Wake and Break Ducks, kayaks and ships leave behind wakes of various sizes, but all share the same general V-shaped form decorated with complex ripples. In a recent video, MinutePhysics explains how this pattern results from one simple feature of waves: their speed. The fast overtaking the slow is one of two ways that waves can fuse to form ship-toppling "rogue waves," but as Charlie Wood reported for Quanta last year, mathematicians have developed a single theory that can handle both of them.
New Black Hole Picture This week the Event Horizon Telescope followed up its 2019 blockbuster black hole image with a sequel showing the orientation of light — and therefore the magnetic field — around the supermassive object. As astronomers grow skilled at inferring the cosmos's invisible magnetic curls, they're finding fingerprints of the force everywhere they look, Natalie Wolchover reported for Quanta last year.
'Cautious Excitement' at CERN When short-lived B mesons break down, nature may unexpectedly favor making electrons over muons — a result that could indicate quantum physics needs an update, Ian Sample reports for The Guardian. Physicists have been detecting faint signs of odd behavior from B mesons for some time, Charlie Wood reported for Quanta last year. A handful of international collaborations seek to strengthen or weaken the reports of anomalies with more data.
Surprising Respiration Researchers have discovered an odd microbe deep in a Swiss lake. Millions of years ago, it swallowed bacteria that survived and now furnish it with chemical energy, Doug Johnson reports for Ars Technica. Studies of similar examples of "endosymbiosis," such as microbe pairings recently discovered in insects, could explain how our cells acquired their energy-producing organelles billions of years ago, Viviane Callier reported for Quanta in 2019.