How Nature Uses Physics to Create the Color Blue Animals Physics 

How Nature Uses Physics to Create the Color Blue

By Danielle Bengsch Pigments are one way to be colorful, but butterflies rely on physics at the nanoscale. The Blue Diadem butterfly, found on the African continent, is roughly the size of a saucer with wings spread. These wings fascinated Radwanul Hasan Siddique of the California Institute of Technology. It wasn’t pigment that turned the butterfly’s wings a radiant cornflower blue, but what was it? He found out and is applying lessons he’s learning from nature’s palette to biomedical devices. ResearchGate: Why is the color blue so rare in nature,…

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Nanostructured Honeycomb Creates Electricity from Light Physics Technology 

Nanostructured Honeycomb Creates Electricity from Light

By Jonathan Trinastic @jptrinastic Zoom in to the nanometer scale—less than the width of a human hair—and you might think the new device designed by a team of scientists led by Lei Zhang is a honeycomb. Upon closer inspection, you would find that the hexagonal structure is made of gold and that a long string of organic molecules winds up and down through each hexagonal space. And one more thing: this device, so perfectly structured in the world of atoms and molecules, can create electricity from light. These researchers from…

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How Do Shark Teeth Bite? Animals Physics 

How Do Shark Teeth Bite?

By Kate Stone For as long as humans have walked the earth, we have been fascinated by shark teeth. Sharks are famous for their biting skills. These predatory fish are equipped to efficiently dismantle prey including marine mammals, sea turtles, and seabirds. Sharks have been around for approximately 450 million years and haven’t changed a whole lot in that time. Today there are more than 400 species of sharks, and each has uniquely shaped teeth. Some are triangular, some have deep notches or curves, and others are shaped like spikes.…

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Phosphorescent Concrete: Photo of light-emitting concrete courtesy of Investigation y Desarrollo Physics Technology 

Phosphorescent Concrete Lights the Way Home

By Jonathan Trinastic @jptrinastic Imagine a future when, as dusk turns to night during a long drive, the darkening highway begins to glow in soft hues of blue and green to illuminate the path ahead. Such a possibility could become reality after the creation of light-emitting cement by Jose Carlos Rubio at the University of San Nicolas Hidalgo in Mexico. The novel material could provide lighted pathways for cars, trucks, bikes, and pedestrians without using electricity. Countries of Concrete Most developed countries now rely on vast networks of roads to…

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conductive concrete Engineering Physics 

Conductive Concrete May End Flight Delays

By Emily Rhode @riseandsci Every year, thousands of flights are delayed and thousands of car accidents happen due to snowstorms and icy road conditions. Millions of dollars are spent each year plowing and de-icing runways, tarmacs, roadways, and bridges. Salt and plowing cause damage to roadways and waterways, and shoveling heavy snow causes injuries and deaths. Flight Delays (and Snow Days) Could be Things of the Past, Thanks to Science The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) is very interested in a special type of conductive concrete made by researchers at the…

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liquid graphene, liquid metal Physics Technology 

Liquid Graphene: Metal Behaves Like Water

By Jonathan Trinastic @jptrinastic The Liquid Electrons of Graphene Graphene has always been a material full of promise, and now researchers from Harvard University have found one more reason to wonder at this deceptively simple, two-dimensional sheet of carbon atoms. Electrons moving across one graphene layer have been observed to act like a fluid for the first time, showing a collective motion rarely seen in other metals. Potential applications of this new behavior range from electronic devices converting heat into electricity to a better understanding of black holes. A Sheet…

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gecko Animals Biology Engineering Physics 

Why Spiderman Can’t Exist, but a Gecko Can

By Kate Stone With all due respect to Spiderman, it turns out that physics is against our wall-crawling, web-slinging hero. There is a size limit on who or what can stick to walls: the size of a gecko. David Labonte and his team at the University of Cambridge Department of Zoology have been wondering why geckos are the largest animals able to scale smooth vertical walls. Geckos have highly effective and complex foot pads that they use to climb smooth, vertical surfaces. However, anything larger than a gecko would need…

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Lens Flare, Steven Spence Environment Physics Technology 

Spying on the Atomic Structure of Perovskites

By Jonathan Trinastic, @jptrinastic Spying on the Atomic Structure of Perovskites Perovskites are darling materials in the world of solar cells but still somewhat of a mystery to scientists. Perovskite-based photovoltaics boast a combination of high performance and cheap production that makes them an ideal candidate to lead the next solar energy revolution. Like many young and talented upstarts, however, they don’t always perform consistently, and they burn out quickly. Scientists do not yet completely understand why, but they have taken an important step by creating the first images of individual…

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Using cycling to teach physics Physics 

Using Cycling to Teach Physics

Working together, scientists and teachers have developed a method to teach physics to 14- and 15-year-olds about aerodynamic drag. “Usually, describing a realistic motion including aerodynamic drag would be beyond the scope of a secondary physics course. However, I realized that this could be done fairly easily for a bike slowing down by aerodynamic drag,” explains Florian Theilmann from the Weingarten University of Education in Germany. From Textbook to Real-Life Physics “In a common physics class, physics seems to be presented in a very simplified way,” Theilmann continues. “Sure, that helps…

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European laboratories open to visitors Astronomy Engineering Physics Technology 

Five European Laboratories Open to Visitors

Do you want to see science in action? Now, you can go deep inside some of the top research laboratories in Europe. Our friends at ResearchGate have produced this list of five recommendations for members of the public who want to go where the science happens. The following list includes some of the most amazing laboratories in Europe that are open to visitors. 1. Conseil Européen pour la Recherche Nucléaire (CERN), France & Switzerland CERN is synonymous with the biggest questions in physics. What is the universe made of? What happened after the Big Bang?…

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