Physics Buzz

Could Europa be Spewing Signs of Life?
Monday, September 26, 2016
In an eagerly anticipated announcement, NASA just revealed new evidence that plumes of water are intermittently expelled from the surface of Europa, one of Jupiter’s moons.It’s not quite as exciting as finding little green men skating across Europa’s ice... more

Ask a Physicist: Conservation of Mass Violation...In a Bowl of Couscous?
Thursday, September 22, 2016
Cal, from Italy, wants to know:"When I add hot water to couscous in a bowl, and then zero out the scale it sits on……it magically starts increasing in weight over time as it absorbs the hot water!I can understand it increasing in volume, but not in weight... more

When the Brain Bulges: The “Stressful” Impact of Removing Part of the Skull
Wednesday, September 21, 2016
Physics is usually associated with frying the brain rather than saving it. Unfortunately, students often leave introductory physics classes wondering more about the relevance of physics than the world of possibilities it opens. Whatever you wonder about,... more

How Pollutants Navigate Manhattan Streets
Tuesday, September 20, 2016
Imagine that a highly-toxic pollutant is released in the middle of Manhattan on a windy day. What is the appropriate response? Evacuate one square block? Ten square blocks? The whole city? How much time do patients at a hospital five blocks north and 20 ... more

Spider Silk Lets Scientists See Like Never Before
Monday, September 19, 2016
Scientists who use conventional light microscopes—like the one you probably peered through in high school science class—face a limit on the size of objects they can view. Basic properties of light prevent them from focusing on anything smaller than the t... more

Ask a Physicist: How Much Energy is in Me?
Friday, September 16, 2016
"Game Maker" wants to know:I'm designing a fire-wielding superhero who uses his own body as fuel for his powers. How much heat energy would be created if a person were to burn off 50-100 lbs of fat in the span of 5 minutes? (Assuming he has the requisite... more

How Quantum Mechanics Can Help Protect Your Secrets
Wednesday, September 14, 2016
Most of us aren’t very comfortable thinking about randomness. People like five-year plans and the comfort of “everything happens for a reason.” Even the messy among us claim there’s order in their chaos. Despite this, many processes that are fundamental ... more