What The Physics?!

January 22, 2016

Harvard Physics grad Greg Kestin (PhD 2014) has published the first video in a new "What The Physics?!" series. Each episode will explore 'something surprising or really interesting related to physics. Like the science behind the movie "Interstellar," or exploring what real parallel universes might be like… basically, things that make you go, What The Physics?!'

The first episode demonstrates an effect of one tablespoon of olive oil on half an acre of waves on a lake. 


Soft Hair on Black Holes

January 12, 2016
Artist's rendering of a black hole

Image Credit: MASA/JPL-Caltech

In the mid 1970s, Stephen Hawking made a string of unnerving discoveries about black holes—that they could evaporate, even explode, and destroy all information about what had fallen in. Physicists spent the next 40 years sorting through the wreckage. Then last year, at a conference in Stockholm, Hawking said that he and his collaborators were close to a solution to the so-called black-hole information paradox.


Bekenstein-Hawking Entropy and Strange Metals

November 16, 2015

Reprinted under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.

The combination of general relativity and quantum theory led Jacob Bekenstein and Stephen Hawking to the startling result that black hole horizons obey thermodynamics and possess an entropy and a temperature. A reasonable interpretation of the black hole entropy is that it is associated with quantum degrees of freedom at the very small Planck length scale. Thus far, this interpretation has only been verified using models that derive from string theory.


Spatially Resolved Edge Currents and Guided-Wave Electronic States in Graphene

November 12, 2015

Fig. 1: ‘Fibre-optic’ modes and spatially resolved current imaging in a graphene Josephson junction*. [Reprinted by permission from Macmillan Publishers Ltd: Nature Physics ©2015]

Exploiting the light-like properties of carriers in graphene could allow extreme non-classical forms of electronic transport to be realized. In this vein, finding ways to confine and direct electronic waves through nanoscale streams and streamlets, unimpeded by the presence of other carriers, has remained a grand challenge.