Engineers can now create materials that repel liquids so well they’re called superhydrophobic, i.e. they have a serious water phobia. With funding from the National Science Foundation (NSF), this booming area of research has the potential to benefit society in a big way.
Rogue waves—individual, isolated waves far larger than the surrounding waves—were reported for centuries by sailors. But their stories of massive walls of water appearing in the open ocean were not corroborated until 1995 when a rogue wave struck an offshore platform. How these giant waves form is still under active research, but one leading theory is that nonlinear interactions between waves allow one wave to sap energy from surrounding waves and focus it into one much larger, short-lived wave. I first learned of rogue waves during a seminar in graduate school. At the time, this idea of nonlinear focusing had only been explored in simulation, but a few years later a research group was able to demonstrate the effect in a wave tank, as shown in the video above. Wait for the end, and you’ll notice how the rogue wave that takes down the ship is much larger than its predecessors. For more on rogue waves and their mind-boggling behavior, be sure to check my previous post on the subject. (Video credit: A. Chabchoub, N. Hoffmann, and N. Akhmediev)
This process is the foundation of who we are—without it, our cells could not reproduce, and we wouldn’t be able to live. I’ll run through the basic process, then let the proteins do the talking for me.
Essentially, in replication, the double helix is unwound in two…
If it all plays out as expected and budgeted, astronomers of the 2020s will be swimming in petabytes of data streaming from space and the ground. Herewith a report card on the future of big-time stargazing.