Chien-Shiung Wu — A Heroic Experimental Physicist

by Xiaomeng Han In the spring of 1912, a baby girl was born to a family in China. It was the family’s tradition that all the boys in the generation have the character “Chien” in their first names, followed by characters from the phrase “Ying-Shiung-Hao-Jie”, which means “heroes”. The parents believed their daughter should be treated equally, so they named her “Chien-Shiung”. They were determined … Continue reading Chien-Shiung Wu — A Heroic Experimental Physicist

Donna Strickland: Life in the (ultra)fast lane

by Matthew Yeh Ever wondered how laser eye surgery can be so precise, or how scientists can study processes that unravel over a billionth of a billionth of a second? Donna Strickland has got you covered! While a PhD student at the University of Rochester, she developed the technique of chirped pulse amplification (CPA), thus enabling the creation of ultra-short, high-intensity laser pulses. Beyond LASIK, … Continue reading Donna Strickland: Life in the (ultra)fast lane

Conductors vs. Insulators: A Quantum Perspective

Electricity is created by electrons flowing through materials. Materials that allow electrons to travel through, like copper wires, are called conductors, whereas materials that inhibit electron flow, like rubber, are called insulators. However, the models behind our understanding have been incomplete. To understand which materials permit electron movement, scientists have investigated the patterns of electron motion in materials. Electrons do not behave like macroscopic objects. … Continue reading Conductors vs. Insulators: A Quantum Perspective

‘Ant bridge’-inspired nanoparticle assembly fixes broken electrical circuits

Colonies of social insects are capable of self-organizing and accomplishing complex tasks through individual interactions. For example, to march across large gaps, ants grip the bodies of each other, forming a living bridge that allows the colonies to reach the other side. Inspired by this swarm behavior of ants, scientists from the Chinese University of Hong Kong developed a nanoparticle self-assembly system that can fix … Continue reading ‘Ant bridge’-inspired nanoparticle assembly fixes broken electrical circuits

No, It’s Not Just You: Why time “speeds up” as we get older

How a clock measures time and how you perceive it are quite different. As we grow older, it can often feel like time goes by faster and faster. This speeding up of subjective time with age is well documented by psychologists, but there is no consensus on the cause. In a paper published this month, Professor Adrian Bejan presents an argument based on the physics … Continue reading No, It’s Not Just You: Why time “speeds up” as we get older

Journey to the Center of the Proton: Using Supercomputers to Probe The Pieces of the Atom

Pressure is felt as the force exerted on bodies when they are submerged in a material; you’ve felt it as you dive to the bottom of the pool and when you uncork a bottle. Recently, scientists have measured the pressure within a proton, a particle that comprises the atom.  Protons are made of fundamental particles called ‘quarks’ and ‘gluons‘ which are constantly bumping together creating … Continue reading Journey to the Center of the Proton: Using Supercomputers to Probe The Pieces of the Atom