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Assume A Cylindrical Cow

The Mathematics of the Manhattan Project
posted by empath on Jul 10, 2013 - 40 comments

The number of constituent particles in one mole of a given substance.

Avogadro Project - The International Avogadro project relates the kilogram to the mass of a fixed number of atoms by measuring the number of atoms in a sphere of silicon. I'll leave this here.
posted by hypersloth on Jun 8, 2013 - 26 comments

Physics + Art = Awesome.

This is the current state of YoYo mastery. It is excellent.
posted by lazaruslong on Jun 6, 2013 - 27 comments

Is Nature Unnatural?

Decades of confounding experiments have physicists considering a startling possibility: The universe might not make sense. For you Saturday night science read, a very interesting science article, one of many on the Simons Foundation web site
posted by Long Way To Go on Jun 1, 2013 - 84 comments

This looks legit

Eric Weinstein has a PhD in mathematical physics from Harvard, but has spent most of the last 10 years outside academia working as an economic consultant for a New York hedge fund. Now he apparently has a new theory of everything that claims to be able to explain quantum gravity, dark matter and dark energy. Actual details have not yet been provided and some physicists are dismissive. But his work has received enthusiastic endorsement from Oxford's Simonyi Professor of Public Understanding Marcus du Sautoy, with whom he has been discussing the theory over the last two years. [more inside]
posted by leibniz on May 24, 2013 - 105 comments

doing things in the most complicated way possible is just what he does

A titanium engagement ring that lights up via magnetic induction.
posted by GuyZero on May 21, 2013 - 64 comments

always twirling, twirling, twirling towards freedom

Rebound. A simple physics game with 2 controls. How far to the right can you go? [more inside]
posted by garlic on May 20, 2013 - 32 comments

Perpetual Motion, maybe for real

Now, a technological advance has made it possible for physicists to test the idea. They plan to build a time crystal, not in the hope that this perpetuum mobile will generate an endless supply of energy (as inventors have striven in vain to do for more than a thousand years) but that it will yield a better theory of time itself.
Nobel laureate Frank Wilczek's "somewhat embarassing" idea will be put to the test as scientists try to build time crystals.
posted by hippybear on Apr 30, 2013 - 73 comments

Pathological Physics: Tales from "The Box"

This is a talk I gave on June 1, 2012, about the numerous crank physics letters and books that had been sent to, and saved by, the Physics Department at Cal Poly in San Luis Obispo, CA.
Don't believe the apparent video length, the talk is 41 minutes long and the camera sticks around for about 20 minutes of the awesome Q&A afterwards.
[more inside]
posted by Blasdelb on Apr 30, 2013 - 67 comments

It will have 10-20 failures and two successes. That's my hypothesis.

7-year old Audri builds a Rube Golberg machine to trap a monster. (SLYT) [more inside]
posted by Room 641-A on Apr 23, 2013 - 42 comments

"Ring it Out"

Last fall, the Canadian Space Agency asked students to design a simple science experiment that could be performed in space, using items already available aboard the International Space Station. Today, Commander Chris Hadfield conducted the winner for its designers: two tenth grade students, Kendra Lemke and Meredith Faulkner, in a live feed to their school in Fall River, Nova Scotia. And now, we finally have an answer to the age-old question, What Happens When You Wring Out A Washcloth In Space? [more inside]
posted by zarq on Apr 18, 2013 - 63 comments

Many a Maester have tried to play the Game of Weather Patterns

"...here we attempt to explain the apparently erratic seasonal changes in the world of [Georege R.R. Martin]. A natural explanation for such phenomena is the unique behavior of a circumbinary planet."
posted by Midnight Rambler on Apr 5, 2013 - 38 comments

Nothing is the most important part of the Universe.

The concept of nothing is as old as zero itself. How do we grapple with the concept of nothing? From the best laboratory vacuums on Earth to the vacuum of space to what lies beyond, the idea of nothing continues to intrigue professionals and the public alike. Join moderator and Hayden Planetarium Director Neil deGrasse Tyson as he leads a spirited discussion with a group of physicists, philosophers and journalists about the existence of nothing. The event, which was streamed live to the web, took place at the American Museum of Natural History on March 20, 2013. [more inside]
posted by lazaruslong on Mar 25, 2013 - 32 comments

The economics of time travel

Would time travellers affect security prices? An article by Richard Hudson. [more inside]
posted by medusa on Mar 25, 2013 - 30 comments

Mind is moving

Ron Garret, formerly of JPL and Google and "the most referenced computer science researcher in all of NASA", has an interesting take on quantum mechanics he dubs "zero-worlds", which he presents in an hour-long Google Tech Talk (meat starts around 42 minutes) as well as slightly older paper. He also got into a bit of further debate here. [more inside]
posted by crayz on Mar 23, 2013 - 26 comments

+

"I'm confident that it's a Higgs particle. I don't need to call it Higgs-like any more...I may need to eat my words one day, but I think that's very unlikely."
"Cern scientists believe newly discovered particle is the real Higgs boson. Results of analysis at Cern in Switzerland show particle behaves precisely as expected." Previously
posted by Fizz on Mar 15, 2013 - 53 comments

Aspiring Animators & Game Designers, Study Your Calculus & Combinatorics

Every film Pixar has produced has landed in the top fifty highest-grossing animated films of all time. What's their secret? Mathematics. Oh, and 22 Rules of Storytelling. [more inside]
posted by zarq on Mar 8, 2013 - 40 comments

The Professor, the Bikini Model and the Suitcase Full of Trouble

A world-renowned physicist meets a gorgeous model online. They plan their perfect life together. But first, she asks, would he be so kind as to deliver a special package to her?
posted by Optamystic on Mar 8, 2013 - 196 comments

Two Body Interactions: A Longitudinal Study

"My boyfriend of 7 years and I are both physicists. Here's how he proposed to me." [Via: Reddit.]
posted by DarlingBri on Feb 24, 2013 - 35 comments

Oliver Heaviside

Surely you've heard of the physicist Maxwell, but what about Oliver Heaviside? Oliver Heaviside: A first-rate oddity.
posted by Evernix on Feb 14, 2013 - 14 comments

Fans often form circles and then run together with physical abandon

Moshers, Heavy Metal and Emergent Behaviour: The collective behaviour of moshers at heavy metal concerts is mathematically similar to a disordered 2D gas, say physicists. [more inside]
posted by not_the_water on Feb 13, 2013 - 36 comments

OMG SCIENCE!

Henry Reich of Minute Physics shares his favorite science blogs, video channels, and other resources on the web. (Minute Physics previously) [more inside]
posted by ocherdraco on Feb 8, 2013 - 5 comments

the power and beauty of mathematics

An eternity of infinities (via) [more inside]
posted by kliuless on Feb 2, 2013 - 23 comments

Spoiler: Everyone Dies

The Timeline of the Far Future is a Wikipedia article which serves as a gateway to a ton of fascinating scientific topics on the far edge of human understanding: ~50,000 years from now the Earth will enter a new Glacial period; ~100,000 years from now the Earth will likely have experienced a supervolcanic eruption; ~10,000,000 years from now the East African Rift divides the continent of Africa in to two land masses; ~20,000,000,000 years from now the Universe effectively dies due to The Big Rip.
posted by codacorolla on Jan 22, 2013 - 93 comments

The Physics of Bad Piggies

The physics of Bad Piggies:  Scale, mass, scale again,  balloons and friction
posted by Artw on Jan 7, 2013 - 11 comments

Not so absolute now, are you?

Quantum gas goes below absolute zero. "It may sound less likely than hell freezing over, but physicists have created an atomic gas with a sub-absolute-zero temperature for the first time. Their technique opens the door to generating negative-Kelvin materials and new quantum devices, and it could even help to solve a cosmological mystery."
posted by moonmilk on Jan 4, 2013 - 72 comments

For SCIENCE!

Decay is a free, downloadable zombie film set entirely at the Large Hadron Collider at CERN. [more inside]
posted by zarq on Dec 22, 2012 - 15 comments

There is always a last time for everything

Is Science Fiction promoting pseuodoscience? Is it not really better than fantasy? Is it exhausted and dying, per Paul Kincaid (part 1, part 2), a sort of genre-writing version of completing a list of The Nine Billion Names of God? Does physics-bothering unrepentant space case Alistair Reynolds have a compass pointing the way forwards?
posted by Artw on Dec 19, 2012 - 84 comments

Photons: Corpuscules of Light.

Richard Feynman delivers a charming talk about Quantum Mechanics and Quantum Electrodynamics and the versatile, enigmatic photon. (SLYT - 1:17:58)
posted by loquacious on Dec 11, 2012 - 12 comments

Goldberg: 1 - Newton: 0

Isaac Newton vs Rube Goldberg (SLVimeo) [more inside]
posted by vidur on Dec 5, 2012 - 5 comments

direct realism

The Nature of Computation - Intellects Vast and Warm and Sympathetic: "I hand you a network or graph, and ask whether there is a path through the network that crosses each edge exactly once, returning to its starting point. (That is, I ask whether there is a 'Eulerian' cycle.) Then I hand you another network, and ask whether there is a path which visits each node exactly once. (That is, I ask whether there is a 'Hamiltonian' cycle.) How hard is it to answer me?" (via) [more inside]
posted by kliuless on Dec 1, 2012 - 19 comments

What's gonna happen outside the window next?

Noam Chomsky on Where Artificial Intelligence Went Wrong
posted by cthuljew on Nov 18, 2012 - 55 comments

Dear Mr. President: An open letter on the state of Physics education

Dear Mr. President: “You're the President of the United States: a country with 5000 nuclear weapons, birthplace of the world's computing and telecommunications industry, home of the first atomic clock and creator of the global positioning system. But chances are, if you just took regular American high school physics, you don't know one iota about the science behind these things (no offense). That's because high school physics students across most of America are not required to learn about pretty much any physical phenomena discovered or explained more recently than 1865.” From Henry Reich of Minute Physics. (Can't watch video? Click the "interactive transcript" button under the video to read it instead.) Minute Physics previously, previouslier. [more inside]
posted by ocherdraco on Nov 12, 2012 - 69 comments

A Slower Speed of Light

A Slower Speed of Light is a first-person game prototype, built by the MIT Game Lab, that emulates the visual effects of special relativity.
posted by brundlefly on Nov 2, 2012 - 32 comments

They do it because they can.

Trees are Freaking Awesome! (SLYT)
posted by klausman on Oct 31, 2012 - 29 comments

no stairway?

Q: How many miles is it to the crab nebula? How does one even figure this out? A: The cosmic distance ladder! Here's a talk by Fields medalist Terrence Tao on methods for indirect calculation of distances to astronomical objects. Here's Tao's blog post on the subject, including the slides for the talk. And here's a Wikipedia page. [more inside]
posted by kaibutsu on Oct 22, 2012 - 17 comments

Standing On The Shoulders of Giants

Holt’s philosophers belong to the twentieth and twenty-first centuries. Compared with the giants of the past, they are a sorry bunch of dwarfs. They are thinking deep thoughts and giving scholarly lectures to academic audiences, but hardly anybody in the world outside is listening. They are historically insignificant. At some time toward the end of the nineteenth century, philosophers faded from public life. Like the snark in Lewis Carroll’s poem, they suddenly and silently vanished. So far as the general public was concerned, philosophers became invisible. [more inside]
posted by jason's_planet on Oct 21, 2012 - 130 comments

2012 Nobel Prize in Physics

The 2012 Nobel Prize in Physics has been awarded to Serge Haroche (France) and David Wineland (US) for discovering ways to measure and manipulate quantum particles, a discovery which many are suggesting may soon allow us to build computers with virtually limitless capabilities. The Nobel press release provides a layman friendly PDF summary of the research and its potential applications, as well as a less layman friendly PDF with additional scientific background information. The press release cites two older Scientific American articles for further reading, and the magazine has made these articles available to read free online for the next 30 days:
Monroe, C. R. and Wineland, D. J. (2008) Quantum Computing with Ions, Scientific American, August.

Yam, P. (1997) Bringing Schrödinger’s Cat to Life, Scientific American, June.

posted by dgaicun on Oct 15, 2012 - 51 comments

The Beauty Of Physics

Ordinary objects made beautiful by physics: a red scarf surrounded by electric fans. Half-filled water balloons and Jello (previously) dropped and shot at 6200 frames per second. Two ball bearings welded together and set to spin with a breath.
posted by Bora Horza Gobuchul on Sep 4, 2012 - 34 comments

Flipping cat physics

The physics of how cats flip their bodies to land feet first also allows spacecraft to turn. Flipping cats [previously] is interesting. It's even more interesting if your dad works at NASA and you have access to people who use flipping-cat physics to make spacecraft turn in space.
posted by milkb0at on Aug 26, 2012 - 28 comments

Rolling in the Higgs

"I'm a harmony addict working on a master's in theoretical physics; what ELSE was I going to make a YouTube channel about?" And so was born A Capella Science, brainchild of lifelong harmonics junkie and physics master's student Tim Blais. His first track, "Rolling in the Higgs (Adele parody)", takes on the Large Hadron Collider and the Higgs boson.
posted by Laminda on Aug 24, 2012 - 14 comments

My guy rode an excitebike

The Games We Play. [SLYT] And you thought you were the only one.
posted by Christ, what an asshole on Aug 20, 2012 - 114 comments

The Cause of the Formation of Meanders in the Courses of Rivers and of the So-Called Baer’s Law

Einstein described the "Tea Leaf Paradox" (more) to explain Baer's Law of erosion. [more inside]
posted by Algebra on Aug 19, 2012 - 9 comments

The Physics of physicality

WIRED has been running a fascinating series: Olympic Physics: Can Runners Benefit From Drafting?, Scoring the Decathlon, New [Swimming] Platform Is No Chip Off The Old Block [more inside]
posted by the man of twists and turns on Aug 13, 2012 - 16 comments

"Because I'm in space, and I can, I get to name these yo-yo tricks."

NASA Astronaut Don Pettit uses his off-duty time to practice his microgravity yo-yo skills.
posted by OverlappingElvis on Aug 11, 2012 - 39 comments

Fun with kinematics!

Racetrack is a game with very simple rules which nonetheless does a surprisingly good job of simulating the acceleration, braking, and handling of a race car. It can teach not only about inertia and kinematics, but also about optimal racing lines. Racetrack can be played with nothing more than a piece of graph paper and a pen, but there is also an online implementation called Vector Racer.
posted by 256 on Aug 11, 2012 - 42 comments

Two More Cats Needed

High Speed Video of Flipping Cats A video in which a man claims watching him attempt to flip a cat (without pissing people off) will make you smarter. Bonus intro video. Gratuitous Father Guido Sarducci
posted by cjorgensen on Aug 10, 2012 - 41 comments

Reaching bottom at the top of the world

"As a climber goes up even higher in altitude, into the so-called death zone, the dangerously thin air above 26,000 feet, there is so little oxygen available that the body makes a desperate decision: it cuts off the digestive system. The body can no longer afford to direct oxygen to the stomach to help digest food because that would divert what precious little oxygen is available away from the brain. The body will retch back up anything the climber tries to eat, even if it’s as small as an M&M." -Excerpt from To the Last Breath: A Journey of Going to Extremes
posted by Brandon Blatcher on Aug 7, 2012 - 39 comments

FPP: Fundamental Physics Prize

Russian billionaire Milner's new physics prize is awarding nine scientists 3 million dollars each in its inaugural year. Aside from the size of the prize, it's different from the Nobel in physics in that it can be awarded to scientists whose ideas have not yet been verified by experiments. According to the Forbes article, the winners "can be groups of any size; scientists of any age; and there is no limit on how many prizes an individual can win." And soon the prize would be open to online nominations. [more inside]
posted by of strange foe on Jul 31, 2012 - 18 comments

A universe entirely made of antimatter wouldn't be a Michael Bay reality show

In case you needed another reason to love/fear them: With a tone that sometimes rings condescending or conspiratorial but always wonderfully flippant, the best minds of cracked.com discuss the grandest extremities of modern physics.
posted by es_de_bah on Jul 22, 2012 - 8 comments

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