Stories by Author

Evan Ackerman

Evan Ackerman is a native Oregonian who now lives, somewhat unwillingly, in San Francisco. He has a background in creative writing and astrogeology, neither of which are necessarily appropriate for someone who is now a full-time blogger. Evan also writes for IEEE Spectrum's robotics blog, and when he's not parked at his computer with his eyes glazed over, you can find him getting injured on a soccer field or playing bagpipes excellently.

 
French scientists have confirmed with computer models that Gliese 581d, a planet orbiting a red dwarf star about 20 light years from here, has a stable atmosphere, comfortable temperatures, and a surface covered in liquid water. It's the first planet orbiting another star that could definitely support life, and it's basically next door.
 
It's a momentous occasion for cephalopods everywhere as the first ever squid in space is now, uh, in space. The celebration will be short lived, however, as NASA plans to have the astronauts about Endeavour kill the squid in just a matter of hours, before it can break out of its tube of seawater and turn the battle lasers of the ISS on us. Or something.
 
It's the anniversary of the laser, that amazing little bit of technology that can burn your eyes out while enabling everything from CDs to LIDAR. The very first laser was invented by a physicist named Theodore Maiman, who used a synthetic ruby crystal to produce pulsed red laser light 51 years ago today. We've come a long and dangerous way since then, and in the gallery below, check out some of the many ways that beams of coherent light can be used to do amazing things.
 
In the 1950s, nuclear power was something new and amazing and nobody was really thinking about the dangers of radiation. Instead, they were thinking about how to cram nuclear reactors into everything that moved, from cars to planes to zeppelins.

Pages