At the bottom right-hand corner of the periodic table sits a fantasy world. Until recently, these elusive elements’ names were just fancy translations of their numbers. They’re enormous and can only be produced in the lab. They only stick around for a few seconds at most before radioactively decaying into smaller…
A team of researchers from MIT and Cambridge University has discovered that when bacteria are made to flow through a lattice, they synchronize and swim in patterns just like electrons orbiting atoms.
There's a very commonly held view that atoms can never touch: bring them together slowly, and you reach a point where they begin to repel. But in this video, Professor Philip Moriarty explains that really isn't the case.
Pour yourself a whiskey and think about this before going to sleep tonight: "What you perceive as a conscious perspective is actually a bunch of little particles banging into each other and swerving around based on the same rules that form stars, nebulae, and black holes...
You'd be forgiven for thinking that a large tuning fork, a nail, some Blu-Tack and a guitar amp sounded more like the contents of a DIY music studio than a science lab. But they are, in fact, all the ingredients required to listen to the sound of atoms bonding.
Theoretically speaking, a single atom could be made to represent one computer bit — a technological prospect that could lead to unimaginably small storage devices. But getting atoms to behave in the desired way is easier said than done. Until now.
When you bend anything, you stretch the bonds between atoms and force the little fellas to move about against their will. This image shows exactly that happening, inside a sheet of glass.
What you're looking at above is the exact moment that atoms for a covalent bond. It's the first time this intricate single-molecule transformation has been captured in the act. It's a breakthrough, it's informative, in many ways it's beautiful. And it was taken by sheer dumb luck.
Occasionally, researchers at IBM take a break from exploring the limits of data storage at the molecular level—and instead make stop motion films, animated entirely with individual atoms. This is the result.
We've gotten pretty good at clocks. The nuclear clocks that exist right now are super accurate, so what more could you ask for? Something simpler. How about a clock that's just one, single atom? That's exactly what researchers just figured out how to make.
This isn't the view through your childhood kaleidoscope. Nor is it an alien craft come to beam you up. In fact, it's the world's first atomic force microscopy image of chemical bonds inside an individual molecule.
An atom-smasher called the Relativistic Heavy Ion Collider (RHIC) has just snagged a Guinness World Record for reaching the hottest man-made temperature ever—250,000 times hotter than the center of the sun.
So much news passes before our collective eyes every day that we couldn't possibly cover it all. Mostly because much of it isn't worth covering! But here are a some borderline tidbits we passed on, just in case.
We all know the story. Electrons and protons are attracted to each other. That's why a balloon rubbed on hair clings to clothes. The electrons it gained are crying out for protons and dragging the rest of the balloon along with them. But electrons and protons are right next to each other in the atom. Why don't they…
The Pauli exclusion principle is the quantum mechanical concept that no two identical particles in all the Universe may occupy the same quantum state simultaneously. What does that mean, exactly? Well, for starters, it means that the butterfly effect has nothing on the consequences of the Pauli exclusion principle.
If you're a fan of lucid explanations of tricky scientific concepts, it's hard to go wrong with theoretical physicist Brian Cox. But when you mix in physicist Jim Al-Khalili and Simon Pegg, you've got yourself a recipe for pedagogic gold. Also: thinly veiled sex jokes.
It was only two years ago that IBM showed us an image of a complete molecule, atomic bonds and all, but today's news does that one infinitesimally-sized breakthrough better. Ladies and gents, behold the first image of an electron's path.
This week on "Ask a Physicist" we have a doomsday twist. Is it possible to make strange new elements that could ultimately destroy the world or are you destined to be Mendeleev's bitch? In this week's column, we find out.