Physical Science

“The simple fact of existence, of being aware that you are aware; this to me is the most astounding fact.” -William Hurt There was so much that happened this past week on Starts With A Bang, from eruptions to bad science reporting to black holes and more, that we couldn’t help but share so much with…

“Some say the world will end in fire, Some say in ice. From what I’ve tasted of desire I hold with those who favor fire. But if it had to perish twice, I think I know enough of hate To say that for destruction ice Is also great And would suffice.” -Robert Frost We’ve come…

We’re into admitted student season, that muddy period when large numbers of anxious high-school seniors visit college campuses all over the nation, often with parents in tow, trying to decide where to spend the next four years. As a result, I’ll be spending a good deal of time over the next few weeks talking to…

“It is by going down into the abyss that we recover the treasures of life. Where you stumble, there lies your treasure.” -Joseph Campbell When we look at the centers of galaxies, it’s no surprise that there are large black holes there, millions or even billions of times the mass of the Sun. As we…

This Hugo nomination scandal continues to rage on, and much of what’s going on is just a giant sucking vortex of stupid. Standing out from this, though, is the guest post by Bruce Schneier at Making Light, which cuts through the bullshit to get to what’s really important, namely using this as an excuse to…

“The first duty of every Starfleet officer is to the truth, whether it’s scientific truth or historical truth or personal truth! It is the guiding principle on which Starfleet is based. And if you can’t find it within yourself to stand up and tell the truth about what happened, you don’t deserve to wear that…

The LHC made simple (Synopsis)

“Let them see that their words can cut you and you’ll never be free of the mockery. If they want to give you a name, take it, make it your own. Then they can’t hurt you with it anymore.” -George R.R. Martin Well, it’s finally happened! After a two year upgrade, the LHC is back…

To Tennessee!

I’ll be heading off to Knoxville, Tennessee on Friday afternoon. Saturday morning I will be giving the big keynote talk at an undergraduate research conference at the University of Tennessee. Do you think maybe I’ll be talking about the Monty Hall problem? I think maybe I will! So, if you’re going to be in the…

On Bad Writing

One of the many problems with the essay discussed in yesterday’s post is that it was poorly written. Finnis and George seemed to go out of their way to be as unclear as possible, frequently choosing tortured, ambiguous phrasings when clearer options were readily at hand. This is something of an occupational hazard among academics,…

Nifty Fifty Podcast: The Franklin Institute’s Dr. Frederic Bertley Ignites Passion for Science

This Nifty Fifty Podcast features Dr. Frederic Bertley speaking to high school children about the availability of STEM jobs, how much science affects our lives, the promising future of transportation, drinking water, medicine, and genomic science, and some of the living scientists making an impact on our work.   Listen to the podcast and read…