Katherine Skipper

Features editor - Physics World

United Kingdom

PhD Soft matter Physics researcher at the University of Bristol. Writing about science when I'm not in the lab. You can read a selection of my writing work here.

Surface Tension Drives Cancer Cell Migration

A model used to explain the wetting of drops can also describe cell migration driven by variations in a surface's stiffness, a finding that could help in understanding how cancers grow. Cell migration drives the development of embryos, the response of our immune system, and the spread of cancer.

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Liquid crystals bring robotics to the microscale - Physics World

Scientists in the US and Slovenia have built a tiny swimming robot that paddles using liquid crystals. Kathleen Stebe of the University of Pennsylvania, alongside collaborators at the University of Ljubljana, studied rotating microparticles embedded in a liquid crystal.

Lidar scales up thanks to silicon photonics

In March 2021, Honda unveiled a partially autonomous car that it says can take over from a human driver in traffic jams. This special edition of the Honda Legend uses lidar laser illumination, alongside radar and cameras, to navigate at low speeds.

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Brain tumours spread by exploiting fundamental physics - Physics World

New research in Germany shows that changes to the mechanical properties of cells can cause a brain tumour to become malignant. Josef Käs of the University of Leipzig and Ingolf Sack of the Charité-Universitätsmedizin Berlin and colleagues have shown that a brain tumour is a unique material and its spread is driven by physics as well as biomechanics.

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Lasers peer into a mysterious region of supercooled water - Physics World

In an experimental first, scientists in the US have studied the dynamics of liquid water at temperatures below 230 K. Greg Kimmel and Loni Kringle of the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory in Richland, Washington used ultrafast laser pulses to "stop and start" the evolution of supercooled water in the nanoseconds before it froze, performing measurements in a temperature region that has been inaccessible to previous experiments.

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Hidden patterns found on the surface of water - Physics World

Scientists in the US have found evidence that the surface of liquid water, even at room temperature, has a structure that looks more and more like ice as the water-air interface is approached. Phillip Geissler and Nathan Odendahl of the University of California, Berkeley, performed computer simulations of the uneven interface between air and water and identified ordered motifs, which they argue share significant commonalities with ice.