Physics & Astronomy News

Soft robotic gripper picks up an egg.  

Courtesy of EPFL
Robotic Fingers with a Gentle Touch
EPFL Scientists have developed a new soft robotic gripper -- made out of rubber and stretchable electrodes -- that can bend and pick up delicate objects like eggs and paper, taking robotics to a whole new level.
In order to study abnormalities in electron state changes, the scientists applied a strong vertical magnetic field and then bombarded the system with microwave photons. 
Courtesy of OIST
Electrons and Liquid Helium
Research conducted by the OIST could represent an important step in understanding two-dimensional semiconductors. They found anomalies in the behavior of electrons in electrons on liquid helium two-dimensional system.

(Illustration) At solar maximum, in July 2014, the structure is complex, with closed and open field lines poking out all over – ideal conditions for solar explosions.
Credits: NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center/Bridgman
Understanding the Magnetic Sun
Brief overview of the sun's invisible magnetic field which is responsible for everything from the solar explosions that cause space weather on Earth – such as auroras – to the interplanetary magnetic field.
The switch is based on the voltage-induced displacement of one or more silver atoms in the narrow gap between a silver and a platinum plate. (Illustration: Alexandros Emboras / ETH Zurich)
Switching light with a silver atom
Researchers at ETH have created the world’s smallest integrated optical switch. Applying a small voltage causes an atom to relocate, turning the switch on or off.

Space-Time Continuum Rainbow
Physicists have shown that in models of the Universe using any of the quantum theories of gravity there must also be a 'rainbow' of sorts, composed of different versions of spacetime.
New Theory of Secondary Inflation
Physicists suggest a smaller secondary inflationary period in the moments after the Big Bang could account for the abundance of the mysterious matter.
A new way to store solar heat
Material could harvest sunlight by day, release heat on demand hours or days later.

Science Facts

What is Dark Energy?

by NASA Goddard Space Flight Center and

: Image Courtesy Beyond Einstein Because he originally thought the Universe was static, Einstein conjectured that even the emptiest possible space, devoid of matter and radiation, might still have a dark energy, which he called a 'Cosmological Constant.' When Edwin Hubble discovered the expansion of the Universe, Einstein rejected his own idea, calling it his greatest blunder. As Richard Feynman and others developed the quantum theory of matter, they realized that 'empty space' was full of temporary ('virtual') particles continually forming and destroying themselves. Physicists began to suspect that indeed the vacuum ought to have a dark form of energy, but they could not predict its magnitude.

Through recent measurements of the expansion of the Universe, astronomers have discovered that Einstein's 'blunder' was not a blunder: some form of dark energy does indeed appear to dominate the total mass-energy content of the Universe, and its weird repulsive gravity is pulling the Universe apart. We still do not know whether or how the highly accelerated expansion in the early Universe (inflation) and the current accelerated expansion (due to dark energy) are related.

A Beyond Einstein mission will measure the expansion accurately enough to learn whether this energy is a constant property of empty space (as Einstein conjectured), or whether it shows signs of the richer structure that is possible in modern unified theories of the forces of nature.

Front page of the William Gilbert
Earth's Magnetism

Most ancient civilizations were aware of the magnetic phenomenon. Sailors in the late thirteenth century used magnetized needles floating in water as primitive compasses to find their way on the sea. ...
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A force may be thought of as a push or pull in a specific direction. When a force is applied to an object, the object accelerates in the direction of the force according to Newton's laws of motion. Th ...
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Saturn: The Basics

To ancient astronomers, Saturn was a wandering light near the edge of the known universe. The planet and its rings have been objects of beauty and wonder ever since Galileo noticed the 'cup handles' t ...
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Science Quote

'For the sake of persons of ... different types, scientific truth should be presented in different forms, and should be regarded as equally scientific, whether it appears in the robust form and the vivid coloring of a physical illustration, or in the tenuity and paleness of a symbolic expression.'

James Clerk Maxwell

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