• The Extreme Physics Pushing Moore’s Law to the Next Level
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    The Extreme Physics Pushing Moore’s Law to the Next Level

    We’re suiting up to take you inside a clean room that’s building an engineering marvel that’ll push the entire electronics industry to the next frontier. They’re both amazing machines and scary machines. There’s an enormous amount of complexity with them. There’s an enormous number of things that can potentially go wrong. It’s something that you don’t necessarily sleep well at night, just having the machine on your floor. It’s about the size of a school bus, weighing over 180,000 kilograms, with over 100,000 parts, and 3,000 interlocking cables. Pop the hood and you’ll see lasers shooting tiny droplets of tin, generating plasma that’ll get collected and reflected by a series of mirrors,…

  • Goodbye Silicon! Your Next Computer Chip Could Be Made of Gallium Oxide
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    Goodbye Silicon! Your Next Computer Chip Could Be Made of Gallium Oxide

    Sending astronauts to space used to take a computer the size of a washing machine. Now? That same computational might can be packed into something as small as an iPad! But as we aim for smaller devices, we’re hitting a threshold…our current materials and techniques may not allow us to continue to progress at this pace. Because of this we’re being pushed in new and exciting directions, like innovating the very stuff computers are made of: goodbye silicon, hello gallium oxide. Traditionally, computer chips have been made out of silicon–hence the name ‘silicon valley’. A computer chip transistor needs to be conductive, because it needs to be able to pass…

  • Scientists Claim They Made Time Go Backwards…But Did They?
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    Scientists Claim They Made Time Go Backwards…But Did They?

    Time travel to the past is basically impossible without breaking some laws of physics and acquiring plutonium from some Libyans. But time travel to the future is easy, we’re all doing it right now. So why does time go forward and not back? The idea that time only flows in one direction is called the Arrow of Time. But odd as it sounds, there’s nothing in the equations that describes the laws of physics that says it has to be this way. The equations CAN tell you what will happen in the future or what took place in the past based on what’s going on in the present, but they…

  • Are Those Your Lips or Feet? How Your Brain Rewires Itself After Amputation
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    Are Those Your Lips or Feet? How Your Brain Rewires Itself After Amputation

    Even though it looks like a random, bumpy mess, your brain is incredibly organized. Your brain has its own version of google maps for navigating the world around it — but just how flexible are these maps to changes? Every sound you can hear or touch you can feel is because neurons in a specific part of your brain are firing. Our brains are organized “topographically”so that we can keep track of where things are happening, … that means we can tell the difference between a touch on the arm or a touch on the face. By observing people’s brains in different imaging machines, neuroscientists have largely mapped out touch,…

  • How Did Science Get Neanderthals So Wrong?
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    How Did Science Get Neanderthals So Wrong?

    Let’s be real, guys, Neanderthals get a bad rap. We think of them as primitive and less developed than us humans with our smooth brow bones and tall posture. But the field of hominid development has been telling us for some time now that this is probably pretty far from the truth. And new research tells us that Neanderthals could have been…just as sophisticated as humans! Why have we been wrong for so long? A lot of our prejudices about neanderthals come from our somewhat mistaken interpretation of the fossil record. When the first neanderthal skeleton was recorded by scientists in the mid 1800s, the conclusion they came to was…

  • We’re Close to a Universal Quantum Computer, Here’s Where We’re At
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    We’re Close to a Universal Quantum Computer, Here’s Where We’re At

    What you’re looking at is a hermetically sealed glass laboratory. Scientists here are engineering special chips that could power the next computing revolution: a universal quantum computer. Chances are you’ve heard of quantum computer and that they’re going to change everything. “So quantum computers have the potential to completely change how we use technology in the future.” “The computational power is off the charts.” “What’s about to happen with quantum computing is about to make the past look incredibly slow.” Quantum computer are new kinds of machines that promise an exponential growth spurt in processing power, capable of tackling problems our computers today can’t solve. While an encryption busting/global problem…

  • Neuromorphic Computing Is a Big Deal for A.I., But What Is It?
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    Neuromorphic Computing Is a Big Deal for A.I., But What Is It?

    We often talk about how traditional computing is reaching its limit–there’s a threshold we can’t move past without making some seriously big changes to the way we structure computers. One of those exciting ways is by making physical computers a little more like human brains. We introduced this concept in more detail here, but a quick recap: this kind of computing is called neuromorphic computing, which means designing and engineering computer chips that use the same physics of computation used by our own nervous system. This is different from an artificial neural network , which is a program run on a normal computer that mimics the logic of how a…

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    This Is What Neutrinos Look Like When Scientists Catch Them

    Does this image look familiar? You may know it as an album cover for the famous post-punk band ‘The Strokes’, but I’ve got a surprise for you. It’s really a picture of charged subatomic particles inside a giant bubble chamber. Yeah, you heard me right. This artistic, iconic image is a visualization generated by one of the many interesting ways we’ve tried to ‘see’ the subatomic particles in our world…which is harder than it sounds. And that’s because subatomic particles can be…tricky. Take neutrinos, for example. They’re a fundamental particle of the universe, and they are quite literally everywhere around us, all the time–you have neutrinos passing through you right…

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    We’re Using Stem Cells to Reverse Baldness and It’s Actually Working

    Some very hairy mice are bringing us another step closer to un-LOCKing a way to regenerate a full head of hair. Did somebody say a pun?! About 50% of men and 25% of women experience at least partial hair loss by the age of 50, whether due to age, medical treatments, or disease. Current options for those looking to reverse this loss include things like medications that may slow hair loss and transplants from hair follicles elsewhere on the body. But neither have the often desired effect of restoring a thick and full volume of hair. Researchers have been optimizing techniques for culturing “hair follicle germs” in a dish for…