Stories tagged physics

What every budding young physicist should know. From Popular Mechanics.


Physicist John Cramer at the University of Washington has an idea. He believes that certain sub-atomic phenomena can best be explained if information can travel backwards in time. And his idea has created enough of a buzz on the Internet that private citizens are funding his work after normal, government funding sources turned him down.

It’s all about something called the Einstein-Podolsky-Rosen paradox. If certain sub-atomic particles are split, the two halves still react to one another instantaneously, even if they are separated by immense distances. Since the two particles are not connected in space, Cramer figures they must be connected in time. He has an idea for a small-scale experiment to see if his concept is even feasible, but none of the big agencies would bite.

But when word got out, various individuals who thought the idea was cool started sending in money. Cramer now hopes to get his first experiment up and running in July. If it works, he will then approach the big agencies again – this time, with a track record of success.


Hotel fall: The Minneapolis downtown Hyatt Regency hotel was the scene of an accident this weekend where a man fell out a 17th floor window and survived. Based on this photo of the hotel, he had to have fallen from nearly the top of the hotel.
Hotel fall: The Minneapolis downtown Hyatt Regency hotel was the scene of an accident this weekend where a man fell out a 17th floor window and survived. Based on this photo of the hotel, he had to have fallen from nearly the top of the hotel.
It’s been the hot topic to talk about the past few days in the Twin Cities.

Early Saturday morning, a man crashed through a window on the 17th floor of a downtown Minneapolis hotel and is still alive today. In most cases, a fall that far, about 160 feet, would be instantly fatal.

How could it happen and how could he survive? Science supplies some good answers.

First, the man landed on his feet on a metal canopy about a one story over the pavement outside of the hotel. The elasticity of the metal of that canopy helped absorb a lot of the impact the man made in falling. A physicist on one television report of the incident calculated that the man fell that far in about three seconds and would have been going 65 to 70 miles per hour at the time of the impact.

He was still being treated for his injuries Monday at a Minneapolis hotel. He suffered a severely broken right leg, two collapsed lungs and a torn trachea in the incident. He was initially induced into a coma to help stabilize his body before doctors treated his injuries.

By Monday, he was able to respond to questions from doctors and family by squeezing their hands. At the time of the crash, he was conscious and communicative with rescuers who came to his aid at the scene.

The man who fell through the window weighs between 250 and 300 pounds. Minneapolis building officials estimate that a person that size leaning against the window with all of his weight could break through glass that meets today’s codes which call for glass to be a strength of holding at least 50 pounds per square foot.

Other press accounts note that the man, from Wisconsin, was in the Twin Cities for a darts tournament being held at the hotel. He had been out partying with friends and was horsing around at the hotel late at night before the incident. He apparently was running down the hallway on the 17th floor, lost his balance and crashed through the window.

Researchers at the University of Rochester have successfully slowed the speed of light by shooting it through a chamber filled with Cesium gas. This may one day lead to computers, telecommunication, and other technology transmitting information as light rather than as electriity -- a far faster and more efficeint method.


New NBA basketball: Game changer?Courtesy calamityjake.
New NBA basketball: Game changer?
Courtesy calamityjake.

Shaquille O'Neal dislikes new synthetic basketball

Shaquille O'Neal of the Miami Heat ripped the NBA's new basketball, calling it "terrible".

"I think the new ball is terrible,'' O'Neal said Monday. "It's the worst decision some expert, whoever did it, made...The NBA's been around how long? A hundred years? Fifty years? So to change it now, whoever that person is needs his college degree revoked. It's a terrible decision.'' He also said that shooting percentages will plummet and turnovers will rise with the change.

Billionaire Mark Cuban uses science

Mark Cuban owns the Dallas Mavericks basketball team.

"I asked the University of Texas at Arlington Physics department to take a look at both the new and old NBA basketballs. I asked them to compare the two and let me know what they thought. No preconceived notions. No prejudice. Just science."

The details of their findings and proceedures can be seen on his blog, Blog Maverick

Slippery when wet

Two findings in particular should be considered. The synthetic balls became much more slippery when wet. The synthetic balls bounce was also found to be more erratic. The scientists thought this was probably due to 20 per cent of the balls surface being embossed with logos and text.

At this stage, please note that all measurements should be considered preliminary. The UTA researchers plan further tests to continue evaluating the ball.

More reading at USA Today

Want to visualize ten dimensions? Watch the flash animation promoting the book, Imagining the Tenth Dimension. You will need to mouse over the the left edge of the box (Navigation) and click the second item.


James Kakalios, a current "Scientist on the Spot", will give a presentation about his book, The Physics of Superheroes, on Thursday, February 16 at 7:00pm at the Hamline Midway Branch Library. For more information, contact: The Friends of the Saint Paul Public Library at 651/222-3242 or visit His appearance is part of pretty neat line up of authors.

Another series of presentations that sounds pretty interesting is called "Dying: A Guide for Beginners" and take place at the Merriam Park Branch Library a bunch of times between now and March 28.