Physical Science

“Two qualities are indispensable: first, an intellect that, even in the darkest hour, retains some glimmerings of the inner light which leads to truth; and second, the courage to follow this faint light wherever it may lead.” -Carl von Clausewitz You’ve been hanging around here long enough that you know all about dark matter’s successes,…

Astrophotography

Astrophotography is the title of a gorgeous and very useful new book by Thierry Legault I had to taper off doing book reviews, much to the annoyance of all those lovely people who persist in sending me just the sort of books that I actually really love to read – it just got too time…

The Angst of Being Positive

The surest sign that I’ve become a Real Author is that there are five months yet before Eureka comes out, and I’m already fretting about negative reviews. Negative reviews that haven’t happened yet, but that I know will come, in a particular form. The book, as you probably know from my prior ramblings on this…

“[T]his all fades to black, and it’s gone. It’s dust. Choose carefully what you obsess about.” -Meshell Ndegeocello It’s been a long time since we’ve had a new open cluster to look at, since the plane of the Milky Way (and the region towards the galactic center) has been obscured by the Earth and the…

What Sort of New Car Should I Buy?

We spent the weekend down in the Boston area, where Kate was doing stuff at Readercon and I was running the kids around the New England Aquarium and the Museum of Science (nominally in the company of a friend form college and his family, and some of Kate’s cousins (respectively), but either SteelyKid or The…

“Beauty is unbearable, drives us to despair, offering us for a minute the glimpse of an eternity that we should like to stretch out over the whole of time.” -Albert Camus After a week at Starts With A Bang filled with a huge variety of topics, from Ninja Warrior to the Moon to the far future…

“Think left and think right and think low and think high. Oh, the thinks you can think up if only you try!” -Dr. Seuss For almost a year now, you’ve all been sending in your questions and suggestions to me, and I’ve been picking my favorite one of the week for Ask Ethan, our weekly Q&A series.…

“It is always wise to look ahead, but difficult to look further than you can see.” -Winston Churchill There’s plenty to learn about, to see and to discover when we look out at the Universe today. From the leftover glow from the Big Bang in the microwave to the hundreds of billions of galaxies and…

We got an email from the people running SteelyKid’s summer camp asking for volunteers to speak at a career day sort of event early next week. I said “Sure, I can do that, and talk about the glamorous life of a physics professor and book author.” They said “Great, you’ll be talking to several groups,…

Have you had a chance to see this video from Discovery News showing the flashy ‘disco clam’? A graduate student at UC Berkeley, Lindsey Dougherty, unraveled the mystery of this party-like effect. The clams actually have tiny silica spheres (340 nanometers in diameter) on the inside of their lips that reflect light whereas the outside of…