Greifswald, Northeastern Germany, 2016. Physicists at the Max Planck Institute have been racing to find a way of producing sustainable, clean energy with a stable nuclear fusion reactor. The challenge? Re-creating the Sun’s powerhouse on a much, much smaller scale. Continue reading Engineering A Star – Nuclear Fusion, Tokamaks and Stellarators
A clock is ticking inside a mountain in Western Texas. It is a monumental clock. Hundreds of feet tall, its mechanism is designed to tick for 10,000 years. It’s a real clock. The first of several millennial clocks being built around the World, to endure for centuries. Tick…
A hypothetical Ninth planet has been lurking on the outskirts of our Solar System. But Planet Nine may not be a planet at all… Continue reading Nine – The Elusive Planet in Our Solar System
The Universe is accelerating
For a while now, astrophysicists have known that our Universe is expanding, and accelerating. And much like the surface of a rubber balloon getting inflated, space is getting bigger, and bigger, and bigger… Continue reading The Universe Expands Far Faster Than Anticipated…
Five years after the Chelyabinsk asteroid impact, a three-in-a-century event happens again over the Bering Sea. And almost no-one notices. I say “no-one”… but the Earth is a planet under constant scrutiny. Continue reading Large Asteroid Impacts Earth…
The Universe never sleeps. Every now and then, the night sky presents us mere mortals with some heavenly spectacle. A Bonnie Tyler moment. This Friday, the Moon will enter the catwalk dressed in red to accomplish its otherwise normal nightly travel around the Earth. For one night only. A strange and rare celestial sight at dusk – a total lunar eclipse. Continue reading Crimson Moon – A Total Lunar Eclipse
Negative mass has always been theoretically possible, and the concept has finally made it from a mathematical idea on paper to a reality achieved in the lab. Scientists at Washington State University have created a fluid with negative mass. Continue reading The Bizarre Behaviour of Negative Mass
Since its first publication in 1896, the International Cloud Atlas has become an important reference tool for people working in meteorological services, aviation and shipping.
The Sentinel satellite program was designed to replace the older Earth observation missions, which have reached retirement or are nearing the end of their operational life span. The satellite array will ensure a continuity of data, so that there are no gaps in ongoing studies. Continue reading Sentinel Is Watching
The Arecibo observatory is a very large radio telescope located in Puerto Rico. In 1974, astronomers used it to broadcast a message into outer space intended to demonstrate human intelligence. Why are we so interested in finding intelligence in the stars, and yet so deaf to the many species who manifest it here on Earth?
We start the new year with this photograph of the Earth and its Moon, taken from Mars. Continue reading The Earth, as Seen from Mars
Just over a century ago, Einstein proposed the existence of waves in the spacetime continuum – the logical deduction from his Theory of General Relativity. In February 2016, scientists finally announced the detection of those “ripples” in gravity, using the technique of laser interferometry. Continue reading 2016: Another Year in Cutting Edge Science
Temperature inversions are meteorological phenomena which can occur over busy cities under particular environmental conditions. Retired jet engines could be used as “virtual chimneys”, and draw upwards the resulting smog that clouds the air over some of the World’s most polluted cities. Continue reading Temperature Inversions, City Pollution and Defunct Jet Engines
A meat and potato pie has been attached to a weather balloon, and sent “into space”… Continue reading Pie in the Sky
Erm…No. Not Mona Lisa! (Rolls eyes.) Think again!! This is LISA – the Lisa Pathfinder satellite, the key element for a grand new project: a space-based gravitational observatory. Continue reading Hunting Ripples in the Fabric of Space-Time – The Trials and Tribulations of LISA
Black Holes Far Ago Have Been Causing a Stir…
You know how when you throw a rock into a pool, that makes ripples in the water? And how Einstein once upon a time predicted that the very mass of stars and planets should warp spacetime? Although we have had a justified inkling that Einstein was right for quite some time, we had never before detected such a phenomenon. Until THIS happened… Continue reading The Discovery of Gravitational Waves – Merging Black Holes and Advanced LIGO
After nearly five hours in space, British astronaut Tim Peake completed his first spacewalk, at 17:31 GMT on Friday 15 January. Intended to last over six hours, the space walk was cut short after his US colleague Tim Kopra reported a water leak in his helmet. Continue reading Name: Tim Peake Job: Space Electrician
Just like buses, it seems. But even rarer and a damn sight more exciting to be honest. Ooohoo!!! Out with your old Science books!! HeL-LOOooo elements 113… 115, 117 and 118!! Continue reading You Wait Ages for a Chemical Element, and Then… BINGO!!
Already this article is beginning to sound like one of those sempiternal quizzes you so often get on social media… but it actually shows how science reality connects. Are you having a scientific identity crisis? Continue reading Lateral Thinking in Science – Who Are You?
This blog is cool. It’s spontaneous! It’s electric!! But not as cool as it has been at these cutting-edge laboratories on the outskirts of Europe. Scientists there are dealing with an entirely new type of solid matter – ‘spontelectrics’. Continue reading What’s the Matter… with Spontelectrics?
In the run-up to the 2015 physics Nobel prize, which was awarded on Tuesday 6 October, Physics World looked at how Nobel-prize-winning physicists have been moving around the globe over the past century. Continue reading Physics Without Frontiers…
Mars is not the dry, arid planet we once thought it was. Under certain circumstances, liquid water has been found. NASA’s announcement has the potential of turning some Red Planet theories on their heads…
Modern-Day Hipsters Take Heed…
With his wind-swept mane, the inimitable Richard Feynman looked devilishly handsome. And he darn-diddly knew it too! As for Fritz Haber, Rosalind Franklin and Neil deGrasse Tyson, they were the original hipsters. That’s according to BuzzFeed anyway… Continue reading Proving that Physicists were the Original Hipsters
Astronomers have found the smallest exoplanet yet to be directly photographed by a telescope on Earth. A methane-shrouded gas giant. A young Jupiter… Continue reading Exoplanet ‘Young Jupiter’ 51 Eridani b
Little Big Earth and the Universe
Let’s talk about size… 😉 How big are the objects floating in our Universe and how big can they get? Starting with a “big” object, our very own Moon… Embark on a tour of space… A tour of our Universe… Continue reading Size Matters… in Astrophysical Terms