Humans have had such a dramatic impact on Earth that some scientists say we’ve kickstarted a new geological era known as the Anthropocene. A fascinating new paper theorizes that alien civilizations could do the same thing, reshaping their homeworlds in predictable and potentially detectable ways. The authors are…
Rubber bands can become colder than room temperature through sheer mechanical force. Stretching one heats it up (duh) but letting it contract cools it below its starting temperature. Let that weirdness sink in for a moment.
The bar is made of 120 tons of pure, crystal-clear ice. So are the walls, and all the furniture, along with intricately carved ice sculptures, including a replica of the Vegas skyline and an icy Iron Throne just for Game of Thrones fans. Walking into Minus 5 Ice Bar in Las Vegas is like stepping into a real-world…
Hummingbirds flap their wings a blistering 12 to 80 times per second (depending on the species) when in flight. This can generate quite a bit of extra body heat, which must be dissipated somehow to prevent the birds from overheating. Now scientists think they understand a bit more about how these tiny creatures…
Rain transforms into snow when the temperatures drop below freezing, right? Not necessarily. Supercooling raindrops is really what’s poking these cookie-cutter holes in the clouds over the southeastern United States.
The brand new space opera novel Lightless is a fast-paced, gripping read, and like all good science fiction, explores the human side of cutting-edge scientific concepts. We talked to debut author C.A. Higgins about using real physics in her story.
Pluto and Charon have captured our hearts and imaginations. But how did these adorably strange worlds form, and what consequences could that have on what we see now? Researcher Amy Barr Mlinar chatted with us about catastrophic collisions, subsurface oceans, and Pluto’s lack of craters.
New ideas about Pluto, Charon, and all the little moons have been flowing back from the New Horizons spacecraft fast and furious. If you’re curious but haven’t kept up, here’s everything we’ve learned so far.
You know what's absolutely impossible? A system going from chaos to order. You know what cells do? Turn a chaotic universe into organized, channeled motion, again and again and again. How can that be?
Perhaps you have heard that cold does not exist – that what we subjectively experience and describe as cold is, in fact, the absence of heat. But what does that mean, exactly? Joe Hanson explains this mind-bending concept in the latest episode of It's Okay To Be Smart.
Until NASA's Cold Lab comes online in 2016, the coldest place in the universe is a faint scattering of gas and dust 5,000 light years away in the Centaurus constellation. The Boomerang Nebula is just 1 degree above absolute zero, colder than the natural background temperature of space.
While it definitely lacks the low-budget charm of this nearly identical classroom presentation, this demonstration of liquid nitrogen's explosive potential does have two major things going for it. One: more ping pong balls. Two: A high-speed camera, for slowmo playback goodness.
Consider this your first class in ice wizardy 101.
We've all seen a cold beer can sweat in the summer heat. Now, a new scientific study reveals the surprising effect that layer of condensation has on the temperature of your beverage.
A provocative new paper is proposing that complex intelligent behavior may emerge from a fundamentally simple physical process. The theory offers novel prescriptions for how to build an AI — but it also explains how a world-dominating superintelligence might come about. We spoke to the lead author to learn more.
It's a truism of science that concepts and inventions are rarely attributed to the person who actually came up with them. Most concepts and inventions have several creators, from the Pythagorean theorem to the radio. But one particular concept — the first law of thermodynamics — has two creators who came up with it…
Come for the science, stay for the explosions. Watch Plymouth University professor Roy Lowry* demonstrate what happens when you try to contain liquid nitrogen while it's returning to its gaseous state. (The impatient among you can skip to 3:15.)
Werner Heisenberg's uncertainty principle tells us it's impossible to know simultaneously the location and the velocity of a subatomic particle. It's one of the main ideas that famously prompted Albert Einstein to declare God doesn't play dice with the universe.
Are finally we on the cusp of economically viable thermal batteries — devices to store and transmit heat? A perspective article published in this week's Science seems to think so, and it could mean a major change for the way we think about heating and cooling.