JUNE 9, 2018
SOCIETY FOR SCIENCE &
SCIENCE NEWS MAG
Look for tiny sensors and displays
in future smart clothing
JUNE 9, 2018
The pressure inside a proton is the highest of
any known substance, Emily Conover reported
in “Protons break the record for pressure”
(SN: 6/9/18, p. 10).
“I don’t think it’s valid to think of pressure
on a quantum level the same way we do
classically,” Reddit user phazer6 wrote.
Pressure relates to collections of particles, but “here we’re dealing with a single
particle.… How can we possibly speak of
pressure the same way in such different
contexts?” phazer6 asked.
Although the proton can be thought of as
a single particle, it is made up of other particles called quarks and gluons that interact
with one another. The way we normally
think of pressure in a gas is based on molecules’ motions and how molecules bounce
off walls of the container that confines
them. “In an ideal gas, the molecules do not
interact with each other,” says theoretical
particle physicist Peter Schweitzer of
the University of Connecticut in Storrs.
Pressure can also be defined for liquids
and solids, in which internal forces allow
molecules to interact. The difference for a
proton is that the interaction is extremely
strong, so that it is impossible for a lone
quark to escape. There’s no direct way to
measure a proton’s internal pressure, “but
one can infer information about the pressure... from high energy experiments,”
Casual daywear may someday contain serious
tech, Maria Temming and Mariah Quintanilla
reported in “Fashion forward” (SN: 6/9/18,
Online reader Mizuki Mochizuki wondered about the harm that electronics in
clothing may pose to wearers.
Most clothing-embedded electronics
would run on very low current — like
today’s wearable devices — and couldn’t
give users an electric shock, says wearable technology researcher Lucy Dunne
of the University of Minnesota campus in
St. Paul. The battery used to power the
electronics is another question. If a high-capacity battery were used, it would have
the same risks as a mobile phone, she says.
The battery could overheat and catch fire
Out of range
if shorted or crushed. “Durability would
have to be a manufacturer concern, just as
it is with mobile phones,” Dunne says.
If global warming exceeds 1. 5 degrees
Celsius, the geographic ranges of many land-based species may shrink, Carolyn Gramling
reported in “A little less warming could save
species” (SN: 6/9/18, p. 6).
Online reader Mark S. thought that
insect ranges would expand.
That’s a common assumption, but
insect species, like the plants and vertebrates in the study, each have their preferred climatic niches: not too hot or cold,
not too wet or dry, Gramling says. “The
researchers looked broadly at how the
distribution of preferred niches is projected to change as the planet warms,” she
says. “But they did not consider how well
specific species might be able to adapt to a
changing climate, which is a focus of very
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