Explaining Particle Accelerators With a Vacuum and 1,000 Foam Balls

If you know what a "Time Projection Chamber" or "Proton Synchrotron Booster" is, you're probably a physicist. And if you can explain them to non-physicists, you're a hero. This complicated glass model attempts to make understanding particle physics a little bit easier—with the help of a vacuum cleaner and 500 feet of… » 7/07/14 4:20pm 7/07/14 4:20pm

The Aloof Blackjack Player Who Created Our Digital World

Every digital device you use operates on a string of ones and zeroes, the binary "yes/no" decision at the foundation of modern computing. It's a concept so fundamental to our modern day that we rarely stop to wonder where it came from. But it's all the work of one man: Claude Shannon, whose fascinating story you've… » 6/28/14 8:00pm 6/28/14 8:00pm

If Einstein Had Never Been Born, Would We Still Have Nuclear Weapons?

Albert Einstein and his equation E=mc² are famously connected to the modern atomic age. But as nuclear historian Alex Wellerstein writes in this counterfactual account of history, the great physicist mattered less than you'd think in the invention of the nuclear bomb. » 6/28/14 9:00am 6/28/14 9:00am

Why the Moon Looks Bigger on the Horizon

This is a question that has been debated for several thousand years. One popular myth, dating all the way back to Aristotle in the 4th century BC and which still endures somewhat today, is that it is simply a case of magnification caused by the Earth's atmosphere. While a "magnification" effect is taking place, it… » 6/27/14 5:45am 6/27/14 5:45am

How Scientists Will Look Inside Fukushima's Radioactive Cores

The inside of Fukushima's three busted reactor cores are a big mess. It's basically just hundreds of tons of very, very, very radioactive materials like uranium, plutonium, and cesium. Workers want to clean it up, but they have a problem. It's so dangerous, they can't peek inside, much less go inside. » 6/18/14 1:00pm 6/18/14 1:00pm