609 posts tagged with physics.
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spooky fluids!

Order from chaos! Fill a cylindrical bucket with water and make it so the bottom can spin. At certain speeds, stable regular polygonal shapes will spontaneously form at the turbulent surface of the water. See the video. [2.6MB avi] [via last week's PRL]
posted by sergeant sandwich on May 10, 2006 - 28 comments

No ship that small has a cloaking device!

Science imitates Star Trek, again. Physicists Nicolae Nicorovici and Graeme Milton have published a paper in the Proceedings of the Royal Society A: Mathematical, Physical and Engineering Sciences outlining a theoretical means for constructing a cloaking device. A superlens constructed from a metamaterial with a negative refractive index could be used to create a resonance that cancelled the light coming off of a (very small) object, rendering it invisible.
posted by justkevin on May 3, 2006 - 11 comments

Or did I just BLOW YOUR FUCKING MIND?!

We've talked about quantum computation a few times before, but how much do we really know? Metafilter, instruct thyself. Don't forget to learn some advanced probability and computational complexity (Scott Aaronson has more). Whoa, that's a lot o' learning, so let's so check out the much easier, and much cooler "sleeping puppy" experiment. I can only dream that will help break quantum mechanics' association with animal abuse. Then, there's the Free Will Theorem that just came out (some discussion on it) and another paper with a new look at an old problem. The latter describes another way of solving ye olde, super importanto Einstein-Podolsky-Rosen paradox using the relational interpretation of quantum mechanics (lots of discussion running around). Whew. We don't need the crackpot ramblings of What the #$*! Do We Know? when we've got real physics to keep us up at night. So, who wants to become a physicist? (t'Hooft has some thoughts for those who want to go theoretical.)
posted by jmhodges on Apr 25, 2006 - 26 comments

The scientific tradition in Africa

The scientific tradition in Africa. An interview with Thebe Medupe, a South African astronomer.
posted by Wolfdog on Apr 19, 2006 - 5 comments

The pleasure of finding things out

The pleasure of finding things out. If you only watch one documentary on the subject of science this year, let is be this one. The brilliant physicist Richard Feynman is interviewed about a host of issues, such as [more inside].
posted by koenie on Apr 17, 2006 - 46 comments

maybe the Sarumpaet Rules will be worked out afterall

Before the Big Bang - way, way out of my depth, but I thought this comment was intriguing: "The paper as published, along with a longer follow up paper, looks to my untrained eye a nearly complete quantum gravitation theory, which is an exciting prospect in itself. However, as with all physical theories, we will await for experimental support before popping the cork." Here's some more on loop quantum gravity, spin networks, the big bang and ekpyrosis.
posted by kliuless on Apr 16, 2006 - 18 comments

Function Follows Form in Quantum Mechanics and Astronomy. The need for a NEW Black Hole.

Function Follows Form in Quantum Mechanics and Astronomy. The need for a NEW Black Hole. A Weblog.
posted by nthdegx on Apr 14, 2006 - 22 comments

Show Your Work

Condoleezza holds a watermelon just over the edge of the roof of the 300-foot Federal Building, and tosses it up with a velocity of 20 feet per second. Using the formula provided, when the watermelon will hit the ground? Bellevue Community College President Jean Floten asked the Pluralism Steering Committee to take the lead on this, and to complete their task quickly.
posted by three blind mice on Apr 13, 2006 - 214 comments

This Week's Finds in Mathematical Physics

This Week's Finds in Mathematical Physics. A geek's paradise. Reminiscent of Scientific American's Mathematical Games.
posted by five fresh fish on Apr 1, 2006 - 11 comments

...almost, but not quite, entirely unlike tea.

"...the answer to Life, the Universe, and Everything is..." "Yes? Yes!?" "...42."
via Dyson, Montgomery, Princeton, a cup of tea - as presented by Seed Magazine.
posted by loquacious on Mar 28, 2006 - 41 comments

The Z Machine

The Z Machine
"At first, we were disbelieving," said project leader Chris Deeney. "We repeated the experiment many times to make sure we had a true result." Scientists set record for hottest ever temperature record - 2 billion degrees Kelvin, or 3.6 billion degrees Fahrenheit, at one point the machine produced more energy than was put it. But they're not sure how, possibly fusion. High-res photo, higher-res photo, wikipedia, everything2.
posted by MetaMonkey on Mar 9, 2006 - 78 comments

The hidden super university

Vlad gives his views on the Moscow Institute of Physics and Technology. As the anthem of Phystech promises, "we will disperse, when the time comes, in all the world, from Dolgoprudny"
posted by tellurian on Feb 28, 2006 - 3 comments

"Have you tried turning it off and on again?"

Sufficiently advanced quantum computer is indistinguishable from magic
posted by Protocols of the Elders of Awesome on Feb 22, 2006 - 88 comments

The N Machine.

Physicist Bruce DePalma has a 100 kilowatt generator which he invented, named 'The N Machine', sitting in his garage. It could power his whole house, but if he turns it on, the government may confiscate it. This is because the U.S. Patent office automatically denies a patent to any gizmo which purports to produce more energy than it consumes, on the grounds that its personnel are not equipped to evaluate such claims. [more inside]
posted by Effigy2000 on Feb 4, 2006 - 138 comments

We still don't know what M stands for

The Everything of Theory and other articles by Gates, Roachcock, Kangaroo & Gall. Contains embedded video, not to mention branes and GUTs.
posted by Wolfdog on Jan 30, 2006 - 10 comments

Ripple Tank Simulation

Ripple Tank Simulation is a delightful, mesmeric java applet simulation of a ripple tank. It demonstrates two dimensional wave phenomena such as interference, diffraction, refraction, resonance, phased arrays, and the Doppler effect (do try the 3D view). From Paul Falstad's fantastic collection of Math, Physics and Engineering Applets.
posted by MetaMonkey on Jan 25, 2006 - 14 comments

cars and trucks incompatible. also, airplane crash tests, whee!

"We tacitly agree to accept a certain level of carnage in order to use the highways in ways we value." [pdf, 750kB] Three particle physicists analyze data from crash tests and crash statistics, and show that pickup trucks pose a much greater risk to other drivers than any other type of vehicle, even SUVs. [pdf, 880kB] Also, I found some totally rad videos of airplane crash tests from nasa. Sweet!!
posted by sergeant sandwich on Jan 19, 2006 - 23 comments

Make the Kessel run in less than twelve par-secs!

Hyperdrive and a possible Unified Theory. New Scientist article about a paper and proposal to NASA outlining development parameters and possiblities for a faster-than-light anti-gravity propulsion system, based on some rather interesting physics theories originated by a guy named Heim. You mean you've never heard of the Millenium Falcon? (via)
posted by zoogleplex on Jan 9, 2006 - 70 comments

everyone's a scientist

The sun is solid (this has beautiful images, btw). The earth is fixed, or maybe growing; relativity is wrong, and so is most of current thinking... For the intriguing as well as the insane, visit the fringes of science.
posted by mdn on Jan 5, 2006 - 45 comments

Whether you slither, swim, or fly, it's all the same

"[E]ven though you couldn't predict exactly what animals would look like if you started evolution over on earth, or it happened on another planet -- with a given gravity and density of their tissues, the same basic patterns of their design would evolve again." A new study models all forms of locomotion -- swimming, walking, flying by muscle or flying by 747 -- in one physics theory, and stultifies Stephen Jay Gould's conjectures about the "contingency" of evolution. [mi]
posted by orthogonality on Dec 30, 2005 - 62 comments

The physics of reality

Does God Play Dice?
posted by Gyan on Dec 3, 2005 - 104 comments

Webcast on Relativity

Beyond Einstein - "A 12-hour webcast on Einstein's Theory of Relativity... and beyond."
posted by Gyan on Nov 30, 2005 - 7 comments

This so called reality

If the universe is a hologram and the healthy human brain a valve of consciousness then where'd this mental infinity come from? Are we simply living the simulacrum? Or does Pi protect us all, forever, infinitely?
posted by 0bvious on Nov 22, 2005 - 39 comments

The Leidenfrost Effect

The Leidenfrost Effect. It's the reason that water droplets don't instantly evaporate off of a hot plate between 200 and 300 deg C. Another obscure physical phenomenon? Perhaps - except for Jearl Walker, the physicist who uses it for some awesome demonstrations: sticking your hand into molten lead, walking on hot coals and gargling with liquid nitrogen.
posted by GuyZero on Nov 18, 2005 - 30 comments

Come on big gravity waves... No whammies!

Do Gravity Waves Exist? This is one of the big unanswered questions in physics. Gravity telescopes such as the LIGO and the Geo 600 may soon tell us. These massive detectors are sensitive to a displacement of 1 part in 1000000000000000000000-- that's like "measuring a change of one hydrogen atom diameter in the distance from the Earth to the Sun." Such a discovery would mean a tremendous boom to science. And big cash payouts to those who put their money where there mouth was.
posted by justkevin on Nov 18, 2005 - 32 comments

Nerd Porn

Flash Animations for Physics. Animations and interactive demos available in many varieties, such as classical mechanics, nuclear, quantum, and relativistic. There's even a nice explanation of the forces at work in Curling. And if that doesn't wet your geek whistle, then take a peek at the patterns of Visual Math.
posted by Gamblor on Nov 11, 2005 - 7 comments

The Sceptical Chymist

The Works of natural philosopher Robert Boyle (1627 - 1697) at the Robert Boyle Project, based at Birkbeck College, University of London.
Widely regarded as the first modern chemist (his book The Sceptical Chymist is perhaps the founding text of chemistry as a science), he was also an alchemist and made significant contributions in physics (for example Boyle's law) and physiology.
The Robert Boyle homepage has as its centrepiece a large collection of images of Boyles' papers. Images and transcriptions of his marvellous work diaries are available at the AHRC Centre for Editing Lives and Letters.
posted by thatwhichfalls on Nov 11, 2005 - 5 comments

Boundless energy or bad math?

Boundless energy or bad math? Randell Mills thinks he has the solution to our energy problems. In his company's patented process, "energy is released as the electrons of atomic hydrogen are induced to undergo transitions to lower energy levels producing plasma, light, and novel hydrogen compounds." It also implies that quantum mechanics is wrong.
posted by Espoo2 on Nov 5, 2005 - 73 comments

Ride the Lightning

Nova Science Now recently ran a segment on lightning (quicktime, real, and windows video here). I figured that subject was over and done with shortly after Franklin flew a kite, but it turns out we don't really know exactly what causes a bolt to start. The coolest part of the segment was these researchers in Florida. Scientists know how hard it was to observe, monitor, and even find lightning bolts, so these guys built their own rig. High-powered model rockets attached to a couple thousand feet of wire, which is grounded to larger metal structures on the ground. The result? Shoot a rocket into a storm cloud and you get instant lightning you can count on, measure, and control.
posted by mathowie on Oct 22, 2005 - 30 comments

From pitch to drops

Longest lab experiment
posted by dov3 on Oct 14, 2005 - 21 comments

Strange Charm

Visualization of particle physics [via]
posted by Gyan on Oct 12, 2005 - 5 comments

Hmm....

Does dark matter exist? Dark matter has been suggested as a solution to the galaxy rotation problem where individual stars don't seem to rotate the way Newton's laws would predict. Now, some scientists are saying that observations fit with Einstein's general relativity, without any dark matter needed. I just find it amazing that no one has tried this yet.
posted by delmoi on Oct 10, 2005 - 45 comments

The Color Of Atoms

Americans, German win nobel prize for physics. They won for for their contributions to the development of laser-based precision spectroscopy, including the optical frequency comb technique, which among other thing allows them to measure the speed of light to such accuracy that it is now used as the definition for the meter, see if the laws of physics were the same at the beginning of time, and make gps satellites work much better.
posted by stilgar on Oct 4, 2005 - 5 comments

e=mc^2*100

e=mc^2*100 It has been a hundred years since the date that Einstein's famous equation was first published, the last of his four annus mirabilis papers of 1905. In celebration, you can hear Einstein explain his formula (or listen to any of 10 other famous physicists do the same), or read an interesting site in celebration of his life and works, or, if physics isn't your thing, peruse his views on religion, or his exchange with Freud about war, or take a look at hundreds of his original manuscripts.
posted by blahblahblah on Sep 27, 2005 - 19 comments

Math You Don't Know, and Math You Didn't Know You Didn't Know.

Jim Loy's Mathematics Page is (among other things) a collection of interesting theorems (like Napoleon's Triangle theorem), thoughtful discussions of both simple and complex math, and geometric constructions (my personal favorite); the latter of which contains surprisingly-complex discussions on the trisection of angles, or the drawing of regular pentagons.

Similarly enthralling are the pages on Billiards (and the physics of), Astronomy (and the savants of), and Physics (and the Phlogiston Theory of), all of which are rife with illustrations and diagrams. See the homepage for much more.

If you like your geometric constructions big, try Zef Damen's Crop Circle Reconstructions.
posted by odinsdream on Sep 14, 2005 - 8 comments

Java applets to help visualize various concepts in math, physics, and engineering

Java applets to help visualize various concepts in math, physics, and engineering
posted by Gyan on Sep 9, 2005 - 13 comments

The pasta problem

It was one of the great riddles of the cosmos. Along with black holes, the structure of space-time and the origins of the Big Bang, some of the greatest scientific minds have struggled with the dry spaghetti question. Why does uncooked spaghetti snap into more than two pieces when bent?
posted by Wet Spot on Aug 15, 2005 - 23 comments

Negative knowledge (or more precisely negative information)

Know less than nothing!? What could negative knowledge possibly mean? In short, after I tell you negative information, you will know less... "In this week's issue of Nature, however, Michal Horodecki and colleagues present a fresh approach to understanding quantum phenomena that cannot be grasped simply by considering their classical counterparts." [via slashdot :]
posted by kliuless on Aug 8, 2005 - 26 comments

Think of lift, think of thrust, think of innovation without the benefit of an industrial policy.

Work Well With Others or, how to power a matchstick plane with houseflies. Reports of success or failure are welcome.
posted by DrJohnEvans on Aug 3, 2005 - 20 comments

Kung Fu Science

Kung Fu Science: The BBC News article claims that the site "is primarily aimed at 11 to 16-year-olds," but I refuse to let temporal adolescents have a corner on 25-year-old female PhD students doing physics and then breaking wood planks with their hands. [Flash; both the site and the videos take a while to load.]
posted by gramschmidt on Aug 3, 2005 - 18 comments

How to crush a tank car

How not to clean a tank car. Apparently someone steam cleaned a railroad tank car and then having finished the job closed all the valves and hatches tightly. Physics then took over.
posted by caddis on Jul 28, 2005 - 93 comments

After reading the article, you should have completed the following objectives...

How should science be taught in school?
posted by daksya on Jul 14, 2005 - 18 comments

Pendulumania

Thursday non-flash fun: Pendulumania! (Direct link here.) Swing the ball around to hit the targets, but don't let your line break. (more inside)
posted by squidlarkin on Jul 14, 2005 - 8 comments

Inverse Kinematik Manipulate the bikini puppet lady... or something.

Physics, bikinis and bubbles. A weird flash physics experiment. Strangly hypnotic. If the bikini clad woman gets stuck, just click and drag her.
posted by dazed_one on Jun 29, 2005 - 27 comments

Making Waves

Resonata - A Wave Machine [Java]
posted by Gyan on Jun 21, 2005 - 13 comments

The Complexity of a Controversial Concept

The Logic of Diversity "A new book, The Wisdom of Crowds [..:] by The New Yorker columnist James Surowiecki, has recently popularized the idea that groups can, in some ways, be smarter than their members, which is superficially similar to Page's results. While Surowiecki gives many examples of what one might call collective cognition, where groups out-perform isolated individuals, he really has only one explanation for this phenomenon, based on one of his examples: jelly beans [...] averaging together many independent, unbiased guesses gives a result that is probably closer to the truth than any one guess. While true — it's the central limit theorem of statistics — it's far from being the only way in which diversity can be beneficial in problem solving." (Three-Toed Sloth)
posted by kliuless on Jun 20, 2005 - 6 comments

Time Travel

Back to the FutureDrawing Board
posted by Pretty_Generic on Jun 17, 2005 - 42 comments

Ball Sports & physics

Par 5 site on the science of golf balls. Service on the newly sized tennis ball. Return on the flight of tennis balls: Part 1; Rally with Part 2. Back and forth again with Ball/Court Interaction 1 and 2, and the aerodynamics of tennis ball coverings puts it away for the point. (And apparently, the weight inside a bowling ball isn't spherical and so modeling the movement of bowling balls takes university papers and presentations.[PDF])
posted by OmieWise on Jun 15, 2005 - 7 comments

The Physics Evolution

The Physics Evolution - a flash based history from the Institute of Physics in London. Clickable maps with timelines and short biographies of the main figures. It's a bit superficial, but a lot of fun.
posted by thatwhichfalls on Jun 11, 2005 - 4 comments

What do you call a young eigensheep?

The Prime Number Shitting Bear, Finite Simple Group of Order Two[video], Math Jokes, Physics Jokes
posted by apathy0o0 on May 11, 2005 - 29 comments

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