Close-ups of an experiment conducted by John Bush and his student Daniel Harris, in which a bouncing droplet of fluid was propelled across a fluid bath by waves it generated. Credit: Dan Harris The central mystery of quantum mechanics is that small chunks of matter sometimes seem to behave like particles, sometimes like waves. For

Artist’s abstraction (stock illustration). Credit: © agsandrew / Fotolia Two USC researchers have proposed a link between string field theory and quantum mechanics that could open the door to using string field theory — or a broader version of it, called M-theory — as the basis of all physics. “This could solve the mystery of

Physicists use an interferometer to test whether standard quantum mechanics is correct, or whether a more complex version is required. They used the interferometer to send photons around a loop in opposite directions. In this way, photons travelling in one direction interact with objects inside the loop in one order, while photons travelling the opposite

The Burton lab studies tiny, plastic particles as a model for more complex systems. The particles are suspended in a vacuum chamber filled with a plasma — ionized argon gas. Credit: Justin Burton, Emory University Physicists at Emory University have shown how a system of lifeless particles can become “life-like” by collectively switching back and

Cosimo Rusconi (l.) and Oriol Romero-Isart (r.) play with a levitron to illustrate their work on nano magnets. Credit: IQOQI Innsbruck/M.R.Knabl Already in 1842, British mathematician Samuel Earnshaw proved that there is no stable configuration of levitating permanent magnets. If one magnet is levitated above another, the smallest disturbance will cause the system to crash.

This is a computer graphic showing the kind of tight network of flux tubes that the physicists propose may have filled the early universe. Credit: Thomas Kephart, Vanderbilt University The next time you come across a knotted jumble of rope or wire or yarn, ponder this: The natural tendency for things to tangle may help

Carbon nanotubes wrapped in polymer dispersants are used in many fields, including biotechnology and energy. Credit: Image courtesy of National Institute for Materials Science Scientists at Japan’s Kyushu University say polymer-wrapped carbon nanotubes hold much promise in biotechnology and energy applications. Scientists first reported carbon nanotubes in the early 1990s. Since then, these tiny cylinders

Visual depiction of one- and two-line tasks that participants were asked to complete and that was key to the paper’s findings. Credit: Ning Qian/Columbia’s Zuckerman Institute Scientists at Columbia’s Zuckerman Institute have contributed to solving a paradox of perception, literally upending models of how the brain constructs interpretations of the outside world. When observing a

The so-called 5/2 state has confounded scientists for several decades. While all known particles in the universe are classified as either bosons or fermions, the 5/2 state, which emerges only in a 2-D electron gas under large magnetic fields, is thought to be an exotic new type of particle that doesn’t fit either description. Previously

Aerial view of the LIGO Hanford Observatory. Credit: Caltech/MIT/LIGO Laboratory The Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences has decided to award the Nobel Prize in Physics 2017 with one half to Rainer Weiss, LIGO/VIRGO Collaboration, and the other half jointly to Barry C. Barish, LIGO/VIRGO Collaboration and Kip S. Thorne, LIGO/VIRGO Collaboration “for decisive contributions to

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