Physical Science

“Einstein’s gravitational theory, which is said to be the greatest single achievement of theoretical physics, resulted in beautiful relations connecting gravitational phenomena with the geometry of space; this was an exciting idea.” -Richard Feynman When we look out into the Universe, we normally gain information about it by gathering light of various wavelengths. However, there…

159/366: Thanks, Manitoba

I’m in Newport News, VA, to give a talk tonight at Jefferson Lab, and they’re putting me up at the on-site Residence Facility. The rooms at this are apparently sponsored associated with institutions that use the facility, with big signs on all the doors. Here’s mine: So, I guess my stay is in some sense…

“A mouse does not rely on just one hole.” -Plautus When you look at the largest, most powerful optical telescopes in the world, they all have something in common: they all have holes in their central, primary mirrors. This is for a few reasons, including that they’re all reflectors, they all need to focus light…

158/366: Fort

Since our recent trip to Vermont, SteelyKid has been obsessed with building blanket forts. These have mostly been in the living room, leading to a bit of angst at the end of the day when we need the blankets back. So i did a little reorganizing in the basement, and dug some sheets out of…

I’ve been remiss in my self-promotional duties, but I’m giving a public lecture tomorrow night in Newport News, VA, as part of the Jefferson Lab Science Series. This will be my traditional “What Every Dog Should Know About Quantum Physics” talk, with the sad addition of a slide honoring the late, great Queen of Niskayuna…

“Where there is an observatory and a telescope, we expect that any eyes will see new worlds at once.” -Henry David Thoreau With more stories of the Universe having been told this past week at Starts With A Bang, it’s always a thrill to look back, see what we’ve covered and see what thoughts and ideas they’ve…

“Biological diversity is messy. It walks, it crawls, it swims, it swoops, it buzzes. But extinction is silent, and it has no voice other than our own.” -Paul Hawken Looking at the history of life on Earth, the fossil record shows something incontrovertible: in order for new forms of life to rise to dominance, it…

“We find them smaller and fainter, in constantly increasing numbers, and we know that we are reaching into space, farther and farther, until, with the faintest nebulae that can be detected with the greatest telescopes, we arrive at the frontier of the known universe.” -Edwin Hubble If you want to see farther, deeper and at…

In yesterday’s post about the lack of money in academia, I mentioned in passing that lack of funding is part of the reason for the slow pace of progress on improving faculty diversity. That is, we could make more rapid progress if we suddenly found shitloads of money and could go on a massive hiring…

A long-ish stretch of time, but I was basically offline for a bunch of that because I needed to finish a chapter I was asked to contribute to an academic book. So there are only four physics posts from Forbes to promote this time: — ‘The Expanse’ Is A Rare Sci-Fi Show That Gets Simulated…