American Physical Society

A molecular compass for bird navigation

Each year, the Arctic Tern travels over 40,000 miles, migrating nearly from pole to pole and back again. Other birds make similar (though shorter) journeys in search of warmer climes. How do these birds manage ...

Feb 27, 2015
4.4 / 5 (5) 0

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 ...

Nov 26, 2013
4.3 / 5 (3) 0 | with audio podcast

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 ...

Nov 26, 2013
4.8 / 5 (17) 2 | with audio podcast

A new, flying jellyfish-like machine (w/ Video)

Up, up in the sky: It's a bird! It's a plane! It's a... jellyfish? That's what researchers have built—a small vehicle whose flying motion resembles the movements of those boneless, pulsating, water-dwelling creatures.

Nov 24, 2013
4.5 / 5 (15) 7 | with audio podcast

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.

Nov 24, 2013
4.8 / 5 (14) 2 | with audio podcast

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 ...

Mar 02, 2015
3.4 / 5 (9) 0