washington state university

Scientists have created a fluid with negative mass – but what does it tell us?
The fluid, which defies everyday laws of motion, is a rare achievement and provides a platform to study an otherwise hypothetical form of matter
By Hannah Devlin

Scientists have created a fluid that exhibits the bizarre property of “negative mass” in an experiment that appears to defy the everyday laws of motion.

Push an object and Newton’s laws (and common experience) dictate that it will accelerate in the direction in which it was shoved.

“That’s what most things that we’re used to do,” said Matthew Forbes, a physicist at Washington State University and co-author of the paper, which shows that normal intuitions do not always apply to physics experiments. “With negative mass, if you push something, it accelerates toward you.”

Negative mass has previously cropped up in speculative theories, including those suggesting the existence of wormholes, a form of cosmological shortcut between two points in the universe. Just as electric charge can be either positive or negative, matter could, hypothetically, have either positive or negative mass.

For an object with negative mass, Newton’s second law of motion, in which a force is equal to the mass of an object multiplied by its acceleration (F=ma) would be experienced in reverse.

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Washington State University Physicists create 'negative mass'

Washington State University physicists have created a fluid with negative mass, which is exactly what it sounds like. Push it, and unlike every physical object in the world we know, it doesn’t accelerate in the direction it was pushed. It accelerates backwards.

The phenomenon is rarely created in laboratory conditions and can be used to explore some of the more challenging concepts of the cosmos, said Michael Forbes, a WSU assistant professor of physics and astronomy and an affiliate assistant professor at the University of Washington. The research appears today in the journal Physical Review Letters, where it is featured as an “Editor’s Suggestion.”

Hypothetically, matter can have negative mass in the same sense that an electric charge can be either negative or positive. People rarely think in these terms, and our everyday world sees only the positive aspects of Isaac Newton’s Second Law of Motion, in which a force is equal to the mass of an object times its acceleration, or F=ma. In other words, if you push an object, it will accelerate in the direction you’re pushing it. Mass will accelerate in the direction of the force.

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Physicist Create a Fluid With Negative Mass

Physicists from Washington State university have created a liquid with negative mass meaning that when you push it, instead of accelerating in that direction, it accelerates backwards.

Matter can have a negative mass much the same way that particles can be negatively charged. Newton’s second law of motion (F=ma) tells us that mass will accelerate in the direction of the force so we can deduce that matter with a negative mass would do the opposite and accelerate against the force.

To create the conditions for negative mass, Peter Engels and his team started by cooling rubidium atoms to a Bose-Einstein condensate meaning they reached very near absolute 0. The researchers used lasers to trap the atoms in an area less than 100 microns across and allow high energy particles to escape cooling them further. Then to create negative mass, the physicists applied a second set of lasers to change the way atoms spin back and forth. They then removed the first set of lasers causing the rubidium to rush out and appear to hit some sort of invisible wall; behaving as if it had a negative mass.

What’s great about this is the control we have over the negative mass without any other complications. This gives us a new tool we can use to engineer experiments in astrophysics looking at neutron stars, black holes, dark energy and a lot more.

Currently in my 6th week of Pharmacy school. Am I doing well? Not particarly, but I’m doing better each day ☺. Had my first block exams two weeks ago, and needed to retests on two of them. Did my retests & passed! Had my second block exams today & I’m pretty sure I failed one of them and I think I did well on my other three. But we’ll see. So far, results came out for pharmaceutics & I passed! So let’s hope for the next & if worse came to shove, I just need one retest haha.

Pharmacy school is much more difficult than I anticipated, but I’ll get the hang of it! I’m still learning & I’m still growing. Hopefully I find some good study tactics soon & I hope I learn how to manage my time better. You’d think I would’ve learned by now 😑 lol.

On Seattle

I’ve spent most of the day researching schools to apply to for a PhD and found out that the University of Washington has one of the best professors in my field. Six hours ago I hadn’t even heard of the University of Washington, let alone known anything about Seattle (apart from the chronic insomnia its citizens are supposed to have). Since then I realised that I might have just about found the perfect US city. And this is why:

1. The first person to graduate from the University of Washington was a woman. She got a degree in science. In 1876. IN FREAKING 1876.

2. It is officially the most literate city in the US and more than half of its residents have bachelor’s degrees or higher.

3. It legalised same sex marriage following a referendum where the common sense got an overwhelming majority.

4. All of its precincts voted for Obama in 2008.

5. It has an actual socialist in the local politics. And a statue of Lenin. In the US.

6. It is one of the most secular places in the US.

7. It’s next door to Porncouver. The closest any major US city gets to it. :p

8. It was the first major American city to elect a female mayor.

9. Amazon, Microsoft AND Starbucks. The three things that make any student’s life worth living, Linux supporters or not. It’s nice to not be socially obliged to have an Iphone. :p

10. It’s one of the greenest cities in the US - it even banned plastic shopping bags.

#I am literally surprised that the whole of Tumblr doesn’t live in this place.