TRAPPIST-1e is a rocky exoplanet in the habitable zone of a star 40 light-years from Earth and may have water and clouds, as depicted in this artist’s impression.
Life on Earth has dramatically changed the chemistry of the planet. Astronomers will measure light that bounces off distant planets to look for similar clues that they host life.
Reconstruction of the execution of the Arnolfini portrait. Top: Postures of the painter during the painting process. Bottom: views obtained from the four lenses.
Université de Lorraine
Researchers have long tried to unravel the puzzle of Jan van Eyck’s use of perspective in his masterpiece, the Arnolfini Portrait. New research suggests he may have had help from a novel machine.
The English astronomer and navigator Thomas Harriot died in 1621, leaving behind 8,000 pages of notes containing a trove of unpublished scientific discoveries.
Original artwork by Ludmila Odintsova
For 60 years, physicists thought they knew exactly how coherent a laser could get. Now the ultimate quantum limit to laser coherence has been found, and it’s much much bigger than anybody thought.
The electromagnetic spectrum we can access with current technologies is completely occupied. This means experts have to think of creative ways to meet our rocketing demands for data.
Free space optical communication will allow the same connectivity in space we already have on Earth. And this will provide benefits across a number of sectors.
Using lasers to trap and move particles changed the way we’re able to study microscopic life.
Cloud Gate, 2004. Stainless steel, 1,006 x 2,012 x 1,280 cm.
Anish Kapoor made “Cloud Gate”, a giant bean-shaped mirror in Chicago. Visitors play with the light in the city and its surroundings, where our future lays.
In 1954, three scientists observed a paradox to which they gave their name: the Fermi-Pasta-Ulam recurrence. Now, fibre optics are on the way to finally providing an explanation.
Edwin Land, on the left, invented and commercialized a number of technologies, most of which centered on light.
Whether at a family gathering or in a research lab, getting access to images immediately was a game-changer. And Land’s innovations went far beyond the instant photo.
Could there be a future with smaller, less bulky VR headsets?
Jean-Marc Giboux/AP Images for Siemens
Using nanostructures on a flat piece of glass can make lenses smaller, lighter and much cheaper – while providing better image quality.
Single-pixel cameras, multi-sensor imaging and quantum technologies will change the way we take photos.
Super-black feathers on these guys are like looking into a dark cave.
Male Birds of Paradise have patches of super-black plumage that absorb 99.95 percent of light. New research identified their feathers’ microscopic structures that make them look so very dark.
A new technique could help the police identify more criminals from just their footprints.
20 tons of Ohara E6 borosilicate glass being loaded onto the mold of one of the GMT’s mirrors.
Ray Bertram, Steward Observatory
The laws of physics dictate that to pick out ever fainter objects from space and see them more sharply, we’re going to need a bigger telescope. And that means we need massive mirrors.
A new invisibility cloak can hide objects using an ultrathin layer of nanoantennas that reflect off light. Are humans next?
Courtesy of Xiang Zhang group, Berkeley Lab/UC Berkeley
Research into invisibility cloaks has been flourishing over the past decade yet they have still not reached the market. But that may be about to change.
Spot the fox, wolf, sheep and…cuttlefish.
Jim Champion (sheep); R'lyeh (wolf); Michele Lamberti (fox); William Warby (cuttlefish)
Study shows how eyes that work for hunters are no use for the hunted.
Green lasers glowing within cells.
Matjaž Humar and Seok Hyun Yun
Using fluorescent dye, researchers figured out how to turn cells into lasers – with applications for cell tagging and tracking as well as medical diagnoses and therapies.
Wicked fast communication.
Universities of Bristol and Dundee
Your home internet connection works in one of two ways. One involves using a copper wire, probably your telephone line, to send electrical signals from the internet provider to your home and back. This…
As much as we like to think that we vote on substance – not style – studies have shown that physical appearance matters to voters.
While much of the 2014 midterm election analysis centered on the Republican takeover of the Senate, the pundits may have overlooked an important development: the end of a time when politicians looked a…
Now you see him …
The concept of “digital metamaterials” – a simple way of designing metamaterials with bizarre optical properties that could hasten the development of devices such as invisibility cloaks and superlenses…