The Tokamak Fusion Reactor

Following the advancements achieved recently by the JET laboratory in Oxfordshire, humanity stands one step closer to commercialising nuclear fusion power. JET employs the magnetic confinement technique to support fusion, achieved by a device called a tokamak. The principles of tokamak reactors are outlined in this article. Why Fusion is Hard Nuclear fusion involves theContinue reading “The Tokamak Fusion Reactor”

The Mystery of Neutrino Mass

The standard model of particle physics is, perhaps ironically, written in the language of quantum field theory. Particles manifest as a consequence of the oscillatory motion of the associated fields. All known fermions, particles with half-integral spin such as the electron and the quarks, are massive particles. Fermion mass is a direct consequence of theContinue reading “The Mystery of Neutrino Mass”

Excitons

Condensed matter describes the state in which a large number of particles assemble to form a macroscopic system. Complex interactions can arise from collective phenomena within such an ensemble. In a crystalline solid, energy and momentum are transferred via exotic processes that can be accurately modelled as the propagation of subatomic particles with altered properties.Continue reading “Excitons”

Models of Nuclear Physics

The atomic nucleus is one of the most fascinating objects in the universe. Groups of protons and neutrons, themselves composed of quarks, bind together as a result of the strong nuclear force that, at distances of around 1fm = 1×10-15m, is potent enough to overcome proton-proton electromagnetic repulsion. The continuous tug of war between theseContinue reading “Models of Nuclear Physics”

PET Scan: An Overview

Positron emission tomography (PET) is a painless, non-invasive medical imaging technique, widely used for detection cancer, heart disease and brain disorders such as dementia. This process involves detection of metabolism within bodily tissue, enabling construction of 3-dimensional images which show how organs and tissue in the body function, rather than producing an image that solelyContinue reading “PET Scan: An Overview”

The Physics of Timekeeping

The desire to measure periods of time dates back thousands of years. The position of the Sun gave early humans the ability to estimate the proportion of the day that had passed, however clocks as we know them today didn’t make their first appearance until the 17th century. Despite their distinctive designs, most clocks areContinue reading “The Physics of Timekeeping”

The End of Moore’s Law

In 1965, Gordon E. Moore, the co-founder of Intel, observed that every two years the amount of transistors that could fit on a single microchip was doubling, whilst the cost of computers was halving. Moore’s Law, a projection of this historic trend, has been used since 1975 for forecasting and goal-setting in the semiconductor industry.Continue reading “The End of Moore’s Law”

Quantum Field Theory: An Introduction

Quantum field theory is the conceptual framework of modern particle physics, describing and predicting the most fundamental of physical processes with incredible success. Rising to popularity in the 1950s, the way in which QFT models particles and their interactions is both creative and notably distinct from previous theories. For every particle there is a correspondingContinue reading “Quantum Field Theory: An Introduction”

Entropy: Why the Universe Tends to Chaos

Why does hot air travel to cooler regions? Why are some processes irreversible? How does the concept of time arise? Why does time only run forwards and not backwards? The concept of entropy and randomness provides the answers to all these questions. Entropy is a measure of the amount of randomness or chaos within aContinue reading “Entropy: Why the Universe Tends to Chaos”

The Correspondence Principle

The Correspondence Principle provides a condition for new theories in quantum physics. The principle states that quantum theories, though generally focused on science at atomic scales, should predict classical behaviour in the limit of large quantum numbers. In other words, new quantum theories should agree with established classical mechanics when considering large systems. First putContinue reading “The Correspondence Principle”