Steinn Sigurðsson

Professor of Astrophysics at Pennsylvania State University. Science Editor at Astrophysical Journal. Icelandic. Herder of Cats.

Busy Bee

Bee at Backreaction has been busy over the last few months, here is my backlog reading list: A Thousand Words Do we live in a computer simulation? Consciousness and Physics from Scratch 10 things I wish I had known 20 years ago Science changed my life and yours too Do we write too many papers?…

Useful Things

Because I must trim browser tabs, here is a current short list of things that might be useful: Threebody – online implementation of the open source IAS15 integrator – a 15th order high precision N-body integrator – ASCL – Astrophysics Source Code Library – Open Source Code Visible Spectra of the Elements – Except Astatine…

Wind and Snow

Found on Ground

The Physics Tree

Complex Systems #171

One of the joys of the holidays and the University turning off the heating and locking us out, is that it provides time to catch up on things: papers, refereeing, recommendation letters, grading, syllabi, proposals, all the stuff one can rarely get to during actual working semester hours. And, sometimes, there is time for real…


Happy New Year! I heard that Killing The Internet is a Thing, and apparently keeping more than a few hundred tabs open in Firefox will do the trick, so I’m doing some blog dumps to get the year kicked off: Quanta Magazine is an (editorially independent) publication of the Simons Foundation which has been doing…

In which Chris “Slick” Ford challenges me, and I accept. In turn, I challenge Valerie, Diddi and Stefan. You know who you are. h/t to Sir Patrick Stewart for illustrating how to properly take on such challenges.

say it like it is

good thing about Icelandic, it is phonetic, almost all the words are pronounced the way they are spelled, including Bárðarbunga the extra few letters are just what they look like. Fortunately Biggi Lögga is there to set you straight.

X-Volcanoes – Bárðarbunga

Bárðarbunga is arguably the scariest of the 30 or so active volcanoes in Iceland. Extreme volcanoes don’t always have extreme eruptions, but they are scary because they have the capability for extreme events, uniquely so. It is not the most active, it is not the tallest, it may possibly be the biggest in some sense,…

The Science of Inequality

Science had a very interesting special section this spring: The Science of Inequality – basically doing a summary and review of issues related to the stuff in Piketty’s book Capital in the Twenty-First Century The section has a series of very interesting articles on a range of related topics: “Inequality in the Long Run” by…