## Tabletop science…

source: RSC

Two bulletins…

First, from * New Scientist*:

An electromagnetic “black hole” that sucks in surrounding light has been built for the first time. The device, which works at microwave frequencies, may soon be extended to trap visible light, leading to an entirely new way of harvesting solar energy to generate electricity.

A theoretical design for a table-top black hole to trap light was proposed in a paper published earlier this year by Evgenii Narimanov and Alexander Kildishev of Purdue University in West Lafayette, Indiana. Their idea was to mimic the properties of a cosmological black hole, whose intense gravity bends the surrounding space-time, causing any nearby matter or radiation to follow the warped space-time and spiral inwards.

Narimanov and Kildishev reasoned that it should be possible to build a device that makes light curve inwards towards its centre in a similar way… Now Tie Jun Cui and Qiang Cheng at the Southeast University in Nanjing, China, have turned Narimanov and Kildishev’s theory into practice, and built a “black hole” for microwave frequencies…

More (including a cool video) at * New Scientist*.

Then, from * Network World*:

A

12 million digit prime number, the largest such number ever discovered, has landed a voluntary math research group a $100,000 prize from the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF).The number, known as a Mersenne prime, is the 45th known Mersenne prime, written shorthand as 2 to the power of 43,112,609, minus 1 . A Mersenne number is a positive integer that is one less than a power of two, the group stated.

The computing project called the Great Internet Mersenne Prime Search (GIMPS) made the discovery on a computer at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) Mathematics Department. Computing manager Edson Smith installed and maintained the GIMPS software at UCLA, and thousands of other volunteers also participated in the computation…

More at * Network World*.

(Readers may recall that **(R)D reported last March **on GIMP and the effort to find the next Mersenne Prime– at which point the estimation was that it might stretch to a mere 10 million digits. Clearly, GIMP’s over-achievement affirms its worthiness of the EFF award.)

**As we channel Mr. Wizard**, we might run a celebratory riff for Charles Edward Anderson “Chuck” Berry, born on this date in 1926– Hail, Hail, Rock and Roll!