It took 16 years and $10 billion dollars, but on the day the Large Hadron Collider was supposed to begin trying to cross its high energy proton beams it didn’t take very long at all for researchers to create the highest-energy particle collisions ever witnessed in an experimental setting. At just after 1 p.m. local time beneath the French-Swiss border, CERN scientists smashed two proton beams moving at 99 percent of the speed of light together at total energies of 7 trillion electron volts.
The Large Hadron Collider has been coming along in fits and starts, but the European Organization for Nuclear Research plans to begin colliding the highest energy proton beams ever conjured tomorrow, heralding a new era of science and discovery. If it works, that is.
Algae has been floated again and again as a possible means of biofuel production, usually through chemical processes that extract sugars or other organic compounds that can be processed into fuel. But what if we could simply steal electricity from algae, no processing or chemical wizardry necessary? We can, says a team of researchers who recently stole electrons directly from algae for the very first time
The brain is the body's most complicated biological machine, and as such it can be very difficult to service when something goes wrong; after our neural wiring is put in place, at a very young age, altering or rebuilding it becomes extremely challenging.
Aww, look at the cute robot-wrestler couple, out cruising on their robot date. He's using his new-found touchscreen manipulation skills to find the restaurant, while she pilots them GM's prototype pod-car. Meanwhile, her thoughts are literally legible on her face, and the benevolent overlords of DARPA watch over us all.
Welcome to the future.
Our annual How it Works issue is now available, wherein we strip 13 amazing machines of their skins to marvel at what lies beneath. For anyone interested in science and technology, it's a natural tendency, almost a reflex: let's open this thing up and see what makes it tick. Maybe we can put it back together, and then again maybe not.
Of course, we've been doing this here at PopSci for over a century. Here we've combed the archives for some of our favorite "How It Works" articles over the years. And there are some gems.
Nikola Tesla, pioneering inventor, died penniless and unrecognized. We have previously mentioned his hipster cred, but it has taken until 2010, almost 70 years after his death, for the man and his achievements to be apotheosized in the medium of Drunk History.
First came dark matter, the gravitational source from within our galaxy that astronomers couldn't see. Then came dark energy, the undetectable force pushing the expansion of the universe. Now, NASA scientists believe they have confirmed a new player, dubbed "dark flow," that is dragging hundreds of galaxies along the same path. Even stranger, the researchers believe that dark flow is actually the gravitational pull from matter beyond the edge of the known universe.
While some scientists resort to undersea drilling to find undiscovered forms of life, a new group of researchers has decided that piloting a robotic submarine into a submerged volcano was the way to go. By exploring the deepest, hottest, undersea volcano ever probed, the researchers hope to find clues to both the beginnings of life on Earth, and the possible forms of life on other planets.