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  • Context

    Old periodic table could resolve today’s element placement dispute

    If you ever want to open a chemistry theme restaurant, you should be sure to furnish it with 118 tables — one for each element. Note that it could not be a Greek restaurant, because then the number of tables would be limited to four. Yours, instead, would be a geek restaurant. You could call it The Periodic Tables.

    Anybody who has ever had an encounter with chemistry should get the joke...

    04/23/2015 - 06:00 History of Science
  • Science Ticker

    Atomic clock will keep precise time for 15 billion years

    The world’s best timepiece just got even better.

    A new atomic clock described April 21 in Nature Communications is about three times as precise as its record-setting predecessor. The clock, which builds...

    04/21/2015 - 11:00 Quantum Physics, Physics
  • The –est

    Rubidium atoms used to record coldest temperature — ever

    A swarm of atoms in a Stanford lab has become the coldest stuff on Earth. At about 50 trillionths of a kelvin, the atoms’ temperature was about a tenth of the previous record.

    The temperature of a sample depends on how fast its constituent components move relative to each other. Quantum physicist Mark Kasevich and his team started with a cold gas made up of about 100,000 tightly packed...

    04/13/2015 - 14:19 Physics
  • Context

    Top 10 science anniversaries of 2015

    As 2015 has been flying by, it’s perhaps not too soon to pause and take note of the Top 10 scientific anniversaries it offers. Some (Mendel’s presentation of his famous pea paper, for instance) have already passed. Others (George Boole’s birthday) will no doubt appear here as blog posts of their own later in the year. One (Alhazen’s Book of Optics) already...

    04/08/2015 - 12:02 History of Science
  • News

    A new spin on guiding sound waves along a one-way route

    An array of miniature turntables could offer a powerful new way to control the flow of sound.

    The proposed device, reported in the March 20 Physical Review Letters, would channel sound waves in a protected one-way thoroughfare along its edge. The structure is an acoustic version of a hotly researched class of...

    03/27/2015 - 15:36 Materials, Physics
  • Science Ticker

    One photon wrangles 3,000 atoms into quantum entanglement

    A particle of light is all it takes to establish a quantum connection between nearly 3,000 atoms, scientists report in the March 26 Nature. The finding brings physicists a step closer to studying the macroscopic effects of quantum entanglement, which...

    03/25/2015 - 14:00 Quantum Physics
  • News

    Quantum links provide clues to causation

    In the quantum world, correlation can imply causation.

    A new experiment using particles of light shows that identifying a simple association between two variables is sufficient to determine whether one influences the other. This process to determine causality, described March 23 in Nature Physics, is surprisingly simple. In...

    03/23/2015 - 12:00 Quantum Physics
  • News

    Finding quantum entanglement in a crowd

    Intricate quantum connections between microscopic particles almost certainly underlie some phenomena perceivable at human scales. Now, for the first time, physicists have measured these connections, known as quantum entanglement, between pairs of photons within a macroscopic beam of light. It’s a step toward understanding how the rules of quantum mechanics scale up to phenomena such as...

    03/16/2015 - 08:00 Quantum Physics
  • News

    Light trick can retrieve missed messages

    SAN ANTONIO — Light may travel at the speed of light, but the information it carries doesn’t have to. Three physicists have proposed a way to receive light-based messages even when the light itself has already flown by.

    The communication technique, detailed March 2 at the March meeting of the American Physical Society and...

    03/05/2015 - 15:18 Quantum Physics
  • News

    Trying to get the down-low on gravity

    A subtle attraction between metallic strips could reveal the theorized but never detected particles that impart gravity.

    An experiment proposed in a Feb. 27 Physical Review Letters paper would explore whether fleeting waves of gravity in a vacuum perceptibly nudge two lead plates together. Detecting this attractive...

    03/02/2015 - 14:45 Quantum Physics, Cosmology