What could a ‘relativistic camera’ capture on the way to Alpha Centauri?
An astronomer suggests an idea to piggyback on the ambitious Breakthrough Starshot project that aims to send nano spacecraft to Alpha Centauri at a major fraction of the speed of light.
Section of a tumor observed with an optical microscope. The two white forms with brown borders are blood vessels. Inside, gold nanoparticles accumulate against their walls.
Mariana Varna-Pannerec (ESPCI)
Gold can be used to make jewelry, but also to fight cancer. Several clinical trials are currently underway in the United States where patients are being treated with gold nanoparticles.
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.
About a century ago, we didn’t even know that galaxies existed.
Mai Lam/The Conversation NY-BD-CC
Pretty much as soon as we understood what galaxies were, we realised they are all moving away from each other. And the ones that are further away are moving faster. In short, the universe is expanding.
It’s been 70 years of instant photography, thanks to Edwin Land, on the left.
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.
While some things glow all the time, glow-in-the-dark paint must be ‘told to glow’ - just like a phone needs to be charged or it won’t work.
Mai Lam/The Conversation NY-BD-CC
You can see glow-in-the dark paint, but if you touch it, it is just as cold as the bedroom wall. So the glowing of the paint is different to the glowing of a light bulb.
Timeline of the universe.
From blindingly bright and burning hot to pleasantly 'candle-lit', the first years of the universe would have been spectacular to see.
The Small Magellanic Cloud galaxy here seen in infrared light, but it looks different when viewed at other wavelengths.
The galaxies, stars and planets in our universe can look very different when you view them through equipment that sees beyond the visible light our eyes can see.
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.
Diatoms - like those seen under a microscope here - can teach us a lot about harvesting light.
Diatoms' tricks may offer new insights that keep solar cell energy running efficiently and robustly throughout their processes.
Example of nonlinear effect which can be observed in an optical fiber. All the colors of the rainbow are generated at the output while only one color is present at the entrance. We’re talking about supercontinuum.
To understand what is happening in an optical fibre, physicists can mimic a rupture of the flow of grains of light – the photons – thanks to a laser device.
Bathing in pure colour can have effects on the body and mind.
The brain processes colour in more ways that just creating visual images – here's how.
Bad night’s sleep? Blame your genes.
A. and I. Kruk/shutterstock.com
Whether you're a night owl or a morning lark, circadian rhythms control just about every aspect of your health.
Rainbows get their round shape from a process called reflection.
Georgina, age 5, wants to know why rainbows are round.
Artificial light has transformed the night sky, a change researchers continue to link to health problems.
Fabio Falchi et al
Study uses satellite data to add to growing evidence that nighttime light exposure raises risk of breast cancer, with the strongest link among young women.
Color-changing cells in an Atlantic squid’s skin contain light-sensitive pigments.
We're used to thinking of our eyes detecting light as the foundation of our visual system. But what's going on in other cells throughout the body that can detect light, too?
Earth, shot from space, as it absorbs and reflects rays of light coming from the Sun - the same white-looking rays that give our sky its colour.
Some people think the sky is blue because of sunlight reflected off the ocean and back into the sky. But that's not the real reason.
Poul Henningsen’s Artichoke Lamp, viewed from below at London’s Park Plaza Hotel.
Doc Searls/Wikimedia Commons
We asked five design experts – what's your favorite product of all time, and why?
Photosynthesis can teach scientists a lot about solar technologies.
Individual light-harvesting protein complexes have a remarkable ability. Light, which is normally effectively harvested, is also used to finely control how much of it should be harvested.
Time to get up.
alarm clock image via www.shutterstock.com
Gaining a better sense of what genes are involved in regulating circadian clocks could put us on a path to find better treatments and therapies to help people adjust to time shifts.