Researchers at the New Jersey Institute of Technology wanted to learn more about how ants moved and behaved in their colonies, so they did what anyone -- well, anyone who worked at an Institute of Technology -- would do: they built a robotic analog for the insects. The robots don't look like real ants -- they're simple, boxy things about the size of a sugar cube that are powered by watch motors -- but they behave the way ants do, moving randomly in a general direction or following the trails laid down for them by earlier ant explorers. As it happens, though, these two simple tactics allow the robots -- and the ants they're modeled after -- to navigate complicated mazes.
Sunday saw the first Large Hadron Collider physics beams of the year. Hooray! The scientists at CERN smashed together lead ions and protons in an attempt to study quark-gluon plasma, believed to be the primordial state of matter in the moments after the Big Bang. If that all sounds very complicated and you'd like someone to explain it you who really knows what they're talking about, now's your chance! Rather, Thursday is your chance. The folks at CERN will be hosting another Google Hangout to talk about the new beams, why they're using lead ions, and who would win in a fight between a mouse and a mammoth.
Remember CERN? Sure you do! They were the folks with the Large Hadron Collider who discovered that Higgs boson thing back in July. Well, they're at it again with all their science and their 17-mile-long particle accelerator, and they've even broken a world record. CERN's physicists have created the highest human-made temperature in history with their ALICE heavy ion collider, beating the previous record of four trillion Kelvin. ALICE produced a quark-gluon plasma, a sort of subatomic milkshake if you replace the milk with quarks, the ice cream with gluons, the blender with a large ion collider, and the cherry on top with ground-breaking scientific discovery. This is starting to sound less and less like a milkshake. Read on for the full scoop.
Curiouser and curiouser!
150 years ago, on July 4th, 1862, Alice's Adventures in Wonderland was born upon a small boat as a story told to three young girls by a stammering mathematician named Charles Dodgson, better known as Lewis Carroll.