What is the Shape of This Word?

Karen Hopkin: This is Scientific American’s 60-Second Science. I’m Karen Hopkin. Some words imitate the sounds made by the things they describe. Like buzz or hiss or zip. For you language lovers, that’s called onomatopoeia. But what if the the way a word sounds could evoke some other feature of an object … like its shape? … Read more

Physicists Reveal The Weird Shapes Ice Takes as It Melts at Different Temperatures

Melting ice can take on different shapes depending on the temperature of the water around it, new research reveals, giving us new insights into the complex physics that underlie this deceptively complicated transition.   The team behind the research created ultra-pure ‘clear’ ice for their experiments, free from bubbles and impurities, then observed the ice … Read more

For The First Time, Astronomers Detect Rugby-Ball Shape of a Deformed Exoplanet

Beyond the Solar System, out there in the wider galaxy, a very strange subset of exoplanets exists. Called hot Jupiters, these are majorly clingy – hugging so close to their host stars, they’re not just intensely hot, but also likely warped by gravitational forces.   Now, for the first time, astronomers have actually detected the … Read more