Physical Science

The Sun’s Littlest Secret (Synopsis)

“Every time we get slapped down, we can say, ‘Thank you, Mother Nature,’ because it means we’re about to learn something important.” -John Bahcall And what’s possibly more important than learning how the Sun works? For nearly all of human history — well into the 20th century — we really didn’t know. Could it have…

Photonic Booms (Synopsis)

Imagine the surface of the Moon, so distant, and an infinitely precise and powerful laser pointer. With a flick of your wrist, you can send the dot that you see flying across the Moon’s surface as quickly as you can manage. Without too much difficulty, in fact, you’ll find yourself breaking the speed of light!…

Happy Birthday, Grums

Today is my grandmother’s 90th birthday: born on this date in 1925 in the Bronx, the seventh of eight kids. She moved out to Long Island circa WWII, and has lived there ever since. Many of my favorite childhood memories involve visiting her in Mineola. Back in the 70’s, she used to host me and…

Article Processing Charges

In yesterday’s post I mentioned that I wanted to use spring break to make progress on various writing and research projects. One of those projects is based on one of the Darwin Day talks I gave in February, in which I discussed some of the mathematical arguments used by anti-evolutionists. In my preparations I gathered…

“Look and think before opening the shutter. The heart and mind are the true lens of the camera.” -Yousuf Karsh When you find an incredibly huge, dense collection of mass, all together in one place, it generally indicates a galaxy cluster of tremendous size. Under circumstances like this, the phenomenon of gravitational lensing is often…

Both Roads Taken

Two roads diverged in a yellow wood, And caused me no small amount of panic For traveling both of them would be good But there simply was no way I could Until I remembered quantum mechanics. So half my wavefunction I sent left And rightward steered the other half Both pieces of me with equal…

“Her will tells nearly all. She left an estate worth $314.91, mostly in Liberty Bonds, with a few items such as a desk valued at $5. She never married and had few living relatives. She also left behind a legacy of a great astronomical discovery.” -Jeremy Bernstein, on Henrietta Leavitt Today is International Women’s Day,…

“Many have argued that a vacuum does not exist, others claim it exists only with difficulty in spite of the repugnance of nature; I know of no one who claims it easily exists without any resistance from nature.” -Evangelista Torricelli The Universe is here, within us, out there in the great abyss beyond, and in…

“It followed from the special theory of relativity that mass and energy are both but different manifestations of the same thing — a somewhat unfamiliar conception for the average mind.” -Albert Einstein On the one hand, we have matter — things with mass — in the Universe, ranging all the way from planets, stars and galaxies on…

I’ve updated the detailed blog post describing our summer workshop introducing writers to quantum physics to include a link to the application form. For the benefit of those who read via RSS, though, and don’t follow me on Twitter: the application form is now live, and will be for the next few weeks. We expect…