Inspired by Ig Nobel Prize Winner, China Builds a Rising Moon

The South China Morning Post reports, on January 12, 2022, that “China has built an artificial moon that simulates low-gravity conditions on Earth“. The report begins: China has built a research facility that simulates the low-gravity environment on the moon – and it was inspired by experiments using magnets to levitate a frog. Further details: […]

“Egg unboiling machine enables graphene battery development”

“Egg unboiling machine enables graphene battery development,” is the headline in Mining Weekly. The article itself says: The Australian researchers who successfully unboiled an egg are turning their attention to capturing the energy of graphene oxide to make a more efficient alternative to lithium-ion batteries. The Flinders University team in South Australia has partnered with Swinburne University of Technology in Victoria, ASX-listed First […]

Urination-duration Ig winner: physics of animals keeping clean

David Hu, 2015 Ig Nobel physics prize winner (together with several colleagues, for testing the biological principle that nearly all mammals empty their bladders in about 21 seconds, plus or minus 13 seconds ) has a new paper out, written with colleague Guillermo Amador. Their institution, Georgia Tech, describes it: A CAT’S SURFACE AREA IS EQUAL […]

Language of science: The Berry Phase begets the Belly Phase

“The Berry Phase” is not the only Berry phrase. Quantum physics turns (in more than one sense) on a concept called “the Berry phase“. The phrase, and in a way the concept, has recently given rise to a name for a phenomenon that occurs in your stomach: “the belly phase“. (Note for quibblers: Yes, quantum […]

Earthquake-activated house-levitating pneumatic system

The  Air Danshin Systems company of Japan says it offers pneumatic technology to protect buildings in the event of an earthquake. The shaking triggers a stream of air that levitates the house. The diagram below, from the company, shows to some extent how the system works, with blue representing the stream of air. (The Spoon & Tamago blog […]

Interview with a frog-levitating graphene tinkerer

Sean O’Neill, in New Scientist, interviews Andre Geim, who has shared (with different collaborators) both an Ig Nobel Prize in physics (for his work on teh substance graphene) and a Nobel Prize in physics. Here’s the final portion of that interview: From tinkering on the fringes to Nobel glory … You have worked in many […]

A knighthood for Geim—he of frogs, magnets & pencils

The man [pictured here] who was awarded an Ig Nobel Prize for using magnets to levitate a frog (a feat he accomplished together with a man who already had a knighthood) and then ten years later was awarded a Nobel Prize for having used scotch tape to tease graphene layers from a pencil, has now been […]