3D Object Cloaked from All Angles
Researchers have 'cloaked' a three-dimensional object, making it completely invisible for the first time. The research on microwave light could carry over into the visible spectrum.
What's the Latest Development?
Researchers have 'cloaked' a three-dimensional object for the first time, making it invisible from all angles. Using a shell made of plasmonic materials, an 18cm long cylinder appeared to disappear beneath incoming light from the microwave region of the electromagnetic spectrum. The materials "present a 'photo negative' of the object being cloaked, effectively cancelling it out." Previous efforts have focused on a 'carpet cloak', in which the object is overlaid with a 'carpet' of metamaterial that bends light so as to make the object invisible.
What's the Big Idea?
Because plasmonic materials act like a photo negative, a distinct cloak must be prepared for each object. While the technology does not currently operate at the visible spectrum, researchers think it could be use to improve scanning microscopes—the best microscopes science has to offer—"to yield an improved view of even smaller wavelengths of light." A Harry Potter-style cloak still remains a ways off but researchers say the plasmonic technique is their bet for the most applicable cloak.
Photo credit: shutterstock.com
Here's the science of black holes, from supermassive monsters to ones the size of ping-pong balls.
- There's more than one way to make a black hole, says NASA's Michelle Thaller. They're not always formed from dead stars. For example, there are teeny tiny black holes all around us, the result of high-energy cosmic rays slamming into our atmosphere with enough force to cram matter together so densely that no light can escape.
- CERN is trying to create artificial black holes right now, but don't worry, it's not dangerous. Scientists there are attempting to smash two particles together with such intensity that it creates a black hole that would live for just a millionth of a second.
- Thaller uses a brilliant analogy involving a rubber sheet, a marble, and an elephant to explain why different black holes have varying densities. Watch and learn!
- Bonus fact: If the Earth became a black hole, it would be crushed to the size of a ping-pong ball.
Military recruits are supposed to be assessed to see whether they're fit for service. What happens when they're not?
- During the Vietnam War, Robert McNamara began a program called Project 100,000.
- The program brought over 300,000 men to Vietnam who failed to meet minimum criteria for military service, both physically and mentally.
- Project 100,000 recruits were killed in disproportionate numbers and fared worse after their military service than their civilian peers, making the program one of the biggest—and possibly cruelest—mistakes of the Vietnam War.
In a breakthrough for nuclear fusion research, scientists at China's Experimental Advanced Superconducting Tokamak (EAST) reactor have produced temperatures necessary for nuclear fusion on Earth.
- The EAST reactor was able to heat hydrogen to temperatures exceeding 100 million degrees Celsius.
- Nuclear fusion could someday provide the planet with a virtually limitless supply of clean energy.
- Still, scientists have many other obstacles to pass before fusion technology becomes a viable energy source.
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