Atto

It's atto-scale feast at Rolland Piquepaille's this week:

Weighing an Attogram:

Researchers at Cornell University have reached a new level of precision by measuring objects with a mass of less than an attogram (10-18 gram).

Their goal is to detect and identify viruses.

The Shortest Time Interval Ever Measured:

A group led by Ferenc Krausz of Vienna University of Technology used pulses of laser light to watch electrons moving around atoms, and were able to distinguish events that took place 100 attoseconds -- or 10-16 seconds -- apart.

Watching electrons moving around atoms... There is one principle in physics that struck me a long time ago: Eisenberg's principle of uncertainty, which says that we can't precisely know both a particle position and its momentum at the same time. This means that if you know its position precisely, you cannot know precisely where it's going and reciprocally, if you precisely its direction and speed then you cannot know where it is. I wonder if this kind of discovery will change that principle.

2 Comments

Interesting news indeed. One minor correction: it is Heisenberg, and it is called the Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle. See http://www.aip.org/history/heisenberg/ for more info, particularly http://www.aip.org/history/heisenberg/p08_text.htm (low bandwidth version).

You are right. I have such a terrible memory and I persist to write entries at unreasonable times without checking my facts. Hopefully my readership is more serious than me ;-).

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