Most Popular Posts during 2015 II

Find out which was the most viewed post on the blog during IYL 2015.

5 – Six reasons why Photonics and Optics are important for the future! by Abhijeet Phatak (2,837 views)

Our modern day electronic devices are based on transistors and other semiconductor devices. Moore’s law has proved to be nearly accurate as we develop better and smaller circuits having more number of transistors per square inch. However, there will be a time maybe after two decades (as predicted by Moore himself) where we may not be able to make any further development with the integrated circuit based devices.

A multidirectional `perfect paraxial' cloak using 4 lenses. For a continuous range of viewing angles, the hand remains cloaked, and the grids seen through the device match the background on the wall (about 2 m away), in color, spacing, shifts, and magnification. The edges of the optics can be seen since this is a small-angle ('paraxial') cloak, but this can be reduced by using large optics and for distant viewing; also the center of the device must not be blocked. // an optical cloaking configuration designed by University of Rochester professor of physics John C. Howell and Ph.D. student Joseph Choi is pictured in Bausch & Lomb Hall September 11, 2014. Credit: J. Adam Fenster / University of Rochester

A multidirectional `perfect paraxial’ cloak using 4 lenses. For a continuous range of viewing angles, the hand remains cloaked, and the grids seen through the device match the background on the wall (about 2 m away), in color, spacing, shifts, and magnification. The edges of the optics can be seen since this is a small-angle (‘paraxial’) cloak, but this can be reduced by using large optics and for distant viewing; also the center of the device must not be blocked. // an optical cloaking configuration designed by University of Rochester professor of physics John C. Howell and Ph.D. student Joseph Choi is pictured in Bausch & Lomb Hall September 11, 2014. Credit: J. Adam Fenster / University of Rochester

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4 – Revealing your secret superpower – How you can see polarized light by looking for “Haidinger’s brush” by Matin Durrani (3,508 views)

With the International Year of Light now in full swing, there’s been a lot of talk on this blog about how light is useful for everything from medicine and the arts to technology and astronomy. But what I want to tell you about is an astonishing – and largely unknown – light-based superpower that you perhaps don’t even realize that you have. It may sound bizarre, but using the naked eye – and with no additional gadgets whatsoever – you can detect whether or not light is “polarized”. And in the video below, my colleague Louise Mayor, who’s features editor of Physics World magazine, shows you how.

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3 – Help measure how the night sky is changing by Christopher Kyba (5,987 views)

On March 14 and September 12 2015, you can join thousands of people around the world in measuring how bright the night sky is where you live. The results from this experiment will help scientists to understand how the night sky is changing over time, as cities switch to LED street lighting. All you need is a place that’s not too close to any street lamps where you have a view of a good portion of the night sky, and clear skies on that night.

View of the Orion Constellation at three different levels of skyglow. Which one looks like your night sky?. Credits: Christopher Kyba

View of the Orion Constellation at three different levels of skyglow. Which one looks like your night sky?. Credits: Christopher Kyba

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2 – Graphene: Miracle Material by Abel Gil Villalba (6,032 views)

Since its isolation in 2004, graphene and related materials have attracted tremendous attention for being the base for next generation technologies. We have read in journals and newspaper and heard on the news that this new material will change our world.

Graphene sheet. Graphite, graphene transistor and tape dispenser donated to the Nobel Museum in Stockholm by A. Geim and K. Novoselov Credit: Wikipedia Commons.

Graphene sheet. Graphite, graphene transistor and tape dispenser donated to the Nobel Museum in Stockholm by A. Geim and K. Novoselov Credit: Wikipedia Commons.

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1- In a Blaze of Brilliance — How Light’s Speed was Finally Clocked by Bruce Watson (7,464 views)

Late in his career, when he had won the Nobel Prize for Physics and had clocked light’s speed with an accuracy no one had thought possible, the American physicist Albert Michelson was asked why he studied light.  Michelson did not hesitate.  “Because it’s so much fun,” he said.

In 1879, the American physicist Albert Michelson clocked light's speed to within 99.9998 percent of accuracy. Credit: Wikimedia Commons.

In 1879, the American physicist Albert Michelson clocked light’s speed to within 99.9998 percent of accuracy. Credit: Wikimedia Commons.

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