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  • nematic phase_HERO

    The Exotic Matter States Behind PCs, Visual Displays, and the Future of Water

    You might have learned in school that there are three phases of matter: solid, liquid, and gas. That is a useful simplification for young students, but there are in fact many, many more. In the past century or so, we’ve discovered that there are hundreds of distinct solid phases—some of which are used to build […]

  • tree frost ring

    The Mystery of the Missing Frost

    On some clear winter mornings, we are treated to one of the highlights of the season: a thin layer of white frost delicately coating surfaces like individual grass blades. But even when a veneer of ice crystals encrusts much of the outdoor landscape, you may notice it missing from certain sites—the grass beneath a pine […]