Tuesday, July 09, 2013

ARR! strange occurrences in science

// initially written: last week (or before)
ok: so what exactly is a measurement, then?
"Just like position and momentum, quantum theory predicts that the polarization along two different axes cannot simultaneously be known with certainty (see Nature). The team adopted a strategy in which the polarization is initially probed using a series of ‘weak’ measurements — detections that barely disturb the system but must be repeated several times to record the same information that a single ‘strong’ measurement can detect. They found that, on average, the polarization measurements disturbed the system by only about half as much as Heisenberg’s original formulation of the uncertainty principle dictates."

~ from "Proof mooted for quantum uncertainty" @nature
speaking of science, maybe this explanation of mercury's liquid state is well-known .. but admittedly, i was ignorant of it.
"Relativity states that objects get heavier the faster they move. In atoms, the velocity of the innermost electrons is related to the nuclear charge. The larger the nucleus gets the greater the electrostatic attraction and the faster the electrons have to move to avoid falling into it. So, as you go down the periodic table these 1s electrons get faster and faster, and therefore heavier, causing the radius of the atom to shrink. This stabilises some orbitals, which also have a relativistic nature of their own, while destabilising others. This interplay means that for heavy elements like mercury and gold, the outer electrons are stabilised. In mercury’s case, instead of forming bonds between neighbouring mercury atoms, the electrons stay associated with their own nuclei, and weaker interatomic forces such as van der Waals bonds hold the atoms together."

~ from "Relativity behind mercury's liquidity" @rsc

lastly .. judging from how i wrote this post, it's safe to assume that those monday roundups aren't returning anytime soon.

let me clarify: i still think that rounding up articles is a good idea, but a weekly time constraint feels slightly artificial to me. i'd much rather collect items with a common theme and let the ideas percolate into something coherent. (i don't know if i'll do this weekly; it really depends on how much interesting stuff appears on the blogosphere.)

that said, i'm open to taking requests;
if you want my opinion on a topical article, then send me the link.

that said, the MoAR label will become just ARR!, where AR refers to ARticle, R to Roundup, and ! to indicate that i have an opinion!

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