Laser Smackdown: Vote for the Most Amazing Laser Application

In 1960, the first working laser was demonstrated, and promptly dubbed “a solution looking for a problem.” In the ensuing fifty years, lasers have found lots of problems to solve, but there has been no consensus about which of the many amazing applications of lasers is the most amazing. Now, in 2010, as we celebrate […]

Sketchy March Meeting Notes: Monday

I’m terrible about taking notes on conference talks, especially when I’m jet-lagged and was sleep deprived even before I got on the plane. I do jot down the occasional paper reference, though, so here are the things I wrote down, and the talks they were associated with. This should give you some vague idea of […]

A Lot of Knowledge Is a Dangerous Thing

I was looking at some polling about science over the weekend, and discovered that they helpfully provide an online quiz consisting of the factual questions asked of the general public as part of the survey. Amusingly, one of them is actually more difficult to answer correctly if you know a lot about the field than […]

Beyond Rocket Science

It’s not getting as much press as the “X Prize” for private rocket launches, but NASA has quietly been running a contest for work toward a “space elevator,” offering up to $2 million for a scheme to transmit power to a small robot climbing a 1km cable. Yesterday, the team from LaserMotive, including certified rocket […]

Quantum to Cosmos

I’m clearing out browser tabs before the weekend, which has reminded me that I’ve been terribly remiss in not passing along information about the Quantum to Cosmos festival being held next month at the Perimeter Institute in Waterloo, Ontario. For 10 exciting days this October, Perimeter Institute’s Quantum to Cosmos: Ideas for the Future (Q2C) […]

When Press Releases Collide

Consecutive entries in my RSS reader yesterday: Salty ocean in the depths of Enceladus Discovery could have implications for the search for extraterrestrial life An enormous plume of water spurts in giant jets from the south pole of Saturn’s moon Enceladus. In a report published in the international science journal Nature today (25 June), European […]