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Pillars of light in the sky, an atomic knot and an atlas of physics


By Sarah Tesh

If I got woken in the middle of the night by my screaming child and then saw beams of light in the sky, I think I’d be worried. When Timmy Joe in Ontario saw them, however, he assumed the multi-coloured beams were the Northern Lights. Turns out they were actually caused by the extreme cold. Moisture was freezing so fast that it formed ice flakes only a few molecules thick that could float in the air. These then refracted the city lights to create a colourful light show in the night sky.

Physicists love a good knot but this time, it’s the chemists in a world record breaking tangle. They have managed to tie a chain of 192 atoms into a microscopic circular triple helix only 20 nm wide. Rather than grabbing both ends like a shoe lace, the knot is tied using chemical self-assembly. You can read more about it in the Guardian.

The subject of physics is huge and touches just about everything. So trying to describe and link all the areas and specialisms in a concise and clear manner is not an easy task. Yet, Scholarly Kitchen has highlighted that a brave man called Dominic Walliman has made the connections in a short, enjoyable video. My personal highlights were the use of “weird stuff” when describing relativity, the “CHASM OF IGNORANCE” covering the fact there’s still loads we don’t know and the “lofty cloud of philosophy” which essentially leads to the question of “just…why?”.

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One comment to Pillars of light in the sky, an atomic knot and an atlas of physics

  1. Trackback: Indistinguishable from Magic 1/14 – Disruptive Paradigm


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