As always, here’s an overview of the top physics news of the week. I gathered 3 news with short summaries and links. For more reading check out the links below. Also, to receive these news straight to your email, register for our email newsletter.
Physics World has recently announced a list of top 5 physics discoveries since the start of the magazine (1988). The 25th birthday issue also included five different lists to examine the most important discoveries in the last 25 years and how they might change the future. The main list included the following discoveries: quantum teleportation, first Bose-Einstein condensate, the discovery of the accelerating expansion of the universe, proof that neutrinos have mass and the discovery of the Higgs boson.
A prototype of an M-block
2. A Simple Scheme for Self-Assembling Robots (October 4)
John Romanishin, Daniela Rus and postdoc Kyle Gilpin from the MIT CSAIL lab have proposed a scheme describing a revolutionary type of robots called M-blocks. The robots are cubes with no external moving parts, however they’re able to climb over and around one another, leap through the air, roll across the ground, and even move while suspended upside down from metallic surfaces. The researchers believe that a more advanced version of M-blocks could be useful in engineering and research. To be more specific, M-blocks could repair buildings, reassemble into furniture or useful equipment and explore dangerous environments.
3. New Kind of Microscope Uses Neutrons (October 4)
A team of scientists from NASA and MIT has published a paper describing a new type of microscope. The new instrument uses neutrons — particles with no atomic charge — to create higher resolution images. According to the researchers, the new microscope uses several reflective cylinders nested one inside the other, which increases the reflection area. This improvement could, according to the scientists, improve the performance of existing neutron instruments by a factor of 50.