Physical Sciences

Exploring neutrinos: Entanglement, entropy, and fractional calculus

Neutrinos are elusive, strange particles that are produced in the nuclear reactions that power stars. As such, the study of neutrinos from the Sun gives us a window directly into the Sun’s core, as well as telling us more about these fundamental particles. However, neutrinos are notoriously hard to detect, so detectors like the Super-Kamiokande and Homestake solar neutrino experiments […]

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Physical Sciences

A solution to dark matter: New evidence for hydrogen’s second flavour

Following on from his previous research, Professor Eugene Oks at Auburn University, Alabama, presents even further evidence that an explanation for dark matter could lie with a ‘second flavour’ of hydrogen atoms. This time, he analyses the results of an extensive survey of millions of galaxies to assess the characteristics of ‘gravitational lensing’: a light-bending effect, first predicted by Einstein. […]

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Physical Sciences

Table-top soft X-ray laser in the ‘water window’

X-rays are excellent tools for exploring the structure of matter and molecules. Professor Szymon Suckewer and his group at Princeton University, alongside Professors Olga Kocharovskaya, Marlan Scully and Alexei Sokolov of Texas A&M University, have developed a technology capable of producing X-rays, but which can fit into a standard university lab – even onto a table top. This offers new […]

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Physical Sciences

Caught on camera: Visual comprehension of chemical reactions

Using in-situ electron microscopy, Professor Dominik Lungerich at the Institute for Basic Science (IBS), Korea, and colleagues have produced a video of the assembly of a spherical all-carbon molecule, known as a buckyball, from a different planar molecule. Within this video, it is possible to see the precursor molecule morph into a buckyball as its bonds break and reform, providing […]

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Physical Sciences

Shape-shifting materials: Extreme deformation of particle rafts

How can we bend matter to our will? Folding patterns, as employed in origami, imply severely limited shape-shifting possibilities. These soft materials also need to have the right shape-morphing properties to be useful for their desired application. Professor Ho-Young Kim at Seoul National University has been building and modelling particle rafts – new soft composite interfaces with superior deformability, that […]

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Physical Sciences

Optimisation of truck-drone parcel delivery using GRASP

Parcel delivery has traditionally been handled by trucks, but rapid technological developments in autonomous unmanned aerial vehicles means that drones are now being used to support parcel delivery. Professor Sarab AlMuhaideb and the research team at King Saud University, Saudi Arabia, have developed an algorithm that minimises the total delivery time for combined truck and drone delivery. The researchers have […]

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Physical Sciences

The role of water dynamics in age-related bone weakening

The interaction of water with biological tissues plays crucial roles in maintaining cells and keeping complex organisms alive and healthy. Dysfunctions in biological processes involving water can lead to pathologies or death. For instance, age-related dehydration in bones leads to bone weakening with more frequent fractures, although the origin of this process is still poorly understood. Using powerful computational techniques, […]

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Physical Sciences

Polarized fuel: A new option for sustained nuclear fusion

The journey towards sustained nuclear fusion may seem never-ending, but some physicists believe a promising step forward could come in the form of ‘polarized fuel’. In his research, Dr Ralf Engels at the Research Centre Jülich / GSI Darmstadt, Germany, together with colleagues at the Polarization Research for Fusion Experiments and Reactors (PREFER) collaboration, has identified three key challenges faced […]

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Physical Sciences

Combating corrosion in geothermal wells

Geothermal energy holds the potential to harvest vast amounts of energy from within the Earth’s crust. So far, however, exploitation of geothermal energy can be limited by corrosion – which damages the metal pipes required to carry high-temperature steam generated deep underground. In a new experiment, Andri Thorhallsson and Sigrun Karlsdottir at the University of Iceland show how the problem […]

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Physical Sciences

Theory and Experience: Assessing the methodology of physics

The relationship between theories and experiments is a central concept in physics, providing a robust basis for the sum of our knowledge of how the universe works. Yet despite its immense importance, there are still several key aspects of the relationship which physicists can’t agree upon – leading to deep-rooted disputes within the wider research community. In his essay, Theory […]

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