Physics

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The universe should be a predictably symmetrical place, according to a cornerstone of Einstein’s theory of special relativity, known as Lorentz symmetry. This principle states that any scientist should observe the same laws of physics, in any direction, and regardless of one’s frame of reference, as long as that object is moving at a constant
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For the first time, scientists from around the world have detected a source of high-energy cosmic neutrinos — subatomic particles, produced in the aftermath of explosive astrophysical phenoma, that streak across the universe by the billions, leaving very little trace of their presence. Neutrinos, Italian for “little neutral ones,” are often described as “ghost particles,”
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The Royal Society has started a Policy Secondment Scheme: placing research fellows in Governmental departments to foster communication between scientists and science policy-makers. Dr Lily Asquith is a Royal Society Dorothy Hodgkin Research Fellow based at the University of Sussex, and is one of three participants on the pilot round for this scheme. Lily’s secondment
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In June 2017, physicists achieved ‘liquid light’ at room temperature for the first time ever, making this strange form of matter more accessible than ever. This matter is both a superfluid, which has zero friction and viscosity, and a kind of Bose-Einstein condensate – sometimes described as the fifth state of matter – and it allows light to actually flow
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A new MIT Libraries initiative aims to highlight MIT’s women faculty by acquiring, preserving, and making accessible their personal archives. The Institute Archives and Special Collections (IASC) launched the project last year with the generous support of Barbara Ostrom ’78 and Shirley Sontheimer. The first year of the project has focused on reaching out to
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As a volunteer for MIT’s AgeLab, 99-year-old Lew Aronin ’40 is doing what he loves most — seeking scientific knowledge for the benefit of humankind. A physics alum­nus who attends MIT events and donates annually, Aronin is a member of 85+ Lifestyle Leaders, a group of people 85 and older, including many alumni and spouses,
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Celestial Motion: a virtual dance experience – 360-degree video Celestial Motion uses a combination of contemporary dance and motion-capture technology to explore the human relationship with the Sun. The VR piece was made by the Guardian’s in-house VR studio with Alexander Whitley Dance Company, and in association with Sadler’s Wells. Choreographed by Whitley, Celestial Motion
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Scientists at MIT and elsewhere have analyzed data from K2, the follow-up mission to NASA’s Kepler Space Telescope, and have discovered a trove of possible exoplanets amid some 50,000 stars. In a paper that appears online today in The Astronomical Journal, the scientists report the discovery of nearly 80 new planetary candidates, including a particular
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The universe that Stephen Hawking spent a lifetime studying now knows his voice. Following Hawking’s death in March, the renowned British physicist, who had battled a debilitating degenerative motor neuron disease for decades, was remembered at a memorial service Friday at Westminster Abbey.    His ashes were buried between Charles Darwin and Isaac Newton and later covered with a gravestone — etched with an equation he used
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Bolometers, devices that monitor electromagnetic radiation through heating of an absorbing material, are used by astronomers and homeowners alike. But most such devices have limited bandwidth and must be operated at ultralow temperatures. Now, researchers say they’ve found a ultrafast yet highly sensitive alternative that can work at room temperature — and may be much
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Listening to Ashok Ajoy PhD ’16 talk about his work, it’s easy to forget he’s a physicist. “I make spins dance together, go up or down, interact, in a kind of spin choreography,” he says. Ajoy unleashes his creativity not on human bodies but on elementary particles, manipulating quantum behavior, and specifically, spin — the property of angular
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Neutrinos are everywhere, and yet their presence is rarely felt. Scientists have assumed for decades that, because they interact so little with matter, neutrinos must lack any measurable mass. But recent experiments have shown that these “ghostly” particles do in fact hold some weight. Ever since, the hunt has been on to pin down a
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For the seventh year in a row MIT has topped the QS World University Rankings, which were announced today. The full 2018-19 rankings — published by Quacquarelli Symonds, an organization specializing in education and study abroad — can be found at topuniversities.com. The QS rankings were based on academic reputation, employer reputation, citations per faculty,
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The School of Science has announced that six members of its faculty have been granted tenure by MIT. This year’s newly tenured associate professors are: Daniel Cziczo studies the interrelationship of atmospheric aerosol particles and cloud formation and its impact on the Earth’s climate system. Airborne particles can impact climate directly by absorbing or scattering
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A neutrino detector has just made an incredible detection: far more of the mysterious particles than they expected. And the best explanation for this mysterious abundance is the existence of a hypothetical type of neutrino, called the “sterile” neutrino.   The finding, made at Fermilab’s MiniBooNE, replicates a result from decades ago. Back in the
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My father, Richard Wilson, who has died aged 92, was an experimental particle physicist and humanitarian. As a professor of physics at Harvard University his work focused on the structure of the nucleon using Harvard’s cyclotron and other accelerators around the world. When the university’s cyclotron became obsolete, he helped adapt it for the treatment
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The world’s biggest diamond company, De Beers, recently announced it would start selling synthetic diamond gemstones for the first time in its 130-year history. Artificial diamonds have been manufactured since the 1950s but De Beers has long resisted moving into the synthetic market. The company now believes that technology is efficient enough to produce large
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Eighteen-year-old student Ryan Chester won US$400,000 back in 2015 for this video explaining Einstein’s Special Theory of Relativity, as part of the inaugural Breakthrough Junior Challenge – an international competition that aims to inspire the next generation of scientists and science communicators.   And it’s not hard to see why. If you heard the words,