Tag Archive: physics

  1. The Methuselah of Discs

    Leave a Comment


    This story was reported on ABC Science about a data disc that can last one million years or longer.  This would create a data record that lasts far longer than technology we have used thus far in recorded human history, surpassing archival paper (500 years) and even rock carvings which are subject to erosion over time.

    Jeroen de Vries from the University of Twente, The Netherlands, and colleagues write, “If we want to preserve anything about the human race which can outlast the human race itself, we require a data storage medium designed to last for one million to one billion years.”

    A lot can happen in one million years – where and how the disc is stored will be as important as the data integrity.  I found the testing procedure fascinating, however.  (Don’t try this at home.)

  2. It isn’t raining rain, you know . . .

    Leave a Comment


    It’s raining diamonds! According to some researchers the heat, pressure and chemical conditions on Saturn and Jupiter may be conducive to the production of diamonds – diamonds that may rain down through the atmosphere.

    This research, reported by David Reneke on his World of Space and Astronomy, was recently presented at the American Astronomical Society’s Division for Planetary Sciences held in Denver, Colorado.

    This research opens up new and interesting ways to look at the composition and mineral wealth of the solar system.

  3. Higgs Boson in the News

    Leave a Comment


    It is official.  Britain’s Peter Higgs and Francois Englert of Belgium, discoverers of the Higgs boson, will receive the Nobel Prize in Physics.  The existence of this particle has been predicted for decades, but it was not until 2012, with the help of the Large Hadron Collider at the European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN), that the particle was detected.

    higgs2Francois Englert and Peter Higgs discussing their findings

    In this news article on ABC Science, discovery of the Higgs particle is described as follows:

    The insight has been hailed as one of the most important in the understanding of the cosmos. Without the Higgs mechanism all particles would travel at the speed of light and atoms would not exist.

    The ABC Science article notes the contribution of a number of scientists, not the least of which those working at CERN where the discovery was made.  Alfred Nobel, however, stipulated that any prize given in his name could not include more than three scientists.  The Nobel Prize was instituted in a time when scientific discovery was viewed as a more solitary pursuit in contrast with the strides being made today by recognized teams of researchers. Confirmation of the Higgs mechanism dramatically advances our understanding of the physics of the universe, although there is much work still to be accomplished.

    On a lighter note:


  4. How do touch screens work?

    Leave a Comment

    r1121289_13728340Touch screens are everywhere.  You swipe your finger across a screen and magic happens, but that magic is really technology.

    I find a lot of interesting stories on ABC Science, including this one on how touch screens work.

    Touch screens have totally changed the way we use mobile phones. But how does wiping your finger on a glass screen make things happen inside your phone?

    By Bernie Hobbs

    Don’t be fooled by the mild-mannered glass surface; you’re poking your finger fair smack into an electric field or two when you swipe your phone.

    Touch screens on phones and tablets really have the X factor. Being able to text, phone or film something just by swiping your finger on glass almost makes up for all those other failed sci-fi promises of the 60s.

    But considering how futuristic touch screens seem, they rely on a bit of physics that’s almost as old as Newton — capacitance — and the fact that your finger is three parts salty water.

    If you stick your finger on a regular piece of glass, the most you can hope for is a smudge.

    Read more here.