Physics for taxi drivers, good radiation, and a lucky break for astronomers
As the UK prepares to celebrate Einstein Year in 2005, a physicist from Bristol University is looking for stories that can be used to tell taxi drivers what physics is all about. Sir Michael Berry, whose own father was a London cabbie, thought of the idea after failing to give a taxi driver a clear explanation of what it is that physicists actually do. Berry realized that physicists need a stock of good and convincing stories that show how physics affects peoples lives. Looking back, he now wishes that he had told the driver how physics has democratized music, by creating the laser, which allows music to be played on a CD almost anywhere. Berry also wishes that he had said how physics has led to GPS navigation devices - the first consumer product to take advantage of Einsteins general theory of relativity. The best stories will be published in a future issue of Physics World.
“Lucky Break” makes ground-based telescopes as good as Hubble
Radiation – how much is good for you?
Anti-nuclear activists have always argued that even a tiny dose of radiation is bad for the human body. But according to a radiation biologist at Washington State University in the US, that view may be wrong. Antone (Tony) Brooks, who is involved in a low-dose research programme sponsored by the US government, says that the impact of small amounts of radiation is much more complicated than previously suspected. They have a cocktail-like mixture of beneficial and harmful effects that can, on balance, be harmless below a certain threshold. As Robert P Crease explains, this change of view could have huge social and economic consequences.
Cambridge astronomers have breathed new life into a technique that they claim allows ground-based telescopes to generate images as good as those from the Hubble Space Telescope. The technique, known as “Lucking Imaging”, counteracts the effect of turbulence in the Earth’s atmosphere and could be ideal for taking images over a wide field of view. According to Craig Mackay, Lucky Imaging could be used to study dark matter - the non-luminous substance that is believed to make up most of the matter in the universe. Until now it has only been possible to use the technique to take images of relatively bright objects such as Mars.
Also in this issue:
o Decision time for ITER fusion project
o Ink-jet firms join forces to study drops
o Drama, tragedy and gravitational waves
o 20 years of quasicrystals
o Superconducting quantum bits
o Christmas books -- from Copernicus to Champagne
o 2004 Quiz of the Year
David Reid | alfa
The most recent press releases about innovation >>>
Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:
Physicists of the University of Würzburg have made an astonishing discovery in a specific type of topological insulators. The effect is due to the structure of the materials used. The researchers have now published their work in the journal Science.
Topological insulators are currently the hot topic in physics according to the newspaper Neue Zürcher Zeitung. Only a few weeks ago, their importance was...
In recent years, lasers with ultrashort pulses (USP) down to the femtosecond range have become established on an industrial scale. They could advance some applications with the much-lauded “cold ablation” – if that meant they would then achieve more throughput. A new generation of process engineering that will address this issue in particular will be discussed at the “4th UKP Workshop – Ultrafast Laser Technology” in April 2017.
Even back in the 1990s, scientists were comparing materials processing with nanosecond, picosecond and femtosesecond pulses. The result was surprising:...
Mapping the interaction of a single atom with a single photon may inform design of quantum devices
Have you ever wondered how you see the world? Vision is about photons of light, which are packets of energy, interacting with the atoms or molecules in what...
A multi-institutional research collaboration has created a novel approach for fabricating three-dimensional micro-optics through the shape-defined formation of porous silicon (PSi), with broad impacts in integrated optoelectronics, imaging, and photovoltaics.
Working with colleagues at Stanford and The Dow Chemical Company, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign fabricated 3-D birefringent...
In experiments with magnetic atoms conducted at extremely low temperatures, scientists have demonstrated a unique phase of matter: The atoms form a new type of quantum liquid or quantum droplet state. These so called quantum droplets may preserve their form in absence of external confinement because of quantum effects. The joint team of experimental physicists from Innsbruck and theoretical physicists from Hannover report on their findings in the journal Physical Review X.
“Our Quantum droplets are in the gas phase but they still drop like a rock,” explains experimental physicist Francesca Ferlaino when talking about the...