Could we extract energy from a black hole? Our experiment verifies old theory

Twisted sound beams suggest an advanced civilisation may be able to harness immense amounts of power from a black hole.

Marion Cromb, PhD Candidate in Physics, University of Glasgow • conversation
June 26, 2020 ~7 min

Tags: physics black-hole light science-fiction doppler-effect

What is the slowest thing on Earth?

Physicists can use bright, hot lasers to slow atoms down so much that they measure -459 degrees Fahrenheit.

Katie McCormick, Postdoctoral Scholar of Physics, University of Washington • conversation
June 22, 2020 ~6 min

Tags: physics quantum-mechanics laser light photons molecules curious-kids curious-kids-us temperature cold atoms absolute-zero warmblood sloths

Physicists hunt for room-temperature superconductors that could revolutionize the world's energy system

Generating energy usually means wasted heat. Semiconductors let the electrons flow with zero waste – but so far scientists only know how to get them to work at ultra-low temperatures.

Pegor Aynajian, Associate Professor of Physics, Binghamton University, State University of New York • conversation
June 3, 2020 ~9 min

Tags: physics quantum-computers ibm quantum-physics superconductivity power-transmission

Pairing lasers with microwaves makes mind-bogglingly accurate electronic clocks – a potential boon for GPS, cell phones and radar

Researchers have made some of the most accurate clocks imaginable in recent years, but the trick is harnessing those clocks to electronics. Using lasers to tune microwaves bridges the gap.

Franklyn Quinlan, Physicist, National Institute of Standards and Technology • conversation
May 22, 2020 ~7 min

Tags: physics astronomy dark-matter gravity laser gps cell-phones microwave black-holes metrology radar power-grid atomic-clocks frequency

Robo-boot concept promises 50% faster running

A high-tech twist on an old idea – running on springs – could give human-powered movement its biggest boost in more than a century.

David Braun, Assistant Professor of Mechanical Engineering and Computer Engineering, Vanderbilt University • conversation
May 15, 2020 ~7 min

Tags: robotics physics biomechanics bicycling running physiology sports robotic-exoskeletons sprinting springs

Will we ever be able to shrink and grow stuff?

The movies make it seem like someday we'll be able to make people and objects grow really big or shrink really small. Whether this will be possible comes down to the smallest of things.

Salvatore Rappoccio, Associate Professor of Physics, University at Buffalo, The State University of New York • conversation
May 4, 2020 ~4 min

Tags: physics curious-kids curious-kids-us matter atoms crystal mummies avengers-endgame

How could an explosive Big Bang be the birth of our universe?

The term 'Big Bang' might make you think of a massive explosion. Put the thought out of your head. Rather than an explosion, it was the start of everything in the universe.

Michael Lam, Assistant Professor of Physics and Astronomy, Rochester Institute of Technology • conversation
April 30, 2020 ~6 min

Tags: physics astronomy cosmology universe big-bang cosmic-microwave-background curious-kids curious-kids-us universe-expansion accelerating-universe

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