The World’s Lightest Material

Here is a piece of metal sitting on a dandelion. It’s the world’s lightest material, developed by a team of researchers from the University of California at Irvine.  It comprises 99.99% air and is one hundred times lighter than Styrofoam.

The Art of Science

The Art of Science contest at Princeton University aims to show off the startling images produced in the normal course of scientific research.  “Art happens,” says Princeton’s vice-dean of engineering Pablo Debenedetti, in announcing the 2011 winners.  The Art of Science launched in 2005 and has run annually since 2009, giving researchers a greater forum of appreciation for the beauty that lies deep in their work.

The 2011 winner is entitled Chaos and Geomagnetic Reversals, by physicist Christophe Gissinger. It shows a model of geomagnetic reversals, i.e. when the earth’s polarity switches. The image appears as ribbons of bright yellows, reds, pale blues and greens swirled on a black background.

Check out the other entries.  Amazing stuff.

Schrödinger’s Cat Revealed …or not

Here is a thought provoking video on the Shrödinger’s Cat paradox, from the Perimeter Institute for Theoretical Physics.  According to Wikipedia, Shrödinger’s Cat is a thought experiment devised by Austrian physicist Erwin Schrödinger in 1935. It illustrates what he saw as the problem of the “Copenhagen interpretation” of quantum mechanics when applied to everyday objects. The scenario presents a cat in a closed box that is either alive or dead, depending on an earlier random event that would have killed it … or not.  But it obviously cannot exist in both states.  And yet, this is how quantum mechanics is used to understand atomic structures.

I never really understood the paradox, and am not sure I do even after viewing this video.  The video is very well done, directed by Chris Mullington of the TV Factory.


And for what its worth, there is a new research paper that suggests that the Copenhagen interpretation is wrong.  Who’d a thunk it.

Burning Man Festival 2012

Burning Man is an annual festival where tens of thousands of participants gather in Nevada’s Black Rock Desert to create Black Rock City. The festival is dedicated to community, art, self-expression, and self-reliance. Participants depart one week later, having left no trace whatsoever. Here are a couple videos of the 2012 event.

The first is an amazing and amusing 20 minute time-lapsed video of the entire event by film maker James Cole.


Here is a link to the video on youtube

The second is an exhibit of animated rowing skeletons, called “Charon” by Peter Hudson. I have posted the night video, which captures the effect. But it is worth looking at the day video to see how the exhibit is put together and animates the skeletons.

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