Physics

Paradox of choice: from improving electric cars to developing Facebook algorithms, physicists can apply their skills in a wide variety of roles. (Courtesy: iStock/Delpixart) Before I chose to study physics, I remember hearing more than once that ”you can do anything with a physics degree”. As encouraging as that statement sounds, it is also vague.
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By: Hannah Pell I recently relocated from the bustling Washington, D.C. metro area back to my south-central Pennsylvania hometown. My new space is in a quiet, wooded area; outside my back window I see an expanse full of trees (“Pennsylvania” actually means “Penn’s Woods”) — and a small solar farm is nestled in between them.
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Glashow event visualization: each coloured circle shows an IceCube sensor that was triggered by the event; red circles indicate sensors triggered earlier in time, and green-blue circles indicate sensors triggered later. (Credit: IceCube Collaboration) Physicists working on the IceCube Neutrino Observatory in Antarctica say they have made the first observation of the Glashow resonance –
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By Allison Kubo Hutchison The same animal was once described by paleontologists as a shrimp, jellyfish, sea cucumber, and a sponge at different times during its study. Anomalocaris, Latin for “abnormal shrimp”, is a creature of exceeding strangeness to modern hominids; it is related to modern-day shrimp with a flat segmented body, faceted eyes on
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In experiments conducted at the CERN CLEAR beamline, an electron beam passes through two sets of triplet electromagnetic quadrupoles and is focused inside a water phantom. (Courtesy: the University of Strathclyde) An international research team has developed a pioneering radiotherapy technique that uses very high-energy electron (VHEE) beams to target tumours precisely. Proposed as an
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Simulated and simulator An illustration of the structure of the quantum magnet (above) that was simulated by a D-Wave quantum processor (below). (Courtesy: D-Wave Systems) Researchers at the quantum computing firm D-Wave Systems have shown that their quantum processor can simulate the behaviour of an “untwisting” quantum magnet much faster than a classical machine. Led
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In vivo handheld bioprinting of the novel Muscle Ink. (Courtesy: Adv. Healthcare Mater. 10.1002/adhm.202002152) What prize do you get for not moving a single muscle all week? A trophy! Alternatively, patients who have undergone volumetric muscle loss injuries may be interested in a novel technology recently reported in Advanced Healthcare Materials. The authors of the
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Hot stuff: a polished cross section of one of the particles studied. (Courtesy: Satoshi Utsunomiya) New, large and highly radioactive particles have been identified from among the fallout of the 2011 Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster in Japan. An international team of researchers has characterized the particles using nuclear forensic techniques and their results shine further
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Team members Yinqiu Dai and Zhifu Shi with the spectrometer they used in their experiments. Courtesy: X Rong Researchers in China have shown that the spin of a molecular quantum bit (qubit) can remain coherent for more than 1 millisecond – long enough to perform 145 000 basic logic operations. This number, known as the qubit
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Two hit hypothesis: ionizing radiation delivered after exposure to microsecond pulsed electric fields amplified cell alterations in terms of reactive oxygen species, apoptosis, senescence and proliferation arrest – providing targeted destruction of cancer stem cells. (Courtesy: Int. J. Radiat. Oncol. Biol. Phys. 10.1016/j.ijrobp.2020.11.047) Cancer stem cells (CSCs) are responsible for tumour growth and metastatic spread,
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The APS is expecting more than 11,000 scientists and students to explore the latest research breakthroughs and technical innovations at this year’s virtual March Meeting Networking opportunities: the APS virtual March Meeting will connect more than 11,000 scientists. (Courtesy: Shutterstock/Inozemtsev-Konstantin) What a difference a year makes. In 2020 the APS March Meeting was one of
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By: Hannah Pell “The most important car in 100 years.” Such is how James May, co-host of the British car show Top Gear, described the Honda Clarity during his test drive several years ago. “This is the future of motoring.” What is it about this car that seemed so revolutionary? It’s the fact that it’s
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Bose-Einstein condensate: artist’s impression of a quantum state of matter that could soon reveal hints of quantum gravity. Courtesy: iStock/vitacopS Quantum gravity might soon be tested in the lab, thanks to a new analysis from physicists in the UK, France and Hong Kong. Drawing on advances in quantum information science, the researchers have found that
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DNA is not just genetic material. It is also an advanced polymer that is inspiring a new field of research that treats DNA as a soft material. As well as developing our fundamental understanding of life processes, this research could also lead to applications such as smart drug carriers or new methods for regenerating tissues.
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The THALES 3D MR SCANNER from LAP has been developed specifically to support the commissioning and quality assurance of MR-guided radiotherapy machines Automatic assurance: LAP says the THALES 3D MR SCANNER (right) provides a gold-standard dose accuracy check for MR/RT users, supporting their system commissioning and ongoing verification of dose delivery after any major upgrades
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If astronauts are to travel further into space on longer missions, it’s essential to understand the harmful effects of space radiation on the cardiovascular system and develop countermeasures to space radiation-induced disease. (Courtesy: ©ESA/NASA) A team of US and Netherlands-based scientists has published a review paper highlighting ways to protect astronauts from the negative cardiovascular
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Do the twist: schematic of multiplexed antennas emitting coherent light with orbital angular momenta. (Courtesy: Kanté Group, UC Berkeley) A compact, integrated light source that simultaneously produces multiple laser beams with different, very high orbital angular momenta has been unveiled by US researchers. The technology may mark a significant step towards orbital angular momentum multiplexing
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By Allison Kubo Hutchison  Elizabeth Ann, the first cloned black-footed ferret taken on Jan 29,2021. U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service via AP. Although all births are special and joyous occasions, on December 10, 2020, researchers celebrated the birth of an extraordinary ferret kit. Elizabeth Ann, born from a domestic ferret surrogate, is not biologically related
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PET/CT of a mouse co-injected with two PET tracers. From left to right, the columns show: 18F-NaF image; 18F-NaF image corrected for 124I-NaI annihilation photons; 124I-NaI image from 603 keV prompt gammas showing small details from the thyroid; the merged dual-isotope image. (Courtesy: Phys. Med. Biol. 10.1088/1361-6560/abe5fc) Preclinical imaging systems such as positron emission tomography
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Exciting nuclei of iron atoms with a flash of X-ray light. (Courtesy: MPI for Nuclear Physics) Scientists routinely use laser light to control how an atom’s electrons move from one electronic state to another, but controlling an atom’s nuclear state is far more challenging. Researchers at the Max Planck Institute for Nuclear Physics in Heidelberg,
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Nuclear science first penetrated American consciousness with the building of the atomic bomb. It has become both a beneficial and destructive force that influences many aspects of human life from energy, to the environment, to medicine. Yet this field of study —that peers into the atomic nuclei — is something people generally don’t teach or
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One thousand microchannels, each the width of a human hair, can be printed for as little as £0.20. (Courtesy: CC BY 4.0/PLoS ONE 10.1371/journal.pone.0245206) Researchers at the University of Bristol have combined low-cost 3D printing with soft lithography to streamline production of complex microfluidic devices. The technique represents an important step towards universally accessible lab-on-a-chip
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Using ancient pots to predict the Earth’s magnetic field, plus the strange DNA/soap link, and challenging Einstein’s “biggest blunder” Pots of potential: fired clay objects can shed light on the Earth’s magnetic field The idea that a record of the Earth’s magnetic pastmight be stored in objects made from fired clay dates back to the
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By: Hannah Pell On March 7, 1995, Gary Mansfield, a health physicist at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, sent out an email to members of the RadSafe nuclear safety mailing list. The subject line read: “Banana Equivalent Dose.” “Some time ago (when I almost had time to do such things), I calculated the [radiation] dose
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Taken from the March 2021 issue of Physics World. Members of the Institute of Physics can enjoy the full issue via the Physics World app. Hamish Johnston reviews Superheavy: Making and Breaking the Periodic Table by Kit Chapman Heavy findings The Separator for Heavy Ion reaction Products (SHIP) at the GSI lab in Darmstadt, Germany,
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Static cardiac 18F-FDG-PET images from a representative patient showing the effect of applying de-noising (AI1% and AI10%) to dose-reduced images (1% and 10%). A low-dose CT (LDCT) is shown for reference. (Courtesy: Phys. Med. Biol. 10.1088/1361-6560/abe225) Positron emission tomography (PET) with the radiotracer 18F-FDG provides an important tool for assessing the health of the heart
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