This is a drawing of what the edge of the solar system might look like, as envisioned by plasma physicist Merav Opher. One of the few women in this field, Opher is also one of the top scientists, of any gender, studying what happens at the edges of space. John Rennie has written a great profile of Opher and her work. You really should read it. I like Rennie's work a lot. He's one of those amazing writers who can make abstract, theoretical physics feel as immediate, intense, and important as it actually is. To wit:
“The edge of the solar system” is more than a turn of phrase. A tenuous, invisible wind of ionized gas billows off the sun at a million miles per hour, carrying with it the sun’s magnetic field. It does not radiate out infinitely: far beyond Pluto’s orbit, this solar wind abruptly slams into the thin interstellar medium and the scattered gaseous remnants of exploded stars. That border defines what astronomers call the heliosphere.
Just a few years ago, Opher played a key role in explaining why the heliosphere is unexpectedly lopsided and off-kilter. Now an assistant professor in Boston University’s astronomy department, Opher is interpeting data that suggests that part of the heliosphere’s edge may be a churning magnetic froth, which could have broad implications for astrophysics.
Read the full profile at Txchnologist
A better understanding how a sperm swims its way toward an egg could help inform new treatments for male infertility. Researchers from the University of York have now come up with a mathematical formula to model how large numbers of moving sperm interact with fluid they’re swimming through. From the University: By analysing the head […]
Dr Gale Ridge is a public entomologist at the Connecticut Agricultural Experiment Station, where an average of 23 people a day call, write or visit; an increasing proportion of them aren’t inquiring about actual insects, they’re suffering from delusional parasitosis, and they’re desperate and even suicidal.
Biologist Nipam Patel and his team at UC Berkeley study how butterflies develop wing shape and color by performing surgery on caterpillars, creating translucent windows in their cocoons.
You know the drill. You go to the dentist and they ask you how often you floss. You lie through your teeth and say, “every day!” (Bonus points if you have some cilantro or chives stuck in your gums from lunch). You don’t want to keep up the charade any longer, but rubbing that tiny strand […]
The Raspberry Pi Foundation has done outstanding work packing a fully capable desktop computer into a package the size of a deck cards—especially one that only costs $35. But if you already have a working laptop, why should you care? Oh, how much you have to learn. Besides operating well as a compact digital media hub, […]
Custom coffee vessels are the perfect piece of office flair, but it’s just a matter of time before your VOTE FOR PEDRO mug will start to lose its relevant wit. Why not have a new one every day, with whatever silly nonsense you want sticking off the sides? You can save big on your novelty […]