3 reasons the announcement to dump radioactive waste in South Australia is extremely premature

Radioactive waste from nuclear medicine facilities around Australia will be trucked to and buried near the South Australian town of Kimba, the federal government announced this week. The site, Napandee, comprises 211 hectares of government-acquired land, with radioactive waste set to be stored for over 100 years in deep trenches. The announcement comes after six … Continue reading 3 reasons the announcement to dump radioactive waste in South Australia is extremely premature

Quantum spin liquid observed in physics first

After 50 years of hunting, physicists have finally observed a new state of matter known as a quantum spin liquid. “It is a very special moment in the field,” says physicist Mikhail Lukin, co-director of the Harvard Quantum Initiative (HQI) and a senior author on the study in Science. “You can really touch, poke, and … Continue reading Quantum spin liquid observed in physics first

Could gravitational waves help us find dark matter?

Over the last few years, gravitational waves have revolutionised physics. Sensitive instruments like the Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory (LIGO), Virgo and KAGRA have spotted these ripples in spacetime emanating out from collisions between black holes and neutron stars billions of light-years away. But can gravitational waves find dark matter? Now, researchers think that gravitational wave … Continue reading Could gravitational waves help us find dark matter?

Ultra-thin material mimics quantum entangled rare earth compounds

Finnish physicists have created an ultra-thin, 2D material with quantum properties that would usually only be made possible using rare earth minerals. But this new material was fabricated using only common materials. “Studying complex quantum materials is hindered by the properties of naturally occurring compounds,” says atomic physicist Peter Liljeroth from Aalto University. “Our goal … Continue reading Ultra-thin material mimics quantum entangled rare earth compounds

Charles Townes shines a light

In the 1964 movie Goldfinger, based on the book of that name by acclaimed British writer Ian Fleming, the avaricious Auric Goldfinger captures Secret Service agent James Bond, straps him to a thick metal table and sets a laser beam to begin burning through the table and perhaps eventually slicing through the British super spy. … Continue reading Charles Townes shines a light

How do fingers snap?

Humans have been snapping fingers for thousands of years – records of finger clicking go back to ancient Greece, and it likely happened long before that. But how does finger snapping actually work? A team of US researchers have discovered it has a lot to do with the friction of finger pads. “For the past … Continue reading How do fingers snap?

Why do teapots dribble?

Nothing ruins a tea party more than dripping tea on a pretty tablecloth. You would think that it’s possible to prevent teapots from dripping, but the fluid dynamics of the tea spout is fiendishly complicated, and it’s not easy to predict or control. In fact, the “teapot effect”, describing the way tea drips from the … Continue reading Why do teapots dribble?

Antarctica: A window to the future

Remote and wild, Antarctica is a spectacular place that most people on Earth won’t ever get to. But it’s a frontier for scientific research. Cosmos spoke to Nicole Webster, the new chief scientist of the Australian Antarctic Division, to learn about what kind of research is undertaken on this frozen continent, from the smallest krill … Continue reading Antarctica: A window to the future

A science poet’s guide to the galaxy – Light

When it comes to complex physics, how do you communicate? Through poetry, of course. Cosmos spoke to Rachel Rayner, Science Explainer about the photon, bringing attention to the many colours of our universe and the need for robust, poetic science communication. Rachel recently wrote an article “A Short History of Light” for Cosmos Magazine issue … Continue reading A science poet’s guide to the galaxy – Light

Library in a glass chip: laser-writing trick can store vast amounts of data

An team of UK researchers has figured out a laser-writing technique that can store vast amounts of data in glass. So-called five-dimensional (5D) data storage uses molecule-sized nanostructures created in silica glass to store information, and is 10,000 times denser in storage than a Blu-Ray disc. “Individuals and organisations are generating ever-larger datasets, creating the … Continue reading Library in a glass chip: laser-writing trick can store vast amounts of data

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