By Tushna Commissariat
Peering into a small 17th century metallic box, without damaging its contents, is no mean feat. But thanks to the use of synchrotron radiation, scientists at the European Synchrotron Radiation Facility (ESRF) in Grenoble were able to “see” inside one, using a technique known as synchrotron X-ray phase contrast micro-tomography. They were also able to create a 3D reconstruction of clay medals concealed within the very fragile and badly oxidized box, which was discovered on the archaeological site of the Saint-Laurent church, and is now at the archaeological museum of Grenoble (MAG). Take a look at the video above to see what the box held. You can also learn more about the researcher’s tomography technique in an article of ours.
Tomorrow is Halloween, so we hope you have your physics-themed pumpkins carved and out on your doorsteps. For some spooky reading this week, take a look at Davide Castelvecchi‘s “Zombie physics: 6 baffling results that just won’t die” story over on the Nature News website. In it, he lists six “undead” results – things that physicists just can’t seem to prove or disprove – including long-running disagreements over certain dark-matter results, hemispheric inconsistencies and spinning protons. Let us know what you think are some of the most undead physics results that should be laid to rest, in the comments below. And while you are at it, make sure to look at today’s creepy edition of Fermilab Today to read about the rise of the zombie accelerator and the “The cult of the Tev.”
While I am not a fan of football – soccer or the American version – I know that millions of people world over take the sport very seriously. Earlier this year, we wrote about the “deflategate” fracas that took place in the US. Now, physicist Rhett Allain over at the Wired website looks into how the American football could be improved, if you were to modify it. Take a look at his story on “The physics of building a better football” to see how the egg-shaped balls could be updated to make them go faster and be able to throw them further.
If you are already missing the summer sun, book in a cruise – as a bonus, you can now go on a dedicated stargazing cruise, with Princess Cruises and Discovery Channel, who have just launched a line of science-themed cruises called “Discovery at Sea.”
And finally, for some weekend fun, take Symmetry magazine’s “The particle physics personality quiz” to see which topic in particle physics you are destined to study.