Physical Sciences

Revealing properties of regular convex polytopes in negative dimensions

Mathematics and physics extend the notion of dimensionality beyond the usual perception of three dimensions to consider higher-dimensional spaces (eg, four-dimensional space–time) as well as negative, fractionally, and complex dimensional spaces. The formulae describing properties such as area and volume of some geometric objects can result in indefiniteness, particularly when dealing with negative dimensions. Dr Szymon Łukaszyk, an independent researcher […]

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Physical Sciences

Antilope: A low-cost portable sensor system for air quality monitoring

Monitoring air quality and assessing personal pollutant exposure in urban settings remain challenging tasks in atmospheric science. As part of this monitoring, low-cost sensors have become increasingly available. This allows makers to assemble their own air quality stations according to online instructions, and institutions to multiply the number of measurement points. However, most of these commercial devices suffer from limitations […]

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Physical Sciences

Providing better radiation monitoring for nuclear waste

Despite the immense potential benefits of nuclear power, many people are understandably concerned about the dangerous radioactive waste (or radwaste) it generates. To provide reassurance that nuclear waste is being safely stored, Dr Paolo Finocchiaro and colleagues at Italy’s National Institute of Nuclear Physics (INFN) have developed an advanced new system for monitoring the material’s radioactivity in real-time. Using distributed […]

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Physical Sciences

NAPLIFE: Advancing nuclear fusion with nanotechnology

Nuclear fusion has long been discussed for its potential as an abundant source of energy. Yet owing to the immense technological challenges involved, the global rollout of the technology still seems a long way off. Dr Tamás Biró and colleagues at the Nano-Plasmonic Laser Inertial Fusion Experiment (NAPLIFE) project, Wigner Research Centre for Physics, Hungary, believe a solution could be […]

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Physical Sciences

Listening across the oceans: Distributed acoustic sensing

Fibre optic cables have become the backbone of digital communication across the oceans. These cables are not just useful for transmitting information from one location to another – they can also be used as an incredibly long sensor array in themselves. Distributed acoustic sensing (DAS) is a powerful way of measuring sound and vibrations in the sea floor. Dr Ole […]

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Physical Sciences

Dendrimers: Improving calibration standards for mass spectrometry

Soft-ionization mass spectrometry (MS) techniques for the analysis of peptides, proteins, and macromolecules are gaining popularity in the medical research community. Specifically, matrix-assisted laser-desorption/ionization (MALDI) and electrospray ionization (ESI) can identify high molecular weight compounds with accuracy and minimal fragmentation of the sample, but precise and regular calibration with standards of a known mass is needed. Professor Scott M Grayson […]

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Physical Sciences

Cascading energy: Explaining fluctuations in the solar wind

Originating from the dynamic upper reaches of the Sun’s atmosphere, the influence of solar wind can be felt throughout the solar system. We sat down with Dr Charles Smith at the University of New Hampshire to discuss how the latest theories of fluid dynamics, combined with observations from spacecraft missions, can help us to understand turbulence in the interplanetary plasma. […]

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Physical Sciences

How geometry expresses the Second Law of Thermodynamics

Physicists have long struggled to explain how the inevitable increase in the universe’s entropy can be reconciled with the reversible laws of quantum mechanics. Now, Professor Chris Jeynes at the University of Surrey Ion Beam Centre, UK, believes he has found a solution in geometry. This new geometrical thermodynamics shows how the stability in time of structures as diverse as […]

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Physical Sciences

Cameleer: A deductive verification tool for OCaml

From social networking to space exploration, software is the mainstay that keeps our world operating. But how do we know that we can trust software? Dr Mário Pereira from the Nova School of Science and Technology, Lisbon, and his collaborators have developed Cameleer, a formal verification software tool for OCaml-written code that establishes mathematical proof that a system works according […]

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Physical Sciences

Reality, information, and consciousness: The universe as a cosmic quantum computer

How does the world around us work, and what is real? Such questions are not only central to scientific and philosophical discourse but have been circulating since the dawn of human existence. Peter Verheyen of the Sola Society and Academy at Vienna University, Austria, explores the notion that the conscious reality we experience as human beings is drawn from the […]

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