Physical Science

New POTW, and Funny Science Videos

The fifth Problem Of the Week has now been posted at the big website. I’ve also posted an “official” solution to Problem Four. POTW will be taking two weeks off after this one, so you will have to make this last. (Spring break is almost upon us, which seems incredible considering how cold it is…

“These spots have never been observed by anyone before me; and from my observations of them, often repeated, I have been led to the opinion which I have expressed, namely, that I feel sure that the surface of the Moon is not perfectly smooth, free from inequalities and exactly spherical… but that, on the contrary,…

The Problem with Percentages

A sort of follow-up to last week’s post about the STEM “pipeline”. In discussions on Twitter sparked by the study I talked about last week, I’ve seen a bunch of re-shares of different versions of this graph of the percentage of women earning undergrad degrees in physics: You can clearly see that after a fairly…

Weekend Diversion: Bubbles on Ice (Synopsis)

“The only frozen heart around here is yours.” -Anna, to Hans, from Frozen When something’s difficult, it’s easy to lose sight of what’s beautiful. Have a listen to Eilen Jewell‘s haunting and memorable song, Fourth Degree. Next, before you curse the bitter cold yet again, particularly those of you suffering from far below average temperatures, consider…

“In this land of ours, there are many great pits. But none more bottomless than the bottomless pit. Which, as you can see here, is bottomless.” -Grunkle Stan, Gravity Falls After another week of fun-filled stories about the Universe here at Starts With A Bang, it’s time to take a look back at everything we’ve said,…

Recognizing African American STEM Innovators of the Past and Present, Including Festival Speakers!

In observance of African American History Month in February, the USA Science & Engineering Festival recognizes the accomplishments of African American pioneers and the important role they have played in paving the way for modern-day African American STEM leaders and innovators including Festival X-STEM and Nifty Fifty Speakers. Read full blog 

“It followed from the special theory of relativity that mass and energy are both but different manifestations of the same thing — a somewhat unfamiliar conception for the average mind.” -Albert Einstein In physics, we’re always on that quest for the next frontier: the next order of magnitude higher in energy, the next order of magnitude closer…

Phillip Ball has a long aggrieved essay about the Many-Worlds Interpretation, which is, as Sean Carroll notes, pretty bad. Ball declares that Many-Worlds is “incoherent, both philosophically and logically,” but in fact, he’s got this exactly backwards: Many-Worlds is, in fact, a marvel of logical and philosophical coherence, while Ball’s objections are incoherent and illogical.…

“Where you used to be, there is a hole in the world, which I find myself constantly walking around in the daytime, and falling in at night.” -Edna St. Vincent Millay It’s the ultimate dream of many children with time on their hands and their first leisurely attempt at digging: to go clear through the…

Over at Quantum Progress there was a recent series of guest posts about a social-justice-in-physics curriculum used by high school teacher Moses Rifkin. I sort of glanced at it, said “Huh, that’s sort of interesting,” and moved on, but this got picked up by some right-wing sites, and exploded. To the point where the awful…