Physics

Space communications: an illustration of the new concept for using light to communicate in space. (Courtesy: Yen Strandqvist/Chalmers University of Technology) The most sensitive receiver to date for picking up optical signals in free space has been designed and demonstrated by researchers in Sweden. Peter Andrekson and colleagues at Chalmers University of Technology say they
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A linear accelerator with the portal dosimetry panel (EPID) deployed. (Courtesy: Murillo Bellezzo, Maastro Clinic) Radiation therapy is a complex procedure, with a series of equipment and dosimetry checks performed before every treatment to ensure its safety and accuracy. However, there’s still potential for errors to occur during the actual radiation delivery, such as changes
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Star struck: Betelgeuse’s sudden drop in brightness, dubbed the “great dimming”, has enthralled astronomers since it was first observed late last year (Courtesy: ESO/M. Montargès et al.) An international team of astronomers has proposed a telescope to monitor the bright star Betelgeuse to provide clues about the cause of its sudden drop in brightness. The
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Priya Saini is a medical physicist in the radiological physics department of SMS Medical College and Hospitals in Jaipur, India. This post is part of a series on how the COVID-19 pandemic is affecting the personal and professional lives of physicists around the world. If you’d like to share your own perspective, please contact us
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Researchers are using the CLARA electron accelerator at the Daresbury Laboratory to study the potential of very high-energy electrons for radiotherapy. (Courtesy: STFC) Very high-energy electrons (VHEEs), typically defined as those above 40 MeV, provide a potential new radiotherapy modality with dosimetric advantages. Beams of such electrons penetrate deep into the patient, enabling treatment of
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MRI biomarker: objectively segmented diffuse white matter abnormality (red) in the periventricular white matter displayed in sagittal (A), coronal (B), and axial orientations (C) in a 26 weeks’ gestation very preterm infant. (Courtesy: Nehal Parikh) A new software quantification tool has been developed by researchers in the US for analyzing white-matter abnormalities in very preterm
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Zhifeng Ren, director of the Texas Center for Superconductivity at UH. Credit: University of Houston With the world’s reserves of light oil diminishing, oil companies are increasingly turning to heavier varieties – which make up 70% of global oil reserves – to meet rising energy demands. Existing extraction technologies for heavy oil are, however, inefficient,
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Emmy Noether: a new book celebrates the life of the mathematician. (Courtesy: Kids Can Press) Tuesday was Ada Lovelace Day, which celebrates achievements of women in science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM). Named after the 19th-century polymath Ada Lovelace, the annual initiative also seeks to engage with the challenges of attracting more women into STEM
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Pressure-temperature (P-T) phase diagram of a NaYbSe2 single crystal. Courtesy: Run-Ze Yu Researchers in China report that they have observed both superconductivity and an insulator-to-metal transition in sodium ytterbium (III) selenide (NaYbSe2) simply by applying pressure to it. This inorganic substance, which is also a quantum spin liquid (QSL) candidate, could therefore become a new
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Inside XENON1: the bottom array of photomultiplier tubes and the copper structure that creates the electric drift field. (Courtesy: XENON1T collaboration) In June of this year, physicists working on the XENON1T dark-matter detector announced the measurement of a curious signal in their experiment — which comprises 2 tonne of ultrapure xenon. The signal had a statistical
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Join the audience for a live webinar at 3 p.m. BST on 20 October 2020 exploring how elemental and molecular characterizations combined can help solve issues across many applications Want to take part in this webinar? Combining elemental and molecular characterization enables better and faster research in many real-world applications. Applications such as pharmaceuticals, environment,
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The phases of hydrogen. Courtesy: Source: I F Silvera/Harvard University At pressures of millions of atmospheres, hydrogen – normally an excellent insulator thanks to the tightly-bound electrons in the H2 molecule – becomes an electrical conductor. Its exact transition point is, however, the subject of much debate, with the results of several recent experiments seemingly
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By: Hannah Pell On September 22, 2020, NASA and the U. S. Space Command announced that they were tracking an unidentified piece of space debris that appeared to be hurtling toward the International Space Station (ISS). It was predicted to pass by within only a few kilometers, dangerously too close to chance, at 5:21 p.m.
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Taken from the October 2020 issue of Physics World. Members of the Institute of Physics can enjoy the full issue via the Physics World app. Graduate student Rosemary Teague and undergraduate Amber Yallop share their non-traditional degree pathways, some difficult choices they made along the way, and what a future in physics looks like for
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Assembly of the LIONTRAP Penning-trap system.© MPIK Physicists in Germany say they have made the world’s most precise measurement of the deuteron mass by comparing it to the mass of the carbon-12 nucleus. The new work, which was carried out by confining deuterons (which are nuclei of deuterium, or “heavy” hydrogen) and carbon-12 nuclei with
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Unsettled forecast The UK’s messy, complex weather presents a challenge for autonomous vehicles. (Courtesy: iStock/trendobjects) Autonomous vehicles (AVs) are supposed to be the future. So far, though, much of the work involved in building that future has focused on places like California and Arizona, where rain is rare and roads are wide and spacious. How,
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The INFN Gran Sasso National Laboratory (LNGS). Courtesy: INFN-LNGS Our everyday experience shows that the macroscopic world is different from the quantum one. Unlike quantum particles, the objects in our daily existence do not, for example, exist in a superposition of different states. Traditionally, physicists explain the transition between the two worlds by saying that
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Snowy scene: the location in Vermont where the distribution of microfibres in snow was measured. (Courtesy: Rachael Miller) I grew up in Canada, which has two things in abundance: electric clothes dryers and snow. So, I was immediately drawn to a paper in PLOS ONE by Kirsten Kapp and Rachael Miller that quantifies the number
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In this episode we look at the ground-breaking research on black holes that led to Roger Penrose,  Reinhard Genzel and Andrea Ghez winning the 2020 Nobel Prize for Physics. On hand are experts Laura Nuttall of the University of Portsmouth and the LIGO–Virgo–KAGRA collaboration, who studies gravitational waves from merging black holes and Harvard University’s
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By: Hannah Pell On 23 January 2020, the Doomsday Clock was calibrated to 100 seconds before midnight — the closest it has even been — by the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, the organization in charge of the clock. Because the Doomsday Clock is set no sooner than annually, this decision was made even before
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The study employed kilovoltage intrafraction monitoring (KIM) to monitor prostate motion during high-dose radiotherapy delivered in five fractions. Treatment was adapted to the measured motion using either real-time MLC tracking or gating with couch shifts. (Courtesy: Julia Johnson) Stereotactic ablative radiotherapy (SABR), in which high radiation doses are delivered over just a few fractions, requires
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New laureates: Roger Penrose, Reinhard Genzel and Andrea Ghez have won the the 2020 Nobel Prize for Physics. (Courtesy: IOP Publishing/Tushna Commissariat; CC-BY-SA H Garching; UCLA/Christopher Dibble) The 2020 Nobel Prize for Physics has been awarded to Roger Penrose, Reinhard Genzel and Andrea Ghez for their work on black holes. The prize is worth 10
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Originally written for https://www.tamiawilliams.com/blog  - TamiaWilliams  Image: 5 Year Old Drip (Bobo hair ties, Clear skin & Sunday’s best), 2001  This is my mom’s favorite picture of me as a child. On the back, it’s dated Oct/Nov 2001 – Tamia – 5yrs old. I have no recollection of this day, when the picture was taken
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Nordic device: Artistic image of the Aalto University graphene bolometer controlled by electric field. (Courtesy: Heikka Valja) Two graphene-based bolometers that are sensitive to detect single microwave photons have been built by independent teams of physicists. The devices could find a range of applications in quantum technologies, radio astronomy and even in the search for
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In this episode of the Physics World Weekly podcast Google’s Sergio Boixo explains why the tech giant is building its own quantum computers. Boixo will be a plenary speaker at the upcoming Quantum 2020 virtual conference, and we will be interviewing other plenary speakers in future episodes of the podcast. Next up is Ramon Barthelemy
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Boron neutron capture therapy, which targets cancer at the cellular level, is under development by several companies worldwide. (Courtesy: Hanna Koivonoro, Neutron Therapeutics) Boron neutron capture therapy (BNCT), a technique that deposits highly targeted radiation into tumour cells, was first investigated as a cancer treatment back in the 1950s. But the field remains small, with
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New Advantage: D-Wave’s latest quantum computer. (Courtesy: D-Wave Systems) The Canadian quantum computer maker D-Wave Systems has unveiled its latest platform, which contains a whopping 5000 qubits. Called Advantage, the system can be accessed via the company’s Leap 2 cloud service, which was launched earlier this year. The system is designed for use by businesses
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Staying cool: the new electrocaloric devices show potential for air conditioning. Courtesy: iStock/KMNPhoto) Ever-growing in their use, air conditioning systems use refrigerants that are powerful greenhouse gases. But independent teams in Europe and the US reckon they may have found a more environmentally friendly way to keep cool by using electricity to soak up heat
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 What makes skin so tough? Originally published: May 4 2015 – 11:45am, Inside Science News Service By: Lisa Marie Potter, Contributor (Inside Science) — Skin has to be flexible enough to jump, crawl, and kick with us. It also has to be resilient enough to withstand our falls, scrapes, and cuts. Scientists have marveled at skin’s strength for
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The new issue of your favourite magazine examines the benefits of virtual meetings Revolutionary rocket?: The October 2020 issue of Physics World also looks at a new kind of engine. When it comes to scientific conferences, we’ve all been affected by the restrictions from the COVID-19 pandemic. But even when the pandemic is over, as
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