Physics

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Teams of physicists at CERN and the University of Tokyo have both taken a major step forward towards understanding a flighty, short-lived particle. Using a laser designed to meet the experiment’s specifications, the AEgIS collaboration succeeded in reducing the temperature of a cloud of positronium by more than half. This collection of exotic particles consists
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Never-before-seen ratios of particles making up atomic nuclei have emerged in a landmark experiment involving the fragmentation of heavy elements. By breaking apart the nuclei of platinum, physicists led by Oleg Tarasov of Michigan State University have discovered new isotopes of rare-Earth elements thulium, ytterbium, and lutetium. It’s an achievement that scientists believe will help
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With their whip-like tails, human sperm propel themselves through viscous fluids, seemingly in defiance of Newton’s third law of motion, according to a recent study that characterizes the motion of these sex cells and single-celled algae. Kenta Ishimoto, a mathematical scientist at Kyoto University, and colleagues investigated these non-reciprocal interactions in sperm and other microscopic
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In 1856, an American scientist that history almost forgot, Eunice Foote, discovered the extraordinary ability of a teensy, transparent molecule, carbon dioxide, to absorb heat. From a simple experiment, she rightly deduced that an atmosphere containing CO2 would “give to our Earth a higher temperature” – describing the driving force of global warming and providing
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More than half a century ago, Japanese physicist Yosuke Nagaoka theorized a way a magnetic field might expand from meandering electrons restlessly searching for a place to rest that was radically different from conventional models of ferromagnetism. A phenomenon recently observed in a stack of alternating semiconductors could be explained by Nagaoka’s speculations, while throwing
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Eddies of quantum chaos spontaneously emerging in atomically thin layers of insulating material have stumped physicists, requiring revisions to models that could solve some pressing problems in a quest to understand superconductivity. Experimental physicists from Princeton University in the US and the Japanese National Institute for Materials Science examined the spontaneous appearance of quantum fluctuations
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The ancient Romans were masters of building and engineering, perhaps most famously represented by the aqueducts. And those still functional marvels rely on a unique construction material: pozzolanic concrete, a spectacularly durable concrete that gave Roman structures their incredible strength. Even today, one of their structures – the Pantheon, still intact and nearly 2,000 years
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Heat is the enemy of quantum uncertainty. By arranging light-absorbing molecules in an ordered fashion, physicists in Japan have maintained the critical, yet-to-be-determined state of electron spins for 100 nanoseconds near room temperature. The innovation could have a profound impact on progress in developing quantum technology that doesn’t rely on the bulky and expensive cooling
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In 1859, French astronomer and mathematician Urbain Le Verrier detected something strange: Mercury deviated in its dance around the Sun, defying the orderly precession predicted by Newtonian physics. This odd anomaly couldn’t be explained by unknown planets tugging at Mercury’s orbit; only by physicist Albert Einstein’s 1915 general theory of relativity, which describes how gravity
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Bulky and hard to wrangle, molecules have long defied physicists’ attempts to lure them into a state of controlled quantum entanglement, whereby the molecules are intimately linked even at a distance. Now, for the first time, two separate teams have succeeded in entangling pairs of ultra-cold molecules using the same method: microscopically precise optical ‘tweezer
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A newly discovered trade-off in the way time-keeping devices operate on a fundamental level could set a hard limit on the performance of large-scale quantum computers, according to researchers from the Vienna University of Technology. While the issue isn’t exactly pressing, our ability to grow systems based on quantum operations from backroom prototypes into practical