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E.g., 07/28/2016
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  • News

    Human eye spots single photons

    Human eyes are capable of detecting a single photon — the tiniest possible speck of light — new research suggests.

    The result, published July 19 in Nature Communications, may settle the debate on the ultimate limit of the sensitivity of the human visual system, a puzzle scientists have...

    07/28/2016 - 09:00 Biophysics
  • News

    Quantum fragility may help birds navigate

    Harnessing the weirdness of the quantum world is difficult — fragile quantum properties quickly degrade under typical conditions. But such fragility could help migrating birds find their way, scientists report in the June New Journal of Physics. Some scientists believe birds navigate with sensitive quantum-...

    06/27/2016 - 06:00 Quantum Physics, Biophysics, Animals
  • News

    Quantum weirdness survives space travel

    In a feat that demonstrates the feasibility of using satellites to transmit uncrackable quantum messages, scientists have measured the quantum properties of photons sent to space and back again.

    Physicists beamed the blips of light up to a satellite that reflected them back to Earth. Upon the photons’ return, the team, led by Paolo Villoresi of the University of Padua in Italy, observed...

    06/05/2016 - 07:00 Quantum Physics
  • News

    Schrödinger’s cat now dead and alive in two boxes at once

    Schrödinger’s cat can’t seem to catch a break. The unfortunate imaginary feline is famous for being alive and dead at the same time, as long as it remains hidden inside a box. Scientists have now gone one step further, splitting one living-dead cat between two boxes.

    Animal lovers can relax — there are no actual cats involved. Instead, physicists used microwaves to mimic the cat’s weird...

    05/26/2016 - 14:00 Quantum Physics
  • News

    Communicating covertly goes quantum

    Coded messages can keep your secrets safe, but you also might prefer to conceal the fact that you’re communicating at all. Now, scientists are working to make even the whispers of top-secret communications completely undetectable by eavesdroppers. And the methods for sending such stealthy dispatches are being extended from ordinary “classical” messages to quantum ones.

    The typical method...

    05/09/2016 - 07:00 Quantum Physics
  • Context

    Claude Shannon’s information theory built the foundation for the digital era

    Before anybody even had a computer, Claude Shannon figured out how to make computers worth having.

    As an electrical engineering graduate student at MIT, Shannon played around with a “differential analyzer,” a crude forerunner to computers. But for his master’s thesis, he was more concerned with relays and switches...

    04/28/2016 - 17:42 Numbers, History of Science
  • News

    How to make gravitational waves ‘sing’

    SALT LAKE CITY — When black holes collide, astronomers expect to record a gravitational wave “chirp.” But rapidly spinning black holes, like the one featured in the 2014 film Interstellar, might prefer singing to chirping.

    According to the calculations of Caltech physicist Kip Thorne, who served as scientific consultant for Interstellar, the movie’s...

    04/20/2016 - 09:30 Cosmology
  • News

    Information is physical, even in quantum systems, study suggests

    Information may seem ethereal, given how easily we forget phone numbers and birthdays. But scientists say it is physical, and if a new study is correct, that goes for quantum systems, too.

    Although pages of text or strings of bits seem easily erased with the press of a button, the act of destroying information has tangible physical impact, according to a principle proposed in 1961 by...

    04/19/2016 - 07:00 Quantum Physics
  • News

    Gamers outperform computer at quantum task

    Human intuition might seem useless in the weird world of quantum mechanics. It’s a peculiar realm in which particles can be in multiple places at once and can tunnel through barriers that should be impenetrable. But, scientists report in a paper published online April 13 in Nature, in a quantum-inspired game, humans bested...

    04/13/2016 - 13:00 Quantum Physics
  • News

    Possible source of high-energy neutrino reported

    Scientists may have found the cosmic birthplace of an ultra-high energy neutrino. They point the finger at a blazar — a brilliantly luminous galaxy that shoots a jet of radiation in the direction of Earth — 9 billion light years away.

    If the link between the blazar and neutrino is real, scientists would be closer to long-sought answers about where such power-packing particles come from....

    04/07/2016 - 10:46 Astronomy, Cosmology, Particle Physics