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Cool science shit

25 would love this as a coffee table

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Yeah, it's class.

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Quantum tunnelling in water confirmed

A quantum theory first proposed nearly 90 years ago has at last been confirmed, potentially galvanising new approaches in fields as diverse as medical biosensing and solar energy storage.

Quantum tunnelling is one of the weirder products of quantum mechanics, and relies on the wave-particle duality of subatomic particles.

The theory describes how in certain circumstances a particle will defeat the constraints of classical physics when confronted by a barrier. Classical equations will show that the particle does not have enough energy to physically overcome the obstacle, but wave-particle duality allows it to tunnel straight through it.

For non-theoretical physicists, the discovery might seem somewhat recondite, but McKenzie points out that his and Guo’s findings have significant ramifications for some very big industries.

“This lays the basis for new and faster methods to detect biomedical impurities in water, with potentially important implications for biosensing techniques,” he says.

“A better understanding of electrolysis is becoming more important for applications in alternative energies in what is sometimes called the ‘hydrogen economy’.”

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This is pretty mad. Never even thought about what they'd do in those sorts of conditions, but there you go.

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NI Science Festival programme is out:


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He definitely touched some women's knees.

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Researchers Develop Universal Vaccine To Protect Against Influenza A Viruses

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A single glowing atom

An ion trap reveals an imprisoned atom of strontium.

"The small bright dot visible in the centre of the picture is a single positively-charged strontium atom, held almost motionless by electric fields emanating from the metal electrodes surrounding it. (The distance between the small needle tips is about two millimetres.)

When illuminated by a laser of the right blue-violet colour, the atom absorbs and re-emits light particles sufficiently quickly for an ordinary camera to capture it in a long exposure photograph.

This picture was taken through a window of the ultra-high vacuum chamber that houses the trap. Laser-cooled atomic ions provide a pristine platform for exploring and harnessing the unique properties of quantum physics. They are used to construct extremely accurate clocks or, as in this research, as building blocks for future quantum computers.

The photo won first place in the 2018 science photography competition held by the UK’s Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council."

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ai recreates images from fmri brain scans

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What Happens Beyond "Absolute Hot"?

"Can temperature drop below absolute zero? What happens then? Does it pop out at the other end of the thermometer like Pac-Man and become infinitely hot? Well, kind of, and the seemingly wacky concept is actually surprisingly common in physics.

A recent paper published in Physical Review Letters describes a system where negative temperature is used to explain a weird but real phenomenon in our physical world.

But before you can understand how temperatures can be turned upside down, you'll need to relearn the meaning of temperature.

Negative temperature is hotter than hot
Most people probably learned in school that temperature is basically just a measurement of how vigorously particles in a system shake: A high temperature means lots of shaking, and absolute zero means absolutely no shaking. While this interpretation may work to understand the temperature in your oven, it’s not the whole picture.

For a start, temperature isn't simply the average energy of all the particles in a system. It is actually related to the distribution of those energies. Imagine particles as bricks in a building, with the height of each brick reflecting each particle's energy. At low temperatures, the building looks similar to a pyramid that is short and fat at the bottom. At higher temperatures, the pyramid grows taller and skinnier. This trend continues as the temperature rises, up to what's known as the "absolute high" temperature—where the pyramid transforms into a single column, stretching from the ground infinitely up toward the sky. This is where things begin to get weird."


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