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crystals

A close-up of fossilized amber.
materials science

Ideal Glass Would Explain Why Glass Exists at All

March 11, 2020

Glass is anything that’s rigid like a crystal, yet made of disordered molecules like a liquid. To understand why it exists, researchers are attempting to create the perfect, still-hypothetical “ideal glass.”

Six looping videos of different types of snowflakes and snow crystals growing.
crystals

Toward a Grand Unified Theory of Snowflakes

December 19, 2019

Snow crystals come in two main types. The “pope” of snowflake physics has a new theory that explains why.

Art for "Black, Hot Ice, Newly Seen in the Lab, May Be Nature's Commonest Form of Water"
chemistry

Black, Hot Ice May Be Nature’s Most Common Form of Water

May 8, 2019

A new experiment confirms the existence of “superionic ice,” a bizarre form of water that might comprise the bulk of giant icy planets throughout the universe.

Crystal diffraction art for "A Chemist Shines Light on a Surprising Prime Number Pattern"
prime numbers

A Chemist Shines Light on a Surprising Prime Number Pattern

May 14, 2018

When a crystallographer treated prime numbers as a system of particles, the resulting diffraction pattern created a new view of existing conjectures in number theory.

Physics

Solid or Liquid? Physicists Redefine States of Matter

April 3, 2013

Glass and other strange materials have long confounded textbook definitions of what it means to be solid. Now, two groups of physicists propose a new solution to the riddle.