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Viewing: Blog Posts Tagged with: Physics &, Most Recent at Top [Help]
Results 1 - 25 of 114
1. 100 years of the X-ray powder diffraction method

X-ray diffraction by crystalline powders is one of the most powerful and most widely used methods for analyzing matter. It was discovered just one hundred years ago, independently, by Paul Scherrer and Peter Debye in Göttingen, Germany, and by Albert Hull at the General Electric Laboratories, Schenectady, USA.

The post 100 years of the X-ray powder diffraction method appeared first on OUPblog.

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2. Quantum mechanics – a new lease of life

“It’s not quantum mechanics” may often be heard, a remark informing the listener that whatever they are concerned about is nowhere near as difficult, as abstruse, as complicated as quantum mechanics. Indeed to non-physicists or non-mathematicians quantum mechanics must seem virtually impossible to appreciate – pages of incomprehensible algebra buttressed by obscure or frankly paradoxical “explanations”.

The post Quantum mechanics – a new lease of life appeared first on OUPblog.

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3. R.J.P. Williams and the advantages of thinking like a chemist

Powell’s City of Books occupies 1.6 acres of retail floor space in downtown Portland, Oregon and is one of my favorite places in the world. My first time there, I searched out the chemistry shelves–and was slightly disappointed. I counted two cases of chemistry books sandwiched between biology and physics, which had eight cases each.

The post R.J.P. Williams and the advantages of thinking like a chemist appeared first on OUPblog.

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4. A Copernican eye-opener

Approximately 500 years ago a Polish lawyer, medical doctor, and churchman got a radical idea: that the earth was not fixed solidly in the middle of all space, but was spinning at a thousand miles per hour at its equator and was speeding around the sun at a dizzying rate. Unbelievable, critics said. If that were true, at the equator people would be spun off into space. And it would be much harder to walk west than east.

The post A Copernican eye-opener appeared first on OUPblog.

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5. An egalitarian and organic history of the periodic table

Our story has to begin somewhere and why not with the Manchester schoolteacher John Dalton who revived the atomic theory of the ancient Greek philosophers? In addition to supposing that the ultimate components of all matter were atoms, Dalton set about putting this idea on a quantitative foundation. He published the first list in which he compared the weights of the atoms of all the elements that were known at the time.

The post An egalitarian and organic history of the periodic table appeared first on OUPblog.

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6. The importance of smell

The captivating scent of cakes and the compelling aroma of freshly brewed coffee attract you to a bakery in the morning. A male moth is flittering around, frenetically following the scent plume released by her female. What do these two phenomena have in common? Much more than we suspect, when we look at the molecular level. Imagine if we had a very powerful microscope enabling us to detect details

The post The importance of smell appeared first on OUPblog.

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7. What black hole collisions reveal about the universe

The remarkable detection of gravitational waves by the LIGO collaboration recently has drawn much attention to the fundamental and intriguing workings of gravity in our universe. Finding these gravitational waves, inferred to be produced by merger of two stellar mass black holes, has been like listening to the very distant sound of the universe.

The post What black hole collisions reveal about the universe appeared first on OUPblog.

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8. Adding a new dimension to the early chemistry of the solar system

What was our solar system composed of right after its formation? Using sophisticated computer simulations, researchers from France and Australia have obtained new insights into the chemical composition of the dust grains that formed in the early solar system which went on to form the building blocks of the terrestrial planets.

The post Adding a new dimension to the early chemistry of the solar system appeared first on OUPblog.

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9. Questions, questions, questions…

Einstein has had a good month, all things considered. His century-old prediction, that the very fabric of space and time can support waves travelling at light-speed, was confirmed by the LIGO collaboration. More, the bizarre and horrifying consequences of his theory of gravity, the singularly-collapsed stars that came to be called ‘black holes’, have been directly detected for the first time.

The post Questions, questions, questions… appeared first on OUPblog.

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10. How does chemistry shape evolution?

When people think of evolution, many reflect on the concept as an operation filled with endless random possibilities–a process that arrives at advantageous traits by chance. But is the course of evolution actually random? In A World from Dust: How the Periodic Table Shaped Life, Ben McFarland argues that an understanding of chemistry can both explain and predict the course of evolution.

The post How does chemistry shape evolution? appeared first on OUPblog.

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11. Why golf balls side slip just like aircrafts

Golf balls curve in flight for one principal reason: Namely that the golf club face is not square to the path being followed by the club head as it impacts the ball. This is illustrated in the figure where the club face is "open" to the club path by about four degrees. This is sufficient to produce a significant slice to the right.

The post Why golf balls side slip just like aircrafts appeared first on OUPblog.

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12. 10 facts you should know about moons

Proving to be both varied and fascinating, moons are far more common than planets in our Solar System. Our own Moon has had a profound influence on Earth, not only through tidal effects, but even on the behaviour of some marine animals. But how much do we really know about moons?

The post 10 facts you should know about moons appeared first on OUPblog.

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13. On the finiteness of the atmosphere

I guess the funniest thing I ever saw was a person driving down the highway in a Toyota Prius smoking a cigarette with the windows closed. It was like they were telling me, “I respect your atmosphere but not mine.” That got me thinking, does human generated, gaseous, atmospheric pollution actually make up a significant part of the total atmosphere, and can it possibly affect it?

The post On the finiteness of the atmosphere appeared first on OUPblog.

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14. A possible cause of the Big Bang and current acceleration of the Universe

The Big Bang theory predicts that there was a powerful repulsive force at the beginning of the expanding of the Universe. A common hypothesis of the cause of the Big Bang is a short-term repulsive field, the so-called “inflanton”. Observations of supernovas have shown that the Universe is still expanding with acceleration.

The post A possible cause of the Big Bang and current acceleration of the Universe appeared first on OUPblog.

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15. Holograms and the technological sublime

The hologram is a spectacular invention of the modern era: an innocuous artefact that can miraculously generate three-dimensional imagery. Yet this modern experience has deep roots. Holograms are part of a long lineage: the ability to generate visual “shock and awe” has, in fact, been an important feature of new optical technologies over the past century and a half.

The post Holograms and the technological sublime appeared first on OUPblog.

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16. The world’s most (in)famous exoplanet vanishes

In 2012, a team of astrophysicists led by Xavier Dumusque caused a sensation when they announced the discovery of Alpha Centauri Bb: an Earth-sized planet in the Alpha Centauri star system, the star system closest to the Sun. If verified, Alpha Centauri Bb would be the closest known exoplanet to our own Solar System, and possibly also the lowest mass planet ever discovered around a star similar to the Sun.

The post The world’s most (in)famous exoplanet vanishes appeared first on OUPblog.

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17. Those four new elements

The recent announcement of the official ratification of four super-heavy elements, with atomic numbers 113, 115, 117 and 118, has taken the world of science news by storm. It seems like there is an insatiable appetite for new information about the elements and the periodic table within the scientific world and among the general public.

The post Those four new elements appeared first on OUPblog.

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18. Exploring spiral-host radio galaxies

A galaxy is a gigantic system possessing billions of stars, vast amounts of gas, dust and dark matter held together by gravitational attraction. Typical size of galaxies can be anywhere from a few tens-of-thousands to a few hundreds-of-thousands of light-years.

The post Exploring spiral-host radio galaxies appeared first on OUPblog.

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19. An efficient way to find monsters with two faces

Quasars are distant galactic nuclei generating spectacular amounts of energy by matter accretion onto their central supermassive black holes. The precise geometry and origin of this huge activity are still largely unknown, and direct spatial resolution of the emitting regions from such distant monsters is not currently possible.

The post An efficient way to find monsters with two faces appeared first on OUPblog.

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20. Time and perception

The human brain is a most wonderful organ: it is our window on time. Our brains have specialized structures that work together to give us our human sense of time. The temporal lobe helps form long term memories, without which we would not be aware of the past, whilst the frontal lobe allows us to plan for the future.

The post Time and perception appeared first on OUPblog.

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21. Blue planet blues

The Earth we live on was formed from a cloud of dust and ice, heated by a massive ball of compressed hydrogen that was the early Sun. Somewhere along the four billion year journey to where we are today, our planet acquired life, and some of that became us. Our modern brains ask how it all came together and progressed, and what shaped the pathways it followed.

The post Blue planet blues appeared first on OUPblog.

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22. When black holes collide

The discovery of gravitational waves, announced on 11 February 2016 by scientists from the Laser Interferometer Gravitational-wave Observatory (LIGO), has made headline news around the world. One UK broadsheet devoted its entire front page to a image of a simulation of two orbiting black holes on which they superimposed the headline "The theory of relativity proved".

The post When black holes collide appeared first on OUPblog.

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23. Earth’s climate: a complex system with mysteries abound

We are living with a climate system undergoing significant changes. Scientists have established a critical mass of facts and have quantified them to a degree sufficient to support international action to mitigate against drastic change and adapt to committed climate shifts. The primary example being the relation between increased atmospheric carbon dioxide concentrations and the extent of warming in the future.

The post Earth’s climate: a complex system with mysteries abound appeared first on OUPblog.

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24. Mary Somerville: the new face on Royal Bank of Scotland’s ten-pound note is worthy of international recognition

From 2017, ten-pound notes issued by the Royal Bank of Scotland will feature a new face: that of the great nineteenth-century science communicator Mary Somerville. Her book on mathematical astronomy, Mechanism of the Heavens -- published in 1831, when she was fifty years old -- was used as an advanced textbook at Cambridge for a hundred years. This is a phenomenal achievement for a woman who taught herself science and mathematics.

The post Mary Somerville: the new face on Royal Bank of Scotland’s ten-pound note is worthy of international recognition appeared first on OUPblog.

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25. Who was John David Main Smith?

This blog post concerns a virtually unknown chemist, John David Main Smith, who contributed a significant piece of research in atomic physics in the early 1920s at the time when knowledge of the field was undergoing very rapid changes. Main Smith is so little known that I had to search far and wide for a photograph of him before finally obtaining one from his son who is still living in the south of England.

The post Who was John David Main Smith? appeared first on OUPblog.

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