Physical Science

Cosmos Reboot: On Light

Another Monday, another recap of a new episode of the Cosmos reboot. This one was all about optics, and much of it was excellent. This was in part due to the fact that its first couple of historical segments focused on non-Western figures, and I don’t know as much about their background to be able…

Perovskite solar cells can not only emit light, they can also emit up to 70% of absorbed sunlight as lasers. Critical signaling molecules can be used to convert stem cells to neural progenitor cells, increasing the yield of healthy motor neurons and decreasing the time required to grow them. Mexican blind cavefish are so close…

“For in the final analysis, our most basic common link is that we all inhabit this small planet. We all breathe the same air. We all cherish our children’s futures. And we are all mortal.” -John F. Kennedy After a great week over on the new Starts With A Bang blog, where we covered a whole slew…

“You may not feel outstandingly robust, but if you are an average-sized adult you will contain within your modest frame no less than 7 × 10^18 joules of potential energy—enough to explode with the force of thirty very large hydrogen bombs, assuming you knew how to liberate it and really wished to make a point.”…

Spotlight on X-STEM Speaker Dr. Joe Schwarcz!

Don’t miss the opportunity to learn about the science of the paranormal from X-STEM Speaker Dr. Joe Schwarcz at the X-STEM Extreme STEM Symposium on April 24 ! Hear from this noted professor of chemistry from Canada’s McGill University and how he uses his multi-faceted skills as a chemical scientist, magician, author, food expert and…

“There is no question that climate change is happening; the only arguable point is what part humans are playing in it.” -David Attenborough If you had never heard of global warming before, how would you figure out whether it was happening, whether humans played a role, and what the magnitude of it was? Thankfully, we…

Rocks falling from the sky

In the great tradition of tracking Amazing Norwegian Meteorite Stories, we bring you: Meteorite almost hits Norwegian skydiver h/t Stjörnufræðivefurinn Short Norwegian version…

“Physical reality does not require that we be pleased with its mechanism; we must see the implications of a theory for what they are and not for what we would like them to be.” -Kevin Michel If you’ve been following along for a while — particularly in light of the recent BICEP2 results — you’re…

I’ve lost track of who on social media pointed me to this, but this blog post about testimony to the Michigan Legislature is a brilliant demonstration of what’s so difficult about teaching even simple subjects. Deborah Ball, the Dean of the education school at the University of Michigan gives the legislators a simple grading exercise…

“I have announced this star as a comet, but since it is not accompanied by any nebulosity and, further, since its movement is so slow and rather uniform, it has occurred to me several times that it might be something better than a comet. But I have been careful not to advance this supposition to…