Physical Science

How to sparklers work?

In the US, it is time to start blowing stuff up and setting stuff on fire, because we are so patriotic! Here is the science of sparklers, to keep it interesting:

“It used to be that Pluto was a misfit. Now it turns out that Earth is the misfit. Most planets in the solar system look like Pluto, and not like the terrestrial planets.” -Alan Stern The combination of New Horizons and Hubble to work together allow us to create the longest-baseline parallax images of all…

“All sins have their origin in a sense of inferiority otherwise called ambition.” -Cesare Pavese After another Universe-investigating week here at Starts With A Bang, I’m pleased to make two simple but very satisfying announcements: The latest Starts With A Bang podcast, on Interstellar Travel, will be going live next week, so look for it soon! I…

“You can be the Moon and still be jealous of the stars.” -Gary Allen Earlier this week, NASA announced the discovery of Asteroid 2016 HO3, calling it Earth’s second moon. And it turns out that this is an object in a stable orbit, the same distance from the Sun as the Earth, that can be…

“Those who know that the consensus of many centuries has sanctioned the conception that the earth remains at rest in the middle of the heavens as its center, would, I reflected, regard it as an insane pronouncement if I made the opposite assertion that the earth moves.” –Nicolaus Copernicus There are certain words that simply…

Summer continues, and the public lecture series on physics continues a pace at the Aspen Center for Physics with Dr. Catherine Heymans of the University of Edinburgh talking today on the “Dark Side of the Universe”. The talk is part of one of the three workshops currently taking place: “Testing the Laws of Gravity with…

“Black holes can bang against space-time as mallets on a drum and have a very characteristic song.” -Janna Levin If you had told an astrophysicist five years ago that binary black holes were common, that would’ve been news, but not surprising. If you had told them that ~30 solar masses was a good estimate for…

“We shall not cease from exploration, and the end of all our exploring will be to arrive where we started and know the place for the first time.” -T.S. Eliot Now that not just one but two gravitational wave events have been directly detected, we’re officially in the era of true gravitational wave astronomy. LIGO…

“There are two possible outcomes: if the result confirms the hypothesis, then you’ve made a measurement. If the result is contrary to the hypothesis, then you’ve made a discovery.” -Enrico Fermi Given the huge number of stars, planets, and chances at life that the galaxy and the Universe has given us, it seems paradoxical that…

What is the Maillard reaction?

My local grocery store just came up with some Vidalia onions. They are the best onions, and I’m cooking with them every day so I can eat them all before any go bad. When you cook onions to the point where they brown, they become sweet tasting and great smelling. That is the Maillard reaction.…