A new understanding of how glass is formed may assist with our understanding of everything from the design of golf club heads to the structure of the early universe.
Princeton chemists have found that the formation of glass -- a familiar substance that nonetheless retains some elusive scientific mysteries -- always occurs differently depending on how quickly a liquid substance is cooled into its solid form. Though the findings will likely dash the hopes of condensed matter physicists who have long sought in vain for what is known as an "ideal" glass transition, they may also one day contribute to industrialists efforts to create better plastics and other useful polymers.
"Glasses can be formed from any substance, and the way their molecules interact places them somewhere at the border between solids and liquids, giving them some properties that manufacturers can exploit," said Sal Torquato, a professor of chemistry who is also affiliated with the Princeton Center for Theoretical Physics. "Golf club heads made of metallic glasses, for example, can make golf balls fly farther. While our research could be utilized by industry, it can actually help us understand any glassy multi-particle system, such as the early universe -- which cosmologists have described as a glass."
Chad Boutin | EurekAlert!
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The nearby, giant radio galaxy M87 hosts a supermassive black hole (BH) and is well-known for its bright jet dominating the spectrum over ten orders of magnitude in frequency. Due to its proximity, jet prominence, and the large black hole mass, M87 is the best laboratory for investigating the formation, acceleration, and collimation of relativistic jets. A research team led by Silke Britzen from the Max Planck Institute for Radio Astronomy in Bonn, Germany, has found strong indication for turbulent processes connecting the accretion disk and the jet of that galaxy providing insights into the longstanding problem of the origin of astrophysical jets.
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Glaciers might seem rather inhospitable environments. However, they are home to a diverse and vibrant microbial community. It’s becoming increasingly clear that they play a bigger role in the carbon cycle than previously thought.
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