The heavens above Mauna Kea – Tales from Hawaii: Part 2

Mauna Kea is an enormous, exinct volcano on Hawaii’s Big Island, and one of the best places on Earth to do astronomy¬†(if you ask them, the best one). In fact, the summit of the mountain hosts one of the world’s most renowned observatories. What makes it so special, other than that it looks like this?

Three of the telescopes on Mauna Kea’s summit. In the background, beyond the clouds is Maui (more than 100km away). CC-BY-NC-SA Carmen Romano

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Pele’s hair – Tales from Hawaii: Part 1

Recently I’ve been on an amazing trip to Hawaii. I was planning to write about the observatories there. Then I saw this.

CC-BY Karl Wienand

It’s solidified lava! So… yeah… gotta talk about that!

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What is graphene?

Want to win a Nobel prize while discovering a material that’s cheap, transparent, flexible but resistent, and an astonishing electric conductor? Grab a pencil and a roll of adhesive tape. I’m serious.

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A singular post

You may have read around that a black hole “is a singularity”. But, if you are interested in artificial intelligence, you also heard about The Singularity, when robots will surpass us. So… robots in black holes? Actually, it all makes sense. Continue reading

Enceladus: a song of ice and tides

An artist impression of Cassini diving into Enceladus water plumes. credit: NASA/JPL

Cassini will terminate its 20-odd-years-long mission in September. But it’s determined to go out with a bang. In yesterday’s press conference, NASA announced that the probe, during a 2015 flyby of Saturn’s moon Enceladus, found clues that the ocean within the icy moon has almost all we think it needs to spark life. Continue reading

Phenomenal cosmic power, itty bitty living space

Wouldn’t it be great to take the universe in the lab? Astronomy is one of the most captivating parts of physics. I mean, one can’t scoff at the idea of unveiling the mysteries of the cosmos. Unfortuntely, galaxies and black holes don’t exactly cooperate as far as experimenting goes.

A group of physicists is working on a solution. Continue reading

Quantum… jokes?

Many jokes, particularly puns and one-liners, rely on on setting up expectations, just to subvert them, on double meanings and ambiguity. Take this one:

I would tell you a chemistry joke, but I wouldn’t get any reaction.

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