Forces of the World Unite!

June 3, 2013

The aim of physicists is to provide a concise, but accurate description of the universe around us. At first glance, our world seems to be composed of a wealth of different materials controlled by a multitude of different forces. But one of the great triumphs of modern physics is the realization that these forces are [...]

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Animated Atom Boy!

May 9, 2013

The idea of atoms dates back to antiquity. In ancient times philosophers argued about the existence of these fundamental components of matter. They had little idea about the structure of atoms except that they were thought to be indivisible, and this was the origin of the word atom. Ironically, the modern understanding of what we [...]

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Cosmic Antimatter Rays!

April 11, 2013

In 1912 the Austrian physicist Victor Hess conclusively demonstrated the existence of cosmic rays when he took an electrometer to an altitude of over 5000 metres in a hot-air balloon. At this altitude Hess detected four times as much radiation as at ground level. We now know that the Earth is continually bombarded by high energy particles [...]

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Strings, Surfaces and Physics

March 25, 2013

Last year I was asked to produce three animations for an exhibition at the Royal Society in London. The exhibition was called Intersections: Henry Moore and Stringed Surfaces and was staged as a partnership between the Isaac Newton Institute in Cambridge, the Henry Moore Foundation, the Science Museum in London and the Royal Society. It was [...]

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The Universe Just Got A Bit Older!

March 25, 2013

The universe just got a little bit older – a mere 80 million years older. More precisely, a much improved estimate of the age of the universe has just been published. Astrophysicists at the European Space Agency (ESA) have released the most accurate map of the cosmic microwave background radiation yet compiled. This is the [...]

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Upgrading the LHC

March 12, 2013

On 11th February the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) at CERN, the European particle physics laboratory near Geneva, was shut down for a complete overhaul. The huge machine will be out of action for almost two years. The restart is scheduled for December 2014. Engineers are working around the clock to meet this deadline. When the [...]

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A Few Fractals

January 30, 2013

Following my previous post I have had a number of requests for images of fractals, so here goes. Fractals are characterised by their property of self-similarity, they are both similar to themselves in different regions and similar to themselves on different length scales, so that an enlargement of a fractal looks the same as the [...]

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Symbolic Sculpture

January 17, 2013

Some years ago I worked with the sculptor John Robinson to create a series of virtual realizations of his abstract geometrical sculptures. The result was a collection of stunning ray-traced animations called Symbolic Sculpture. I have included a few of these animations here. The first shows a polyhedron called Pulse.     The polyhedron is [...]

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Super Symmetry!

January 1, 2013

All particles can be divided into two distinct types known as bosons and fermions, as described in some of my earlier articles. For more information see: Bosons, Lasers and Superfluids and Fermions, Atoms and Neutron Stars. However, the ultimate aim of physicists is to reveal the unifying principles that bind the universe together – the simple [...]

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Most of the Universe is Missing!

December 16, 2012

It is a rather embarrassing fact that most of the universe seems to be missing! There are two ways to determine the amount of material in the universe. One way is to measure its gravitational pull, the other way is to measure the amount of light that is being emitted by luminous objects. All objects [...]

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