From Physics Research Archive - Page 3
Fluid morphs into startling designs, surprising MIT researchers ` - Dec 1, 2011
This ferrofluid was subjected to a magnetic field perpendicular to its surface. The surface broke up into hexagonal regions, each with its own spike. For a MIT News article showing other ferrofluid patterns created by the same physicist, see Fluid morphs into startling designs, surprising MIT researchers.
Time Flies ` - Nov 1, 2011
Einstein's theory of special relativity says that a moving clock, when compared to a stationary clock, runs slow. And general relativity, his theory of gravity, says that the weaker the gravitational field, the faster a clock in that field runs. These predictions were tested in 1971 by flying atomic clocks around the world. Einstein's relativity theories correctly explained what happened.
image credit: National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration/Department of Commerce; image source (not available); larger image
The Contrail Effect ` - Oct 1, 2011
The false-color image above shows jet contrails in the skies above the mid-Atlantic coast on 1/26/2001. Visit The Contrail Effect to find out how contrails can affect Earth's climate, and how this was investigated after 9/11.
How does GPS work? ` - Sep 1, 2011
The photo shows a Global Positioning System satellite. To find out how the system works, visit How does GPS work?. Be sure to see the video to understand how three or four different GPS satellites specify your position on Earth.
Benoît Mandelbrot, Novel Mathematician, Dies at 85 ` - Aug 2, 2011
This famous fractal is the Mandelbrot set. Click to make the image larger, and look at the boundary between the black and blue--it is made up of the larger image, at smaller and smaller scales. Check out this Fractal Geometry page from IBM, especially the video (scroll down) that zooms in on the Mandelbrot set.
Smaller image credit: NASA; smaller image source; larger image credit: STS-41B, NASA; larger image source
Footloose ` - Jul 1, 2011
In 1984, astronaut Bruce McCandless made this untethered spacewalk--the first ever, and one of only a few. He maneuvered with a "jet pack" strapped to his body as he orbited Earth at about 18,000 miles an hour. Click on the image to see McCandless at his maximum distance from the shuttle.
image credit: Paul Bourke, University of Western Australia; image source; An Introduction to Chaos ` - Jun 8, 2011
This image shows the "Lorentz attractor," a graph that represents the behavior of a simple model of Earth's weather. Weather is just one example of a chaotic system, in which seemingly random behavior does follow certain patterns.
Mechanics of a Meltdown Explained ` - May 12, 2011
The long red tubes are zirconium-alloy-clad fuel rods being fastened together into large bundles that will form the core of a nuclear reactor. Inside the zirconium cylinders are stacked pellets of uranium oxide, the reactor fuel.
image credit: NASA; larger image
Not Just Another Old Flame ` - Apr 12, 2011
The photo shows two flames, one on Earth and one in space.
Chandra Observes Cosmic Traffic Pile-Up In Energetic Quasar Jet ` - Feb 1, 2011
This X-ray image of 3C273 shows a jet of energy shooting out of the quasar's bright center, thought to be home to a supermassive black hole. If you look closely you can see a small thread connecting the center to the bright spots of the jet. Scientists have observed that matter from that small thread moves very fast, then appears to slow down in the luminous part of the jet, akin to a "cosmic traffic pile-up" of matter. For more details, see Chandra Observes Cosmic Traffic Pile-Up In Energetic Quasar Jet.