Physical Science

Eureka on the Radio

Yesterday, I drove through the slush to Albany to do an appearance on KERA radio’s “Think” from a studio there. The audio is at that link. It was a bit of a strange experience, because I drove to a place to do the interview in a radio studio, but I was the only one in…

Does water freeze or boil in space? (Synopsis)

“You can’t cross the sea merely by standing and staring at the water.” -Rabindranath Tagore And you can’t answer a hypothetical question for certain, at least in science, without doing the experiment for yourself. Here on Earth, liquid water is plentiful; our planet has the stable temperatures and pressures that water needs to exist in its…

Eureka: The Soundtrack

So, you’ve picked up your copy of the just-released Eureka: Discovering Your Inner Scientist– you have bought a copy, right?– and now you’re thinking “I’d love to curl up and read this, but what should I listen to while I do that?” Well, never fear, I’m here to help. Also, I’m really tired, and this…

Not everyone gets their research written about by this week’s Nobel Prize winners: All mammals face the challenge of navigating in complex, three-dimensional (3D) environments, whether they are swinging from branch-to-branch in forests or burrowing underground tunnels. How does the brain maintain a sense of place and direction in 3D? In a beautiful study published…

2014’s greatest meteor shower (Synopsis)

“Men of genius are often dull and inert in society; as the blazing meteor, when it descends to earth, is only a stone.” -Henry Wadsworth Longfellow Sure, sure, and they’re not even big, impressive stones. But like any real estate agent will tell you, location is everything. And when your tiny, pebble-sized stone originates from…

It’s been a busy couple of days with a lot of publicity. Monday morning a paper I’ve co-authored with my friend, geophysics specialist Andreas Viberg, was published in the on-line version of Archaeological Prospection. For reasons of scientific priority (which I myself like to establish by spilling everything I do onto the blog immediately) I’ve…

I tooke a bodkine gh & put it betwixt my eye & [the] bone as neare to [the] backside of my eye as I could: & pressing my eye [with the] end of it (soe as to make [the] curvature a, bcdef in my eye) there appeared severall white darke & coloured circles r, s,…

Copies of Eureka: Discovering Your Inner Scientist have been turning up in the wild for a while now, but the officially official release date is today (available from Amazon, Barnes and Noble, IndieBound, Powell’s, and anywhere else books are sold). To mark that, here’s some stuff I wrote about the core message of the book,…

“The probability of success is difficult to estimate; but if we never search the chance of success is zero.” -Giuseppe Cocconi and Philip Morrison Although, for many various reasons, most of us may find the prospect of journeying into deep space beyond our physical grasp, that doesn’t means we can’t journey there in our imaginations.…

Following on yesterday’s story of transformative discoveries starting by accident, we’ll jump from the Middle East to the Far East for the probably apocryphal story of the Empress Leizu (also sometimes referred to as Xi Lingshi) who is credited with the discovery of silk around 2600 BCE. One of the many versions of the story…