Physicists are getting fidgety over next week’s launch of the Large Hadron Collider. In addition, new pseudo Trek Tech is in the works with an anti-invisibility cloak, and some micromachines are ready surgery. Plus, see the Phoenix Mars Lander’s latest theatrical masterpiece, find out why all of your silver wear is mysteriously sliding towards Florida, and more.
Large Hadron Collider Still Slated For Sept. 10th Launch
As you know from last week’s Science Friday, critics who say the world’s largest atom-smasher could destroy the world brought their claims to courtrooms in Europe and the United States. Although the claims are getting further consideration, neither court will hold up next week’s official startup of the Large Hadron Collider, still slated for Wednesday September 10th. The pre-ignition tests performed on the beam were successful, and it looks like all is going according to plan. Take a look at the video below which is becoming popular around the interwebs. It’s good for a laugh or two.
Anti-Invisibility Cloak In The Works
In 2006, the first reports of a real life invisibility cloak surfaced. Although it was commonly compared to Harry Potter’s cloak and Romulan cloaking devices, the real thing can only make something seem relatively “invisible” on a narrow band of microwaves. Researchers have hoped, however, that this could lead eventually to radar-evading ships, planes, or submarines. With that, the Chinese are now working on an anti-invisibility device to see through the cloak by coming into contact with the inner surface of the cloaking device’s refractive material. To some extent, it’s a matter of scientific one-upsmanship. See the video below of a report which came out after the first “cloak” made headlines.
Try to ignore the fact that they say “Romulans” but show Klingons. Can’t they tell the difference?
Phoenix Takes “Video” of Martian Sky
A series of still images taken by the Phoenix Mars Lander — who’s still sniffing soil samples by the way — of water-ice clouds sailing overhead on the Red Planet has been turned into a short animation by NASA mission scientists. “The images were taken as part of a campaign to see clouds and track wind.,” said Mark Lemmon, the lead scientist for the lander’s Surface Stereo Imager, which snapped the pictures of the clouds during a 10-minute period last Friday. Particles of water-ice make up these clouds, like ice-crystal cirrus louds on Earth. Ice hazes have been common at the Phoenix site in recent days.
Animation of the Martian sky taken by the Phoenix Lander
Microgrippers Could Perform Surgery With No Incisions Necessary
As Star Trek has shown us, future surgical procedures might be a lot less invasive thanks to some downright-amazing new medical technologies. New devices, called microgrippers, could be swallowed by a patient and then activated via chemicals and magnets to do surgery inside the body with no incisions necessary. Maybe one day they will be deployed by hypospray? The microgrippers require no electricity to run, and they’re powered by chemicals that are harmless to the human body. We’ll see how big an impact these have on future medical procedures, but it’s certainly an exciting development.
Click to see the Microgripper in action in this video!
World’s Most Powerful Magnet Under Construction In Florida
Multiply the magnetic field strength of a refrigerator magnet by 2 million and you’ll be in the ballpark of the strength of the magnet being created at the National High Magnetic Field Laboratory. When completed later this year, the pulsed electromagnet will reach 100 tesla: the holy grail of magnetic field strength (That’s about 67 times as high as a typical MRI!) The primary research will test the properties of high-temperature superconductors. A 100-T magnet would also let you conduct certain zero-gravity experiments without traveling into space and let you develop magnetic propulsion systems that could eventually replace those that burn rocket fuel.
The 100-T magnet set to be the world’s strongest
Gadget of the Week: Stimuli 3.0: The Very Cool, Very Sci-Fi Lamp That Adjusts To Its Environment
Here’s a design concept that shows some unusual thinking on the part of its creator, Chris Natt: What if you fitted a smart lamp with petals that open and close like a flower? The result is Stimuli 3.0, a shape-shifting device that measures ambient light and adjusts its illumination accordingly, using a three-axis gearbox. It also looks like some really sweet sci-fi prop. This is one oddball lamp, one that would go great in my spaceship.
The Stimuli 3.0
Here’s a warp-speed look at science tid-bits that didn’t quite make the cut, but nonetheless merit mention.
- Hubble rescue preparation yields awesome gallery of industrial machines
- Physicists discover ‘doubly strange‘ particle
- Double-Sided touch screen interface unveiled in Tokyo
- Bone that blends into tendons