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Here’s Why Getting Rescued By The Flash Would Actually Suck

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FlashThe action in movies and on TV often neglects to obey the laws of physics that govern the natural world. It’s a big part of the suspension of disbelief that comes as part of the social contract of watching such productions. Rarely are the offenses so egregious as in the stories featuring those superheroes that are so ubiquitous in the modern entertainment landscape. We all know that the physics of a character like, say, DCs the Flash, wouldn’t work in reality (how could he turn so sharp going that fast?), but that’s part of the fun, setting aside our rational doubts and thinking, yeah, but what if you really could zip around saving people like that? Well, according to a new study, he would do more harm than good, and being rescued by the Flash would suck.

Physics students at the University of Leicester in Leicester, England, took issue with a scene in the CW’s popular new adaptation of The Flash where the titular superhero runs over a car and saves a biker who the vehicle just plowed into. According to their reckonings, this rescue, occurring as such high speeds, would actually do much more harm than good, far in excess of being hit by an automobile. They suggest that, should the Flash wish to continue to act as a superhero, he should adjust his approach somewhat.

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Richard Feynman’s Legendary Physics Lectures Are Now Online For Free

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Richard FeynmanRichard Feynman is a total badass, though maybe not in the way we traditionally use that term. We’re not talking about a grim, grizzled action hero in the Snake Plissken or Ellen Ripley mold. There’s no gun-slinging or alien fighting. No, this time we’re talking about more of a mad scientist, crazy genius kind of badass. If you’re in the mood for some light reading—and by light, I mean theoretical particle physics, fluid dynamics, quantum mechanics, and more—you can now access his legendary Feynman Lectures on Physics online for free. And what better way to celebrate Labor Day Weekend than by diving into some quantum electrodynamics?

These celebrated lectures, which have previously been collected in various volumes and editions, are now online, again for free, and available to anyone with an internet connection thanks to the folks a the California Institute of Technology, where Feynman taught and did some of his most notable work. (Check them out HERE.) All three volumes are up for your perusal. There’s Volume I: Mainly Mechanics, Radiation and Heat, Volume II: Mainly Electromagnetism and Matter, and Volume III: Quantum Mechanics. Each one is broken down into chapters and subchapters galore. Like I said, light reading.

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Scientists Claim They’ll Create Matter From Light Within A Year

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LaserIt’s theoretically possible to make solid matter out of pure light. I say theoretical because, though the idea was first posited more than 80 years ago, the feat has never actually been performed in a laboratory setting. That may change soon, however, as researchers now say that they plan to demonstrate a practical application of this theory within a year. Yes, that means that means exactly what you think it means.

Though the theory is sound, scientists have, up to now, been unable to produce viable results in a controlled environment. Physicists at London’s Imperial College recently published a paper making the claim that they have figured out how to make matter out of seemingly nothing, and it involves lasers, which makes it that much more futuristic and science fiction sounding.

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Stephen Hawking Says There Are No Black Holes

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black holeDidn’t Stephen Hawking help create the black hole theory to which most scientists ascribe? What’s going on here? Either this is a wacky case of time travel or the great physicist has changed his mind. He’s allowed, isn’t he? In fact, now he calls his old black hole theory his “biggest blunder.” Everyone makes mistakes, dude. Don’t even worry about it.

In a paper published online, Hawking describes an impasse: that if we’re right about general relativity and quantum theory, then a black hole can’t actually be comprised of an event horizon, the border beyond which nothing can escape. According to classical theory, “there is no escape from a black hole,” says Hawking, but quantum theory “enables energy and information to escape from a black hole.” The physicist believes that a complete and accurate description of the process demands another theory, one that accounts for gravity as well as other cosmic forces, but scientists are still looking for that explanation.

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Particle Fever Trailer Tells The Large Hadron Collider Story

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A physics-based documentary may sound yawn-inducing, but this trailer for Particle Fever, about the Large Hadron Collider, looks like a surprisingly good time. Seriously, this could be really interesting. I can barely multiply and I’ll go see this when it arrives at a theater near me. In a town like Boston, I won’t be the only geek munching on popcorn while watching a science flick.

For those of you who don’t know what the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) is, let me try to explain. Or you could just wait to see Particle Fever, as I’m sure it provides a much better explanation. What the hell, here goes nothing. The LHC is the biggest, baddest machine ever built. Its construction at CERN (the European Organization for Nuclear Research) in Geneva, Switzerland took an entire decade, from 1998-2008, and it lives in a tunnel 574 feet underground that has a circumference of 17 miles.

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Nobel Prize Chemistry Winners Paved The Way For Computer Models

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old chem modelsThe announcements of the 2013 Nobel Prizes continued this week, and while I want to give a shout-out to one of my favorite authors, Canadian Alice Munro, for her Nobel Prize in Literature win, I’ll be taking a closer look at this year’s winners in the chemistry category: Martin Karplus of Harvard University and the Université de Strasbourg in France, Michael Levitt of the Stanford University School of Medicine, and Arieh Warshel of the University of Southern California. They won the $1.25 million prize “for the development of multiscale models for complex chemical systems.”

Back in the day, chemists used models of molecules that looked a little more like what we used in science class — plastic balls joined together by sticks. While that was fun and all, it wasn’t super sophisticated.