Objects floating in space – and it’s not outer space we’re talking here, but the space we have here on Earth.
Yes, scientists have found a ground-breaking way of making objects levitate. Perhaps in the future, they could also make people float, then fly! We’re all be supermen and superwomen!
This floating apple may be just be a trick, but what British scientists have done is the real levitation thing.
But let me step back to reality. What scientists at Saint Andrews University in Britain have actually achieved is to levitate ultra small objects, which may revolutionize the design of micro-machines.
Physicists said they can create “incredible levitation effects” by manipulating the so-called Casimir force, which normally causes objects to stick together by quantum force.
The phenomenon could be used to improve the performances of everyday devices ranging from car airbags to computer chips, say Professor Ulf Leonhardt and Dr Thomas Philbin from Saint Andrews University.
Casimir force — discovered in 1948 and first measured in 1997 — can be seen in a gecko’s ability to stick to a surface with just one toe.
Now the British scientists say they can reverse the Casimir force to cause an object to repel rather than attract another in a vacuum.
“The Casimir force is the ultimate cause of friction in the nano world, in particular in some micro-electromechanical systems,” said Leonhardt, writing in the August issue of New Journal of Physics.
“Micro or nano machines could run smoother and with less or no friction at all if one can manipulate the force,” he added.
And he added: “In order to reduce friction in the nanoworld, turning nature’s stickiness into repulsion could be the ultimate remedy. Instead of sticking together, parts of micromachinery would levitate.”
Leonhardt stressed that the practice is possible only for micro-objects.
But he underlined that, although in principle it may one day be possible to levitate humans, that day is a long way off.
Well, scientists have to speed up the process of discovering the secrets of defying gravity through levitation. Too much heavy traffic on the streets, and too many people all over our cities. Imagine how easy it is to commute if we can all just fly from one place to another.