Coulomb Bound States of Strongly Interacting Photons

September 16, 2015

Figure 3* [©2015 American Physical Society]

Physicists have taken another step toward building objects out of photons. In the latest issue of Physical Review Letters, a team based in the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) and University of Maryland has shown theoretically that, by tweaking a few parameters of the binding process, photons could travel side by side at a specific distance from each other. The arrangement is akin to the way that two hydrogen atoms sit next to each other in a hydrogen molecule.


How Termites Ventilate

September 11, 2015

Fig. 3: Thermal images of a termite mound

As builders go, termites don’t have many tools at their disposal — just their bodies, soil, and saliva. For guidance they have nothing to go on save variations in wind speed and direction and fluctuations in temperature as the sun rises and sets.

Despite such limitations, the insects have managed to develop structures that are efficiently ventilated, a challenge that’s still a struggle for human builders.