It appears that our planet's built-in force field is much stronger than we thought. Scientists studying the Van Allen belts have discovered the presence of a nearly impenetrable barrier that prevents some of the fastest and most powerful "ultrarelativistic" electrons from reaching the surface.
Static electricity works because electrons are strongly attracted to protons, right? But, in atoms, electrons are right there, next to the protons in the nucleus. Why don't the electrons zip directly into the nucleus and stick to the protons?
Bad news, everyone! New measurements show that electrons are perfectly round. This is a problem because it means something's still seriously wrong with a critical theory that's supposed to tell us why the universe exists.
Check out this awesome experiment that shows how J J Thomson began proving the existence of the electron. Thomson did this in 1897, despite the notable difficulty of electrons being much, much too small to see. (Sadly, that's still true today. And we say we've made progress.) We'll tell you how this simple…
We all know the story. Electrons and protons are attracted to each other. That's why a balloon rubbed on hair clings to clothes. The electrons it gained are crying out for protons and dragging the rest of the balloon along with them. But electrons and protons are right next to each other in the atom. Why don't they…
The Pauli exclusion principle is the quantum mechanical concept that no two identical particles in all the Universe may occupy the same quantum state simultaneously. What does that mean, exactly? Well, for starters, it means that the butterfly effect has nothing on the consequences of the Pauli exclusion principle.
If you're a fan of lucid explanations of tricky scientific concepts, it's hard to go wrong with theoretical physicist Brian Cox. But when you mix in physicist Jim Al-Khalili and Simon Pegg, you've got yourself a recipe for pedagogic gold. Also: thinly veiled sex jokes.
We already have optical tweezers, which allow tiny quantities of matter to be held and manipulated by beams of light. With electron tweezers we might be able to grab hold of single atoms.
Scientists have found out how a famous sunburn-healing enzyme works. The way it zaps DNA damage sounds so science fictional that it seems like something that happened a long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away.
Scientists have figured out a way to flip the spin of individual atoms caught up in a laser matrix. Using this method, they can literally use the spin of atoms to make two-dimensional designs.
It seems like a simple enough question - why are some materials transparent while others are opaque? But, as this video from the University of Nottingham's Sixty Symbols project explains, a lot of the most common explanations you get are fundamentally wrong. Watch a professional scientist recoil in horror at the…
In an unprecedented achievement, physicists have managed to directly observe electrons moving about the outer orbit of an atom. It's all thanks to some nifty quantum trickery and a machine that measures time in quintillionths of a second.
Even the most minuscule, atom-sized surface imperfections can pose colossal obstacles for the speedy flow of electrons. But certain substances create a remarkable condition where the electrons are able to completely ignore these pitfalls and move ultra-fast.
Here's the world's first video of an electron in motion, showing how an electron rides on a light wave after having just been pulled away from an atom. Electrons move so fast, it's almost impossible to generate a short enough burst of light to be able to see them move. But a new camera generates "attosecond pulses."…