Argonne National Laboratory
A researcher at Argonne National Laboratory is apparently just as sick of bar graphs as we are. Unlike us, though, Peter Larsen has the ability to do something about it. Rather than put together one more set of nicely labelled axes and set it adrift to be forever ignored, Larsen transformed a truly burly amount of data on the life cycles, locations, and concentrations of microbes living in the English Channel into jazz inspired musical numbers. The results are really wonderful, and you should go listen to them, like, right now.
Nope, it's not an illusion or a trick -- that's just what it looks like when you suspend particles of a liquid in mid-air using an awesome technique known as acoustic levitation. Those two pedestals are actually speakers, transmitting sound waves at 22 khz -- just outside the range that humans can hear. By transmitting waves that interfere with one another perfectly, scientists can create points in the wave form where no energy is transferred, effectively canceling out gravity at that point, called a node. Pretty cool right? You have no idea -- hit the jump to for video of acoustic levitation doing it's thing, which is totally spectacular.
Physicists at the Department of Energy's Argonne National Laboratory have announced a new types of microbot that swims and can move around objects several times their own weight. The millimeter-sized microbots, called Asters, are made up of small particles that become active under magnetic force. On their own the particles that make up the microbot aren't particularly impressive, but when magnets are applied, the particles assemble and swim around. They can also create "jaws" to push around objects that are not magnetic. The bots are particularly interesting because they can reorganize or reassemble their parts with the application or removal of the magnetic force. Check out the videos below to see the microbots in action.