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Hot bodies sink faster
Wired Science    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
New high-speed videos show that a hot sphere falls through liquid more than twice as fast as a cold sphere, a finding that may someday help ease high-speed submarines through the sea. The spheres can move faster thanks to the same phenomenon that makes water droplets skate across a frying pan, known as the Leidenfrost effect. A thin layer of vapor forms beneath the water droplet and protects it from evaporating quickly, allowing it to levitate and skitter about freely. Read the associated Physical Review Letters abstract.

Silicon nanopillars steer infrared light
PhysicsWorld    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
Theorists in China and the U.S. claim that infrared light shone onto a line of silicon nanopillars can be bent by 90 degrees as it travels through the material - without being reflected at all. This finding, if confirmed experimentally, would offer a novel approach to optical beam steering, which usually requires specially crafted "metamaterials." The researchers say that the line of pillars could be used to bend beams of light in photonic circuits, possibly helping to steer light inside the components used in optical networks. Read the associated APS Physics Synopsis. More

A quantum take on certainty
Nature News    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
Physicists show that in the iconic double-slit experiment, uncertainty can be eased with an approach known as 'weak measurement.' More

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Erasing data could keep quantum computers cool
PhysicsWorld    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
Erasure of data - the blanking of memory so that it can be used again - is a fundamental operation any computer must perform. In today's computers, erasure generates heat, which not only wastes energy, but also causes problems for engineers trying to make smaller or more powerful computers, since the heat could damage the circuitry. But now theoretical physicists claim that, in the world of quantum computing, the act of erasing data might actually cool a computer. More

Antimatter atoms trapped for more than 15 minutes
Scientific American    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
Maybe antimatter is finally ready for its close-up. A team of physicists has succeeded in producing rudimentary atoms of antimatter and holding on to them for several minutes, an advance that holds hope for detailed comparisons of how ordinary atoms of matter compare with their exotic antimatter counterparts. More

New from Taylor & Francis
A first step in developing a clean and sustainable future is to think differently about everyday products, in particular how they influence energy use. Green Nanotechnology: Solutions for Sustainability and Energy in the Built Environment, written by Geoffrey B. Smith and Claes-Goran S. Granqvist explores the science and technology of tiny structures that have a huge potential to improve quality of life while simultaneously achieving reductions in the use of fossil fuels. For more information, go to www.crcpress.com

Moving mirrors make light from nothing
Nature News    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
Researchers claim to have produced sought-after quantum effect: creating photons directly from empty vacuum. More

Wind power harnesses the energy of galloping
NewScientist    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail
The thought of wind power brings visions of giant turbines, high-altitude kites and graceful sailboats to mind. But the breeze has a more sinister side, full of turbulence that can wreak havoc with bridges and other structures. Now two scientists plan to harness these destructive forces to generate energy. More

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The multiverse and quantum physics: Other worlds may not be so far away
The Telegraph    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
A new paper simplifies - slightly - our view of the cosmos by reconciling two theories relating to multiple universes. More

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Penguin groups use physics to avoid the crush and keep warm
Scientific American    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
With thousands of Emperor penguins (Aptenodytes forsteri) huddled close together for warmth on the ice sheets of Antarctica, there seems bound to be some competition for a toasty spot near the middle. But these enormous clusters manage to bring each penguin in for a chance to warm up - all without causing a dangerous crush. How do they do it? More

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