Physics Tip Sheet #70, July 11, 2007
American Physical Society
Highlights in this Issue: microscopic jets, diamonds unlikely on Uranus, and amazing mosquito legs
Microscopic Polystyrene Balls — now Jet-propelled!
J. Howse, R. Jones, A. Ryan, T. Gough, R. Vafabakhsh, R. Golestanian
A collaboration of British and Iranian physicists has created an armada of self-propelled polystyrene balls about as wide as a strand of your hair. Their efforts are moving toward self-propelled nanoswimmers that could navigate narrow channels such as the human circulatory system.
Diamonds unlikely in gas giants like Uranus
L. M. Ghiringhelli, C. Valeriani, E. J. Meijer and D. Frenkel
A new study finds that diamonds probably don’t crystallize in the atmospheres of planets such as Uranus and Neptune. The conclusion is contrary to recent speculation that small diamonds would spontaneously form in carbon rich layers of the gas giant planets. White dwarf stars, according to the study, are veritable diamond factories.
Miraculous Mosquito Legs
C. W. WU, X. Q. King, and Diane Wu
Mosquitoes walk on water better than water striders, cling to smooth ceilings and walls as tightly as geckos, and clutch the skin of their victims with annoying tenacity in search of blood. Now a collaboration of physicists from Dalian University in China and Simon Fraser University in Canada are looking beyond the insect’s pesky reputation to discover how the tiny creatures manage to be so comfortable on such a diverse range of surfaces.
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