Education

New research shows how octopus skin is able to respond to variations in light

After 18 years as a professional house cleaner in the suburbs of Chicago, Magdalena Zylinska says she feels very lucky. Unlike many of her fellow domestic workers, she hasn’t sustained any serious injuries.

Last week, I did a post for Forbes on the surprisingly complicated physics of a light bulb. Incandescent light bulbs produce a spectrum that’s basically blackbody radiation, but if you think about it, that’s kind of amazing given that the atoms making up the filament have quantized states, and can absorb and emit only discrete…

I am thrilled to see Dr. Stan Lindstedt’s review article published in the April 2015 issue of American Journal of Physiology: Regulatory, Integrative and Comparative Physiology from his 2013 August Krogh lectureship at the annual Experimental Biology conference. My original blog from the lecture can be found here. Dr. Lindstedt and co-author Dr. Niisa Nishikawa (Northern…

Ever wonder how flies navigate?

Dr. Vivek Jayaraman and colleagues at the Howard Hughes Medical Institute Janelia Research Campus discovered that the ellipsoid body located in the middle of a fly’s brain acts like a compass to help navigate flight even in darkness. By placing the flies into a small virtual reality arena and having the flies walk on a…

… because it is Paleo! Paleo data, models, expectations, observations, about the past and to some extent the future. The Little Ice Age. The Hockey Stick. And, what people get wrong about it all. Denial101x Making Sense of Climate Science Denial goes paleo (and Medieval) this week. Here is a sample video, Andy Skuce on…

One of the points I make repeatedly in teaching introductory mechanics (as I’m doing this term) is that absolutely every problem students encounter can, in principle, be solved using just Newton’s Laws or, in the terminology used by Matter and Interactions, the Momentum Principle. You don’t strictly need any of the other stuff we talk…

A few things about the academic job market have caught my eye recently, but don’t really add up to a big coherent argument. I’ll note them here, though, to marginally increase the chance that I’ll be able to find them later. — First, this piece at the Guardian got a lot of play, thanks in…

Student Reflection of the X-STEM Symposium: High School Senior Connor Smith

By High School Student Connor Smith, who is attending Cornell next year and studying chemistry. The two speakers I enjoyed most at the 2015 X-STEM conference were Andrew Zwicker, a physicist from the Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory, and William Pomerantz, the Vice President of Special Projects at Virgin Galactic. Dr. Zwicker talked primarily about his…

Nifty Fifty Podcast: Dr. Loren Anderson on The Milky Way Galaxy

This Nifty Fifty Podcast features, Dr. Loren Anderson, physicist from West Virginia University,  speaking to Tuscarora High School about the Milky Way Galaxy, astronomy, massive stars, and his career path to becoming a physics professor. Read the full blog here.