COOL IMAGES

COOL IMAGES: Applet Orchard

Science  08 Sep 2000:
Vol. 289, Issue 5485, pp. 1647
DOI: 10.1126/science.289.5485.1647a

The light-illuminated soap bubbles in this image rotate, grow, and divide in an endlessly shifting pattern at the Web site of Australian science fiction writer Greg Egan. It's one of 20 delightful Java applets that demonstrate physics and math concepts. Don't miss “subluminal,” for example, in which superimposed light waves create the illusion of a pulse moving faster than the speed of light—an actual experiment that made headlines this summer. Other eye-popping animations include colorful quasi-tilings—tiles in an irregular pattern—and icosahedrons, 20-sided soccer balls. A mathematician by training, Egan says he began making the applets to help himself visualize the “speculative physics,” such as a neutron star collision, that often play a role in his novels.

www.netspace.net.au/∼gregegan/APPLETS/Applets.html

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