Articles on Physics

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There’s an ongoing push to open the world of academic knowledge to the wider population … for free. Jackman Chiu

Open-access journals: a perspective from within

There’s an ongoing debate in the world of academic publishing about whether the public should be allowed open access to research publications we all pay for in the first place. “If we are paying for this…
“We’re accused of sitting in our ivory tower when we don’t engage with the public, and of sensationalism when we do.” photosteve101

‘Rewriting’ the Big Bang theory – a personal perspective

Melbourne Researchers Rewrite Big Bang Theory sang a recent headline in the Sydney Morning Herald. It was one of many suggesting the Big Bang theory had been somehow overthrown. As the principal investigator…
Imagine a magic prism for the entire range of electromagnetic waves. TORLEY

Explainer: what is the electromagnetic spectrum?

Visible light forms part of the electromagnetic spectrum. So do emissions from TV and radio transmitters, mobile phones and the energy inside microwave ovens. The X-rays used in diagnostic imaging and…
“Most people just get used to the concept and get on with their lives.” Roger McLassus

Explainer: what is wave-particle duality

Our notion of reality is built on everyday experiences. But wave-particle duality is so strange that we are forced to re-examine our common conceptions. Wave-particle duality refers to the fundamental…
The Higgs boson is alive with the sound of music. rafeejewell

Higgs the musical: the sound of the ‘God particle’

The July 4 discovery of a particle that closely resembles the Higgs boson opens a new era in science: it should help us understand some fundamental mysteries, such as how microscopic particles attain their…
“Physics permeates the language we use to describe music, and the concepts we use to understand it.” Ravages

Music and physics – the connections aren’t trivial

My ANU colleague John Rayner’s excellent recent article on the physics of music seemed to touch a nerve with the readership of The Conversation. Although beautifully framed by the personal and anecdotal…
Music is the language of love – and it exemplifies some principles of science. Roxanne Milward

This is a love song: the physics of music and the music of physics

My wife Theresa represents many things for me – in addition to being my partner, I see her as a 17cm-long quarter-wavelength resonator (which I hope you’ll understand and agree with by the end of this…
Results pertaining to the Higgs boson are “consistent with its existence”. jef safi

Higgs boson announcement – expert reaction

This expert reaction comes via the Australian Science Media Centre: CERN (the European Organisation for Nuclear Research) has this evening announced that the long-sought Higgs boson probably exists, after…
Ripples in a pond help to illustrate wave motion and the Doppler effect. *˜Dawn˜*

Explainer: the Doppler effect

When an ambulance passes with its siren blaring, you hear the pitch of the siren change: as it approaches, the siren’s pitch sounds higher than when it is moving away from you. This change is a common…
Life would be pretty boring if we could predict what was coming next. ModernDope

Explainer: Heisenberg’s Uncertainty Principle

The term “uncertainty principle” suggests some grand philosophical idea, like “you can never be sure of anything”, or “there are some things you can never be sure of” and sometimes people use it as if…
A simple desire to understand the way the world works has landed some Iranian researchers in hot water.

Particles and persecution: why we should care about Iranian physicists

On a given day, your typical physicist is mainly preoccupied with trying to understand the intimate secrets of the universe. As with most academics, we get to visit one another in parts of the world to…
The focus on mathematics and other enabling sciences is diminishing in Australia. Flickr/eriwst

Australian science: healthy but starting to splutter

Australian science is “generally in good health”, but faces major challenges in the form of falling science participation…
Chief Scientist Ian Chubb’s report, released today, presents some serious concerns for the future of Australian science. AAP Image/Alan Porritt

A prescription for healthy science? Chief Scientist’s report points the way

Chief Scientist Ian Chubb’s Health of Australian Science report, launched today at the National Press Club, starts on an optimistic note. Australian science is generally in good health: school students…
The global push to detect gravitational waves could provide an enormous return for science. Wikimedia Commons

Rippling space-time: how to catch Einstein’s gravitational waves

Albert Einstein made an executive decision to revolutionise our understanding of gravity in a paper published in 1916. Nearly 100 years on, a key prediction of Einstein’s theory has eluded direct detection…
The ghost-like image of Tupac captured the imagination of concert-goers … imagine if they’d seen a real hologram.

Beyond Tupac – the future of hologram technology

Last week the world watched on as a supposed hologram of the late rapper Tupac Shakur performed at the Coachella music festival in California. But was it a hologram? The term “hologram”, (“holos” meaning…
Pepper’s Ghost is an amazing technique, but holograms, done right, are so much cooler. kisokiso

Tupac’s rise from the dead was, sadly, not holography

Last week rapper Tupac Shakur performed at the Coachella music festival in California – a notable feat given he was shot dead in 1996. Tupac’s glowing image appeared on stage, rapping, dancing and interacting…

Heat flows at an atomic level

A single layer of atoms can be used to enhance or restrict heat flow between materials. The finding comes as researchers…

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