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Turmoil in sluggish electrons' existence

An international team of physicists has monitored the scattering behavior of electrons in a non-conducting material in real-time. Their insights could be beneficial for radiotherapy.

Viewpoint: Neural Networks Identify Topological Phases

Author(s): Juan Carrasquilla A new machine-learning algorithm based on a neural network can tell a topological phase of matter from a conventional one. [Physics 10, 56] Published Mon May 22, 2017

Classical synchronization indicates persistent entanglement in isolated quantum systems

As if by magic, seemingly independent pendulum clocks can come together to tick simultaneously and in synchrony. The phenomenon of "self-organized synchronization" frequently occurs in nature and engineering and is one of the key research fields of Marc Timme's team at the Max Planck Institute for Dynamics and Self-Organization. Show More Summary

'Saddle-shaped' universe could undermine general relativity

Researchers have shown how singularities – which are normally only found at the centre of black holes and hidden from view – could exist in highly curved three-dimensional space.

Plasmonics enhances the sensitivity of smartphone microscopy

An international team of researchers from the University of California, Los Angeles and the Braunschweig University of Technology in Germany has developed an approach to enhance the sensitivity of smartphone-based fluorescence microscopes by ten-fold compared to previously reported mobile phone-based handheld microscopes. Show More Summary

Magnetic order in a two-dimensional molecular chessboard

Achieving magnetic order in low-dimensional systems consisting of only one or two dimensions has been a research goal for some time. In a new study published in the journal Nature Communications, Uppsala researchers show that magnetic order can be created in a two-dimensional chessboard lattice consisting of organometallic molecules that are only one atomic layer thick.

Kids and Construction Update

The big development of this week is that construction started on the Great Chateau Steelypips Renovation of 2017. We’re extending one part of the back of the house about ten feet to gain a bedroom on the second floor, and gut-renovating the kitchen, dining room, and mud room. This is a massive undertaking, with a…

Unsong of unsongs

On Wednesday, Scott Alexander finally completed his sprawling serial novel Unsong, after a year and a half of weekly updates—incredibly, in his spare time while also working as a full-term resident in psychiatry, and also regularly updating Slate Star Codex, which I consider to be the world’s best blog.  I was honored to attend a party in Austin (mirroring parties […]

My broken blog

I wanted to let people know I’m well-aware that Shtetl-Optimized has been suffering from the following problems lately: Commenters are presented with the logins (handle, email address, and URL) of random other commenters, rather than with their own default login data.  In particular, this means that email addresses are leaking, and that when you comment, you […]

Physics Week in Review: May 20, 2017

Could dark matter be a self-annihilating WIMP? Might a newly discovered "cold spot" be evidence for a multiverse? And could Scrooge McDuck really swim in a pool of gold coins? These and other nifty stories are among this week's physics...

Physicists discover that lithium oxide on tokamak walls can improve plasma performance

Lithium compounds improve plasma performance in fusion devices just as well as pure lithium does, a team of physicists at the U.S. Department of Energy's (DOE) Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory (PPPL) has found.

Focus: Making Shear Waves for Ultrasonic Imaging

Author(s): Rachel Berkowitz New filter allows shear waves to be produced efficiently, which could lead to higher resolution ultrasound images. [Physics 10, 57] Published Fri May 19, 2017

Synopsis: A Dark Side for Qubits

Dark solitons in a Bose-Einstein condensate could, according to calculations, function as qubits with long lifetimes. [Physics] Published Thu May 18, 2017

A 'wearable' brain scanner for studies of human interaction, dementia, movement disorders, and more

Patients undergoing a positron emission tomography (PET) scan in today's bulky, donut-shaped machines must lie completely still. Because of this, scientists cannot use the scanners to unearth links between movement and brain activity. Show More Summary

In a neutron-rich tin nucleus, electromagnetism can win over the strong force

The atomic nucleus offers a unique opportunity to study the competition between three of the four fundamental forces known to exist in nature, the strong nuclear interaction, the electromagnetic interaction and the weak nuclear interaction. Show More Summary

XENON1T, the most sensitive detector on Earth searching for WIMP dark matter, releases its first result

"The best result on dark matter so far—and we just got started." This is how scientists behind XENON1T, now the most sensitive dark matter experiment world-wide, commented on their first result from a short 30-day run presented today to the scientific community.

Scientists perform first-principles simulation of transition of plasma edge to H-mode

Physicists at the U.S. Department of Energy's (DOE) Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory (PPPL) have simulated the spontaneous transition of turbulence at the edge of a fusion plasma to the high-confinement mode (H-mode) that sustains fusion reactions. The detailed simulation is the first basic physics, or first-principles-based, modeling with few simplifying assumptions.

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