In 1909, physics pioneers Robert Millikan (1868-1953) and Harvey Fletcher (1884-1981) performed an experiment that would ultimately enable them to determine one of the most fundamental of all physical constants: the elementary electric charge, i.e. the electric charge of an individual electron – the constant e. Continue reading Revisiting the Millikan Experiment – What’s in an Oil Drop?→
The Physics Nobel Prize was awarded on 8 October 2013 to Edinburgh University-based scientist Peter Higgs for the theoretical discovery of a mechanism crucial to our understanding of the origin of everything…
According to the current understanding of Physics, there is as yet no uniform field theory. No all-encompassing well-rounded theory that would enable all the known fundamental forces and elementary particles to fit neatly into one simple model, and to be expressed in terms of a single field.
The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has just released its latest summary of the science behind human-caused climate change or, to use its catchy official title, the IPCC Working Group 1 Fifth Assessment Report Summary for Policy Makers – Climate Change 2013: The Physical Science Basis.
Seeing the World in glorious colours is central to our lives. Colours shape the way we behave. They affect our mood and our perception. They can influence the way we interact and respond to social and environmental stimuli, whether we are directly aware of it, or through subliminal awareness of our external world. Again, it is one of those things that most people take for granted in everyday life.
Over 50,000 deaths each year in the UK are attributed to air pollution. Physicist, entrepreneur and father Mark Richards is concerned about the environment and in particular the air pollution that we expose our children to. He has developed a handy machine which can monitor air quality. He wants people to see how bad air pollution is, so that we all think more carefully about our lifestyles and travel methods.
“God gave the Sun to everyone”, Alfredo Moser states modestly. And Moser gave his light to everyone. Over the last couple of years, Moser’s ingenious innovation has spread throughout the World, bringing the bottle lamps to locations from Brazil to the Philippines and Bangladesh. By early next year, it is estimated that one million homes will have benefited from his simple idea… Continue reading The Moser Bottle Lamp: ‘Divine Light’→
Scientists are currently exploring the concept of vacuum instability. What does this mean? Well, they believe there is a chance that… Billions of years from now, a new universe could open up into the present one and replace it. It all depends on some very precise numbers related to the Higgs boson particle that researchers are currently trying to pin down.
Nope. Nothing to do with the arch-nemesis of the Smurfs or with an avant-garde artistic masterpiece, unlike the top picture appears to suggest… Actually, the Gargamelle on the left is at CERN and takes its name after the giantess in the works of satirist François Rabelais: she was Gargantua’s mother! The Gargamelle is a historical ‘bubble chamber’ detector however… Continue reading Secrets of the Bubble Chamber→
The Open University has teamed up with “geek chic” comedian David Mitchell to release a series of 12 short animated YouTube videos about the Physics of the Cosmos: “60-Second Adventures in Astronomy”. A real treat. And it’s educational! If you have only 60 seconds, you can now learn everything we know about matter, energy, life, the Universe and everything…
The Standard Model of Particle Physics is a theory about the electromagnetic, weak and strong nuclear interactions, developed throughout the mid-to-late 20th century, as a worldwide collaborative effort. Continue reading The Standard Model→
Today, Friday 15th February 2013. Russia’s Ural mountains. A fireball streaks through the clear morning sky. Loud bangs follow. A meteor crashes in Russia about 1,500 kilometres (930 miles) east of Moscow. Continue reading Meteors over Russia→
The Earth has an electric field. On average, this field points vertically downwards and it has a magnitude of about 100 N C-1 (Newtons per Coulomb). It exists because the Earth’s surface carries a negative charge of – 5 x 105 C, while the upper atmosphere carries a compensating positive charge. An average of 400,000 thunderstorms a day Continue reading Lightning and the Earth’s Electric Field→