On Monday, a team of scientists in Australia announced an exciting breakthrough: For the first time, researchers were able to turn light into sound on a microchip. But—as crazy-sounding new physics applications tend to be—it’s probably going to be a long time before you see one of these chips on a computer you can…
It turns out the recognizable half-circle arch of a rainbow is a complete lie. When you’re standing on the ground looking up at a rainbow in the sky, the curvature of the Earth usually blocks its bottom half. But when viewed from a higher vantage point, like from a plane, or the top of a crane, rainbows are magically…
German scientists have constructed a powerful new light system that can focus energy equivalent to the radiation of 10,000 suns onto a single spot. Eventually, they hope, this “artificial sun” could be used to produce environmentally-friendly fuels.
When it comes to cooling things in the lab, scientists have long found an experimental lower limit just above the theoretical coldest temperature. Well, a group of American scientists have now made things (lowers shades) ...even cooler.
It’s obvious to anyone with eyeballs that there ain’t no damn stars in the city, while there are about a gazillion and one out in the countryside. But what do the various gradations of light pollution actually look like? Sriram Murali pointed his camera to the night sky to show you the progression of light pollution…
Water can do some trippy things, man. If you take a glass of water and slide it in front of a pattern, the refraction of light in water basically screws with those patterns and makes it appear as something else entirely. The distortion is really crazy to see because black and white squares turn into alternating white…
I don’t know what 1,000 suns actually looks like in real life, but I would imagine it’s probably something like lighting up this 20,000 watt light bulb to full, world-scorching power. It’s that eyeball-burning and -blindingly bright. Photonicinduction tested this 20kW Halogen light bulb that’s used for large scale…
I don’t know how these tiny dancers got trapped inside this spinning zoetrope but it’s the only explanation I can come up with for this insane light animation. Their movements are so smooth, and the shining light captures the grace of their dance so well that I’m sure some sort of magic has to be at play here.
These beetles may look like two different species, but they’re the same individual. The difference lies in how they were photographed, using a new lens that allows scientists to “see” one of the most fundamental properties of biology: chirality.
Every year, the Royal Botanic Gardens in Sydney, Australia, hosts an event called Vivid Sydney: A festival of light, music and ideas. This year, it’s constructed a giant tunnel, known as the Cathedral of Light, which runs along the edge of the gardens—and there’s a rather large surprise waiting at the end.
Not all light is made equal. Now, a team of physicists has discovered that photons can travel differently to any other light that scientists have seen in the past.
There’s no pot of gold at the end of the rainbow but there are some colorful visuals you can trip out on if you can figure out how to stare the right way. Here’s a video that supposedly shows a camera gliding through the spectrum of a rainbow and making its way through ROYGBIV backwards.
A team of researchers has managed to boost the amount of light an LED emits by 60 percent simply by shaping its outer surface to resemble the outside of a firefly’s lantern.
They don’t look much, but these little black balls harness the power of bright light to zip across the surface of water—pulling up to 150 times their own weight in the process.
Rain means clouds and clouds mean less sunlight. That’s bad news for most solar cells, but a new design can actually make use of rain drops that fall on its surface, allowing it to generate electricity even when the weather’s bad.
Turning off a light just became a much smaller task. A team of researchers has developed the world’s smallest optical switch, which uses just a single atom to control the flow of light.
The good minds at MIT have used a rubber-like polymer to predict how much light gets transmitted through a material, depending on its thinness and stretchiness. The material could lead to windows that automatically adjust the amount of light that’s let in.
New York is one of my favorite places in the world because of so many things but in certain moments (especially during the winter) it can be a miserable place to live as you wonder if it’s worth it to be freezing and packed on top of people and question if the city is all a big scam. That’s why it’s nice to be…
Energy-saving bulbs may have some competition in the shape of an ageing technology. Scientists have developed a new kind of incandescent light bulb that uses modern science to ramp up its efficiency, almost matching that of commercial LED bulbs.
Imagine clothes, houses or cars that soaked up heat during the day and then released it on demand when things turned cold. That’s exactly what a new material made at MIT could provide in the future.