Yvonne Carts-Powell

Archive for the ‘beautiful’ Category

Nanowire clothing could keep people warm

In beautiful, energy, technology on January 7, 2015 at 1:31 pm

Nanowire clothing could keep people warm.


Nobels Make a Great Year for Light

In beautiful, Science, technology on November 25, 2014 at 8:17 pm

Wow, what an excellent year for researchers in light, with two Nobel Prizes firmly in the optics regime. In Physics, Isamu Akasaki, Hiroshi Amano and Shuji Nakamura won “for the invention of efficient blue light-emitting diodes which has enabled bright and energy-saving white light sources”. Those LED lightbulbs you are starting to see at reasonable prices at Home Depot? The ones that work even more efficiently than Compact Fluorescents (and without the wait to turn on in cold weather, or the ballast’s buzz, or the cold tint)? You can thank Nakamura for those, among other things.

And in Chemistry, Eric Betzig, Stefan W. Hell, and William E. Moerner all won “for the development of super-resolved fluorescence microscopy”. In other words, we can now see things the size of molecules, we can see things smaller than half the wavelength of light. (Besides the developments being astonishing and immediately useful, as a journalist I have had a lot of fun watching the horse race between the labs at the Max Planck Institute for Biophysical Chemistry and Stanford University.)

The editor of Applied Physics Letters explains a little more about both achievements: Editorial: Nobel Prizes honor ground-breaking innovations in applied science. The journal is also providing free copies of seminal and recent papers by the researchers: papers by the researchers in APL.

Mariette DiChristina: “Science Is an Engine of Human Prosperity”

In beautiful, Science, writing on August 26, 2014 at 7:01 am

“Science is not a set of facts or received wisdom that’s been handed down.It’s a system for innovation and advancement—and humankind’s best invention yet for pursuing the truth and an understanding of how the world works.”

Read more of Scientific American editor Mariette DiChristina’s eloquent defense of science, and basic science funding, presented to the US Congress earlier this summer: Mariette DiChristina: "Science Is an Engine of Human Prosperity" – Scientific American.

Wingtip vortices are a result of the finite length…

In beautiful, Science, technology on August 12, 2014 at 7:31 am

Wingtip vortices are a result of the finite length... | Fuck Yeah Fluid Dynamics

Fluid dynamics are complicated and fascinating, but here the emphasis is on how they can also be very very pretty. Take a look at wingtip vortices in a recent post from my favorite obscenely-named tumblr blog Fuck Yeah Fluid Dynamics: Wingtip vortices.

The Great Arctic Melt Animation

In beautiful, Science on July 29, 2014 at 7:12 am

Hot enough for ya? Check out Popular Science‘s article on how the Arctic ice cover has decreased over the past 30 years, and the questions it raises: The Great Arctic Melt Opens Up A Lot Of Questions.

A longer article hosted at the American Geophysical Union blog goes over the same material but covers topics of particular interest to geophysicists.

Animation by the NASA Scientific Visualization Studio. See more animations.

Holograms on your candy

In beautiful, hilarious, technology on July 22, 2014 at 7:55 am

I knew it was just a matter of time before the edible holograms story re-appeared in the media! New Scientist reports that Chocolate gets a rainbowy holographic makeover.

If you wish to make a gene from scratch | Oscillator, Scientific American Blog Network

In beautiful, Science, technology, writing on July 8, 2014 at 7:24 am

I love science journalism. Sometimes I hate it, too. All too often, the public ends up reading a perfect storm of wrong information that occurs when science writers use imperfect analogies to get their point across (as article wordcounts shrink from multikiloword features to mere Tweets) and/or journalists untrained in science cover stories without sufficient background to understand the topic (or even ask appropriate questions). Remember when the Internet was a series of tubes invented by Al Gore? This year, it’s synthetic biology’s turn in the barrel of abuse.

Christina Agapakis, over at the Scientific American blog Oscillator, tries to undo some of the damage by explaining how “designing a gene with synthetic biology” is really not like writing a software program, despite an article published by the New York Times. It’s a good read: If you wish to make a gene from scratch.

Why Do I Study Physics? (2013) on Vimeo

In beautiful, Science on May 30, 2014 at 7:26 am

Watch this animated video by Xiangjun Shi! It articulates a lot of the things I love about physics, the beauty of mathematical abstractions and the complexity of the universe and the search for truth. As soon as I saw it, I sent it off to my best friend from college (who was also a physics major) and my college advisor.

Why Do I Study Physics? (2013) on Vimeo on Vimeo found via A Young Woman Falls In Love With Everything on Krulwich Wonders.

Now. Time to start telling “assume a spherical cow” jokes.

Special post: Metasurfaces, not just meta-materials for light

In beautiful, Science, technology on May 8, 2014 at 7:23 am

This is cool! Refractive glass spherical optics were the standard for about 300 years, but in the past 30 years aspherical optics and plastic optics have become commercially viable, and in the past 20 years digital/diffractive optics have advanced tremendously, including the possibility of using flat surfaced lenses. The potential of photonic crystals and metamaterials (both of which can manipulate light via subwavelength structures) are still being developed, and this research group is pursuing the idea of concentrating on metasurfaces: manipulating light usingubwavelength engineering of just the surface, rather than the bulk, of a material.

I really look forward to seeing what this effort yields, and look forward to writing more about it: Collaborative “metasurfaces” grant to merge classical and quantum physicss.

Dance, Dance, Science Dance

In beautiful, Science on May 6, 2014 at 7:26 am

Dance Me to the End of Time and Space | Space.com.

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