Who’s killing physics? | Cosmos Weekly Taster

This article on the future of physics first appeared in Cosmos Weekly on 15 October 2021. For more stories like this, subscribe to Cosmos Weekly. On a recent visit to my mum’s place, I searched through my old stuff for something my children might like. One book that caught my eyes was (the German edition of) … Continue reading Who’s killing physics? | Cosmos Weekly Taster

The Mpemba effect: why hot water freezes faster than cold

The Mpemba effect:  under the right circumstances, hot water can freeze more quickly than cold. This mystery has puzzled thinkers since Aristotle, but a team of Spanish physicists worked out how and why this seeming paradox can occur. The answer, as described in a 2017 paper in Physical Review Letters by Antonio Lasanta of Charles … Continue reading The Mpemba effect: why hot water freezes faster than cold

Calhoun’s prophet rodents and the creation of the “behavioural sink”

I first read Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of NIMH as a young’un. What I didn’t know at the time was that it was inspired by a series of experiments on population dynamics from the 1940s to the 1970s. The two studies, over a total of eight years, aimed to explore the effects of population … Continue reading Calhoun’s prophet rodents and the creation of the “behavioural sink”

The plastic wrap

From the deepest ocean trenches to the peaks of the highest mountains, plastics can now be found everywhere, and figuring out how to manage them has become a pressing problem. Several new studies have been released this week addressing the global plastic problem. One predicts how airborne microplastics will have an impact on the climate, … Continue reading The plastic wrap

Giddy-up: origins of the domestic horse uncovered

The modern domestic horse is beloved worldwide as a favoured pet or an aid in the busy work of tending crops and livestock. But scientists looking to untangle the messy evolutionary roots of the modern horse have often been frustrated by false lines of inquiry. Now, a new study in the journal Nature has revealed … Continue reading Giddy-up: origins of the domestic horse uncovered

Mountains of space junk could carry us to Mars

Space is big. Really big. And there’s not much up there – except all the trash. And that’s suddenly become a valuable resource, as recycling space junk could put an end to the days of fire-and-forget satellite launches. Thanks to South Australian space-industry start-up Neumann Space, every piece of scrap metal in orbit above us … Continue reading Mountains of space junk could carry us to Mars

Watching proteins dance

Proteins are so small that visualising them working in a cell has long been elusive, but a new study, published in Cell, has found a way to ‘film’ how they move. These tiny molecules, which include insulin, haemoglobin and collagen, do all sorts of things to run our bodies, carrying out work in our cells … Continue reading Watching proteins dance

The drive to put hydrogen on South Australian roads

The potential for hydrogen to become an industrial-scale fuel is being touted as an essential state election issue for South Australia. Business SA CEO Martin Haese says the time has come to be decisive in establishing clean, green, circular economies. And hydrogen, he says, is bursting with potential. The advocacy group’s Pre-Election Charter22 report details … Continue reading The drive to put hydrogen on South Australian roads

Why are viruses considered non-living?

Viruses: living or non-living? Viruses are responsible for some of the world’s most dangerous and deadly diseases, including influenza, ebola, rabies, smallpox and COVID-19. Despite their potential to kill, these potent pathogens are in fact considered to be non-living, as alive as the screen that you are reading this article on. How is this possible? … Continue reading Why are viruses considered non-living?

Who’s killing physics?

On a recent visit to my mum’s place, I searched through my old stuff for something my children might like. One book that caught my eyes was (the German edition of) James Trefil’s Dark Side of the Universe. It’s about cosmology, the Big Bang and the expansion of the universe, Einstein’s theory of general relativity, … Continue reading Who’s killing physics?

The Hydrogen solution

Recent news about state hydrogen stategies brings this potential fuel solution back into the foreground. But what is hydrogen and why does it matter? Hydrogen is set to accelerate as a fuel source over the next decade, but we need to watch where it’s used, according to a Cosmos Briefing on the 11th of March … Continue reading The Hydrogen solution