Flower Power: The Physics of Pollination Biology Botany 

Flower Power: The Physics of Pollination

By Marie Davey @biophilesblog Pollination. The word brings to mind the droning buzz of fat yellow and black bumblebees bouncing from blossom to blossom in flower-decked meadows. But up close and in person, pollination is often anything but idyllic. The physical forces involved in pollination can be impressive, and both plants and insects must be well adapted to withstand them. The flowers of bunchberry (Cornus canadensis) generate impressive physical forces, acting as tiny pollen catapults. Bunchberry flower buds have petals that are fused to one another and completely enclose the…

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Phosphorescent Concrete: Photo of light-emitting concrete courtesy of Investigation y Desarrollo Physics Technology 

Phosphorescent Concrete Lights the Way Home

By Jonathan Trinastic @jptrinastic Imagine a future when, as dusk turns to night during a long drive, the darkening highway begins to glow in soft hues of blue and green to illuminate the path ahead. Such a possibility could become reality after the creation of light-emitting cement by Jose Carlos Rubio at the University of San Nicolas Hidalgo in Mexico. The novel material could provide lighted pathways for cars, trucks, bikes, and pedestrians without using electricity. Countries of Concrete Most developed countries now rely on vast networks of roads to…

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liquid graphene, liquid metal Physics Technology 

Liquid Graphene: Metal Behaves Like Water

By Jonathan Trinastic @jptrinastic The Liquid Electrons of Graphene Graphene has always been a material full of promise, and now researchers from Harvard University have found one more reason to wonder at this deceptively simple, two-dimensional sheet of carbon atoms. Electrons moving across one graphene layer have been observed to act like a fluid for the first time, showing a collective motion rarely seen in other metals. Potential applications of this new behavior range from electronic devices converting heat into electricity to a better understanding of black holes. A Sheet…

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Using cycling to teach physics Physics 

Using Cycling to Teach Physics

Working together, scientists and teachers have developed a method to teach teens about aerodynamic drag. Are you using cycling to teach physics, yet? “Usually, describing a realistic motion including aerodynamic drag would be beyond the scope of a secondary physics course. However, I realized that this could be done fairly easily for a bike slowing down by aerodynamic drag,” explains Florian Theilmann from the Weingarten University of Education in Germany. From Textbook to Real-Life Physics “In a common physics class, physics seems to be presented in a very simplified way,”…

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Flight: Photo by Max Goldberg Physics 

Ruminations on Flight

By Rosalind Rude I have a friend who pilots his own aircraft. He’s been away from it for a while so now he is boning up, re-sharpening his skills to get back in the saddle, or back in the cockpit. As he recently explained to me, piloting an aircraft is nothing like driving a car or riding a bike.   Yaw, Pitch, and Roll There are three axes in play during flight: The airplane turns left and right (yaw). The airplane’s nose goes up and down (pitch). The body of…

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Volunteers wearing the rubber soled shoes walk up and down an ice-covered inclined floor in the Challenging Environment Assessment Lab. (Reza Rizvi, Yue Li, and Sharon Ravindran/ Toronto Rehabilitation Institute) Health Physics Technology 

Winter Hack: New Rubber Grips Icy Surfaces

Winter storms dumped record amounts of snow on the East Coast and other regions of the United States this year, forcing many people to navigate icy sidewalks and roads. However, treacherous travel by foot may soon be a thing of the past thanks to a team of researchers from the Toronto Rehabilitation Institute and the University of Toronto, Canada, who are working on a new rubber sole to help pedestrians get a better grip on slippery surfaces. The material is made up of glass fibers embedded in rubber, and it…

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