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Articles on Light

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Curious Kids: is light a wave or a particle?

Einstein was awarded a Nobel prize for his explanation for how light can be described as being made up of individual particles of energy under certain conditions.
Female elephant seals take seven-month feeding trips during which they balance danger, starvation and exhaustion. Dan Costa

Risk versus reward on the high seas – skinny elephant seals trade safety for sustenance

By measuring how and when elephant seals sleep, researchers were able to figure out how elephant seals change their risk-taking behavior as they gain weight.
The greenhouse effect and plate tectonics are essential for maintaining water on the Earth’s surface. NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center/Reto Stöckli

Why is the Earth blue?

The presence of water on the Earth’s surface is the result of a subtle balance between different mechanisms in the atmosphere and below the surface.
Lasers create colorful light shows at concerts, are used by doctors in surgeries – and are used in scientific laboratories. EyeWolf/Getty Images

What is the slowest thing on Earth?

Physicists can use bright, hot lasers to slow atoms down so much that they measure -459 degrees Fahrenheit.
French startup LightOn is currently on working on developing light-powered technologies. Dmitriy Rybin / Shutterstock

Light, a possible solution for a sustainable AI

Hardware could exploit the properties of scattered light so that computations happen at high speed and with low power consumption.
Pulses of light followed by extended dark periods might help make indoor agricultural production more sustainable. DutchScenery/Shutterstock.com

Micro-naps for plants: Flicking the lights on and off can save energy without hurting indoor agriculture harvests

Indoor plant factories have high energy costs since LEDs replace the sunlight outdoor plants get for free. Scientists found a way to dial back how much light is needed by breaking it into tiny bursts.
Gravity helps stars to form. UNIMAP / L. Piazzo, La Sapienza – Università di Roma; E. Schisano / G. Li Causi, IAPS/INAF, Italy

Curious Kids: how long has gravity existed?

Gravity exists because the universe is full of ‘stuff’ – here’s how it came to be.
The crests (bright) and troughs (dark) of waves spread out after they were produced. The picture applies to both light and sound waves. Titima Ongkantong

A new type of laser uses sound waves to help to detect weak forces

Most people are familiar with lasers. But what about a laser made with sound rather than light? A couple of physicists have now created one that they plan to use for measuring imperceivable forces.
The sea is blue because of the way water absorbs light, the way particles in the water scatter light, and also because some of the blue light from the sky is reflected. Flickr/Fiona Paton

Curious Kids: is water blue or is it just reflecting off the sky?

Photons stream from the sun and interact with all matter on Earth. Depending on what the light touches, some of the photons will get absorbed or soaked up. And some will bounce back.

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