Physical Science

Quantum Short Fiction, Voting Open Now

The Center for Quantum Technologies is running a “Quantum Shorts” contest, where they solicited short stories exploring some aspect of quantum physics. They cut their large number of applicants down to two short-lists of ten, one for the “Open” category, and one for the “Youth” category. They’ll be giving out a “People’s Choice Award” based…

“Science, however, gives me the feeling of steady progress: I am convinced that theoretical physics is actual philosophy. It has revolutionized fundamental concepts, e.g., about space and time (relativity), about causality (quantum theory), and about substance and matter (atomistics), and it has taught us new methods of thinking (complementarity) which are applicable far beyond physics.”…

Advice to the Past

Over at Scientific American, Amanda Baker has a story about what scientists say they would tell their younger selves. I reached out to eight of my colleagues who are currently in STEM fields and asked them a series of questions about their childhood interests in science, school experiences, and roadblocks that they faced on their…

141/366: Holes

As mentioned last week, SteelyKid is doing Odyssey of the Mind this year, and her team has elected to build a balsa wood structure. The goal for these is to support the maximum possible weight, and the first step of the testing is to put a “crusher board” on top. This is a couple of…

“Finding out that something you have just discovered is considered all but impossible is one of the joys of science.” -Mike Brown Earlier today, the team of Pluto-killer Mike Brown and Konstantin Batygin announced that they had found evidence of a ninth planet in our Solar System beyond the orbit of Pluto, larger and more…

“Any fool can criticize, condemn and complain – and most fools do.” -Benjamin Franklin The history of science is rife with stories of cases where a person or team, usually with a lot of clout, reached a conclusion that seemed incontrovertible. When that occurs, we often find that subsequent measurements agree with that conclusion, even if that…

GO HERE FOR THE LATEST UPDATE See below for update Jonas, (and no, I do not condone naming of storms that are not tropical cyclones) is going to do bad things to the US East Coast and hinterland. Imma let you get back to setting your hair on fire over this storm, but first I…

“You will never be happy if you continue to search for what happiness consists of. You will never live if you are looking for the meaning of life.” -Albert Camus If you ask the average person where you can find new stars in our galaxy, they might (correctly) identify the Orion Nebula, a hotbed of…

“Thou shalt not embarrass thyself and thy colleagues by claiming false planets.” -Bill Cochran Last year, Penn State astronomer Jason Wright made headlines by claiming that one of the stars being observed by NASA’s Kepler mission might contain alien megastructures around it. The large dips in its light curve didn’t make sense in the context…

“To know that we know what we know, and to know that we do not know what we do not know, that is true knowledge.” –Nicolaus Copernicus As we peel back the layers of information deeper and deeper into the Universe’s history, we uncover progressively more knowledge about how everything we know today came to…