Guess what? You may have a sleep disorder. Victor Katch describes the symptoms and health impacts of sleep disorders and describes two simple tests to see if you are at risk.
Video: Anne Curzan tackles the subject (or is it the object?) of "who" vs. "whom."
Frank Beaver explores the Redgrave dynasty's far-reaching impact on film and theater history.
Scientists have identified how much pain people feel by looking at images of their brains. The research may set the stage to objectively measure anxiety, depression, anger, and more.
Video: The U.S. Dept. of Defense recently blamed China's military for cyber attacks on American systems. Just how do these attacks occur, what kind of damage can they create, and how can we combat them?
Innovators are exploring business opportunities around their technologies via Michigan I-Corps, a seven-week entrepreneurial training workshop funded by the National Science Foundation.
An online magazine for alumni and friends of U-M.
Physicists' 'light from darkness' breakthrough named a top 2011 discovery
January 11, 2012
They shook light from darkness. They coaxed something out of what we normally think of as nothing—the vacuum of space. And their work was named one of the top 10 breakthroughs of the year by Physics World.
University of Michigan physics researcher Franco Nori is involved in the work, which was published in Nature in November.
The physicists directly observed, for the first time, light particles that flicker in and out of existence in the vacuum. They witnessed the long-predicted quantum mechanical phenomenon known as the dynamical Casimir effect.
"One of the profound consequences of quantum mechanics is that we know that something can come from nothing," Nori said. "The vacuum is actually teeming with activity, the question is how to harness it and observe it because the particles move in an out of existence in the blink of an eye."
This background activity of fleeting particles is known as quantum vacuum fluctuations. It's the impetus for what's known as the static Casimir effect, an attractive force that can pull two parallel mirrors together in a vacuum. That effect is caused by a pressure drop between the mirrors because more photons can exist on the outsides of them. It was measured in the late '90s.
Scientists theorized that a similar force could be created by accelerating one mirror to near light speed. This "dynamical Casimir effect" was thought to be capable of producing real, observable photons, or light particles, from these quantum vacuum fluctuations. That's just what these physicists observed.
Based at the Chalmers University of Technology in Sweden, they achieve this by building a special type of superconducting circuit that could simulate a mirrored surface without a physical device that would be difficult to speed up to such high speeds.
You can see the original article in Physics World. It is titled "Observation of the dynamical Casimir effect in a superconducting circuit." The first author is Christopher Wilson, a scientist at Chalmers. It was published in the Nov. 17, 2011 edition of Nature.