Physics can give an inquisitive mind plenty of food for thought, and under the right conditions, it can help develop critical thinking. But there’s a paradox: high school physics has very little to do with the way physics as a science is practiced today. The vast majority of concepts and phenomena studied by millions of high school students around the world are from the 17th–19th centuries! So, why do we continue to approach the study of physics in this way?
Some claim that mathematics is merely an abstract science needed only in school. Arithmetic is seen as sufficient for everyday life — for counting money. What about the branch of mathematics known as combinatorics? It’s barely a part of the school curriculum, merely perceived as gymnastics for the mind, but it can be found everywhere — from the analysis of popular games, such as poker, to the creation of drugs.
The life of a parasite depends on the well-being and habits of its host. Parasites perform incredible tricks to succeed evolutionarily. For example, they may change the behavior of their hosts or even turn them into zombies. Let’s figure out the who, how, and why behind the most successful parasites in the world.
The history of cotton candy stretches back at least three centuries. At one point, this treat was considered to be a delicacy that only the rich could afford, but cotton candy can now be found in just about any amusement park. How did this delicious snack get to where it is today?
In the US aircraft system, “X” designates pilot projects testing new aviation tech. NASA conducts X-projects with the US Air Force at Edwards Air Force Base.
The same ideas often occur to several researchers at the same time. They may also arise in the minds of different species! It’s hard to take something like this at face value, isn’t it? Take a closer look: the world around us is teeming with inventions and mechanisms! They grow under our feet, swim in the water, twitter in the trees. We only need to ﬁgure out how they work, and it can’t be done without a dedicated branch of science — bionics.
Legend has it that the Aztec emperor Montezuma II would consume dozens of goblets of hot cocoa at celebrations, and the rest of the world loves the delicacy so much that it even celebrates it with international holidays several times a year. Milk, dark, white, liquid… all of it is chocolate in some form or another.
Since ancient times, the remains of various marine animals — primarily clamshells — have been found on land, including far from the ocean and high up in the mountains. Ancient people puzzled over how they got there, but now we know the answer and can even use these traces of ancient seas in order to learn about our planet’s past.
This iconic decorative lamp of the 60s is still well-known today. It’s not very functional, but it is hypnotic: the neon-bright “lava” inside grows and shrinks, soars and sinks, mesmerizing us like the flickering hearth that hypnotized our ancestors. Let’s follow the rise and fall of the lava lamp and make our own just from what we can find in the kitchen.
From space, it would seem that the ocean is a very calm place, an endless blue tapestry. In reality, it’s in a state of constant motion. It contains currents big and small, waves that crash on the shore, and one wave that surpasses them all — wide as the entire planet and perpetually running across its surface. What exactly is this wave, where did it come from, and why does it turn out that there are actually two of them?