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Tsunami invisibility cloak, dark energy v. the void, sorting nanotubes with light, and more
Date:9/26/2008

Tsunami Invisibility Cloak
M. Farhat, S. Enoch, S. Guenneau and A.B. Movchan
Physical Review Letters (forthcoming)

Rather than building stronger ocean-based structures to withstand tsunamis, it might be easier to simply make the structures disappear. A collaboration of physicists from the Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique (CNRS) and Aix-Marseille Universite in France and the University of Liverpool in England have conducted laboratory experiments showing that it's possible to make type of dike that acts as an invisibility cloak that hides off-shore platforms from water waves. The principle is analogous to the optical invisibility cloaks that are currently a hot area of physics research.

Tsunami invisibility cloaks wouldn't make structures disappear from sight, but they could manipulate ocean waves in ways that makes off-shore platforms, and possibly even coastlines and small islands, effectively invisible to tsunamis. If the scheme works as well in the real world as the lab-scale experiments suggest, a tsunami should be able to pass right by with little or no effect on anything hidden behind the cloak. - JR


Dark Energy v. The Void: What if Copernicus was Wrong?
Timothy Clifton, Pedro G. Ferreira, and Kate Land
Physical Review Letters (forthcoming)

Dark energy is at the heart of one of the greatest mysteries of modern physics, but it may be nothing more than an illusion, according physicists at Oxford University. The problem facing astrophysicists is that they have to explain why the universe appears to be expanding at an ever increasing rate. The most popular explanation is that some sort of force is pushing the accelerating the universe's expansion. That force is generally attributed to a mysterious dark energy.

Although dark energy may seem a bit contrived to some, the Oxford theorists are proposing an even more outrageous alternative. T
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Contact: James Riordon
riordon@aps.org
301-919-2173
American Physical Society
Source:Eurekalert  

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