Scientist of the century
Leonhard Euler was the greatest scientist of the 18th century. So claims Ed Sandifer in this month's Physics World where he looks at the achievements of the gifted Swiss scientist, who was born 300 years ago this month on 15 April 1707.
In an illustrious career that saw him write over 800 books and papers on optics and mechanics, Euler earned part of the famous longitude prize to help sailors navigate at sea, designed the fountains for Frederick the Great's palace in Potsdam and developed ways to build lenses for microscopes and telescopes that yielded images undistorted by coloured rainbow-like fringes. Even in retirement, when he went blind, Euler continued to carry out research, calculating the orbit of Uranus and working out the buoyancy of hot-air balloons on the very day he died. (p. 35)
We are the physics WAGs
Anyone who watched last years football World Cup in Germany will have been shocked at how poorly the England team performed. Off the pitch, however, the wives and girlfriends of the England players excelled, with the acronym "WAG" being coined in the light of their antics, usually involving drinking and shopping to excess. Welcome now to the "physics WAGs" - non-scientists like Laura Phillips, a librarian at the University of Bristol, who are attached to a physicist. She has found plenty of reasons to enjoy living with a physicist, including having a life "that takes on new depth and meaning" and having someone who "can answer all your 'why' questions". But physicists are far from nerdy, Phillips points out. "Most of my boyfriend’s colleagues are cool, interesting, fun people," she says. (p. 24)Also in this issue:
Helen MacBain | alfa
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More and more automobile companies are focusing on body parts made of carbon fiber reinforced plastics (CFRP). However, manufacturing and repair costs must be further reduced in order to make CFRP more economical in use. Together with the Volkswagen AG and five other partners in the project HolQueSt 3D, the Laser Zentrum Hannover e.V. (LZH) has developed laser processes for the automatic trimming, drilling and repair of three-dimensional components.
Automated manufacturing processes are the basis for ultimately establishing the series production of CFRP components. In the project HolQueSt 3D, the LZH has...
Reflecting the structure of composites found in nature and the ancient world, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign have synthesized thin carbon nanotube (CNT) textiles that exhibit both high electrical conductivity and a level of toughness that is about fifty times higher than copper films, currently used in electronics.
"The structural robustness of thin metal films has significant importance for the reliable operation of smart skin and flexible electronics including...
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.
Supermassive black holes form some of the most enigmatic phenomena in astrophysics. Their enormous energy output is supposed to be generated by the...
The probability to find a certain number of photons inside a laser pulse usually corresponds to a classical distribution of independent events, the so-called...
Microprocessors based on atomically thin materials hold the promise of the evolution of traditional processors as well as new applications in the field of flexible electronics. Now, a TU Wien research team led by Thomas Müller has made a breakthrough in this field as part of an ongoing research project.
Two-dimensional materials, or 2D materials for short, are extremely versatile, although – or often more precisely because – they are made up of just one or a...
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