The Integral, Fermi and Swift space observatories have used the magnifying power of a cosmic lens to explore the inner regions of a supermassive black hole. Researchers used a star sitting between their target and Earth to ‘zoom in’ to the black hole and measure the size of the jet-emitting region — the first time this method has ever been used with gamma rays
Heading into the Independence Day weekend, materials that compute — what your clothes may say...
A team of researchers led by UCLA electrical engineers has demonstrated a new way to harness...
Planets tend to cool as they get older, but Saturn is hotter than astrophysicists say it should...
As we entered our first week of summer, the week’s biggest hits included a strong bent toward several “lighter” mathematical topics: learning how math drives Formula 1 and launches Angry Birds, inspiring young minds at MoMATH, and Pi Day under attack. You also won’t want to miss molecules exhibiting strange, exotic states, hot lava flows on Venus, and some of the coolest experimental technology showcased at this year’s Paris Air Show.
Over the past week, ESA's Integral satellite has been observing an exceptional outburst of high-energy light produced by a black hole that is devouring material from its stellar companion. X-rays and gamma rays point to some of the most extreme phenomena in the Universe, such as stellar explosions, powerful outbursts and black holes feasting on their surroundings.
Jill Hruby was named the next president and director of Sandia National Laboratories, the country’s largest national lab. When she steps into her new role July 17, she will be the first woman to lead a national security laboratory. A Sandia staff member and manager for the past 32 years, Hruby most recently oversaw Sandia efforts in nuclear, biological and chemical security, homeland security, counterterrorism and energy security.
This photo, suggestive of an old-fashioned lift cage, shows a much smaller enclosure: an electrode housing box that will fly on ESA’s LISA Pathfinder mission. The inside measures 5.5 centimeters on each side. The mission is a technology demonstrator that will pave the way for future space-based observatories measuring gravitational waves — ripples in the fabric of space-time predicted by Einstein’s general theory of relativity.
After a year in orbit, the three Swarm satellites have provided a first glimpse inside Earth and started to shed new light on the dynamics of the upper atmosphere — all the way from the ionosphere through to the outer reaches of our protective magnetic shield. Swarm is tasked with measuring and untangling the different magnetic signals that stem from Earth’s core, mantle, crust, oceans, ionosphere and magnetosphere.
The idea of cloaking and rendering something invisible hit the small screen in 1966 when a Romulan Bird of Prey made an unseen, surprise attack on the Starship Enterprise. Not only did it make for a good storyline, it inspired budding scientists, offering a window of technology's potential. Today, pop culture has embraced the idea of hiding behind force fields, and mathematicians are looking at transforming science fiction into science.
A newly-designed material, which mimics the wing structure of owls, could help make wind turbines, computer fans and even planes much quieter. Early wind tunnel tests of the coating have shown a substantial reduction in noise without any noticeable effect on aerodynamics.
Planes you can park in your garage. Satellites that fit in your backpack. Some of the coolest experimental technology showcased at this year’s Paris Air Show is about thinking small — though it's easy to get distracted by the huge aircraft performing overhead, from thundering fighter jets to the surprising near-vertical liftoff of a Boeing passenger jet. These innovative ideas may change the way we travel, wage wars or explore space.
Tapping at mobile phone games, waking up to sunlight on a pleasant morning or watching a Formula One race — such experiences are at the heart of modern life, and mathematics is working behind the scenes on all of them. Math is also used in many disciplines — from economics to engineering, biology to geography. But many of us struggle with math, and find formulas and theories difficult to grasp. A free online course could help.
The top most-visited stories of the past week included an amazing image of Jupiter’s second largest moon, solving billions of equations in just minutes, relief and delight as Philae woke up, Einstein saving the Quantum Cat, a fundamental change in wireless communications, a 40-year-old algorithm problem put to rest, news that a black hole’s surface is no deadly firewall, and an applied mathematician’s theory on MA flight 370.
The air around us is a chaotic superhighway of molecules whizzing through space and constantly colliding at speeds of hundreds of miles per hour. Such erratic behavior is normal at ambient temperatures. But scientists have long suspected that, if temperatures were to plunge to near absolute zero, they would come to a screeching halt. This more orderly behavior would begin to form very strange, exotic states of matter never observed...
Throughout history, many revolutions have started with the desire for democracy, and the simulation revolution is no exception. Simulation is an effective way to test the design of a product virtually. It's now evolving into building simulation apps that can be shared across teams, departments and companies. Simulation apps can help organizations in every industry gain better R&D results, while saving both time and money.
Are black holes the ruthless killers we’ve made them out to be? According to one professor of physics, the recently proposed idea that black holes have “firewalls” that destroy all they touch has a loophole.
An international team of researchers has discovered traces of methane in Martian meteorites, a possible clue in the search for life on the Red Planet.
Quantum dots are nanoparticles of semiconductor that can be tuned to glow in a rainbow of colors. Since their discovery in the 1980s, these remarkable nanoparticles have held out tantalizing prospects for all kinds of new technologies. But there’s a problem: Quantum dots often blink.
Einstein’s theory of time and space will celebrate its 100th anniversary this year. Even today it captures the imagination of scientists. In an international collaboration, researchers have discovered that this world-famous theory can explain yet another puzzling phenomenon: the transition from quantum behavior to our classical, everyday world.
When he wasn't busy scribbling out the theory of relativity, Albert Einstein seems to have spent a fair amount of time writing letters involving topics such as God, his son's geometry studies, even a little toy steam engine an uncle gave him when he was a boy. The Einstein Letters, which include more than two dozen missives, went up for sale at a California-based auction house. Some were in English and others in German.
Stanford bioengineer Manu Prakash and his students have developed a synchronous computer that operates using the unique physics of moving water droplets. Computers and water typically don't mix, but in Manu Prakash's lab, the two are one and the same. Prakash, an assistant professor of bioengineering at Stanford, and his students have built a synchronous computer that operates using the unique physics of moving water droplets.
Quieter, greener supersonic travel is the focus of eight studies selected by NASA’s Commercial Supersonic Technology Project to receive more than $2.3 million in funding for research that may help overcome the remaining barriers to commercial supersonic flight. The research, which will be conducted by universities and industry, will address sonic booms and high-altitude emissions from supersonic jets.
Here they are — the top most-visited stories from the past week. A 10-engine battery-powered plane that can take off like a helicopter, fascinating facts about USB OTG, a flexible computing prototype for electronic skin, a detailed look at the "Prostate Cancer Jungle," free Windows 10 upgrades, and an experiment that proves reality does not exist — at least until it is measured — are all among the top hits.
There's a chaotic dance going on at the far end of our solar system, involving Pluto and five of its closest friends, a new study finds. Hubble Space Telescope images of Pluto, its largest moon Charon, and tinier moons Styx, Nix, Hydra and Kerberos show the odd rhythmic gyrations of the six distant objects in a dance unlike anything in our solar system. What makes it so odd is that there's a double set of dances going on.
For the past several years, scientists at Berkeley Lab have been planning the construction of and developing technologies for a very special instrument that will create the most extensive three-dimensional map of the universe to date. Called DESI for Dark Energy Spectroscopic Instrument, this project will trace the growth history of the universe. Unprecedented in its size and scope, it will allow scientists to test dark energy theories.
Type Ia supernovae are famous for their consistency. Ironically, new observations suggest that their origins may not be uniform at all. Using a “roadmap” of theoretical calculations and supercomputer simulations, astronomers observed for the first time a flash of light caused by a supernova slamming into a nearby star, allowing them to determine the stellar system from which the supernova was born.
On June 3, 2015, CERN’s Large Hadron Collider started delivering physics data for the first time in 27 months. After an almost two-year shutdown and several months re-commissioning, the LHC is now providing collisions to all of its experiments at the unprecedented energy of 13 TeV, almost double the collision energy of its first run. This marks the start of season 2. The LHC will now run round the clock for the next three years.
The bizarre nature of reality as laid out by quantum theory has survived another test, with scientists performing a famous experiment and proving that reality does not exist until it is measured. Physicists have conducted John Wheeler's delayed-choice thought experiment, which involves a moving object given the choice to act like a particle or a wave. Wheeler's experiment then asks — at which point does the object decide?
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