Physics in Pictures by Topic
The swallow tanager gets its brilliant blue and turquoise hues by harnessing the wavelike properties of light.
The interior of a neutron star plays host to strange phases of matter unlike anything seen here on Earth.
Finding the best way to pack objects into a container of a certain shape is harder than you might think.
The non-Newtonian properties of liquid soap and shampoo fluid let them "bounce" as a stream. Try it at home!
A unique blend of nanoscale structures might let us create frost-proof surfaces
Belousov-Zhabotinsky (or BZ) patterns arise when molecules repeatedly gain and lose electrons in waves.
Learn about plastics and polymers with the newest page from our upcoming all-ages coloring book!
Check out the winners of the Materials Research Society's 2016 "Science as Art" competition!
There's something amiss about this prismatic rainbow—can you spot it?
Electron beam-induced etching (EBIE) conquers nature's hardest surface with ease.
Clouds form enormous eddies over the Juan Fernandez islands.
A layer of meltwater keeps ice moving through fluid with minimal turbulence.
Low-pressure helium gas glows an eerie, soft pink.
Microscopic patterns form with surprising regularity as colloids dry.
Epithelial cells grown in the shape of the United States
Veins in leaves and animals may branch this way for optimal transport
A twist on electron beams may make them shoot more accurately
A close-up of a promising material you may find in future electronics
We handed out tons of physics gear at this year's Comic-Con
Solids can flow like fluids, given the right circumstances
Why do certain liquids transition into glass? There's no easy answer.
A colorful mosaic of nano-scale grains on a super thin film
Nitride alloys expand the applications of energy-saving LEDs.
Altering graphene's electronic properties with Nitrogen tracers.
High temperature superconductor spills secrets: a new phase of matter.
Nanotubes mimic the Devil’s Postpile National Monument in eastern California.
Scanning electron micrograph of iron-titanium nanowires
A soap bubble trapped in a colorful configuration.
These images captured the moment streams of liquid collide, bending the streams and forming beautiful images.
This photo illustrates the insulating properties of aerogel. The crayons on top of the aerogel are not melting, protected from the flame by a layer of aerogel.
Nanoparticles are being used as biological markers
This psychedelic image is a graphical summary of a theory describing striped superconductors.
These antennas could be used in devices that use light in place of the electrical signals.
Physicists have made what they believe to be the first true single molecule transistor.
Crystal-like carbon nanotubes could serve as wiring for future computers.
Physicists have removed the inner electrons from neon with a high energy X-ray laser, leaving behind a hollow atom shell.
This quilt won't just keep you warm; it can teach you about the four electronic states central to understanding the properties of graphene.
Next time you put syrup on your pancakes remember that there is physics behind how the syrup flows.
This small grey crystal of silicon inside a glass test tube contains 10 billion pairs of entangled spin qubits
This scanning electron microscope image shows the recently discovered calcite mineral bridges that connect the developing tooth plates in the sea urchin Eucidaris tribuloides, fascinating physicists with their strength.
Mussels generate their own self healing sticky material and now scientists are able to make a synthetic version in the lab.
If you could look deep inside an infrared LED and had microscopic vision, you might see the image above, showing the microscopic image of the surface of gallium arsenide (GaAs) and how the arrangement of atoms on the GaAs surface affect its electric field.
Imagine having a switch the size of a molecule. It could control a tiny electric circuit built from single atoms and molecules.
The sky is falling! No, those are just snowflakes falling from the clouds. In this Physics in Pictures explore what conditions make snowflakes and what all snowflakes have in common.
A smoke-ring flow pattern - or vortex ring--can develop, pinch-off, and be regenerated, all without forces, when the flow is driven by chemical reactions.
In 2004, Andre Geim and Konstantin Novoselov were looking for a metallic substance that could be used as a semiconductor. With the use of adhesive tape, their method of making graphene led to receiving the 2010 Nobel prize.
Einstein is looking at you through a near perfect glass sphere. In fact this is the most precise sphere that humans have ever created. The surface of this little marble is so smooth that any bumps or scratches are no higher than 40 atoms. Cool! But why?
High power laser pulses create shock-waves and bubbles in plasma.
This spectroscopic image shows what are called microwave-frequency magnetic resonances of an array of parallel, metallic thin film nanowire "stripes". The peak in the center reflects resonances occurring at the stripe edges. The strong horizontal bar of violet, black, and white, is due to resonances in the body of the stripes.
When you dry your hands after washing them they don’t typically warp and wrinkle. That’s not the same with paper.
Red and green dye reveals the turbulent fluid flows from the magneto hydro dynamic propulsion device.
A vibrating cornstarch solution appears to come alive and grow fingers. A dimple in the fluid created by a burst of air expands into a deep hole.
If you dropped a wineglass, you'd expect it to shatter, not skitter across the floor like a silver goblet.
Oil is slick but did you know it can also bounce?
It might seem intuitively obvious that a layer of dense liquid resting on a less dense liquid is an unstable situation. What isn't as obvious is the complex way that liquids arranged in this manner and tend to move.
It flows in rivulets, puddles in depressions, falls from the sky; you can even buy it at Costco--three-dimensional, "bulk" water is everywhere.
Researchers have been frustrated in their attempts to confirm the long-standing theory that describes how dyes mix in turbulent liquids.
The erratic, swirling fluid motion known as turbulence increases wind resistance, and airplane manufacturers go to great lengths to eliminate rough surfaces that promote it.
When an all-electron Wigner crystal (top) is squeezed too tightly, the electron wave functions begin to overlap (middle), and then create a quantum liquid (bottom).
A spark flying between a metal doorknob and your hand is an intricate chain of electrical events.
Nanoparticles covered in stringy polymers might someday form the building blocks for drug delivery systems or disease assays.
The frictionless flow of atoms within solid helium may be confined to the axis of a screw dislocation, a spiral defect like the one in this crystal of silicon carbide.
Researchers have assembled carbon nanotubes into arrays of loops, lassos, and hooks.
The scanning tunneling microscope (STM) can make impressive images of single atoms and molecules on surfaces; now it has been used to measure a molecule's internal motion.
Some lasers can burn through solids, but others, shined on the right materials, have a chilling effect.
Electrons don't normally know one direction from another, so researchers were perplexed a few years ago when they found a cold plane of electrons suddenly choosing to conduct many times better in one direction than in the perpendicular one.
Researchers predicted the existence of a giant two-atom rubidium molecule with an electron cloud resembling a trilobite, the ancient, hard-shelled creature which lived in the Earth's seas over 300 million years ago.
Windblown dunes can engulf houses, roads, and airfields, but researchers have had a hard time studying them under controlled conditions.
Researchers dream of building crystals from the ground up to achieve tight control of their periodic structure.
The symbolic beauty of a flag flying high in the wind is simple to understand.
Many of the oceans' algae have evolved natural "sunscreens" as protection from the sun's ultraviolet rays.
Biologists dream of a point-and-shoot camera that can reveal details smaller than a wavelength of light in living cells.
Born of the marriage of two cutting edge techniques, a new method can image bundles of DNA strands by sensing vibrations within the molecules.
The crystallization process that turns a liquid to a solid is brutally competitive, according to an analysis of experiments performed on the Space Shuttle.
Physicists have cooled single atoms and molecules with two or three atoms to just a few thousandths of a degree above absolute zero, but it has proved hard to push larger molecules below about 10 degrees Kelvin.
This year's physics Nobel Prize went to three researchers who were the first to observe and study the Bose-Einstein condensate (BEC), a new phase of matter.
The chemical reactions that keep sulfur and other pollutants from leaving automobile tailpipes rely on catalysts in the form of microscopic particles dispersed within the large surface area of a porous material.
A holey fiber may be able to plug the "holes" in the list of laser colors is affordable to most scientists.
Quasicrystals are unusual metallic alloys whose atoms are arranged in orderly patterns that are not quite crystalline.
Light slows down when it enters a medium such as glass or water, and its new speed depends on the material.
Milky-white cataracts, the world's leading cause of blindness, can occur when proteins in the lens of the eye aggregate, or collect, forming clumps.