Looks like today's the day to head out to the garage and build yourself a perpetual motion machine, since Japanese physicists have just shown how to smash the classical second law of thermodynamics to smithereens using quantum entanglement.
Sometimes it's tough being a scientist, especially if you work in the abstract, like a theoretical physicist. You work insanely hard on insanely complicated stuff, which ends up getting published in a paper that only a handful of people can really understand or appreciate. So it's about time you were rewarded with a multi-million dollar prize, right? Right!
There was once a time where a pearl was a spectacularly rare thing. Cultured pearls have ruined that a little bit, but we haven't been able to replicate the trick that mollusks pull to produce nacre, the material responsible for both mother of pearl and pearls. Instead, we've just managed to improve on it, in a laboratory.
A study published in the May issue of Neuroscience Letters suggests that electrical brain stimulation really can make you temporarily smarter and more creative. In other words, you can put on this silly hat that gently electroshocks your nogginpudding and you'll suddenly be able to solve logic problems that you weren't able to before.
The word "quantum" refers to the absolute smallest single thing that can exist. A photon, for example, is one quantum of light, since you can't get any less light than a single photon. Along with light, you can also have a quantum of sound, called a quantum phonon, and by definition, it's the quietest sound in the universe.
For a long time, aerogel was the lightest and least dense material ever made. Late last year, a metallic lattice structure took the crown. And today, the new champion is officially aerographite, with a density so low that it barely exists at all.
Eventually, the universe is going to die. It's not going to be soon, but it's going to happen, and when it does, our top priority should definitely be to have a computer that can survive it. Theoretical physicists have speculated that we can do this with something called a time crystal, and they may have just figured out how to actually make one.
You're looking at the very first image ever taken of the shadow cast by one single atom. Researchers at the at Griffith University in Australia didn't even know if was possible for atoms to cast shadows like this until they tried it, but with some laser-cooled Ytterbium, a fancy lens, and five years of work, they were able to take this picture.
On Wednesday, CERN is expected to announce that the Large Hadron Collider has found evidence that the Higgs boson exists with something on the order of 99.99% certainty. The Standard Model of particle physics has predicted the existence of the Higgs since 1967, so why is finding it such a big deal?
Liquid metal is an awesome thing to play with. Mercury, the most common kind, is sort of toxic and will eventually drive you insane, but before that happens, you can make it do some amazing stuff: play music, and it dances.