You might hear about Rosetta in the news later this week, so I decided to give my readers a head-start with an introduction to the mission and its objectives, as well as an idea of what to expect. Continue reading
Summer in Finland can be tricky. Most people retire to their summer cottages, many of which are located by one of the country’s 190,000 lakes; the cottages provide a respite from the metropolitan hustle, a quiet interlude with space to pause and reflect. It’s easy to feel comfortably isolated, but you quickly learn to be cautious about baring your soul by the lakeside. Sitting by the water’s edge last week, my partner and I were struck by how easily we could hear our neighbours across the water. This isn’t a special property of Finland or even of Finnish lakes. It’s just that sound travels better over water and Finland has quite a lot of lakes dotted with lakeside cottages. Continue reading
In 2011, a team of physicists at Cornell University in Ithaca, New York showed that when a falling chain hits something (say, a table), it might, contrary to all intuition, speed up and fall faster than it would if it fell freely. By carefully studying its mechanics, they showed how the impact could actually pull the remainder of the chain downwards. As this picture from their experiment shows, they were right. The two strange-looking chains were dropped from the same height at the same time, but the one on the left, which fell into a pile on a table, fell faster than an identical chain falling past the table.