Physics Week in Review: June 2, 2018

Among this week’s physics highlights: There are two types of water that behave differently, dynamical dark matter, and just when you think the sterile neutrino is dead, new evidence comes in for its possible existence.

New Skeptics Guide to the Universe podcast features discussions of NASA’s EM drive, Loch Ness DNA, and a conversation with yours truly.

Dig in to the Physics of Donuts for National Donut Day! From topology to nuclear fusion, donuts are the physicist’s breakfast pastry of choice.

Evidence Found for a New Fundamental Particle. An experiment at the Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory near Chicago has detected far more electron neutrinos than predicted — a possible harbinger of a revolutionary new elementary particle called the sterile neutrino, though many physicists remain skeptical.

Does Dark Matter Ever Die? “What if the requirement that dark matter be stable over the cosmic long haul is wrong? That’s the renegade idea behind a new dark matter proposal called “Dynamical Dark Matter.”  Related: Dark matter halos may leave twinkling wake of disturbed stars in galaxies.

Experiments show that the friction between two surfaces depends on their history of contact and that this “memory” is reminiscent of the behavior of glasses.

The gravitational waves from merging neutron stars may have signaled the birth of a black hole.

How Close Are We–Really–to Building a Quantum Computer? Intel’s head of quantum computing talks about the challenges of developing algorithms, software programs and other necessities for a technology that doesn’t yet exist.

Cloud-based quantum computer takes on deuteron and wins. “Quantum computers have been used to calculate some of the properties of an atomic nucleus: the deuterium nucleus to be precise.”

Physicists Reconsider The Existence Of Extreme Black Holes Once Thought To Be Impossible.

Vibrate a pool of water and above a critical frequency, and a pattern of standing waves will form on the surface. These are known as Faraday waves after Michael Faraday, who studied the phenomenon in the early half of the nineteenth century.  [Image credit: L. Gledhill]

There are two types of water, and a new study finds they behave differently.

Muons: the little-known particles helping to probe the impenetrable. The ubiquitous particles are helping to map the innards of pyramids and volcanoes, and spot missing nuclear waste.

The Electron-Ion Collider will unravel some of science’s greatest mysteries. “Physicists involved with the project say it’s analogous to how a greater understanding of electricity birthed the modern world in the last century.”

8,000 tiny plastic disks in a rotating drum could help scientists develop a technique to forecast avalanches or earthquakes through sound.

Elastic fibres inside a feather can spring back to their original shape when soaked in water, helping it straighten even after being bent nearly in half.

How Termites Inspired a Building that Can Cool Itself. “Using an approach called biomimicry, see how architect Mick Pearce harnessed the ingenuity of termites to design a natural cooling system for the largest commercial building in Zimbabwe.”

The chords of the universe. It’s no surprise that mathematics has influenced music. But did you know that the influence goes both ways?

Under Pressure: The Color-Changing Bandage Inspired By A Tropical Berry. Inspired by structural colors in nature, researchers at MIT have developed a compression bandage that changes color.

What do physicists mean when they say the laws of nature are beautiful?

This Is Why Physicists Think String Theory Might Be Our ‘Theory Of Everything’. “The biggest news about string theory is that it can give you a working quantum theory of gravity.”

A Brilliant Disguise: Confused Bees Reveal How Iridescence May Actually Be Camouflage.

The Expanse’s Epstein Drive Has Some Awesome Physics Baked In. You should never show a physicist a spaceship’s control panel.

Aerial footage of Kilauea’s eruption shows lava gravity currents with smooth, rope-like pahoehoe flows.

Two planets discovered: One by gravity, one by accident.

In the early solar system, migrating planets scattered the little worlds around them. A new survey shows how much wreckage is still out there.

The Wild Physics of a Firefighter’s Window Catch. “In this recently released video, a firefighter in Latvia catches a man falling past a window.”

The Witch of Agnesi. What is the meaning of this unassuming, mistranslated curve? “It shows what good branding can do for a plucky curve hungry for the limelight.”

Emily Riehl’s Favorite Theorem: The Johns Hopkins University mathematician tells us why doing category theory is like playing the viola.

There’s Nothing Noble about Science’s Nobel Prize Gender Gap. Given the dearth of women receiving the top science prizes, it’s time for the Nobel Committee to revamp how it awards great work.

Watch This Trippy Footage of Liquid Crystals Under a Microscope. “Musician Max Cooper set his new song “Music of the Tides” to footage of morphing, pulsating liquid crystals moving through phases, called mesophases.”