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E.g., 11/21/2018
E.g., 11/21/2018
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  • Le Grand K
  • proton illustration
  • vanadium atoms
Your search has returned 931 articles:
  • News

    It’s official: We’re redefining the kilogram

    Out with the old — kilogram, that is.

    Scientists will soon ditch a specialized hunk of metal that defines the mass of a kilogram. Oddly enough, every measurement of mass made anywhere on Earth is tied back to this one cylindrical object. Known as “Le Grand K,” the cylinder, cast in 1879, is kept carefully sequestered in a secure, controlled environment outside Paris.

    On November 16...

    11/16/2018 - 07:22 Numbers, Physics
  • Letters to the Editor

    Questions about toxic red tides, and more reader feedback

    Hot stuff

    A new material that converts sunlight into heat could someday melt ice off airplane wings, wind turbines and rooftops, Maria Temming reported in “A new material harnesses light to deice surfaces” (SN: 9/29/18, p. 17).

    “What happens when the object (such as an airplane wing) to which the material has been applied is subjected to the sun on a hot summer day?” asked online...

    11/04/2018 - 06:00 Materials, Health, Physics
  • News

    A new measurement bolsters the case for a (slightly) smaller proton

    A scientific tug-of-war is underway over the size of the proton. Scientists can’t agree on how big the subatomic particle is, but a new measurement has just issued a forceful yank in favor of a smaller proton.

    By studying how electrons scatter off of protons, scientists with the PRad experiment at Jefferson Laboratory in Newport News, Va., sized up the proton’s radius at a measly 0.83...

    11/02/2018 - 11:41 Physics
  • News

    Vanadium dioxide’s weird phase transition just got weirder

    For the first time, researchers have gotten a detailed view of how atoms in a compound called vanadium dioxide move when an ultrafast laser pulse transforms the material from an electrical insulator to a conductor — and it’s nothing like scientists expected.

    Rather than switching from one crystal formation to another in a direct, synchronized manner, like choreographed ballerinas, the...

    11/01/2018 - 14:00 Physics, Materials, Technology
  • News in Brief

    Three gas clouds nearly grazed the edge of the Milky Way’s black hole

    As far as close shaves with a black hole go, it doesn’t get much closer than this.

    Scientists have spotted clouds of gas hurtling around the monster black hole at the center of the Milky Way, not far from the behemoth’s edge. Observed on three separate occasions, the gas clouds careened along at unimaginably fast speeds — 30 percent of the speed of light, researchers report October 31 in...

    10/31/2018 - 14:18 Astronomy, Physics
  • News in Brief

    This cloud-zapping laser could help scientists create a quantum internet

    On an overcast day, ultrafast lasers could clear a path through the clouds, allowing easier contact with satellites traveling high above Earth.

    Currently, cloudy weather limits scientists’ ability to send data to satellites via lasers, because the clouds scatter the lasers’ light. But a powerful, fast-pulsing laser can zap a tiny, cloud-free channel, allowing a second laser to slip...

    10/23/2018 - 12:12 Physics
  • Reviews & Previews

    ‘Einstein’s Shadow’ explores what it takes to snap a black hole’s picture

    Einstein’s ShadowSeth FletcherEcco, $26.99

    Right now, a ragtag team of astronomers, assembled from institutes across the globe, may be peering in wonder at the first picture of a black hole’s shadow. The quest to create such an image has involved a massive level of scientific coordination, combining data from telescopes at eight observatories scattered from the South Pole to Hawaii...

    10/05/2018 - 13:07 Astronomy, Physics
  • News

    A new ultrafast laser emits pulses of light 30 billion times a second

    Blazingly fast lasers have just leveled up.

    Ultrafast lasers emit short, rapid-fire bursts of light, with each pulse typically lasting tens of millionths of a billionth of a second. A new laser pulses 30 billion times a second — about 100 times as fast as most ultrafast lasers, researchers report in the Sept. 28 Science.

    The speed boost was thanks to a new technique for making...

    10/05/2018 - 07:00 Physics, Technology
  • News

    Dazzling laser feats earn these physicists a Nobel

    Fantastic feats performed with lasers have earned three scientists the 2018 Nobel Prize in physics.

    Half of the award, which totals 9 million Swedish kronor (about $1 million), went to physicist Arthur Ashkin for his development of optical tweezers. The technique uses laser light to manipulate tiny particles such as viruses and bacteria.

    The other half of the prize went to two...

    10/02/2018 - 16:30 Physics
  • Science Ticker

    Groundbreaking ways of manipulating light win trio the 2018 physics Nobel

    Three scientists who invented innovative ways to manipulate light have won the Nobel Prize in physics. The 9-million-Swedish-kronor award (about $1 million) will be doled out to Arthur Ashkin of Bell Laboratories in Holmdel, N.J., Gérard Mourou of École Polytechnique in Palaiseau, France, and Donna Strickland of the University of Waterloo in Canada, the Nobel Prize committee announced October...

    10/02/2018 - 07:26 Physics