Physics

It’s a typical December scenario: The family trip to the tree lot. The Fraser Fir tied to the roof of the car. Dad under the branches screwing the stand to the trunk. And the inevitable wobbling of the 7-foot holiday embellishment as it threatens to topple over and onto the floor, scattering needles everywhere. When
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<!––>Vortex flow: still from a simulation video showing how air from a sneeze can envelope a face shield. (Courtesy: Fujio Akagi/Isao Haraga/Shin-ichi Inage/Kozaburo Akiyoshi) Vortex rings created when a person sneezes can transport virus particles to the noses of people wearing face shields ’ according to fluid dynamics simulations done by Fujio Akagi and colleagues
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<!––>The experimental measurement of the fine-structure constant. © Pierre Cladé, Saïda Guellati-Khélifa and Tatsumi Aoyama The most precise measurement ever of the fine-structure constant has placed new constraints on theories that predict the existence of “dark sector” particles. The new value, which researchers in France measured using clouds of cold rubidium atoms, provides a stringent
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<!––>Safe, but separate: The author’s daughter taking an exam at home during distance learning. (Courtesy: Amara Graps) Since 10 March 2020, when Latvia went into lockdown, my 11-year-old daughter Vija has attended only 16 in-school sessions. It’s an understatement to say that my work as a space entrepreneur and senior scientist at the Planetary Science
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<!––>In-flight video still from BOBCAT during liquid helium transfer at an altitude of 130,000 feet. Credit: NASA Balloon-borne telescopes can observe a wealth of astrophysical phenomena that ground-based instruments cannot, but onerous cooling requirements limit how much equipment can be taken aloft. Researchers at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center found a way to minimize this
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Reconstructed vortex rings inside a magnetic micropillar. Credit: Claire Donnelly Researchers have observed three-dimensional magnetic vortex rings in a real-world magnetic material for the first time. Contrary to theoretical predictions, these rings ’ which are spin configurations within the material’s bulk ’ are remarkably stable and could move through the material like smoke rings move
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