Dropleton, A new Quasiparticle!

Just a few weeks ago, a new quasiparticle, known as the ‘dropleton’, was discovered. Scientists in the States and Germany discovered this new liquid-like particle when they were studying excitons and the effects that lasers have on semiconductor elements. Exciton, like dropleton, is another quasiparticle, and is a pair of an electron and a hole bound together by electrostatic forces. (As a sidenote, a quasiparticle is a collective excitation within a material that behaves like a fundamental particle.)

Researchers created this new quantum particle by firing high-speed lasers at gallium-arsenide quantum wells. These dropleton have a lifetime of 25 picoseconds (one-trillionth of a second), long enough to be scientifically studied properly. These quantum droplets are created when the firing lasers excite electrons to form a number of excitions which combine to form one whole quantum droplet system, the dropleton. These quasiparticles are stabilized by Pauli’s Exclusion Principle and have properties relate-able to those of liquids.

Liquid-like dropletons are supposed to reveal invaluable information on how electrons react to different stimuli in solids and eventually lead to a better understanding of the solid state, and better electronic devices.

For more detailed information, do check out the original article, which was published in Nature 506,471–475 (27 February 2014).

Intro to physics online – lab included

There are any number of free introductory science courses available as MOOCs (Massive Open Online Courses). This one, however, is the first that I’ve seen that includes a laboratory component. It looks like all that you need to participate in Introductory Physics with Laboratory from Coursera is a smartphone with a camera or a webcam to capture video. They will provide the open source software for analyses.

Let me know if you give it a go.

Particle physics videos from TEDxCERN

Two guys walk into a bar – they just happen to be CERN scientists and they can help explain Higgs boson excitation of the Higgs field.  This particle physics video is one of a series of five videos from TEDxCERN. Waltch all five on the TED blog for a little on the birth of the universe, the history of the web and big data, dark matter, and antimatter.

Science of NHL Hockey

Hockey is back at long last so I thought I’d post a little hockey science.

The U.S. National Science Foundation has a series of videos in their multimedia gallery called the Science of NHL Hockey. For example, learn about Goals Against Average and other goaltending Statistics and Averages, or goalie Reflexes & Reaction Time, or watch one of the other videos:

Go Habs Go!

A look at 2012’s scientific achievements

In the latest issue of the New Scientist magazine, there is an article that briefly summarizes last year’s discoveries and debates in the physical sciences.  These were:

1- “Beyond Higgs: Deviant decays hint at exotic physics” [read more]

2- “Neutrino speed errors dash exotic physics dreams” [read more]

3- “If you want to be president, hire geeks not pundits” [read more]

4- “Why physicists can’t avoid a creation event” [read more]

5- “Fiendish ‘ABC proof’ heralds new mathematical universe” [read more]

6- “Death-defying time crystal could outlast the universe” [read more]

7- “Truth of the matter: The Majorana particle mystery” [read more]

8- “Quantum measurements leave Schrödinger’s cat alive” [read more]

9- “US judge rules that you can’t copyright pi” [read more]

10- “Move over graphene, silicene is the new star material” [read more]

Image from Microsoft Office Clipart

Science & technology research in Canada

The Council of Canadian Academies recently released a report entitled, The State of Science and Technology in Canada, 2012.  It reveals the 6 research fields in which Canada is among the best.  These are:

  • Clinical Medicine
  • Historical Studies
  • Information and Communication Technologies
  • Physics and Astronomy
  • Psychology and Cognitive Sciences
  • Visual and Performing Arts

For more information, read the report or watch the video below:

Do it yourself science videos

If you are thinking of dabbling in videography, here is some advice on making science videos from MinutePhysics creator, Henry Reich, in Waterloo, Canada.

MinutePhysics celebrated it’s first birthday this year and is now up to 67 educational and entertaining videos, 35,011,571 views and 487,686 subscribers. Learn about the Higgs boson (parts I, II, and III), for example, or why there is no pink light.

Oh, and be sure to watch the Rolling in the Higgs video from McGill graduate student, Tim Blais, for an extra boost of inspiration.

Happy DIY!

More free reads

College PhysicsIf you are curious about the physical universe this free introductory College Physics textbook from OpenStax College may be just the thing you need.  It is peer-reviewed by educators and has the look and feel of a classic illustrated textbook but with a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 license.  It can be downloaded, edited, customized, and reused, or you can just go ahead and dedicate some time to expanding your mind with conceptual questions, problems and exercises online.

You may also be interested in Introduction to Sociology, and there are more titles to come.

Happy learning!

Image from OpenStax College