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Monday, November 23, 2020
Giant lasers help re-create supernovas’ explosive, mysterious physics

Giant lasers help re-create supernovas’ explosive, mysterious physics

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When one of Hye-Sook Park’s experiments goes well, everyone nearby knows. “We can hear Hye-Sook screaming,” she’s heard colleagues say. It’s no surprise that she can’t contain her excitement. She’s getting a closeup look at the physics of exploding stars, or supernovas, a phenomenon so immense that its power is difficult to put into words.…
Historical detectives discover more first editions of Isaac Newton’s Principia

Historical detectives discover more first editions of Isaac Newton’s Principia

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Enlarge / A copy of Isaac Newton's Philosophiae Naturalis Principia Mathematica, one of the most important scientific works ever written, housed at the Science Museum Library and Archives in Swindon, England. Isaac Newton's Mathematical Principles of Natural Philosophy (known by its shortened Latin name, the Principia) is a massive, three-volume 17th-century treatise that is one…
LIGO and Virgo’s gravitational wave tally more than quadrupled in six months

LIGO and Virgo’s gravitational wave tally more than quadrupled in six...

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Earth is awash in gravitational waves. Over a six-month period, scientists captured a bounty of 39 sets of gravitational waves. The waves, which stretch and squeeze the fabric of spacetime, were caused by violent events such as the melding of two black holes into one. The haul was reported by scientists with the LIGO and…
A photon’s journey through a hydrogen molecule is the shortest event ever timed

A photon’s journey through a hydrogen molecule is the shortest event...

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The time it takes for a single particle of light to pass through a hydrogen molecule is now the shortest duration ever measured. This interval was about 247 zeptoseconds, or trillionths of a billionth of a second, researchers report in the Oct. 16 Science. For comparison, there are as many zeptoseconds in one second as…
Popeye would approve: Spinach could hold key to renewable fuel cell catalysts

Popeye would approve: Spinach could hold key to renewable fuel cell...

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Enlarge / Popeye reaches for a can of spinach in a still from an unidentified Popeye film, c. 1945. Scientists at American University believe the leafy green has the potential to help power future fuel cells. Paramount Pictures/Courtesy of Getty Image When it comes to making efficient fuel cells, it's all about the catalyst. A…
The first room-temperature superconductor has finally been found

The first room-temperature superconductor has finally been found

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It’s here: Scientists have reported the discovery of the first room-temperature superconductor, after more than a century of waiting. The discovery evokes daydreams of futuristic technologies that could reshape electronics and transportation. Superconductors transmit electricity without resistance, allowing current to flow without any energy loss. But all superconductors previously discovered must be cooled, many of…
Death by black hole: Astronomers spot flare from “spaghettification” of star

Death by black hole: Astronomers spot flare from “spaghettification” of star

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Animation depicting a star experiencing spaghettification as it’s sucked in by a supermassive black hole during a "tidal disruption event." It's a popular misconception that black holes behave like cosmic vacuum cleaners, ravenously sucking up any matter in their surroundings. In reality, only stuff that passes beyond the event horizon—including light—is swallowed up and can't escape,…
Fundamental constants place a new speed limit on sound

Fundamental constants place a new speed limit on sound

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Sound has a speed limit. Under normal circumstances, its waves can travel no faster than about 36 kilometers per second, physicists propose October 9 in Science Advances. Sound zips along at different rates in different materials — moving faster in water than in air for example. But under conditions found naturally on Earth, no material…
Three scientists win Nobel Physics Prize for groundbreaking black hole work

Three scientists win Nobel Physics Prize for groundbreaking black hole work

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Enlarge / Image of the night sky above Paranal, Chile, on July 21, 2007, showing the galactic center of the Milky Way. The laser creates a guide-star for the telescope. The 2020 Nobel Prize in physics has been awarded to Roger Penrose "for the discovery that black hole formation is a robust prediction of the…
Black hole revelations win the 2020 Nobel Prize in physics

Black hole revelations win the 2020 Nobel Prize in physics

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Research that unveiled the most mysterious objects in the cosmos has garnered science’s highest honor. Three scientists who cemented the reality of black holes have been jointly awarded the Nobel Prize in physics. Roger Penrose of the University of Oxford, Reinhard Genzel of the Max Planck Institute for Extraterrestrial Physics in Garching, Germany and Andrea…

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