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Wednesday, January 29, 2020
How to restore the legendary acoustics of Notre Dame

How to restore the legendary acoustics of Notre Dame

For centuries, the interior of Notre Dame never saw much sunlight. But when Brian Katz stepped inside the cathedral last July, the place was drenched in light, its famous arched ceiling open to the sky. Nearly three months before, on April 15, 2019, a fire had ripped through the Paris cathedral. Now, charred wood lay…
MIT scientists made a shape-shifting material that morphs into a human face

MIT scientists made a shape-shifting material that morphs into a human...

Enlarge / A lattice structure, originally printed flat, has morphed into the outline of a human face after changing the surrounding temperature. The facial shape is based on the likeness of Carl Friedrich Gauss.Lori K. Sanders The next big thing in 3D printing just might be so-called "4D materials" which employ the same manufacturing techniques,…
It’s the network, stupid: Study offers fresh insight into why we’re so divided

It’s the network, stupid: Study offers fresh insight into why we’re...

Enlarge / People's tendency to assume others think the same way they do could be influenced by social network structures.piermichelemalucchi/Getty Images Social perception bias is best defined as the all-too-human tendency to assume that everyone else holds the same opinions and values as we do. That bias might, for instance, lead us to over- or…
It’s the network, stupid: study offers fresh insight into why we’re so divided

It’s the network, stupid: study offers fresh insight into why we’re...

Enlarge / Peoples' tendency to assume others think the same way they do could be influenced by social network structures.piermichelemalucchi/Getty Images Social perception bias is best defined as the all-too-human tendency to assume that everyone else holds the same opinions and values as we do. That bias might, for instance, lead us to over- or…
Clustering pattern of Azteca ant colonies may be due to a Turing mechanism

Clustering pattern of Azteca ant colonies may be due to a...

Enlarge / A recent study by University of Michigan researchers found evidence of Turing patterns in the movement of Azteca ant colonies on coffee farms in Mexico. Azteca ants build their nests in shade trees, and it's relatively common to find other nests in trees nearby. But these clusters of ant nests are often separated…
You can’t stop a shaken beer can from fizzing over by tapping it, study finds

You can’t stop a shaken beer can from fizzing over by...

Enlarge / Danish physicists tested 1000 cans of lager—for science!simonkr/Getty Images Anyone who's fallen victim to the old "opening a shaken beer can" prank has likely heard that tapping the side of the can before opening it can keep the beer inside from fizzing over. It's a fun bit of folk wisdom, but apparently the…
“Loonshots” and phase transitions are the key to innovation, physicist argues

“Loonshots” and phase transitions are the key to innovation, physicist argues

Enlarge / Vannevar Bush seated at his desk, circa 1940-1944. During President Franklin Roosevelt's administration, Bush built a national science policy based on a new structure for innovating quickly and effectively. Few people these days are familiar with the name Vannevar Bush, an engineer who played a significant role in fostering the developing of key…
Scientists model dynamic feedback loop that fuels the spread of wildfires

Scientists model dynamic feedback loop that fuels the spread of wildfires

Enlarge / Flames spread up a hillside near firefighters at the Blue Cut Fire on August 18, 2016 near Wrightwood, California. David McNew/Getty Images From a physics and chemistry standpoint, fire is an incredibly complicated phenomenon—so much so that 19th century physicist Michael Faraday built an entire series of six lectures around the flame of…

This timeless piece of “body art” of people having sex in...

Video courtesy of Improbable Research Christmas just wouldn't be the same for lovers of science without the annual Christmas issue of the British Medical Journal (BMJ). The tradition began in 1982, originally as a one-off attempt to bring a bit of levity to the journal for the holidays. While the papers selected for inclusion evinced…
The surprisingly complicated physics of why cats always land on their feet

The surprisingly complicated physics of why cats always land on their...

Enlarge / A cat being dropped upside down to demonstrate a cat's movements while falling Ralph Crane/The LIFE Picture Collection via Getty Images Scientists are not immune to the alluringly aloof charms of the domestic cat. Sure, Erwin Schrödinger could be accused of animal cruelty for his famous thought experiment, but Edwin Hubble had a…

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