Worth a Look Archive - Page 3
Sprott's Fractal Gallery - Aug 2, 2011
Fractals are an emerging form of art. Using mathematics, artists can create colorful and otherworldly visuals. To learn more, visit Wikipedia's Fractal Art, and check out "Fractal of the Day" at Sprott's Fractal Gallery.
What would it look like to fall into a black hole? - Jul 1, 2011
How about free fall into a black hole? Check out What would it look like to fall into a black hole? from NewScientist magazine. For related videos, visit Andrew Hamilton's Falling into a Black Hole.
Chaos and Fractals - Jun 8, 2011
Serious study of chaos began with Edward Lorenz's simplified three-equation model of the atmosphere. Visit Chaos and Fractals for a brief overview of chaos theory, including how Lorenz discovered "sensitive dependence on initial conditions", also known as "the butterfly effect." When he discovered this, he knew that long-range weather forecasting would never succeed.
MIT Nuclear Science and Engineering Education Hub - May 12, 2011
For information and background on the nuclear disaster at Japan's Fukushima power plant, check out MIT Nuclear Science and Engineering Education Hub. It offers news reports, nuclear science background, and special features such as A Chernobyl Primer.
Floating Flame Balls - Apr 12, 2011
In low gravity, fire behaves differently from our expectations, like in the image above. Read about the discovery of flame balls at Floating Flame Balls and more about the ongoing research in this Discover Magazine article.
3C273 Activity: Faster Than a Speeding Bullet... - Feb 1, 2011
How fast is that jet in the image above moving away from the quasar? You can calculate the velocity yourself in 3C273 Activity: Faster Than a Speeding Bullet... from Chandra. You'll find that it's moving impossibly fast--faster than the speed of light. The activity explains how this appears to be true. If you want to learn more about the calculations astronomers use for large distances, be sure to check out the other activities on 3C273, too.
Physics in Action: Sonic Shock - Dec 1, 2010
For more on shockwaves, and how engineers have insulated space vehicles from the shockwave's heat, visit Physics in Action: Sonic Shock.
Lasers can help astronomers bring stars into focus. A laser, tuned to a sodium spectral line, shines backward through the telescope, and this laser light excites sodium atoms located in a thin layer of the atmosphere, producing in effect an artificial star. Astronomers can then see how the atmosphere distorts the laser star and then compensate to clarify their images. This relatively new technique means ground-based telescopes can be just as useful as those in Earth orbit. See First Supernova Discovered with Laser Guide Star Adaptive Optics and Rubber Mirrors and Artificial Stars for a fuller explanation.
20 Ways the World Could End - Oct 16, 2010
There are many ways to destroy the Earth besides a meteorite impact. For a fun look at a few of these, see Discover Magazine's "20 Ways the World Could End." (Notably, an asteroid impact is number one on the list.)
An MIT group has figured out how to split water molecules to produce hydrogen and oxygen gas, in a tabletop experiment using inexpensive materials. The energy to run the reaction comes from electricity. The goal, though, is to power the experiment by sunlight--very similar to photosynthesis, except that the products are oxygen and hydrogen gas instead of sugar.