Physical Science

“Ancients knew that you need guidance, patronage and protection as you move from one place or state to another, whenever you cross a bridge.” -Richard Rohr When you think about the stars in the sky, it takes some study to realize that the bluest, brightest stars are also the shortest lived. So when we look…

POTW Returns

If that last post did not satisfy your need for brain food, then let me mention that as of today the Problem of the Week returns. This semester’s theme: Fun With Arithmetic! What’s that? You don’t like arithmetic? Well, let’s see if you’re still saying that at the end of the term. In general I…

Researchers in Peru have discovered four new species of tiny so-called “glass frogs” (family: Centrolenidae). Centrolene charapita: with the yellow splotches on its back, this species was aptly named after little yellow chili peppers. Their hindlegs also had fleshy little zigzag-like protuberances whose purpose is unknown. Cochranella guayasamini: This species is mostly green with yellow encircling its…

Paleogeneticist Dr. Johannes Krause (University of Tübingen, Germany) and colleagues were interested in the origin of tuberculosis (TB) in the Americas. Since strains of TB found in the Americas are related to strains found in Europe, prior theories held that Spaniards may have introduced it to the Americas while colonizing South America.  The problem with…

“There is no dark side in the moon, really. Matter of fact, it’s all dark.” -Pink Floyd / Gerry O’Driscoll It’s been another fantastic week here at Starts With A Bang, where we’ve taken on a huge diversity of topics and run two fantastic posts from our contributing writers: Brian Koberlein and James Bullock. If you missed any…

“After all the ‘Universe’ is a hypothesis, like the atom, & must be allowed the freedom to have properties & to do things which would be contradictory & impossible for a finite material structure.” -Willem de Sitter Dark energy was one of the biggest surprises to come along in the past generation, from a scientific…

The second day of the “Quantum Boot Camp” was much lighter on talks. The only speaker was Ray Laflamme from the Institute for Quantum Computing in Waterloo, who gave a nice introduction to quantum technologies. While he did spend a bit of time at the start going through Shor’s algorithm for factoring numbers (following up…

“Education is an admirable thing, but it is well to remember from time to time that nothing worth knowing can be taught.” -Oscar Wilde So Labor Day is this coming Monday, and that means the new school year is about to start. Whether you are or whether you know a young person, say in middle-or-high…

“When a train goes through a tunnel and it gets dark, you don’t throw away the ticket and jump off. You sit still and trust the engineer.” -Corrie Ten Boom When you look out into the Universe at distant galaxies, at clusters of galaxies or at the Universe on the largest scales, what you see is…

Since this part of the trip is actually work-like, I might as well dust off the blog and post some actual physics content. Not coincidentally, this also provides a way to put off fretting about my talk tomorrow… I’m at the Nordita Workshop for Science Writers on quantum theory, which a couple of the attending…