Latest Physical Review Letters Stories

2011-02-09 13:12:40

Discovery of mini 'water hammer' effect could lead to materials that water really hates Researchers from Northwestern University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) have studied individual water droplets and discovered a miniature version of the "water hammer," an effect that produces the familiar radiator pipe clanging in older buildings. In piping systems, the water hammer occurs when fluid is forced to stop abruptly, causing huge pressure spikes that can rupture pipe walls....

2011-02-08 09:00:31

A study of bound protons and neutrons conducted at the Department of Energy's Thomas Jefferson National Accelerator Facility has allowed scientists, for the first time, to extract information through experimentation about the internal structure of free neutrons, without the assistance of a theoretical model. The result was published in the Feb. 4 issue of Physical Review Letters. The major hurdle for scientists who study the internal structure of the neutron is that most neutrons are bound up...

2011-01-26 12:06:56

There is considerable interest in understanding transport and information pathways in living cells. It is crucial for both the transport of, for example, medicine into cells, the regulation of cell life processes and their signalling with their environment. New research in biophysics at the Niels Bohr Institute shows surprisingly that the transport mechanisms do not follow the expected pattern. The results have been published in the scientific journal Physical Review Letters. The researchers...

2011-01-26 10:17:26

Measuring the attractive forces between atoms and surfaces with unprecedented precision, University of Arizona physicists have produced data that could refine our understanding of the structure of atoms and improve nanotechnology. The discovery has been published in the journal Physical Review Letters. Van der Waals forces are fundamental for chemistry, biology and physics. However, they are among the weakest known chemical interactions, so they are notoriously hard to study. This force is so...

2011-01-26 10:01:59

Paul Preuss, Berkeley Lab Solar cells are made from semiconductors whose ability to respond to light is determined by their band gaps (energy gaps). Different colors have different energies, and no single semiconductor has a band gap that can respond to sunlight's full range, from low-energy infrared through visible light to high-energy ultraviolet. Although full-spectrum solar cells have been made, none yet have been suitable for manufacture at a consumer-friendly price. Now Wladek...

2011-01-24 15:46:20

Surprising rate at which neuronal networks in the cerebral cortex delete sensory information The dynamics behind signal transmission in the brain are extremely chaotic. This conclusion has been reached by scientists from the Max Planck Institute for Dynamics and Self-Organization at the University of Göttingen and the Bernstein Center for Computational Neuroscience Göttingen. In addition, the Göttingen-based researchers calculated, for the first time, how quickly information...

2011-01-22 08:49:48

MIT research uncovers new process relating to the way drops of water spread after striking a surface A water hammer can occur when a valve is suddenly opened or closed in a pipe carrying water or steam, causing a pressure wave to travel down the pipe with enough force that it can sometimes cause the pipes to burst. Now, new research shows that a similar effect takes places on a tiny scale whenever a droplet of water strikes a surface. MIT's Kripa Varanasi, co-author of a report on the new...

2010-12-21 08:03:19

By Lynn Yarris, Berkeley Lab Möbius symmetry, the topological phenomenon that yields a half-twisted strip with two surfaces but only one side, has been a source of fascination since its discovery in 1858 by German mathematician August Möbius. As artist M.C. Escher so vividly demonstrated in his "parade of ants," it is possible to traverse the "inside" and "outside" surfaces of a Möbius strip without crossing over an edge. For years, scientists have been searching for an example...

2010-12-07 14:20:24

Scientists gather clues by measuring forces needed to stretch single strands of DNA With new tools that can grab individual strands of DNA and stretch them like rubber bands, Rice University scientists are working to unravel a mystery of modern genomics. Their latest findings, which appear in Physical Review Letters, offer new clues about the physical makeup of odd segments of DNA that have just one DNA base, adenine, repeated dozens of times in a row. These mysterious "poly(dA) repeats" are...

2010-12-06 23:20:44

In calculating energies for graphene, Rice researchers find clues to chiral control New research at Rice University could ultimately show scientists the way to make batches of nanotubes of a single type. A paper in the online journal Physical Review Letters unveils an elegant formula by Rice University physicist Boris Yakobson and his colleagues that defines the energy of a piece of graphene cut at any angle. Yakobson, a professor in mechanical engineering and materials science and of...

Word of the Day
  • Remarkable; prodigious.
  • Audacious; gutsy.
  • Completely; extremely.
  • Audaciously; boldly.
  • Impressively great in size; enormous; extraordinary.
This word is probably from the dialectal 'boldacious,' a blend of 'bold' and 'audacious.'