Researcher Jon Pratt next to the watt balance at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) in Gaithersburg, Maryland. MUST CREDIT: Washington Post photo by Salwan Georges Sound The gallery will resume inseconds Show Caption of Expand By Washington Post | PUBLISHED: November 16, 2018 at 5:50 am | UPDATED: November 16, 2018 at 5:54 am By Sarah Kaplan | The Washington Post Humanity is on the verge of a weighty achievement. On Friday, representatives of more than 60 nations will convene in Versailles, France, to approve a new definition for the kilogram. Since the 19th century, scientists have based their definition of the fundamental unit of mass on a physical object – a shining platinum iridium cylinder stored in a locked vault in the bowels of the International Bureau of Weights and Measures (BIPM) in Sevres, France. A kilogram was equal to the heft of this aging hunk of metal, and the cylinder, by definition, weighed exactly a kilogram. If … [Read more...] about For decades, the kilogram was based on a hunk of metal. The world just redefined it using quantum physics.
Understanding quantum physics
Sections SEARCH Skip to content Skip to site index Book Review Subscribe Log In Subscribe Log In Advertisement Supported by Nonfiction ByJames Gleick May 8, 2018 WHAT IS REAL? The Unfinished Quest for the Meaning of Quantum Physics Are atoms real? Of course they are. Everybody believes in atoms, even people who don’t believe in evolution or climate change. If we didn’t have atoms, how could we have atomic bombs? But you can’t see an atom directly. And even though atoms were first conceived and named by ancient Greeks, it was not until the last century that they achieved the status of actual physical entities — real as apples, real as the moon. The first proof of atoms came from 26-year-old Albert Einstein in 1905, the same year he proposed his theory of special relativity. Before that, the atom served as an increasingly useful hypothetical construct. At the same time, Einstein defined a new entity: a particle of … [Read more...] about What Does Quantum Physics Actually Tell Us About the World?
Science Facebook Twitter Flipboard Email Enlarge this image Pasieka/Getty Images/Science Photo Library RF Pasieka/Getty Images/Science Photo Library RF There's a hole at the heart of quantum physics. It's a deep hole. Yet it's not a hole that prevents the theory from working. Quantum physics is, by any measure, astonishingly successful. It's the theory that underpins nearly all of modern technology, from the silicon chips buried in your phone to the LEDs in its screen, from the nuclear hearts of the most distant space probes to the lasers in the supermarket checkout scanner. It explains why the sun shines and how your eyes can see. Quantum physics works. Yet the hole remains: Despite the wild success of the theory, we don't really understand what it says about the world around us. The mathematics of the theory makes incredibly accurate predictions about the outcomes of experiments and natural phenomena. In order to do that so well, the theory must have … [Read more...] about The Puzzle Of Quantum Reality
Culture Facebook Twitter Flipboard Email Enlarge this image An image from Clifford Johnson's The Dialogues: Conversations about the Nature of the Universe. Courtesy of Clifford Johnson hide caption toggle caption Courtesy of Clifford Johnson An image from Clifford Johnson's The Dialogues: Conversations about the Nature of the Universe. Courtesy of Clifford Johnson The origin of the universe, the nature of space, the reality of time: These are ancient questions. Libraries across the world are filled with heavy books that are, themselves, heavy with equations on these issues. But how many graphic novels are exploring these questions? More importantly, how many graphic novels written and drawn by expert theoretical physicists are there? Well, happily for us all, the answer to the latter question is "at least one," thanks to University of Southern California physicist Clifford Johnson. Johnson's new book The Dialogues: Conversations about the Nature of … [Read more...] about ‘The Dialogues’ Takes On Physics And Reality In Words And Pictures
Last Updated Oct 7, 2014 12:45 PM EDT STOCKHOLM -- Two Japanese scientists and a Japanese-born American won the Nobel Prize in physics on Tuesday for inventing blue light-emitting diodes, a breakthrough that has spurred the development of LED technology to light up homes, computer screens and smartphones worldwide.The Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences says the invention is just 20 years old, "but it has already contributed to create white light in an entirely new manner to the benefit of us all."Isamu Akasaki, Hiroshi Amano and naturalized U.S. citizen Shuji Nakamura revolutionized lighting technology when they came up with a long-elusive component of the white LED lights that in countless applications today have replaced less efficient incandescent and fluorescent lights."They succeeded where everyone else had failed," the Nobel committee said. "Incandescent light bulbs lit the 20th century; the 21st century will be lit by LED lamps."Red and green light-emitting diodes have been … [Read more...] about CBS News Logo 2-decade-old bright idea scores Nobel in physics