Physical Science

“The dance between darkness and light will always remain — the stars and the moon will always need the darkness to be seen, the darkness will just not be worth having without the moon and the stars.” -C. JoyBell C. What do you do when you discover a moon around Saturn that’s only visible during half of…

“What we observe is not nature itself, but nature exposed to our method of questioning.” -Werner Heisenberg Empty space, according to quantum mechanics, isn’t exactly empty. Take away all the matter, radiation and anything else you can have populating your space, and you’ll still have some amount of energy in there: the zero-point energy of…

Physics Blogging Round-Up: January

It’s a new month now, so it’s time to share links to what I wrote for Forbes last month: — Small College Astronomers Predict Big Stellar Explosion: I mostly leave astronomy stories to others, but I heard about this from a friend at Calvin College, and it’s a story that hits a lot of my…

“If you can’t measure something, you can’t understand it. If you can’t understand it, you can’t control it. If you can’t control it, you can’t improve it.” -H. James Harrington If you want to observe the night sky, it’s not quite as simple as pointing your telescope and collecting photons. You have to calibrate your…

So, I tweeted about this yesterday, but I also spent the entire day feeling achy and feverish, so didn’t have brains or time for a blog post with more details. I’m feeling healthier this morning, though time is still short, so I’ll give a quick summary of the details: — As you can see in…

“I hope that in this year to come, you make mistakes. Because if you are making mistakes, then you are making new things, trying new things, learning, living, pushing yourself, changing yourself, changing your world. You’re doing things you’ve never done before, and more importantly, you’re doing something.” -Neil Gaiman Another week, another slew of…

Ask Ethan: What Is Spacetime? (Synopsis)

“‘Space-time’ – that hideous hybrid whose very hyphen looks phoney.” -Vladimir Nabokov Sure, you know what space and time are. If you heard of Einstein and relativity, you might know that they’re not absolute quantities, but that how you experience distances and the ticking of clocks is dependent on your motion through the Universe. But…

The Opportunity rover landed on Mars thirteen Earth calendar years ago today, and it still works fine after driving ~44 km! This is the farthest any off-planet vehicle has gone so far. Oppy’s mate Spirit was mobile on the Red Planet for over five years and then functioned as a stationary science platform for another…

“Work gives you meaning and purpose and life is empty without it.” -Stephen Hawking Throw a book into a black hole, and the information must somehow wind up inside. Same goes for a star, a planet, or even a single proton: that information must be maintained. But allow enough time to pass, and quantum theory…

“Men of genius are often dull and inert in society; as the blazing meteor, when it descends to earth, is only a stone.” -Henry W. Longfellow When you look at the meteors striking Earth today, as well as over the past 466 million years, you find something surprising: they don’t line up with the population…