Worth a Look Archive - Page 4

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.

First Supernova Discovered with Laser Guide Star Adaptive Optics - Nov 1, 2010

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.)

'Major discovery' from MIT primed to unleash solar revolution - Oct 1, 2010

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.

The long-term plan of this MIT research is to store energy during the day in hydrogen gas, and then use the hydrogen and oxygen in a fuel cell to provide electricity at night. To learn more, see this MIT press release.

PhysicsCentral: Do You See What Eye See? - Sep 16, 2010

Laser surgery of the eye, more popularly known as LASIK, is an important use of lasers in medicine. See PhysicsCentral: Do You See What Eye See? to learn how it's done.

Four Color Theorem Intro - Sep 1, 2010

Have you ever wondered how many colors are necessary to make a map? Four Color Theorem Intro can help you figure it out!

- To learn more see this page by Ivars Peterson.

Physicists determine air gives liquids their splash - Aug 16, 2010

What happens when a droplet of liquid lands on a solid surface? What determines the way it splashes? How does what happens depends on the kind of gas and the pressure?

- To find out see Physicists determine air gives liquids their splash.
- And to learn how a raindrop splashes before it hits the ground, visit this New Scientist page.

Tsunami - Aug 1, 2010

Remember the 2004 Sumatra tsunami? Take a look at this Wikipedia photo.

- Visit Tsunami to learn the basic science of these waves, how they are produced, and what role NOAA plays in predicting them and minimizing their damage.
- To learn more, see this NOAA video on its method to forecast tsunamis.

soapbubbledk - Jul 16, 2010

Visit the colorful and well-illustrated soapbubbledk to learn about soap bubbles and films.

- You'll find out why bubbles don't grow bigger and bigger, how bubbles can float, and how to attract a soapbubble with a balloon.
- Photos show the interesting soap films you can make on a wire frame, or even inside a bubble.

Sand Dunes: A Phenomenon Of Wind - Jul 1, 2010

Sand dunes are formed by wind in dry regions with a lot of sand on the surface. To learn more, see Sand Dunes: A Phenomenon Of Wind.

- To find out how dunes are classified, see sand dunes.

(This feature was updated on August 31, 2013.)

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