Physical Science

Physics vs. Fishy Footballs

When it was reported that many of the footballs in the AFC Championship game were inflated below the required minimum pressure, the triumphant New England Patriots were accused of cheating. Looking for an explanation, Chad Orzel whipped out some footballs, a freezer, and the Ideal Gas Law to do some delving. Physically, air pressure depends…

The Big Bang by Balloon (Synopsis)

If you want to map the entire sky — whether you’re looking in the visible, ultraviolet, infrared or microwave, your best bet is to go to space. Only high above the Earth’s atmosphere can you map out the entire sky, with your vision unobscured by anything terrestrial. But that costs hundreds of millions of dollars…

The Challenge of Space Flight

Suddenly and for the first time I saw Amanda as a little child wide eyed with both awe and fear, among other children some sitting on the floor, some in chairs, some standing behind desks, eyes trained on a TV monitor and their teacher as the sudden realization dawned on all of them that the…

What happened to the Blizzard of 2015?

What happened to the Blizzard of 2015? Well, it happened. Despite breathless complaining about how the forecasters got it all wrong, they didn’t. As the storm was predicted, there should have been close to about two feet of snow in the New York City metropolitan area, but as it turns out, there was between 8…

From Heaven to Earth (Synopsis)

If you want to know where you are on Earth, you use a GPS, you use other terrestrial landmarks to help determine your location, or you use some well-known objects in the sky. This will get you latitude easily, but how about longitude? While there are some tricky things you can do to help yourself…

Deflategate on Discovery Canada

I know I said I was done with this story, but this was actually recorded last week: The Daily Planet show on Discovery Channel in Canada contacted me last week when all this deflated-football silliness was exploding, and got a cameraman to come over and record me talking about it. The episode aired Monday night,…

“I lie on the floor, washed by nothing and hanging on. I cry at night. I am afraid of hearing voices, or a voice. I have come to the edge, of the land. I could get pushed over.” -Margaret Atwood We had a great run with Messier Monday, followed by a fun mini-series on Mini-Movie…

Eureka on “Inquiry”

While I’ve managed to generate a lot of blog traffic talking about football, I sort of suck at turning that into book sales. Sigh. I am, however, continuing to do interviews in support of Eureka: discovering Your Inner Scientist, the most recent of which is this one with WICN’s Inquiry, hosted by Mark Lynch. This…

Science Teaching researcher Prof. Nir Orion  recently returned from Peru, where his award-winning Blue Planet teaching unit was adopted by the Peruvian Ministry of Education Q: You have been working for many years to get schoolchildren out of the classroom setting. Why? A: Schools in general and science teaching in particular are supposed to teach…

POTW Returns!

Do you prefer math problems to chess problems? Well then today’s your lucky day! For today is the day that Problem Of the Week returns! Our theme this semester is: Geometry. Euclidean geometry to be exact. There will be ten problems during the term. The first five are meant to be relatively simple, while the…