Physical Science

“No testimony is sufficient to establish a miracle, unless the testimony be of such a kind, that its falsehood would be more miraculous than the fact which it endeavors to establish.” -David Hume It’s sometimes mind-boggling how many different aspects of the Universe we touch on here at Starts With A Bang, and the past…

“Sit down before fact as a little child, be prepared to give up every preconceived notion, follow humbly wherever and to whatever abysses nature leads, or you shall learn nothing.” -T.H. Huxley It’s said that nothing lasts forever, and as far as we can tell, this is true. Every living thing that has ever lived will…

Wednesday was the last day of the meeting that culminated in a closing banquet with an awards session to honor students who had exceptional presentations. What an impressive group of young comparative physiologists!  The plenary lecture was given by Dr. Steven Chown (Monash Univ, Australia). He spoke about climate change forecasts and continuing environmental changes…

Uncertain Dots 24

If you like arbitrary numerical signifiers, this is the point where we can start to talk about plural dozens of Uncertain Dots hangouts. As usual, Rhett and I chat about a wide range of stuff, including the way we always say we’re going to recruit a guest to join us, and then forget to do…

There are no free quarks (Synopsis)

“In physics, you don’t have to go around making trouble for yourself — nature does it for you.” -Frank Wilczek Freedom is an easy thing for almost all the particles we think of. Want a free photon? Just let it go in a place where there’s nothing that’s going to absorb it. A free electron? Just keep…

“Everyone must leave something behind when he dies… Something your hand touched some way so your soul has somewhere to go when you die… It doesn’t matter what you do, so long as you change something from the way it was before you touched it into something that’s like you after you take your hands…

What is the role of the ocean’s abyss in global warming?1 I’ve already posted on a study published in Nature Climate change that shows that the amount of extra global warming related heat in the Southern Oceans is greater than previously thought. There is another paper in the same journal by Llovel et al, “Deep-ocean…

Nobel Prize for Blue LEDs

The 2014 Nobel Prize in Physics has been awarded to Isamu Akasaki, Hiroshi Amano and Shuji Nakamura for the development of blue LED’s. As always, this is kind of fascinating to watch evolve in the social media sphere, because as a genuinely unexpected big science story, journalists don’t have pre-written articles based on an early…

POTW 5

After taking last week off, Problem of the Week makes a triumphant return. Problem Five is now ready for your consideration. The main problem for this week, in keeping with the arithmetic theme for this semester, is an especially famous “alphametic” problem. If you like that sort of thing, then you might enjoy perusing this…

The sun warms the Earth’s surface. Additional greenhouse gases and associated positive feedbacks (like, additional additional greenhouse gasses) increase that effect. So, it gets warmer, and by “it” we mean the “surface” of the Earth. This is usually measured as the temperature near the surface across the land and the surface of the sea (Sea…