Month: January 2006

Free-Electron Lasers: The Next Generation

superconducting cavity Peter Ginter/DESY
Superconducting cavities at the DESY lab in Hamburg

They will make an atom look as big as a football and a microsecond seem like an eternity

Ever watched a protein fold in real time? Or seen what happens when photons strike a molecule of chlorophyll? Nobody has yet: these events happen too fast and involve structures that are too small to image with today’s technology.

That could all change soon, thanks to a new generation of X-ray lasers that will concentrate their energy 10 billion times more effectively than current instruments, allowing scientists to pry open the physics of the smallest and fastest things.
(Read the rest of my article in the January 21 New Scientist)

Amazon Children “Spontaneously” Understand Geometry

Munduruku child Pierre Pica

Children of an isolated Indian group in the Amazon jungle have a seemingly natural understanding of geometry concepts, even though their language doesn’t have words for them, according to a new study.
(Read the rest of my article in National Geographic News, January 19, 2006)

The Top 10 Science Stories of 2005

I picked the 10 best science stories of 2005 — at least according to my own personal taste. They are not necessarily the most important stories, just the ones I found most exciting and wanted to tell people about when I first heard of them. In some cases, they may even be old news (in one case, 100 years old). They are the stories I did not cover, though I wish I did.  Come back at the end of the year for my 2006 picks!

Go to the Top 10