Submitted by Stuart Watson on Tue, 04/10/2011 - 10:42
This is a beautiful demonstration of a trick of the light that we are all quite familiar with, and it even has an on/off switch. An aerogel sheet of carbon nanotubes is rapidly heated by electrical stimulation. The heat is conducted away and into the surrounding water, where a mirage effect is created. Light is then deflected away from the layer of heated water, rendering anything placed behind it invisible.
Submitted by Stuart Watson on Mon, 03/10/2011 - 14:22
Consumer electronics drive so much more than the economy, they also push forward on the frontiers of science and technology in remarkable ways. Powerful mobile computers with a variety of sophisticated sensors built in, are rapidly becoming common in the pockets and purses of everyday people. But they can do more than just play your favourite music and videos, surf the internet or play games, they can function as important scientific tools as well.
Submitted by Stuart Watson on Fri, 08/01/2010 - 16:34
"It is lighted neither by window nor by lamp, yet is filled with a soft radiance." This is part of the opening paragraph to E. M. Forster's short story The Machine Stops, in which he describes a small room where the walls themselves glow and light the room. Now, 100 years after its publication, this concept is becoming a reality.
Submitted by Stuart Watson on Thu, 07/01/2010 - 15:53
Researchers at the Risø National Laboratory for Sustainable Energy at the Technical University of Denmark, have demonstrated for the first time the use of a wind turbine equipped with a laser for improved performance.
Submitted by Stuart Watson on Tue, 06/10/2009 - 19:58
The Nobel Prize committee, which each year awards prizes for achievements in the sciences and humanities, have this year given their recognition to the role of optics in transforming the world of information technology.
Submitted by Stuart Watson on Sat, 26/09/2009 - 11:52
Light is good for your health. Most notably, there are significant health benefits from vitamin D, which is produced in our bodies by the absorption into the skin of ultraviolet (UV) radiation. There are also dietary sources of vitamin D, but one of the best and most enjoyable involves simply sitting back and soaking up the sun's rays.
Submitted by Stuart Watson on Fri, 11/09/2009 - 23:50
The demand for consumer electronics to get smaller, lighter and cheaper, is a stimulus for great ingenuity. Cell phones are a classic example where electrical engineers and designers are constantly working to put a whole lot more into ever smaller spaces. And now that cameras are almost as standard a feature in these devices as the ring tone, optical engineers must also devise increasingly clever ways to shrink the optics while improving their performance.
Submitted by Stuart Watson on Sat, 05/09/2009 - 08:53
Lasers which can control the movement of particles are still confined to the microscopic world, but if you have an over-reactive imagination, you might wonder just what the limits are on the size of bodies which these devices can control and whether science fiction's tractor beams are becoming a reality. Today's technology may not be capable of producing force fields that lock on to starships and guide them in to land, but the size of particles which can be manipulated by light are getting larger.
Submitted by Stuart Watson on Sun, 21/06/2009 - 17:26
Last week NASA launched the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO) and the Lunar Crater Observation and Sensing Satellite (LCROSS). The LRO mission will map the lunar surface in greater detail than ever before, while LCROSS hurtles toward our nearest neighbour on a collision course, to deliver the scientific version of a double jab, two rapid blows that may uncover the existence of water on our otherwise rocky neighbour.