Volume 15 - October-December 2011
Story 1 - 13/10/2011
Blue Light Beats the Blues
We all appreciate how a walk in the sun can do wonders for lifting our spirits, even though we may not know the exact scientific reasons behind the fact that sunshine helps fight the blues. Recent evidence sheds new (blue) light onto this mystery.
Story 2 - 2/11/2011
Soft, Oily and Self-healing
Optical components made of materials other than glass are very much sought after when it comes to engineering devices that are flexible, adaptable, and self-healing. Amongst an array of possible materials, organogels now take to the field.
Story 3 - 9/11/2011
Light from the Darkest Planet
The different colors reflected by carrots, green leaf salad, or even blueberries, give us clues as to their composition. Interestingly, the composition of exoplanets can also be inferred from their reflected light. But, what if a planet is far darker than we had ever thought possible?
Story 4 - 16/11/2011
Roy G. Biv Goes Nano
Roy G. Biv: Red, Orange, Yellow, Green, Blue, Indigo and Violet… the colors of the rainbow. New LED devices make them shine on the nanoscale.
Story 5 - 23/11/2011
Light’s Pull and Push
That light can exert forces by pushing objects has been known for a while. But would you have guessed that light can also pull towards the light source, just like the optical tractor beams in Star Trek?
Story 6 - 29/11/2011
The Photon Bouncer
Technology based on individual photons may soon open the door to new ways of quantum computing. Controlling quantum systems, however, is extremely subtle and difficult. The most common model currently in use, as it now turns out, is simply insufficient — a slightly more complex approach is required.
Story 7 - 7/12/2011
A Brighter Summer under the Ice
While Venice and other coastal cities around the world are slowly sinking, during the Arctic summer the waters underneath the ice become brighter and brighter. Are these two scenarios connected to the continuous thinning of Arctic ice?
Story 8 - 14/12/2011
The Number of Life
1/137… give or take: the value of the fine-structure constant. Our Universe, our life and everything we know depend on this number. What would the consequences be, if this were to change?