Physical Science

“You can’t cheat an honest man. Never give a sucker an even break or smarten up a chump.” -W.C. Fields Well, it was bound to happen. A bad science story — a story of illegitimate science with all the right buzzwords — has gone viral. By now, you, too, have probable heard about the “impossible”…

Every once in a while, a scientist comes along who leaves an impression on the field so strong that all of the subsequent work on uses their results as a starting point, as a foundation. Einstein did that with relativity; Dirac did that with relativistic quantum mechanics; even Newton did that with mechanics. But what about…

Women of the Arxiv

Over at FiveThirtyEight, they have a number-crunching analysis of the number of papers (co)authored by women in the arxiv preprint server, including a breakdown of first-author and last-author papers by women, which are perhaps better indicators of prestige. The key time series graph is here: This shows a steady increase (save for a brief drop…

“It takes considerable knowledge just to realize the extent of your own ignorance.” -Thomas Sowell Every object of the 110 in the Messier Catalogue tells its own unique story, but not every object is a true astronomical object on its own! Along with two groupings of stars — a double star (M40) and a quadruple…

I’ve gotten a few queries about this “Impossible space drive” thing that has space enthusiasts all a-twitter. This supposedly generates thrust through the interaction of an RF cavity with a “quantum vacuum virtual plasma,” which is certainly a collection of four words that turn up in physics papers. An experiment at a NASA lab has…

“Growth is never by mere chance; it is the result of forces working together.” -James Cash Penney We don’t normally have a week like this, where we not only take on the biggest topics in all of existence, but also have a ground-shaking announcement to make that alters the very fabric of Starts With A Bang!…

“In my better sense of mind, I know that I’m far from alone and far from the worst, and the earth keeps spinning. Everything keeps moving, with or without me.” -Phil Anselmo The Universe is a chaotic place, where nothing truly exists in isolation. Even if, at the moment of the Big Bang, nothing in…

“Men at some time are masters of their fates: The fault, dear Brutus, is not in our stars, But in ourselves…” -William Shakespeare It isn’t every day that I pause to make an announcement, but it also isn’t every day that I have news quite like this! Thanks to the new Starts With A Bang digs over…

Eureka! It’s a Book!

I took a short nap yesterday, and of course as soon as I lay down on the bed, Emmy erupted in the furious barking that signals the arrival of a package. When I went out to get it, I found shiny new bound galley proofs of Eureka: Discovering Your Inner Scientist: I knew these were…

“The atoms come into my brain, dance a dance, and then go out — there are always new atoms, but always doing the same dance, remembering what the dance was yesterday.” -Richard Feynman It took 13.8 billion years of cosmic evolution, billions of years of biological evolution and astronomical numbers of events unfolding exactly as they have…