This site uses cookies. By continuing to use this site you agree to our use of cookies. To find out more, see our Privacy and Cookies policy.
Skip to the content

Share this

Free weekly newswire

Sign up to receive all our latest news direct to your inbox.

Physics on film

100 Second Science Your scientific questions answered simply by specialists in less than 100 seconds.

Watch now

Bright Recruits

At all stages of your career – whether you're an undergraduate, graduate, researcher or industry professional – can help find the job for you.

Find your perfect job

Physics connect

Are you looking for a supplier? Physics Connect lists thousands of scientific companies, businesses, non-profit organizations, institutions and experts worldwide.

Start your search today


Candy corn in space, compact fusion reactors and physics in Palestine


By Hamish Johnston

Besides the great views of the Earth, one of the best things about being on the International Space Station (ISS) must be messing around in near-zero gravity. In the above video on Science Friday the American astronaut Don Pettit describes an “experiment” that he did on the ISS using candy corn, which are kernel-like sweets. He begins with a blob of floating water into which he inserts the candy corn pointy-end first. The points are hydrophilic so they tend to stay in the water, and eventually Pettit has a sphere of candy corn packed around the water. The flat ends of the candy corn have been soaked in oil to make them hydrophobic so the candy corn layer acts like a detergent film or one half of a cell membrane. It’s a fun video and I wonder how he got the idea in the first place?

Is there anyone who isn’t trying to develop a small-scale fusion reactor these days? The defence manufacturer Lockheed Martin has joined a growing list of labs and companies that say they have had made an important breakthrough towards making a reactor that could fit in the back of a truck. Or perhaps more importantly for Lockheed Martin, fit in an aircraft carrier. Needless to say, no-one from huge international collaborations down to tiny start-up companies has managed to create a reactor that can pump out more energy than is put in. You can read all about Lockheed Martin’s fusion programme in “So Lockheed Martin says it’s made a big advance in nuclear fusion…”, which appears in Wired.

Before I head down to the basement of Physics World HQ to tinker with our small-scale fusion reactor, I’ve got one more thing to mention. This month’s issue of Physics World features an opinion piece by Kate Shaw about physics education in Palestine. Shaw is a particle physicist at the International Centre for Theoretical Physics in Trieste and while in Palestine she teamed up with photographer Jack Owen to create a photo-essay of scenes from the lives of female physicists there. If you want to read Shaw’s article and much, much more you can get the digital version of Physics World by joining the Institute of Physics as an IOPimember. At £15, €20 or $25 for one year, it is the best deal in physics.

This entry was posted in The Red Folder and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.
View all posts by this author  | View this author's profile


  1. M. Asghar

    The Lockheed’s fusion reactor, let us wait as to how this breakthrough unfolds beyond the classical mirage of the “proverbial 50 years”- even as a truckful one!

  2. JJE Herrera

    There´s a good comment on the Lockheed announcement in the MIT Technology Review web page:

    When you get this kind of announcements in the press before going through peer review, they are always suspicious.


  • Comments should be relevant to the article and not be used to promote your own work, products or services.
  • Please keep your comments brief (we recommend a maximum of 250 words).
  • We reserve the right to remove excessively long, inappropriate or offensive entries.

Show/hide formatting guidelines

Tag Description Example Output
<a> Hyperlink <a href="">google</a> google
<abbr> Abbreviation <abbr title="World Health Organisation" >WHO</abbr> WHO
<acronym> Acronym <acronym title="as soon as possible">ASAP</acronym> ASAP
<b> Bold <b>Some text</b> Some text
<blockquote> Quoted from another source <blockquote cite="">IOP</blockquote>
<cite> Cite <cite>Diagram 1</cite> Diagram 1
<del> Deleted text From this line<del datetime="2012-12-17"> this text was deleted</del> From this line this text was deleted
<em> Emphasized text In this line<em> this text was emphasised</em> In this line this text was emphasised
<i> Italic <i>Some text</i> Some text
<q> Quotation WWF goal is to build a future <q cite="">
where people live in harmony with nature and animals</q>
WWF goal is to build a future
where people live in harmony with nature and animals
<strike> Strike text <strike>Some text</strike> Some text
<strong> Stronger emphasis of text <strong>Some text</strong> Some text