Subscribe to Physics/Engineering

The Lead

Lemon Juice Can Be Green Tool for Space

September 19, 2014 7:00 am | by ESA | News | Comments

Corrosion resistance and high strength put stainless steel high on the list of essential materials for satellite and rocket designers. Now, ESA plans to investigate an alternative, environmental-friendly method of readying this important metal.

Skintight Spacesuits Offer More Movement, Freedom

September 18, 2014 2:00 pm | by MIT, Jennifer Chu | News | Comments

For future astronauts, the process of suiting up may go something like this: instead of climbing...

Artificial Beaks May Be Drought Solution

September 18, 2014 7:00 am | by ACS | News | Comments

From the most parched areas of Saudi Arabia to water-scarce areas of the western U.S., the idea...

Materials Mimic Octopuses’ Abilities

September 18, 2014 7:00 am | by MIT, David Chandler | Videos | Comments

Cephalopods are able to change both the color and texture of their skin within seconds to blend...

View Sample

FREE Email Newsletter

Light Source for Chips Can Be Tuned

September 17, 2014 2:00 pm | by MIT, Larry Hardesty | News | Comments

Chips that use light rather than electricity to move data would consume much less power— and energy efficiency is a growing concern as chips’ transistor counts rise. Now, researchers are describing a new technique for building molybdenum disulfide light emitters tuned to different frequencies, an essential requirement for optoelectronic chips.

Chin Strap Harvests the Power of Chewing

September 17, 2014 2:00 pm | by Institute of Physics | News | Comments

Researchers have developed a chin strap that can harvest energy from jaw movements. It is hoped that the device can generate electricity from eating, chewing and talking, and power a number of small-scale implantable or wearable electronic devices, such as hearing aids, cochlear implants, electronic hearing protectors and communication devices.

Nanoribbon Can Keep Glass Ice-free

September 17, 2014 2:00 pm | by Rice Univ. | News | Comments

Scientists who created a deicing film for radar domes have now refined the technology to work as a transparent coating for glass. The new work could keep glass surfaces from windshields to skyscrapers free of ice and fog while retaining their transparency to radio frequencies.


Sharks Inspire Hospital Surfaces to Cut Infections

September 17, 2014 2:00 pm | by BioMed Central | News | Comments

Transmission of bacterial infections, including MRSA and MSSA, could be curbed by coating hospital surfaces with microscopic bumps that mimic the scaly surface of shark skin.

California Requires Permits for Self-driving Cars

September 17, 2014 7:00 am | by Associated Press, Justin Pritchard | News | Comments

Computer-driven cars have been testing their skills on California roads for more than four years— but until now, the DMV wasn't sure just how many were rolling around. That changed this week, when the agency issued testing permits that allowed three companies to dispatch 29 vehicles onto freeways and into neighborhoods— with a human behind the wheel in case the onboard computers make a bad decision.

Researchers ID Possible Material for Molecular Electronics

September 16, 2014 2:00 pm | by American Institute of Physics | News | Comments

The emerging field of molecular electronics could take our definition of portable technology to the next level, enabling the construction of tiny circuits from molecular components. A team of researchers has identified a potential candidate for use in small-scale electronics: a molecule called picene.

Scientists Make Quantum Dots Glow Brighter

September 16, 2014 2:00 pm | by American Institute of Physics | News | Comments

Researchers have found a new way, using ultrathin aluminum oxide, to control the properties of quantum dots, those tiny chunks of semiconductor material that glow different colors depending on their size.

Strange Quantum Changes Studied Near Absolute Zero

September 16, 2014 7:00 am | by Brookhaven National Laboratory | News | Comments

Heat drives classical phase transitions— solid, liquid and gas— but much stranger things can happen when the temperature drops. If phase transitions occur at the coldest temperatures, where quantum mechanics reigns, subtle fluctuations can dramatically transform a material. Now, scientists have explored this landscape of absolute zero to isolate and probe these quantum phase transitions with precision.


Image of the Week: Approach Creates Strong, Conductive Carbon Threads

September 16, 2014 7:00 am | by Rice Univ. | News | Comments

The very idea of fibers made of carbon nanotubes is neat, but scientists are making them neater— literally. The single-walled carbon nanotubes in new fibers line up like a fistful of uncooked spaghetti through a process designed by a chemist and his colleagues.

Cheetah Robot Can Run, Jump, Untethered, Across Grass

September 16, 2014 7:00 am | by MIT, Jennifer Chu | Videos | Comments

Researchers have developed an algorithm for bounding that they’ve successfully implemented in a robotic cheetah— a sleek, four-legged assemblage of gears, batteries and electric motors that weighs about as much as its feline counterpart. The team recently took the robot for a test run where it bounded across grass at a steady clip.

Study: Bad Wells, Not Fracking, Contaminate Groundwater

September 15, 2014 2:00 pm | by The Ohio State Univ. | News | Comments

A study has pinpointed the likely source of most natural gas contamination in drinking-water wells associated with hydraulic fracturing, and it’s not the source many people may have feared. What’s more, the problem may be fixable with improved construction standards for cement well linings and casings at hydraulic fracturing sites.

Simulation Picks Better Materials for Batteries

September 15, 2014 2:00 pm | by Univ. of Cambridge | News | Comments

Researchers have devised a new simulation technique that reliably predicts the structure and behavior of different materials, in order to accelerate the development of next-generation batteries for a wide range of applications.

Study Finds Why Batteries Go Bad

September 15, 2014 7:00 am | by SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory | News | Comments

A comprehensive look at how tiny particles in a lithium ion battery electrode behave shows that rapid-charging the battery and using it to do high-power, rapidly draining work may not be as damaging as researchers had thought– and that the benefits of slow draining and charging may have been overestimated.


Heated Clothes Burn Up Indiegogo

September 12, 2014 2:00 pm | by Univ. of Toronto | News | Comments

Two engineering students were so chilled by the polar vortex last winter that they decided to take matters into their own hands by inventing the world's first intelligent, heated base layer. In just six months, the pair founded a company, FuelWear, and created a feather-light, washable and snuggly undershirt they call the Flame Base Layer.

Math Suggests Alternative to Quantum Orthodoxy

September 12, 2014 2:00 pm | by MIT, Larry Hardesty | News | Comments

The central mystery of quantum mechanics is that small chunks of matter sometimes seem to behave like particles, sometimes like waves. Now, new math explains the dynamics of fluid systems that mimic many peculiarities of quantum mechanics.

Researchers Capture Sound of an Atom

September 12, 2014 7:00 am | by Chalmers Univ. of Technology | News | Comments

Researchers have shown the use of sound to communicate with an artificial atom. They can thereby demonstrate phenomena from quantum physics with sound taking on the role of light.

Understanding Physics of Fire Imperative for Space Safety

September 12, 2014 7:00 am | by NASA | Videos | Comments

Astronauts are studying how fires burn in microgravity and how to put them out. It's a basic safety issue: if a fire ever breaks out onboard a spacecraft, astronauts need to be able to control it.

Nuclear Plant Stays Open Despite Safety Recommendations

September 12, 2014 7:00 am | by Associated Press, Michael Blood | News | Comments

The Nuclear Regulatory Commission has rejected a senior federal expert's recommendation to shut down California's last operating nuclear power plant until the agency can determine whether its twin reactors can withstand powerful shaking from nearby earthquake faults. In a decision, the agency concluded there is no immediate or significant safety concern at the Diablo Canyon plant.

Nanotech Cools Electrons Without External Sources

September 11, 2014 7:00 am | by UT Arlington | News | Comments

A team of researchers has discovered a way to cool electrons to -228 C without external means and at room temperature, an advancement that could enable electronic devices to function with very little energy. The process involves passing electrons through a quantum well to cool them and keep them from heating.

Algorithm Can Help Clean up Space

September 10, 2014 2:00 pm | by MIT, Larry Hardesty | Videos | Comments

An algorithm, tested aboard the International Space Station, analyzes the rotation of objects in space. Understanding how objects are spinning, where their centers of mass are and how their mass is distributed is crucial to any number of actual or potential space missions, from cleaning up debris in the geosynchronous orbit favored by communications satellites to landing a demolition crew on a comet.

Experts Tap Unused TV Spectrum

September 10, 2014 7:00 am | by Rice Univ. | News | Comments

Wireless researchers have found a way to make the most of the unused UHF TV spectrum by serving up fat streams of data over wireless hotspots that could stretch for miles.

Smart Headlights Spare the Vision of Oncoming Drivers

September 10, 2014 7:00 am | by Carnegie Mellon Univ. | News | Comments

A smart headlight enables drivers to take full advantage of their high beams without fear of blinding oncoming drivers or suffering from the glare that can occur when driving in snow or rain at night. The programmable headlight senses and tracks virtually any number of oncoming drivers, blacking out only the small parts of the headlight beam that would otherwise shine into their eyes.

Textbooks May be Wrong About Volcanoes

September 9, 2014 2:00 pm | by Caltech | News | Comments

In the typical textbook picture, volcanoes, such as those that are forming the Hawaiian islands, erupt when magma gushes out as narrow jets from deep inside Earth. But that picture is wrong, according to a new study from researchers. New seismology data are confirming that such narrow jets don't actually exist.

Scientists Chart Ebola Risk

September 9, 2014 2:00 pm | by Univ. of Oxford | News | Comments

A new map identifies areas where animals are likely to be infected with the Ebola virus as a first step toward understanding where future outbreaks of the disease may occur. The map, based on a model created by scientists, predicts that in animal populations the Ebola virus is likely to be circulating across a vast swathe of forested Central and West Africa.

Buckyballs, Diamondoids Team for Tiny Gadgets

September 9, 2014 7:00 am | by SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory | News | Comments

Scientists have married two unconventional forms of carbon– one shaped like a soccer ball, the other a tiny diamond– to make a molecule that conducts electricity in only one direction. This tiny electronic component, known as a rectifier, could play a key role in shrinking chip components down to the size of molecules to enable faster, more powerful devices.

You may login with either your assigned username or your e-mail address.
The password field is case sensitive.