Category Astrophysics

In the course of our research for clients, we come across emerging technologies, new materials, new chemistries, growing markets, changing regulatory landscapes, innovative business models, and much more. Every other Friday, we pick five articles, videos, or podcasts that we found interesting and send them your way.

PHYSICS | MATERIALS

With a Simple Twist, a ‘Magic’ Material Is Now the Big Thing in Physics

The stunning emergence of a new type of superconductivity with the mere twist of a carbon sheet has left physicists giddy and its discoverer nearly overwhelmed. The possibilities for higher-temperature superconductivity, revolutionary electronics, and the arrival of quantum computers are exciting, but the discovery has also opened a window into a relatively simple platform to explore exotic quantum effects. [QUANTA]

POLYMERS | CHEMISTRY

This New Plastic Can Be Endlessly Recycled

Many plastics can’t be reused without “downcycling” due to manufacturing additives. But a new material developed at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, PDK, may provide a solution: it can be deconstructed to the molecular level, separated from additives, and then reused as if new. And it’s not the only one; just last year, another new polymer was described as ‘infinitely’ recyclable. [SMITHSONIAN and SCIENCE DAILY]

INNOVATION

How to Stop Playing “Target Market Roulette”: A New Addition to the Lean Toolset

The Lean Methodology tells you how to rapidly find product/market fit inside a specific market and how to pivot when your hypotheses are incorrect, but it doesn’t help you figure out how to locate the best market for you new invention in the first place. A new book by Mark Gruber and Sharon Tai, Where to Play, closes this gap. In this post by Steve Blank, he asks the authors to summarize their technique and provide an example of how to use it. [STEVE BLANK]

ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE | BOOK REVIEW | PODCAST

How Will AI Change Our Lives? Experts Can’t Agree — and that Could Be a Problem

Some experts warn that AI represents an existential threat to human life, while others find the argument ridiculous. Two new books—Possible Minds, edited by John Brockman, and Architects of Intelligence by Martin Ford—take similar approaches to grappling with the topic. Across the books, 45 researchers describe their thinking. Almost all perceive something momentous on the horizon, but they disagree profoundly on whether it should give us pause. For further thinking on the subject, listen to Sam Harris’s interesting interview with three of the contributors to Possible Minds. [VOX | MAKING SENSE PODCAST]

ASTROPHYSICS | VIDEO

A Violent Splash of Magma That May Have Made the Moon

Scientists remain uncertain about the moon’s origin. A study published a few weeks ago in Nature Geoscience suggests that it was forged from the fires of an ocean of magma sloshing over the baby Earth’s surface. If correct, the model may solve a longstanding paradox and help explain the evolution of our own planet. [NYT]

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In the course of our research for clients, we come across emerging technologies, new materials, new chemistries, growing markets, changing regulatory landscapes, innovative business models, and much more. Every other Friday, we pick five articles, videos, or podcasts that we found interesting and send them your way.

ENGINEERING

Mimicking the Structure and Function of Ant Bridges in a Reconfigurable Microswarm for Electronic Applications

A short read on how engineers are emulating the collective behavior of self-organizing social insects and applying what they’ve learned to artificial robotics systems in electronics. [ACS NANO]

ASTROPHYSICS

Sneaky Meteor Evades Earthling Detection, Explodes with Force of 10 Atomic Bombs

In mid-December 2018, a meteor—with an impact energy of about 10 atomic bombs—shattered over Earth. Aside from systems designed to enforce international nuclear testing treaties, the second largest meteor event of the last 30 years went almost completely unnoticed because it happened over the Bering Sea. Thankfully, NASA’s Planetary Defense Conference Exercise spent time this week running a doomsday drill to figure out what to do when we learn of a pending strike that is more serious. [POPSCI and INVERSE]

MANAGEMENT | LEADERSHIP

Behind the Black Hole Image: One Giant Leap for Teamwork

The first ever picture of a black hole was unveiled with much fanfare last month, but buried beneath the excitement was the story of how it came to be. And there was nothing easy about it. This article provides insight into how a group of scientists, across various countries and disciplines, debated, interrogated, and collaborated to make what many thought was a far-fetched dream, into reality. [WSJ]

NEUROSCIENCE

People Can Sense Earth’s Magnetic Field, Brain Waves Suggest

We’ve long been aware that birds and fish use magnetoreception for navigating the Earth. By exposing humans to an Earth-like magnetic field pointed in different directions, scientists now have evidence that people subconsciously respond to Earth’s magnetic field as well. Why we have this ability and how our brains use the information remains an open question. [SCIENCE NEWS]

GEOLOGY | VIDEO | INFOGRAPHIC

Watch 100 Years of Earthquakes Rock the World in this Incredible Animation

Earth is an incredibly dynamic planet. Now, thanks to improved seismometer technology and the dedicated work of the National Oceanic & Atmospheric Administration, we can see just how active it is and has been. The graphic embedded in the linked article is flat, but you can find the global view of the same data here. [FORBES and NOAA]

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