This fantastic music video by Kim Pimmel is a beautiful merger of art and fluid dynamics. Using household goods (and some slightly more exotic ferrofluid), the video shows how mesmerizing diffusion, buoyancy, Marangoni flow, and other fluid effects can be up close. It may also be the first time I’ve ever seen fluid dynamics—specifically bubbles—used as characters! Also be sure to check out some of his previous videos, many of which also feature cool fluid dynamics. (Video credit and submission: K. Pimmel)


Tracks made by atomic particles from a particle accelerator, a device that speeds up the particles. The eye can’t see protons, electrons, and other subatomic particles, but a camera records their frothy wakes in a chamber of liquefied neon and hydrogen at the Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory in Batavia, Illinois. Physicists study the tracks to learn about the characteristics of the particles that produced them.” - National Geographic, 1978.

Incredible non-stick coating has solved a universally annoying problem

One of the most frustrating feelings in the world is struggling to get the last bit of ketchup out of the bottle or the last squirt of toothpaste out of the tube.

Now there’s a coating called LiquiGlide that can keep the inside of a container permanently wet and allow its contents to easily slide out.

LiquiGlide was originally created in 2012 by a professor, Kripa Varanasi and his grad students at MIT. They have formed their own LiquiGlide company, and it’s now getting some traction among consumer products.

The reason it’s so difficult to get things like glue and condiments out of their containers is because they are viscous liquids that can’t flow without a powerful push. When these kinds of liquids flow through a pipe or a bottle, the layer of liquids flow at different speeds and create friction and viscosity. The layer at the very center of the container is flowing fastest and the layer that is closest to the container sticks to its surface.

The idea behind LiquiGlide is to create an extra layer between the container and the liquid that will help the liquid slide out easier. LiquiGlide is a liquid coating that binds much more strongly to textured surfaces than to liquids, so when it’s painted onto the inside of a container, the liquid can flow freely over it without creating friction and viscosity.

“We’re not defying physics, but effectively, we are,” one of the MIT grad students, Dave Smith, told the New York Times.

So what’s in LiquiGlide? It depends on the liquid and containers that each batch is made for. For any food containers, the coating is made from edible materials like plants.

Other than solving a universally frustrating problem, LiquiGlide also cuts down on waste. You end up wasting less glue, paint, condiments, etc., because it’s much easier to get out the last few stubborn squeezes. According to a consumer report from 2009, some people end up throwing out up to a quarter of the lotion in a bottle, 16 percent of detergent, and 15 percent of condiments because it’s too much of a pain to coax out the layers that stick to the container.

However, the original intent behind LiquiGlide was not to make it easier to have ketchup with your fries. Varanasi was thinking about industry applications like more efficient oil pumping. For now, the company has found success in consumer products, but it will continue pursuing industry application ideas too.

Elmers Products, Inc. is on board and has already signed a contract with LiquiGlide. An easier to squeeze mayonnaise bottle might be coming out this year, and easier to squeeze toothpaste could be here in 2017. For some reason, ketchup companies have shown little interest.



Biocanvas has our top three favorite research stories here on The Scope for the week of March 23, 2015:

  1. We can breathe a little easier now. Scientists at the University of Michigan Medical School have successfully grown three-dimensional “mini-lungs” using stem cells. While not as complex as fully functional lungs (they lack blood vessels), the mini-lungs can imitate their actual counterparts. These results will help advance the study of how organs form, change with disease, and respond to experimental drugs.
  2. Would you like your ice cubed, crushed, or square? Physicists at Ulm University discovered that under high pressure, water can exist as ice even at room temperature. When confined between thin sheets of graphene (an honeycomb arrangement of carbon atoms), the water’s molecules adopt a square configuration as opposed to their normal snowflake-like shape. This is the first time that scientists have been able to depict the structure and behavior of narrowly confined water beyond computer simulation. Pretty cool.
  3. Can you teach an old dog new tricks? Researchers at Duke-NUS Graduate Medical School Singapore may have. They repurposed an older drug used to treat malaria by combining it with an enzyme inhibitor. This new cocktail thwarted a major cancer-related pathway known as autophagy, the process of a cell digesting parts of itself as a nutritional source. The combination drug effectively cuts off the nutrient supply to cancer cells. This could be promising news for bladder and colon cancers, which are frequently developed via this pathway, but more work remains to test this idea.

Image: From our third story. The autophagy-related protein CK1-alpha (red) is removed in cancer cells (blue) as a potential cancer treatment. Credit: Dr. Jit Kong Cheong.

anónimo perguntou:

I'm so tired of middle schoolers "knowing that they want to be a physicist" yes it's great to aspire towards something and have goals but I wish someone would just tell these children to keep their minds open and go with the flow because directions waiver and ambiguity isn't the end of the world.

To that I say: I knew I was a scientist when I was 7.

I didn’t know I wanted to be a scientist. That that would be my job. But I think being a scientist has more to do with the way you look at the world and react to it than with a piece of paper from a university.

That said, you are right about the inherent uncertainty in the world (it’s a founding principle of modern physics). When we get a question asking “I am <at this life stage>. What’s the best course to take to become a physicist/scientist?” We can only answer that question.

I would never presume to tell anyone what they should do instead or what they actually want contrary to what they tell me.

However, none of the advice we have ever given would serve to lock a person into an inexorable path at a young age and leave them with no other recourse than to become a physicist or DIE. So I really don’t see a problem.

Yes, the world is ambiguous. Does that mean I shouldn’t take that AP physics course I enjoy?

Adam: Yeah, I’m not going to begrudge a 13 year old their dreams. You know what I wanted to be then? A zoologist. I’m not that. But back then, it was what I wanted. And it made me happy. So the memory of that makes me happy. And I still love evolutionary biology.

And age is no guarantee of certainty. Four years ago, I wanted to be a researcher and a professor. Now I’d rather staple my hand to face on a daily basis. My 13 year old dreams were no worse than my 23 year old dreams.

Your dreams form who you are, whether they pan out or not. So don’t regret them, because at one point, there was nothing you wanted more. People should pursue their dreams. Either they’ll pan out, or they’ll find a new dream. Both are good.

A Halt in the Quest for Dark Matter: Problems With the Large Hadron Collider (LHC)

Who knew that a tiny piece of metal could cause such problems. Let this be a lesson: The little things do matter…
After a 2 year hiatus for updates, the LHC was set to resume work this month. Many were looking forward to the restart, when we would hopefully get some long sought answers to the mysteries of dark matter (and maybe even some clues about extra dimensions). However, scientists encountered some problems. Unfortunately, a it seems that little piece of metal that fell into the works, which created a short circuit in the LHC. And how do you deal with such an event in a 17-mile-round (27-kilometer-round) ring of helium-cooled magnets?

It seems that you just, well, melt the issue.

In a recent status update from CERN, engineers assert that the glitch is likely due to some scrap metal that made contact with a cable that connects a dipole magnets with a diode box. Yet, the tests, thus far, have not been entirely helpful. In fact, they haven’t been helpful at all, really. X-ray scans of the wiring around the suspected fault have been inconclusive. However, CERN is not totally in the dark. They report that measurements that were taken by system experts were able to trace the fault to within 10 cm (which is a pretty small area).

This was accomplished by injecting current locally and using the standard cold mass instrumentation. From here, they have a few different options. Enter (what seems to be the easiest of the proposed scenarios) melting.

"The operations team is now exploring three main options to fix the short: inject a controlled pulse of current to try to melt the offending object; try to dislodge the object by altering the flow of helium in that region; partially warm up the sector and open the magnet interconnect concerned. Though the third option would allow direct access to the diode box, the warm-up, intervention and subsequent cool-down would take around six weeks."

That said, a full evaluation of the situation is still ongoing. For those of you who want more technical details, you can get them here.

String theory: - parallel worlds.


anónimo perguntou:

Hello Emily, I am currently behind in two of my hardest classes (organic chemistry and physics). I try to catch up by spending one to two days just on one subject. I come to class I find that I don't understand anything (especially in organic chemistry) like the teacher is speaking a totally different language. My first test I failed it and now I feel extremely hopeless. I really want to understand its so frustrating. I feel like I am never going to catch up. They are both cumulative classes :'(

I’d suggest speaking to your teachers about this before anything else. Their job is to help you - you won’t be the first student to be in this situation and be feeling this way! 

Here are some links:

I hope that helps a little! Good luck xx

anónimo perguntou:

What is the string theory? Not in detail but the general idea? your blog is awesome btw :)

It has taken me an awfully long time to reply, so you’re probably thinking, wow this response will be amazing!

It won’t be….

I started writing a good answer, 1 paragraph, 2 paragraph, 3 paragraphs later it was nonsense and too long. I couldn’t get a good comprehensive explanation.

So you know what would be better? Michio Kaku is pretty much the man behind string theory. He made the equation, he made it popularised. 

So lets ask him! Here’s a video where he sums it up nicely in a solid 4 minutes.

One thing I will say is this:

Keep reading


Using Viruses for Nano-structures: Making some steam

Legions of viruses that infect the leaves of tobacco plants could be the key to making power plants safer, heating and cooling of buildings more efficient, and electronics more powerful. 

These tiny protein bundles, which were once a threat to a staple cash crop of the nascent United States in the 1800s, are now helping researchers like Drexel University’s Matthew McCarthy, PhD, better understand and enhance the processes of boiling and condensation.

In his Multiscale Thermofluidics Lab, McCarthy and his team design, build and test surfaces that are becoming increasingly better at controlling the formation and removal of vapor bubbles during the boiling process, while also delaying the onset of and undesirable condition that engineers call “critical heat flux.” 

The goal is to create nanostructured coatings for the heat-transfer surfaces that can delay or prevent the vapor barrier from forming in the first place. The ideal structure for higher heat transfer during boiling, according to McCarthy, is one that draws in the liquid and quickly rewets when the water does transform into a vapor -article

Giffed by: rudescience  From: This video