Why Is Ice Slippery Enough for Skiing and Skating?

Brianne Costa | December 2, 2016

Finding a scientific explanation for why ice is slippery seems simple enough, but it has actually been a subject of debate and confusion for centuries. As part of the world begins to bundle up for a blustery winter, let’s explore the science behind how the slipperiness of ice enables us to ski, skate, and even fall down in the parking lot.

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Caty Fairclough | November 7, 2016

Marie Curie is a Nobel Prize-winning scientist who was a pioneer in the field of radioactivity, a word she herself coined. Besides her many honorary degrees and memberships in societies across the globe, she is well known for her two Nobel Prizes in physics and chemistry. As today is the anniversary of her birthday, we’d like to take a brief look into her life and major achievements.

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Caty Fairclough | September 28, 2016

Imagine going to a hospital and having your vitals checked by a machine with a silicon skin, or exploring hard-to-reach areas on the ocean floor with a robot that moves like an octopus. Thanks to soft robotics, a field that involves the design of soft and nonrigid robots, these scenarios may become a possibility in the future. Find out more about this growing technology and the range of opportunities it provides.

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Bridget Paulus | August 29, 2016

Leon Theremin, a Russian inventor, is best known for creating the theremin as well as the Thing, also called the Great Seal bug. Referred to as the “Russian Edison”, his passion for physics and music fostered the growth of electronic instruments on an international scale. Today, we celebrate the life and accomplishments of this influential figure.

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Caty Fairclough | July 29, 2016

Around the world, millions of people lack access to improved sources of drinking water. Pesticides, bacteria, organic matter, and other pollutants can make accessible water unsafe for human consumption. Finding a cost-effective and easy method to purify water is therefore a major global initiative. One possible solution is a nanoparticle biofoam, which may provide an efficient method for generating safe drinking water.

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Bridget Cunningham | June 13, 2016

Strong performance is a key focal point in designing any electronic device. In an effort to extend the design space for further applications and to take steps toward realizing the Internet of Things, the desire for high performance is now paired with an interest in achieving greater physical flexibility — a change from today’s rigid and brittle electronic devices. See how stretchable electronics are successfully blending strength and flexibility to offer new opportunities for technological growth.

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Caty Fairclough | May 12, 2016

Dorothy Crowfoot Hodgkin is a Nobel Prize-winning scientist whose research advanced the field of X-ray crystallography and determined the structures of several important biochemical substances, including penicillin, vitamin B12, and insulin. Today, on the anniversary of her birthday, we’ll take a look at her life and accomplishments.

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Bridget Cunningham | April 28, 2016

The ability to adapt to unpredictable or dangerous environments is an important advantage for any vehicle or device. Developing materials with the ability to shift in shape can offer potential for new technologies to handle such situations. With the design of a new hybrid material, engineers at Cornell University are bringing new developments of this nature to the fields of soft robotics and aeronautics.

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Bridget Cunningham | March 7, 2016

Mildred Dresselhaus has been an influential figure in science and engineering for many years. She is recognized as a driving force behind innovative research in the field of carbon science, among other areas, and an influential supporter of female leadership and development in physics and other traditionally male-dominated fields. Today, we celebrate “the queen of carbon science”, highlighting her many achievements in both science and education as well as her encouragement for women in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM).

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Brianne Costa | January 11, 2016

In 2012, guests at a California music festival called Coachella were shocked to see rap artist Tupac Shakur perform onstage. Why? Because the famed musician had been dead for nearly two decades. Viral reactions called the digitized performance a “hologram”, which is actually a misnomer. This stunt is an example of the Pepper’s Ghost optical illusion, which can be explained with ray optics.

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Brianne Costa | October 22, 2015

Clinton Davisson is an American physicist best known for his discovery of electron diffraction through the Davisson-Germer experiment. His findings brought about important developments in the field of quantum mechanics. On this day, which would have been his birthday, we celebrate Davisson’s storied history and many contributions to science.

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