Physics Buzz

Manipulating Light by Checkerboard
Friday, October 21, 2016
From Vans shoes to Pinterest cakes and the 2020 Olympic Games logo, checkerboard patterns draw us in. Their contrasting colors have symbolized duality, co-existence, and harmony throughout history. They cover floors, flags, and furniture. In work that pu... more

Is Planet Nine Pulling Us Closer?
Thursday, October 20, 2016
It’s not time to update the posters, rulers, books, felt sets, lollipops, and mnemonics just yet, but astronomer Michael Brown anticipates that it will be by the end of next winter. Planet Nine, a predicted gas giant orbiting the sun far beyond Neptune, ... more

How Much Does it Cost to Blow Up a Planet?
Wednesday, October 19, 2016
A curious reader wrote in today with an odd and ominous inquiry—how much would it cost to power the laser of the Death Star? We're by no means the first ones to turn an analytical eye to everyone's favorite space opera, but outlandish questions like... more

Your Friday Reading: "Obscurantism"
Friday, October 14, 2016
It’s Friday afternoon! Let’s look into the archives of physics and pretend we’re still working. In 1964, Physical Review Letters published the three cornerstone articles laying down the theory behind the Higgs boson, a proposed new fundamental particle (... more

From Urinals to Printers: Enough with the Splashing
Wednesday, October 12, 2016
My local beaches and swimming pools are closed until next year, but in bathrooms, kitchens, and operating rooms worldwide, it’s always splashing season. Whether it’s a spray of liquid from raw meat thrown hastily on the cutting board or body fluids from ... more

Intriguing Data
Tuesday, October 11, 2016
Why do theoretical physicists write papers explaining preliminary results?The CERN auditorium Image Credit: Skeie By Eran Moore ReaHow does physics work? Do experimental results drive theory, or do theoretical results drive new experiments? When new expe... more

Untangling the Mystery of Cosmic Ray Sources
Monday, October 10, 2016
The north star indicates north. Seeing the moon overhead means...that the moon is overhead. It sounds obvious, right? But not everything works this way. Cosmic rays are high energy particles produced in astronomical events. They careen through space at v... more