Articles about physics

JET interior photo UKAEA

Hotter than the Sun: JET – Earth’s biggest fusion reactor, in Culham

Geek's Guide to Britain I’m in a room that, in normal circumstances, is not fit for human habitation. It features a number of big red buttons surrounded by illuminated yellow rings – just in case. “Push button to switch off Jet. Press only in case of extreme emergency,” the signs read, informatively. This is the Torus Hall, a 40,000m3 space the size …
SA Mathieson, 25 Sep 2017

Two hot Jupiters around two similar stars orbiting at similar distances look similar, right? WRONG

WASP-67 b and HAT-P-38 b are two far-flung exoplanets orbiting near-identical stars at similar distances. Their size and temperatures are also pretty close. So, naturally, astronomers thought that their atmospheres wouldn't be too far apart. They were wrong. "We don't see what we're expecting," said Giovanni Bruno, a …
Andrew Silver, 6 Jun 2017
Data scientist image via Shutterstock

Boffins have figured out a way of speeding up X-ray data collection

Researchers have developed a method to improve the characterisation of superfast X-rays that they say will allow data to be collected up to a thousand times faster. Physicists, biologists and chemists use X-ray pulses created by free-electron lasers, known as XFELs, to probe the structures and interactions of molecules. …
Rebecca Hill, 6 Jun 2017
Galaxies stretching back into time across billions of light-years of space. The image covers a portion of a large galaxy census called the Great Observatories Origins Deep Survey (GOODS).

Scientists are counting atoms to figure out when Mars last had volcanoes

Astroboffins have figured out a new way of dating planets and meteorites by counting individual atoms in rock samples snatched from the depths of space. The atomic-scale imaging technique developed by University of Portsmouth scientists involves locating and counting individual atoms in planetary materials. "Directly linking …
Gareth Corfield, 26 May 2017
CERN particle trace visualisation

Large Hadron Collider turns up five new particles

Boffins poring over data from the Large Hadron Collider's “Beauty” experiment are blinking in surprise, having turned up five new particles in one hit. The “hiding in plain sight” articles in data from the "LHCb" are all excited states of the baryon Omega-c-zero, Ωc0, and the CERN boffins saw the five new particles from its …

Time crystals really do exist, say physicists*

A new quantum state of matter has been experimentally observed for the first time, according to two papers published in Nature. In 2012, Frank Wilczek, a Nobel-prize winning physicist proposed the idea of "time crystals": an open, ground state system that breaks time translational symmetry. The name is a little confusing as …
Katyanna Quach, 14 Mar 2017
Hoags Object

Astroboffins glimpse sighting of ultra-rare circular galaxy

A rarer-than-rare galaxy 359 million light years away from Earth has been spotted by physicists. Designated PGC 1000714 [paywalled], the galaxy is a ring-shape system orbiting a cooler centre without any connection between the two – a formation referred to as Hoag's Object. Just 0.1 per cent of all observed galaxies are Hoag- …
Gavin Clarke, 4 Jan 2017
Big Bang

Three certainties in life: Death, taxes and the speed of light – wait no, maybe not that last one

Einstein was incorrect about the speed of light being a fixed constant in our universe, a new theory suggests. A team of physicists are backing an idea that the speed of light is not constant and have made a prediction that can be tested. The speed of light is exactly 299,792,458 metres per second, and is a value that is …
Katyanna Quach, 25 Nov 2016
CERN's particle decelerator

CERN also has a particle decelerator – and it’s trying to break physics

Sorry, new physics fans, CERN has once again failed to break the old physics, this time using a particle decelerator that chilled helium atoms close to absolute zero. The organisation is checking the mass of the proton's antimatter twin, the antiproton, using a specialised spectrograph. The measurement is an important test …

Rise of the photon clones: New method could lead to 'impenetrable' comms

Physicists have produced "near-perfect" clones of quantum information that can be used to send and retrieve information securely over long distances through quantum cryptography. Research into using quantum mechanics for cryptography reasons is a bustling area. More countries are beginning to invest in technology that could …
Katyanna Quach, 26 Oct 2016

How do you make a qubit 10 times as stable? Dress it up for work

Dressing qubits in an electromagnetic field can make them 10 times more stable and able to perform more calculations over time in future quantum computers, according to new research in Nature Nanotechnology. Qubits - or quantum bits - hold information in quantum computers just like bits do in conventional computers. Instead of …
Katyanna Quach, 18 Oct 2016

British trio win Nobel prize for physics

A trio of British scientists working in US universities have been awarded this year's Nobel prize for physics. The prize will be shared by David Thouless (82), Duncan Haldane (65) and Michael Kosterlitz (76) for their work on exotic states of matter. The men will share the 8 million Swedish kronor (£720,000) prize. Thouless …
Kat Hall, 4 Oct 2016

Microsoft thinks time crystals may be viable after all

Microsoft researchers have teamed up with physicists from the University of California, Santa Barbara, to show how time crystals might be possible. First proposed by Nobel-prize winning theoretical physicist Frank Wilczek, time crystals are hypothetical systems that spontaneously break time-translational symmetry (TTS) – a …
Katyanna Quach, 12 Sep 2016

Lab-grown black hole proves Stephen Hawking's radiation claims – physicist

A physicist claims to have created a sonic black hole to observe Hawking radiation and its quantum weirdness, all within the safe confines of his laboratory. The gravitational pull of a black hole was once assumed to be so strong that no object or light could escape once it was dragged beyond the event horizon, making it …
Katyanna Quach, 16 Aug 2016

Billion-tonne IceCube: Sterile neutrino does not exist

Physicists are almost certain that the sterile neutrino does not exist after failing to find any sign of the ghostly particle at the IceCube Neutrino Observatory in the South Pole. Results published today in Physical Review Letters show that scientists have concluded sterile neutrinos do not exist with 99 per cent certainty. …
drawing of live cat and cat skeleton

Schrödinger's cat explained with neutrinos

Physicists have found that neutrinos keep their quantum weirdness over the longest distance that quantum mechanics has been tested to date. Superposition is a fundamental theory in quantum mechanics. The idea that particles can exist simultaneously in many different states was famously compared to a thought experiment devised …
Katyanna Quach, 20 Jul 2016
Big Bang

LIGO team may have found dark matter

Scientists think the recent discovery of gravitational waves observed from the collision of two black holes may have also detected signatures of the astrophysics mystery of dark matter. Scientists at Johns Hopkins university behind the September 2015 discovery by Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory (LIGO) wrote …
Darren Pauli, 24 Jun 2016
The Chocolate Festival, London

Rejoice, fatties: Giving chocolate electric shocks makes it healthier

Chocolate lovers, today's your lucky day. Physicists have found a way to make the sweet brown stuff healthier by applying an electric field to molten chocolate. Previous attempts to lower the fat content of chocolate, in an effort to make it healthier, have failed, according to research published in the Proceedings of the …
Katyanna Quach, 21 Jun 2016

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