Applied Physics

By Joel Shurkin, Inside Science -- Super Balls are toys beloved by children because of their extraordinary ability to bounce. Physicists love them for exactly the same reason.

Drop a baseball on the floor and it will hardly bounce at all. Drop a Super Ball from shoulder height, and it will bounce back 92 percent of the way to the drop-off point. Super Balls also are just as bouncy vertically as they are horizontally, and they spin oddly.

A new adjustable female shoe based on memory shape composite of leather and Nitinol material allows fitting the shoe to the foot shape after obtaining anthropometric measurements through a portable scanner and modifying it with a machine that completes the process directly in the shop. The "InstantShoe" prototype expected to be out on the market at the end of 2015.
Vancouver-based architect Michael Green was unequivocal at a conference at which I heard him speak a while ago: “We grow trees in British Columbia that are 35 storeys tall, so why do our building codes restrict timber buildings to only five stories?”

 A new class of magnets that swell in volume when placed in a magnetic field also generate negligible amounts of wasteful heat during energy harvesting.

This "Non-Joulian Magnetostriction" could change the way we think about a certain type of magnetism that has been in place since 1841, when physicist James Prescott Joule discovered that iron-based magnetic materials changed their shape but not their volume when placed in a magnetic field. This phenomenon is referred to as "Joule Magnetostriction," and since its discovery 175 years ago, all magnets have been characterized on this basis.
Tomorrow at TedX Sydney’s Opera House event, high-profile neurosurgeon Charlie Teo will talk about brain cancer.

Last Saturday Teo was on Channel 9’s Sunrise program talking about the often malignant cancer that in 2012 killed 1,241 Australians.

During the program he said:

Unfortunately the jury is still out on whether mobile phones can lead to brain cancer, but studies suggest it’s so.

Liquid metal electronics like antennas are intriguing because the shape and length of the conducting paths that form an antenna determine its critical properties such as operating frequency and radiation pattern. Using a liquid metal, such as eutectic gallium and indium, allows for modification of antenna properties more dramatically than is possible with a fixed conductor. 

But a significant and unfortunate drawback slowing the advance of such devices is that they tend to require external pumps that can't be easily integrated into electronic systems, so North Carolina State University researchers set out to create a reconfigurable liquid metal antenna controlled by voltage only.


Currently, burning fossil fuels is the main source of energy here and around the world.  Those fuels emitting greenhouse gasses are considered by most associated scientific organizations in the world as contributing to a potential global catastrophe in the making.  With this, we are critically dependent on electricity for almost every necessity we have in our standard of living. 

By Sara Rennekamp, Inside Science -- Last week's deadly derailment that sent an Amtrak Northeast Regional train careening off its tracks has many people asking how such a tragedy could happen.

New research has brought us closer to understanding the health benefits of coffee.

Monash researchers, in collaboration with Italian coffee roasting company Illycaffè, have conducted the most comprehensive study to date on how free radicals and antioxidants behave during every stage of the coffee brewing process, from intact bean to coffee brew.


Bats are masters of flight, even at night. The best pilots in World War II would have to be envious of their steep nosedives and sharp turns.

But when we think about bats and flying, most people think of echolocation and their built-in radar. But that doesn't help while banking hard left. Instead, it is the sensation of touch - bats have a unique array of sensory receptors in their wings and provide feedback to during flight. A new study in Cell Reports suggests neurons in the bat brain respond to incoming airflow over the wings, noted by touch signals, and they make rapid adjustments to wing position to optimize flight control.