European researchers working at the Institut Laue-Langevin (ILL) in Grenoble, France, have trapped the largest number of neutrons ever held in place at one time. But while they’ve smashed the previous record (also held by the ILL), it’s still not quite enough, the lead researcher tells BBC. Still, the new approach that got researchers this far may be able to trap far greater numbers of neutrons with a little finessing.
Don’t go throwing out your physics texts just yet, but there’s some strange and unprecedented news brewing at CERN today that could potentially undo large parts of the Standard Model, and it has nothing to do with particle collisions at the LHC or elusive god particles. Physicists running routine neutrino experiments between CERN’s Geneva HQ and the Gran Sasso laboratory in Italy 455 miles away have found that their neutrinos seem to be traveling faster than the speed of light. That’s right: faster than the fastest known speed in the universe. It's certainly not something we could have predicted when putting together our latest FYI, which investigates whether anything can move faster than light.
The rumbling you feel driving along a bridge may soon serve a purpose beyond just waking you up behind the wheel. Researchers at MIT have developed a tiny energy-harvester that is able to harness low-frequency vibrations like those made by a bridge or pipeline and converting them to electricity for wireless sensors.
After years of playing such numbers extremely close to the vest, Google today released figures spelling out exactly how much electricity the company’s massive computing resources consume. Its data centers continuously draw 260 million watts--roughly a quarter the output of a nuclear power plant, says the NYT--to keep services like Gmail, search, Google Ads, and YouTube up and running around the clock and around the globe.
IBM and 3M are collaborating on a new kind of semiconductor glue that will bind together future generations of 3-D semiconductor chips. The idea is to create a whole new kind of adhesive that hold things tightly together while also conducting heat and insulating at the same time.
Fermilab’s Tevatron collider runs out of money and time at the end of this month, but physicists there say that they are on track to establish whether the Higgs can exist within the most likely predicted mass range before their September 30 deadline. That’s not the same as actually finding the Higgs boson of course, but physicists say they’ll either rule out the possibility of its existence or not by month’s end.
Last week Chinese scientists wanted to divert an asteroid away from Earth. This week, they want to pull one into orbit around the Earth. What’s possible objections could anyone have to this idea?
The notion stems from a phenomenon the researchers from Tsinghua University in Beijing noticed from time to time with Jupiter. Every now and then our solar systems biggest planet pulls in an object from space, which orbits the planet for a time before jetting off into interplanetary space again.
The term “suitcase nuke” hasn’t enjoyed a particularly popular connotation in recent years, but researchers convening at the 242nd National Meeting and Exposition of the American Chemical Society this week think such a concept is the future of interplanetary space travel.
The perceived future of driving tends to revolve around a networked traffic infrastructure in which cars, traffic signals, and other roadway implements talk to each other electronically to optimize traffic flow and make driving more efficient all around. But MIT researchers think we can do many of these things on an existing network: the one that ties all of our smartphones together. A network of camera-equipped mobile devices mounted on dashboards could crowd source information about traffic signals and tell drivers what speed to maintain to avoid waiting at traffic lights.
With introspective retrospection, we consider the effects of our trip on transportation in this country
By Pierce Hoover
Posted 08.17.2011 at 11:36 am 5 Comments
On August 11, my son and I completed our summer-long trip across the US in our prototype human-electric hybrid vehicle. Over the course of 71 days, we traveled just over 4,200 miles while consuming about eight dollars in electricity (based on national average kW/hour rates), getting a good dose of exercise along the way as we pushed the pedals to lighten the engine’s load.
An international team of researchers spanning Australia, North America, and Europe has created a model for a new kind of attosecond laser that should be able to film individual electrons as they participate in chemical reactions. Such high-res, high-speed data gathering has never been achieved before, and if successful the new laser system could have implications for everything from basic chemistry to complex pharmaceutical research and chemical engineering.
We’re still many years away from the first functioning quantum computer the size of a building, much less the first one the size of a desktop computer or a smartphone, but researchers at the National Institute of Standards andTechnology (NIST) are already moving toward smaller quantum computing devices. For the first time, physicists there have entangled two ions using microwaves rather than the usual array of laser beams, paving the way for miniaturized, easy-to-commercialize quantum computing technologies.
Next time you’re inhaling an entire box of Girl Scout shortbread cookies, just think of the potential you’re wasting: a full $15 billion worth of graphene. At least, that’s the estimate given by a team of Rice University researchers working on a dare.
The latest perceived target for cyber criminals: the automobile. The DOT has a vision for a networked automotive future in which cars speak to each other and to roadway infrastructure via wireless communications. But opening up those channels of inter-car communication means also providing a way in--an avenue that hackers could exploit for ill.
Five amazing, clean technologies that will set us free, in this month's energy-focused issue. Also: how to build a better bomb detector, the robotic toys that are raising your children, a human catapult, the world's smallest arcade, and much more.