cells’ molecules in color

    Electron microscopy is finally getting its Kodachrome moment.

    The high-powered scopes can now produce images that simultaneously highlight different molecules in different colors, scientists report online November 3 in Cell Chemical Biology. That’s helpful for researchers hoping to visualize the complex structures of cells or tissues — such as connections between brain cells, shown here...

    11/04/2016 - 07:00 Technology, Cells
  • Feature

    Units of measure are getting a fundamental upgrade

    If scientists had sacred objects, this would be one of them: a single, closely guarded 137-year-old cylinder of metal, housed in a vault outside of Paris. It is a prototype that precisely defines a kilogram of mass everywhere in the universe.

    A kilogram of ground beef at the grocery store has the same mass as this one special hunk of metal, an alloy of platinum and iridium. A 60-kilogram...

    11/02/2016 - 12:00 Physics, Numbers
  • News

    ‘Time crystal’ created in lab

    It may sound like science fiction, but it’s not: Scientists have created the first time crystal, using a chain of ions. Just as a standard crystal repeats in a regular spatial pattern, a time crystal repeats in time, returning to a similar configuration at regular intervals.

    “This is a remarkable experiment,” says physicist Chetan Nayak of Microsoft Station Q at the University of...

    10/26/2016 - 07:00 Quantum Physics