Physics

By Allison Kubo Hutchison Although today it may be easy to buy your maternal figure an orchid for Mother’s Day from the grocery store, in the 1800s, the acquisition of orchids was a dangerous, competitive and lucrative business. Orchids, which are generally tropical plants, grow across the globe and their family makes up 6-11% of
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By Allison Kubo Hutchison Stack of papers on a black background. ISTOCK.COM/PURPLEANVIL How does work become a scientific consensus? Nowadays, it has to go through a process called peer-review. Science is conducted by researchers at universities, NGOs, national labs, observatories, and private entities. Then this work is compiled into a paper or journal article which
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By: Hannah Pell  In 2005, future projections for emissions published by the Energy Information Administration (EIA) in their Annual Energy Outlook were bleak; business-as-usual for the power sector meant that carbon dioxide (CO2) emission levels could reach up to 3,000 million metric tons by 2020 (equivalent to CO2 emissions from roughly 544 million homes’ electricity
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By: Hannah Pell The potential impact of a work of art is by no means limited by or related to its size. Whether an intricate mural spanning the side of a building or sculpture carved on the tip of a pencil, the art of all scales is significant and meaningful to us, and the principles
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by Allison Kubo Hutchison Approximately 20 million years ago, prehistoric horses grazed on the flat grasslands and the now extinct bear-dog dug burrows for their young throughout the lands we now call Oregon and Washington. But below the ground, there was an eruption brewing that would shape over 81,000 square miles (200,000 square kilometers) reaching
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By Allison Kubo Hutchison Graphs are the bread and butter of scientists. We love them. Lines plots, bar graphs, line plots. Visual representations of data are the default on science. However, sonification, the transformation of data into sound rather than images has been gaining interest. One reason is that our ears actually have better time
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By Allison Kubo Hutchison Left: Glowing basaltic eruption in Iceland taken at night (image: Áslaug Arna Sigurbjörnsdóttir / twitter). Right: Grey ash clouds rise into the atmosphere over St. Vincent (image: University of West Indies Seismic Research Center / twitter). In Iceland, where we lay our scene, lava spills orange and black tendrils from three
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By: Hannah Pell On 29 March 2021, the Biden administration announced another ambitious clean energy goal: deploy 30 gigawatts of offshore wind by 2030. According to the Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy, the U.S. offshore wind capacity was 28,521 megawatts (or 28.5 gigawatts) in 2019. Deploying an additional 30 gigawatts over a decade
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By Jill Kathleen Wenderott Women Supporting Women in the Sciences (WS2), an international organization unifying and supporting graduate and professional-level women and allies in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM), has recently been awarded an American Physical Society (APS) Innovation Fund to form international teams that will design and distribute low-cost physics and materials science
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By Allison Kubo Hutchison Synthetic diamond created using vapour deposition process. Steve Jurvetson, Apollo synthetic diamond, CC BY 2.0 In late 1940, the Debeers Diamond company started using the slogan “Diamonds are forever” to popularize diamond engagement rings. What they didn’t know is that in terms of quantum mechanics that might be true. Diamonds are
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By: Hannah Pell “Go out and make the world a better place.” So ends the foreword to CDR Primer, an online, freely available digital booklet co-authored by more than a dozen climate scientists, social scientists, engineers, and writers in dialogue about carbon dioxide removal (CDR) technology and its important role in addressing our climate crisis.
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By Allison Kubo Hutchison Noah Friedlander, San Francisco from the Marin Headlands in March 2019, CC BY-SA 4.0  As you walk the pavement of your city, the buildings rising around you, the impact of a city on the landscape is clear. It changes the skyline and the view. But how does it change the ground
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By: Hannah Pell I recently relocated from the bustling Washington, D.C. metro area back to my south-central Pennsylvania hometown. My new space is in a quiet, wooded area; outside my back window I see an expanse full of trees (“Pennsylvania” actually means “Penn’s Woods”) — and a small solar farm is nestled in between them.
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By Allison Kubo Hutchison The same animal was once described by paleontologists as a shrimp, jellyfish, sea cucumber, and a sponge at different times during its study. Anomalocaris, Latin for “abnormal shrimp”, is a creature of exceeding strangeness to modern hominids; it is related to modern-day shrimp with a flat segmented body, faceted eyes on
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By: Hannah Pell “The most important car in 100 years.” Such is how James May, co-host of the British car show Top Gear, described the Honda Clarity during his test drive several years ago. “This is the future of motoring.” What is it about this car that seemed so revolutionary? It’s the fact that it’s
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