Journal Club

Highlighting recently published papers selected by Academy members

Category Archives: Physics

Journal Club: Researchers may’ve finally solved mystery of crater ray formation

Look carefully at the full moon and you’ll see bright skinny streaks extending from large lunar craters. These are ejecta rays, spoke-like lines that seem to shoot from the circular impact site, a vivid testament to ancient explosions. But scientists … Continue reading

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Journal Club: Cells use waves to regulate mitosis, suggesting similar wave dynamics as myriad natural phenomena

  Over the past decade, biologists have discovered an ever-increasing number of phenomena that exhibit wave-like behavior. Everything from the firing of neurons to the spread of a virus through a population can show a similar pattern: they emanate from … Continue reading

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Journal Club: A physicist’s take on the age-old ecological puzzle of how species form communities

Ecologists have long searched for the rules that govern how individual species join together to form a community. Whether forest or desert, the problem is complex. Myriad factors influence a community’s composition and stability —from how strongly species compete to … Continue reading

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Journal Club: Why does water form on icy surfaces? New model solves century-old mystery

Even in freezing temperatures, an ice cube can form a nanometers-thick sheen of water on its surface. This peculiar behavior, often called surface melting or pre-melting, was first proposed by Michael Faraday in 1846 as an ever-present precursor to actual … Continue reading

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Journal Club: Finding new ways to store higher-density information with ferroelectric materials

Recent findings suggest early proof of principle for a new way to read, write and erase information in much smaller areas than conventional memory. The method entails ferroelectric thin films, which store information using the domains’ polarization directions like the … Continue reading

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Journal Club: Friction of the vacuum could slow the rotation of pulsars

A vacuum is by definition a space entirely devoid of matter, so one might naturally assume that objects in a vacuum do not encounter friction. However, quantum physics implies that the vacuum is not actually completely empty, but is rather … Continue reading

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Journal Club: New ability to measure the recoil from single photons could help address fundamental physics mysteries

Scientists have for the first time directly measured the recoil that single photons exert on levitating nanoparticles in a vacuum. The work that could help lead to more sensitive measurements of ultra-weak forces, according to research detailed online June 13 … Continue reading

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Journal Club: Synchronizing clocks to record precision

Precisely synchronized networks of clocks are key not only to modern everyday services such as GPS networks, but also to scientific endeavors such as giant telescope networks and tests of gravitation. Scientists now have devised a way to use laser … Continue reading

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First Look: Finding dark matter with gamma rays

Dark matter remains one of the greatest mysteries in the universe, an invisible substance thought to make up five-sixths of all matter in the universe. Research teams around the world are striving to discover what exactly dark matter is by … Continue reading

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Particle avalanches insides glassy materials create weaknesses

The randomly ordered atoms of glasses can at times arrange themselves into crystals, weakening them. Now researchers have discovered this crystallization is apparently due to avalanches of particles within glasses, report findings detailed in the Proceedings of the National Academy … Continue reading

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