Physics - Popular Physics Publications (50)


Physics - Popular Physics Publications

In a recent paper in Scientific Reports, Burridge \& Linden misinterpret the Mpemba effect as a statement about the rate of cooling of liquid water, when it is in fact a statement about the rate of freezing of water. Debunking an obviously absurd claim about cooling, they miss the significant effect, its only quantitative experimental study and a theoretical argument that explains the effect and predicts that it occurs only for "hard" water (water with significant dissolved Mg and Ca bicarbonates). This prediction remains to be tested. Read More

This work relates to the famous experiments, performed in 1975 and 1979 by Werner et al., measuring neutron interference and neutron Sagnac effects in the earth's gravitational field. Employing the method of Stodolsky in its weak field approximation, explicit expressions are derived for the two phase shifts, which turn out to be in agreement with the experiments and with the previously obtained expressions derived from semi-classical arguments: these expressions are simply modified by relativistic correction factors. Read More

Over the past several years, the authors have served as teachers, qualified scientists, mentors, and/or parents on dozens of science projects. These projects ranged from elementary school projects that can be completed in a weekend to high school and college freshmen projects that take a semester or year to complete and yield published scholarly papers and/or compete at the highest national and international levels. This article describes what we have observed to be important to success. Read More

A recurring topic in interstellar exploration and the search for extraterrestrial intelligence (SETI) is the role of artificial intelligence. More precisely, these are programs or devices that are capable of performing cognitive tasks that have been previously associated with humans such as image recognition, reasoning, decision-making etc. Such systems are likely to play an important role in future deep space missions, notably interstellar exploration, where the spacecraft needs to act autonomously. Read More

The 2016 Physics Nobel Prize honors a variety of discoveries related to topological phases and phase transitions. Here we sketch two exciting facets: the groundbreaking works by John Kosterlitz and David Thouless on phase transitions of infinite order, and by Duncan Haldane on the energy gaps in quantum spin chains. These insights came as surprises in the 1970s and 1980s, respectively, and they have both initiated new fields of research in theoretical and experimental physics. Read More

In this article, halfway between popularized exposition and historical account, some key moments in the development of atomic theory in its beginnings are discussed. In particular, the events and the major discoveries that have highlighted the discrete structure of the atom's energy levels are presented in their logical and chronological sequence, starting from early studies on the decomposition of light by prisms until the quantum theory. --- In questo articolo, a met\`a strada tra l'esposizione divulgativa e il resoconto storico, vengono affrontati alcuni momenti significativi dello sviluppo della teoria atomica ai suoi primordi. Read More

The torque-free motion of rigid body in gravitational field is analyzed. The coin lands on a soft surface (such as the palm of the hand) that allows no bouncing. The model assumes the coin as a rigid body with constant angular momentum vector in the body frame, and no air resistance. Read More

Quark Wars is an all-new, adventure style game. We recommended playing it outdoors. Quark Wars is modeled upon the outdoor game called Hungarian Number War, with notable influence from Star Wars, the American epic space saga. Read More

Advances in robotics and additive manufacturing have become game-changing for the prospects of space industry. It has become feasible to bootstrap a self-sustaining, self-expanding industry at reasonably low cost. Simple modeling was developed to identify the main parameters of successful bootstrapping. Read More

Classes started in the newly established Physics Department of Calcutta University Science College in 1916. Raman, Bose and Saha were three young members of the small physics faculty consisting of barely half a dozen faculty members. Within about one decade, three extraordinary discoveries came from these young men---Saha ionization equation in 1920, Bose statistics in 1924, Raman effect in 1928. Read More

Are dreidels fair? In other words, does the average dreidel have an equal chance of turning up any one of its four sides? To explore this hypothesis, three different dreidels were each spun hundreds of times with the number of occurrences of each side recorded. It was found that all three dreidels tested -- a cheap plastic dreidel, an old wooden dreidel, and a dreidel that came embossed with a picture of Santa Claus -- were not fair. Statistically, for each dreidel, some sides came up significantly more often than others. Read More

Claude Francis Milliet Dechales described the Coriolis effect in his 1674 Cursus seu Mundus Mathematicus. Dechales discussed and illustrated the deflection of both falling bodies and of projectiles launched toward the poles that should occur on a rotating Earth. Interestingly, this was done as an argument against the Earth's rotation, the deflections not having been observed at the time. Read More

We have been congratulated on the stage by a Nobel laureate (he was our curtain raiser), played our music in planetariums, museums, observatories throughout Spain and at the end of the meeting of the ESO telescopes time allocation committee, shocked audiences in rock concerts, written monthly on Musica Universalis, made the second concert in 3D in Spain after Kraftwerk and broadcasted it live in Radio 3, mixed our music with poetry read aloud by scientists, composed the soundtracks of CARMENES, QUIJOTE, ESTRACK and the Gaia first data release, made a videoclip on how computer simulates the formation of stars... Read More

This paper describes a system designed as part of an interactive VR opera, which immerses a real-time composer and an audience (via a network) in the historical location of Gobeklitepe, in southern Turkey during an imaginary scenario set in the Pre-Pottery Neolithic period (8500-5500 BCE), viewed by some to be the earliest example of a temple, or observatory. In this scene music is generated, where the harmonic material is determined based on observations of light variation from pulsating stars, that would have theoretically been overhead on the 1st of October 8000 BC at 23:00 and animal calls based on the reliefs in the temple. Based on the observations of the stars V465 Per, HD 217860, 16 Lac, BG CVn and KIC 6382916, frequency collections were derived and applied to the generation of musical sound and notation sequences within a custom VR environment using a novel method incorporating spectralist techniques. Read More

Whether the fate of our species can be forecast from its past has been the topic of considerable controversy. One refutation of the so-called Doomsday Argument is based on the premise that we are more likely to exist in a universe containing a greater number of observers. Here we present a Bayesian reformulation of the Doomsday Argument which is immune to this effect. Read More

A simple model is presented to explain the Higgs boson physics to the grand public. The model consists of a children ball pool representing a Universe filled with a certain amount of the Higgs field. The model is suitable for usage as a hands-on tool in scientific exhibits and provides a clear explanation of almost all the aspects of the physics of the Higgs field interaction with other particles. Read More

Summer 2015 marked the 100th anniversary of the excavation by J.W. Fewkes of the Sun Temple in Mesa Verde National Park, Colorado; an ancient ceremonial complex of unknown purpose, prominently located atop a mesa, constructed by the Pueblo Indians approximately 1000 years ago. Read More

We report an emergence of bifurcation in basketball, a single-particle system governed by Newtonian mechanics. When shooting the basketball, the obvious control parameters are the launch speed and the launch angle. We propose to use the three-dimensional velocity phase-space volume associated with the given launch parameters to quantify the difficulty of the shooting. Read More

The art of advertising one's scientific achievements, of which Galileo was an early master, is a trademark of successful modern science. Dedicated believers and mystics of science, such as Kepler, are less popular. Yet, an alleged rigorous rationalist like Wolfgang Pauli found in his later troubled life a kinship to Kepler's "archetypal ideas". Read More

Experiments are done by colliding a swinging bat with a stationary baseball or softball. Each collision was recorded with high-speed cameras, from which the post-impact speed, launch angle, and spin of the ball could be determined. Initial bat speeds were in the range 63-88 mph, producing launch angles in the range 0$^\circ$-30$^\circ$ and spins in the range 0-3500 rpm. Read More

We consider global catastrophic risks due to cosmic explosions (supernovae, magnetars and gamma-ray bursts) and possible mitigation strategies by humans and other hypothetical intelligent beings. While by their very nature these events are so huge to daunt conventional thinking on mitigation and response, we wish to argue that advanced technological civilizations would be able to develop efficient responses in the domain of astroengineering within their home planetary systems. In particular, we suggest that construction of shielding swarms of small objects/particles confined by electromagnetic fields could be one way of mitigating the risk of cosmic explosions and corresponding ionizing radiation surges. Read More

Sound measurements on a sequence of related, similar constructions with slightly different dimensions confirm a simple picture of the air modes of the internal resonator banjo's body. For the purpose of this study, the air modes are decoupled from the soundboard (i.e. Read More

We present a new teaching and outreach activity based around the construction of a three-dimensional chart of isotopes using LEGO$^{\circledR}$ bricks. The activity, \emph{Binding Blocks}, demonstrates nuclear and astrophysical processes through a seven-meter chart of all nuclear isotopes, built from over 26,000 LEGO$^{\circledR}$ bricks. It integrates A-level and GCSE curricula across areas of nuclear physics, astrophysics, and chemistry, including: nuclear decays (through the colours in the chart); nuclear binding energy (through tower heights); production of chemical elements in the cosmos; fusion processes in stars and fusion energy on Earth; as well as links to medical physics, particularly diagnostics and radiotherapy. Read More

Previous work has presented both a theoretical foundation for designing terrain park jumps that control landing impact and computer software to accomplish this task. US ski resorts have been reluctant to adopt this more engineered approach to jump design, in part due to questions of feasibility. The present study demonstrates this feasibility. Read More

This is a chapter for an upcoming book, "Space, Time, and the Limits of Human Understanding", edited by Shyam Wuppuluri and Giancarlo Ghirardi. I first present the classical picture of flat space and ever-flowing time, as generally accepted until about 1900, discuss the challenges posed by modern physics and the adjustments required by special relativity, general relativity and quantum mechanics, and finally consider (and reject) a recent hypothesis that space-time is essentially discrete. Ultimately, none of the simple answers to "what is space-time?" stand up to reality. Read More

Some European scholars in the second half of 18th century discussed the myth of Atlantis taking into account the studies of the evolution of the Earth and of the beginning and diffusion of civilization, in particular the beginning of astronomy. Atlantis was considered the cradle of the civilization, and while J.S. Read More

It is unclear how frequently life and intelligence arise on planets. I consider a Bayesian prior for the probability P(ETI) that intelligence evolves at a suitable site, with weight distributed evenly over ln(1 - ln P(ETI)). This log log prior can handle a very wide range of P(ETI) values, from 1 to 10^(-10^122), while remaining responsive to evidence about extraterrestrial societies. Read More

In this paper we examine more deeply about the bending mechanism of rod-shaped fireworks which burned from the free end. We derived new analytic equations. Surprisingly, we obtained the bending patterns are similar to the cornu spiral. Read More

The philosopher Plato is remembered even today by scientists, and his writings are still inspiring the scientific research. In the present short note (intended essentially for public outreach) two examples are briefly illustrated: 1) the European space project that bears his name, dedicated to the discovery of exoplanets; 2) the discussion about platonism in contemporary physics. Read More

The national space programs have an historic opportunity to help solve the global-scale economic and environmental problems of Earth while becoming more effective at science through the use of space resources. Space programs will be more cost-effective when they work to establish a supply chain in space, mining and manufacturing then replicating the assets of the supply chain so it grows to larger capacity. This has become achievable because of advances in robotics and artificial intelligence. Read More

The concept of a space elevator dates back to Tsilokovsky, but they are not commonly considered in near-term plans for space exploration, perhaps because a terrestrial elevator would not be possible without considerable improvements in tether material. A Lunar Space Elevator (LSE), however, can be built with current technology using commercially available tether polymers. This paper considers missions leading to infrastructure capable of shortening the time, lowering the cost and enhancing the capabilities of robotic and human explorers. Read More

The Zoo solution to Fermi's Paradox proposes that extraterrestrial intelligences (ETIs) have agreed to not contact the Earth. The strength of this solution depends on the ability for ETIs to come to agreement, and establish/police treaties as part of a so-called "Galactic Club". These activities are principally limited by the causal connectivity of a civilisation to its neighbours at its inception, i. Read More

Suppose that advanced civilizations, separated by a cosmological distance and time, wish to maximize their access to cosmic resources by rapidly expanding into the universe. What sort of boundary forms between their expanding domains, and how does the presence of one limit the ambitions of another? We describe a general case for any expansion speed, separation distance, and time. We then specialize to the main question of interest. Read More

In earlier papers, techniques have been described using optical chronographs to determine free flight drag coefficients with an accuracy of 1-2%, accomplished by measuring near and far velocities of projectiles in flight over a known distance. Until recently, Doppler radar has been prohibitively expensive for many users. This paper reports results of exploring potential applications and accuracy using a recently available, inexpensive (< $600 US) amateur Doppler radar system to determine drag coefficients for projectiles of various sizes (4. Read More

Science has traditionally played an important role in sharing knowledge among people. Particle Physics, with its large experiments, has shown that one not only can share the knowledge among different cultures, but that one can also work together to achieve this knowledge. The present article gives a few examples where this has been possible among people that are sometimes in conflict situations. Read More

We are at a stage in our evolution where we do not yet know if we will ever communicate with intelligent beings that have evolved on other planets, yet we are intelligent and curious enough to wonder about this. We find ourselves wondering about this at the very beginning of a long era in which stellar luminosity warms many planets, and by our best models, continues to provide equally good opportunities for intelligent life to evolve. By simple Bayesian reasoning, if, as we believe, intelligent life forms have the same propensity to evolve later on other planets as we had to evolve on ours, it follows that they will likely not pass through a similar wondering stage in their evolution. Read More

I sketch a line of thought about consciousness and physics that gives some motivation for the hypothesis that conscious observers deviate - perhaps only very subtly and slightly - from quantum dynamics. Although it is hard to know just how much credence to give this line of thought, it does motivate a stronger and more comprehensive programme of quantum experiments involving quantum observers. Read More

Rim and back geometry determine much of the behavior of sound inside the pot, whose effect on total, produced sound is subtle but discernible. The theory of sound inside a cylinder is reviewed and demonstrated. And previous work on the Helmholtz resonance and the interplay between the Helmholtz resonance and the lowest head mode is revisited using some improved techniques. Read More

Current models indicate that Venus may have been habitable. Complex life may have evolved on the highly irradiated Venus, and transferred to Earth on asteroids. This model fits the pattern of pulses of highly developed life appearing, diversifying and going extinct with astonishing rapidity through the Cambrian and Ordovician periods, and also explains the extraordinary genetic variety which appeared over this period. Read More

Almost all SETI searches to date have explicitly targeted stars in the hope of detecting artificial radio or optical transmissions. It is argued that extra-terrestrials (ET) might regard sending physical probes to our own Solar System as a more efficient means for sending large amounts of information to Earth. Probes are more efficient in terms of energy and time expenditures; may solve for the vexing problem of Drake's L factor term, namely, that the civilization wishing to send information may not coexist temporally with the intended recipient; and they alleviate ET's reasonable fear that the intended recipient might prove hostile. Read More

The Mayan culture collected exquisite astronomical data for over a millennium. However, it failed to come up with the breakthrough ideas of modern astronomy because the data was analyzed within a mythological culture of astrology that rested upon false but mathematically sophisticated theories about the Universe. Have we learned the necessary lessons to prevent our current scientific culture from resembling Mayan Astronomy? Clearly, data collection by itself is not a guarantee for good science as commonly assumed by funding agencies. Read More

The Outer Space Treaty makes it clear that the Moon is the province of all mankind, with the latter ordinarily understood to exclude state or private appropriation of any portion of its surface. However, there are indeterminacies in the Treaty and in space law generally over the issue of appropriation. These indeterminacies might permit a close approximation to a property claim or some manner of quasi-property. Read More

In 1931, Dirac advanced a startling prediction about the existence of a new elementary particle, characterized by a magnetic charge of a single polarity: the magnetic monopole. This prediction, that was not based on experimental reasons but on mathematical consistency considerations and the generalization of the formalism of quantum mechanics, illustrates emblematically the Dirac conception of the relationship between physics and mathematics. ----- Nel 1931 Dirac avanz\`o una sorprendente previsione circa l'esistenza di una nuova particella elementare, caratterizzata da una carica magnetica di un'unica polarit\`a: il monopolo magnetico. Read More

Affiliations: 1Bonn U., 2Bonn U., 3Bonn U., 4Bonn U., 5Bonn U., 6Bonn U., 7Bonn U., 8Bonn U. and Berlin, Humboldt U., 9Bonn U., 10Bonn U., 11Bonn U., 12Bonn U., 13Bonn U., 14Bonn U., 15Bonn U., 16Bonn U., 17Bonn U., 18Bonn U., 19Bonn U., 20Bonn U., 21Bonn U., 22Bonn U., 23Bonn U., 24Bonn U., 25Bonn U., 26Bonn U., 27Bonn U., 28Bonn U. and Tel Aviv U., 29Harvard U.

We present the screenplay of a physics show on particle physics, by the Physikshow of Bonn University. The show is addressed at non-physicists aged 14+ and communicates basic concepts of elementary particle physics including the discovery of the Higgs boson in an entertaining fashion. It is also demonstrates a successful outreach activity heavily relying on the university physics students. Read More

Hypothetical existence of other universes gives an opportunity not only to extend the scope of physics, but the scope of biology, SETI, and METI as well. Some steps of the development of alien life concept shall be briefly summarized, then the multiverse proposal shall be used as a framework of interpretation to introduce an extended taxonomy of possible or at least imaginable types of life and intelligence based on either different biochemistry or physics. Some consequences shall be presented about SETI and METI in connection with both multiverse hypothesis and anthropic principle. Read More

Utilisation of the material and energy resources of the Solar System will be essential for the development of a sustainable space economy and associated infrastructure. Science will be a major beneficiary of a space economy, even if its major elements (e.g. Read More

Originally an empirical law, nowadays Malus' law is seen as a key experiment to demonstrate the transverse nature of electromagnetic waves, as well as the intrinsic connection between optics and electromagnetism. In this work, a simple and inexpensive setup is proposed to quantitatively verify the nature of polarized light. A flat computer screen serves as a source of linear polarized light and a smartphone (possessing ambient light and orientation sensors) is used, thanks to its built-in sensors, to experiment with polarized light and verify the Malus' law. Read More

Various paradoxes about the relativity theory have been developed since the birth of this theory. Each paradox somewhat shows people's query about the relativity theory, and solving of each paradox demonstrates the correctness of relativity theory once again. In this paper, four paradoxes about the special theory of relativity are brought forward: displacement paradox, electromagnetic transformation paradox, Doppler paradox and magnetic force paradox. Read More

An old branch of mathematics, Topology, has opened the road to the discovery of new phases of matter. A hidden topology in the energy spectrum is the key for novel conducting/insulating properties of topological matter. Read More

Affiliations: 1LM-Versailles

The aim of this paper is to bring a mathematical justification to the optimal way of organizing one's effort when running. It is well known from physiologists that all running exercises of duration less than 3mn are run with a strong initial acceleration and a decelerating end; on the contrary, long races are run with a final sprint. This can be explained using a mathematical model describing the evolution of the velocity, the anaerobic energy, and the propulsive force: a system of ordinary differential equations, based on Newton's second law and energy conservation, is coupled to the condition of optimizing the time to run a fixed distance. Read More