Best of Last Week – Superabsorption theoretically demonstrated, sailing stones mystery solved and origin of anger face

September 1, 2014 by Bob Yirka, report

In one potential method to realize superabsorption, a superabsorbing ring absorbs incident photons, giving rise to excitons. Credit: Higgins, et al.
( —It's been a strong week for physics. One team showed that theoretically, superabsorption could be demonstrated using quantum engineering techniques—real world materials that take advantage of it could include quantum camera pixels, the transmission of power via light, and solar cell technology. Also, researchers working at Fermilab announced that they are set to test the very nature of the universe—they want to know if we actually exist in a 2D hologram. Another team working in Vienna has developed a revolutionary new imaging method—they've created an image of a cat without bouncing light off of it using entangled photons. Meanwhile, another team working at the University of Wisconsin has fabricated a qubit with an integrated micromagnet that increases the speed of quantum manipulation in silicon—another step in the march towards creating a true quantum computer.

Less complex but still interesting are the results of experiments carried out that solved the mystery of the sailing stones of Death Valley, California—the odd trails they leave behind have puzzled those who have seen them for hundreds of years. Also of interest, a combined team of researchers from several universities has begun work on what they're calling Robo Brain—a computer network that scours the Internet for informational content and then makes it available via a robot interface—leading, perhaps, to robots in the home or at work that can provide on-the-spot information about whatever needs attending to—how to fix your clothes dryer, for example, or when is the best time to fertilize your lawn. In completely unrelated news from Canada, a team of researchers has confirmed that "invadopodia" plays a role in the spread of cancer—they found cancer cells have tentacle-like structures that allow them to latch onto other organs, leading to the growth of tumors in the new location. This is good news because if a drug can be found to stop the latching, it would mean an end to the spread of cancer. Also, in perhaps worrisome news, a team exploring the ocean depths has found over 500 gas plumes bubbling off the east coast of the U.S.

And finally, if you've been wondering why your mug morphs into a hideous amalgam of stretched and folded flesh when your temper flares, you might be happy to know that a team of researchers has identified the origin and purpose of the anger face—and it's quite menacing.

Explore further: Picturing Schrodinger's cat: Quantum physics enables revolutionary imaging method

Related Stories

Scientists track quantum errors in real time

July 14, 2014

( —Scientists at Yale University have demonstrated the ability to track real quantum errors as they occur, a major step in the development of reliable quantum computers. They report their results in the journal ...

Verifying the future of quantum computing

July 30, 2014

Physicists are one step closer to proving the reliability of a quantum computer – a machine which promises to revolutionise the way we trade over the internet and provide new tools to perform powerful simulations.

Recommended for you

Coffee-based colloids for direct solar absorption

March 22, 2019

Solar energy is one of the most promising resources to help reduce fossil fuel consumption and mitigate greenhouse gas emissions to power a sustainable future. Devices presently in use to convert solar energy into thermal ...

NASA instruments image fireball over Bering Sea

March 22, 2019

On Dec. 18, 2018, a large "fireball—the term used for exceptionally bright meteors that are visible over a wide area—exploded about 16 miles (26 kilometers) above the Bering Sea. The explosion unleashed an estimated 173 ...


Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.