Volume 2 - August-September 2008
Story 1 - 4/8/2008
The Runaway Polymer
Polymer blends are allies in our everyday lives, but they can also become our worst enemies, if the polymers mix too much. It is now possible to track down the polymers' behavior at the micrometer scale.
Story 2 - 13/8/2008
Cells in the Heart Dance
to the Tune of Light
The rhythmic beat of the heart keeps us alive. This beat is the result of an electrical mechanism, ingeniously put in place by nature, to control its cells. Surprisingly, ultrashort light pulses can do the same, virtually making these cells dance to the tune of light.
Story 3 - 18/8/2008
Will Excitonic Circuits
Change Our Lives?
Transistors that process signals by emitting flashes of light: is this the milestone of a technological revolution in computation? Whether this scenario is science or fiction, only the future will tell.
Story 4 - 3/9/2008
Checking the Weather
of Alien Planets
Which planets in the universe are habitable? Check the weather!
It is now possible to know if extra-solar planets have earth-like weather
by analyzing the signature the weather leaves in the light scattered by these planets.
Story 5 - 18/9/2008
The Polymer and
the Hummingbird’s Wing
Hummingbirds are unique and amazing birds: they can hover mid-air by rapidly flapping their wings. Even more amazing is the fact that an artificial polymer, which oscillates when exposed to laser light, can flutter like a hummingbird’s wing.
Story 6 - 25/9/2008
High-speed cameras can film a bullet passing through an apple. Chemical reactions, however, are far too fast even for the best cameras. Attosecond physics promises new approaches to study and manipulate them.