Physics

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The MIT School of Science recently welcomed 10 new professors in the departments of Biology Brain and Cognitive Sciences, Chemistry, Physics, Mathematics, and Earth, Atmospheric and Planetary Sciences. Tristan Collins conducts research at the intersection of geometric analysis, partial differential equations, and algebraic geometry. In joint work with Valentino Tosatti, Collins described the singularity formation of
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For the first time, scientists have performed an iconic physics experiment with a positron – the antimatter counterpart of an electron, one of the fundamental particles. Not only did they get some truly interesting results, but this achievement could become the first step towards potentially revolutionary discoveries.   The experiment – an antimatter version of
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Nearly 150 years ago, the physicist James Maxwell proposed that a circular lens that is thickest at its center, and that gradually thins out at its edges, should exhibit some fascinating optical behavior. Namely, when light is shone through such a lens, it should travel around in perfect circles, creating highly unusual, curved paths of
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Paul Rankin, my dad, who has died aged 72, was a research physicist and an adventurer. He worked for the electronics company Philips for 36 years, and filed more than 40 patents in that time. He was an innovator, with projects in the favelas in Brazil, the wastes of Mali, the temples of Thailand and
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Six years after the strange, elusive Higgs boson particle was discovered, scientists working with the world’s largest particle accelerator have finally observed its mysterious, yet most common, decaying process.   Using data from the Large Hadron Collider, physicists caught the boson decaying into two smaller particles – a bottom quark and its antimatter equivalent, an
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Six years after the strange, elusive Higgs boson particle was discovered, scientists working with the world’s largest particle accelerator have finally observed its mysterious, yet most common, decaying process.   Using data from the Large Hadron Collider, physicists caught the boson decaying into two smaller particles – a bottom quark and its antimatter equivalent, an
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What if we have quantum entanglement’s ‘spooky’ nature all wrong, and we’re missing something? A new experiment using the wavelength of photons created more than 7.8 billion years ago makes that more unlikely than ever. If there’s a classical physics explanation for the phenomenon, it’s extremely well hidden.   MIT physicists have pushed the limits
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What if we have quantum entanglement’s ‘spooky’ nature all wrong, and we’re missing something? A new experiment using the wavelength of photons created more than 7.8 billion years ago makes that more unlikely than ever. If there’s a classical physics explanation for the phenomenon, it’s extremely well hidden.   MIT physicists have pushed the limits
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The School of Science recently announced the winners of its 2018 Teaching Prizes for Graduate and Undergraduate Education. The prizes are awarded annually to School of Science faculty members who demonstrate excellence in teaching. Winners are chosen from nominations by students and colleagues. Ankur Moitra, the Rockwell International Career Development Associate Professor in the Department of Mathematics,
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MIT scientists have uncovered a sprawling new galaxy cluster hiding in plain sight. The cluster, which sits a mere 2.4 billion light years from Earth, is made up of hundreds of individual galaxies and surrounds an extremely active supermassive black hole, or quasar. The central quasar goes by the name PKS1353-341 and is intensely bright
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A miniature satellite called ASTERIA (Arcsecond Space Telescope Enabling Research in Astrophysics) has measured the transit of a previously-discovered super-Earth exoplanet, 55 Cancri e. This finding shows that miniature satellites, like ASTERIA, are capable of making of sensitive detections of exoplanets via the transit method. While observing 55 Cancri e, which is known to transit,
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Neutron stars are the smallest, densest stars in the universe, born out of the gravitational collapse of extremely massive stars. True to their name, neutron stars are composed almost entirely of neutrons — neutral subatomic particles that have been compressed into a small, incredibly dense celestial package. A new study in Nature, co-led by MIT
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On 31 August 2010 the “Life and Physics” blog moved here, to the Guardian Science pages from a newish blog on wordpress. Exactly eight years later¹, at the end of this month, it will move back, as the Guardian closes its Science Blog Network. Following the lead of my fellow blogger Dean Burnett, here is
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On Saturday, NASA launched a bold mission to fly directly into the sun’s atmosphere, with a spacecraft named the Parker Solar Probe, after solar astrophysicist Eugene Parker. The incredibly resilient vessel, vaguely shaped like a lightbulb the size of a small car, was launched early in the morning from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in