American Physical Society

Penguin-inspired propulsion system (w/ Video)

Back in 1991, Nature published a picture from the IMAX movie Antarctica, along with the caption: "Emperor penguins may be waddling jokes on land, but underwater they can turn into regular rockets…accelerating from 0 to ...

dateNov 14, 2013 in General Physics
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Better combustion through plasma

Mix together air, fuel, and heat and you get combustion, the chemical reaction that powers most engines in planes, trains and automobiles. And if you throw in some ionized gas (plasma), it turns out, you can sustain combustion ...

dateNov 26, 2013 in Plasma Physics
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Evolving robot brains

Researchers are using the principles of Darwinian evolution to develop robot brains that can navigate mazes, identify and catch falling objects, and work as a group to determine in which order they should exit and re-enter ...

dateMar 02, 2015 in Robotics
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Putting a new spin on tokamak disruptions

In the quest for fusion energy on earth, researchers use magnetic fields to insulate hot plasma from the walls of the chamber to maintain the reaction and prevent damage to interior surfaces. In the tokamak, a leading contender ...

dateNov 13, 2013 in Plasma Physics
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The physics of beer tapping

An old, hilarious if somewhat juvenile party trick involves covertly tapping the top of someone's newly opened beer bottle and then standing back as the suds foam out onto the floor.

dateNov 24, 2013 in General Physics
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Lifting fusion power onto an (optimized) pedestal

In a collaborative effort, researchers in the United States and the United Kingdom have developed a new technique that will help them optimize the transport barrier, or pedestal, in fusion plasmas, which will be key to increasing ...

dateNov 13, 2013 in Plasma Physics
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Flexible, stretchable fire-ant rafts

What do Jell-O, toothpaste, and floating fire-ant rafts have in common? All are so-called "viscoelastic" materials, meaning that they can both resist flow under stress, like honey, and they can bounce back to their original ...

dateNov 26, 2013 in General Physics
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