Have Laptop, Will Travel

Having mentioned in yesterday’s post that I’ll be on sabbatical for the next academic year, this would probably be a good time to point out that this means I’m somewhat more flexible than usual in terms of going places and giving talks. And I enjoy going places and giving talks. About

14 Years Before the Class(room)

This past academic year was my 14th as a professor at Union, and my last as department chair. I’m on sabbatical for the 2015-16 academic year, doing my very best to avoid setting foot in an academic building, so it will be September 2016 before I’m teaching a class again. This seems like a good…

Another week, another set of posts at Forbes to link here: — Why Do Solids Have Energy Bands? A conceptual explanation of why putting together lots of atoms with electrons in well-defined energy levels leads to a solid with electrons filling broad energy bands. — This Is The Key Distinction Between Magic And Advanced Technology:…

The big development of the week is that I bought a new car, as seen in the featured image. This ate up most of Tuesday, but I still got some quality physics blogging in over at Forbes: — The Basic Science Behind Creating Colors: A look at two quantum-mechanical phenomena and one quirk of biology…

Seveneves is the latest from Neal Stephenson, and true to form is a whopping huge book– 700-something “pages” in electronic form– and contains yet another bid for “best first paragraph ever”: The moon blew up without warning and for no apparent reason. It was waxing, only one day short of full. The time was 05:03:12…

Physics Blogging Round-Up

Another busy week of physics-y blogging over at Forbes. I’m pretty bad about remembering to post pointers to individual posts here, but I can probably just about manage to do a weekly links dump of what I’ve been posting. — What’s The Point Of Science Without “Eureka!” Moments? Picking up on a conversation I had…

I’ve been doing a bunch of conferencing recently, what with DAMOP a few weeks ago and then Convergence last week. This prompted me to write up a couple of posts about conference-related things, which I posted over at Forbes. These were apparently a pretty bad fit for the folks reading over there, as they’ve gotten…

Most Played Songs Meme

This went around a different corner of my social-media universe while I was off in Waterloo, away from my iTunes. I was curious about it, though, so looked at the contents of the “25 Most Played” playlist, and having done that, I might as well post them here (the number in parentheses is the number…

I’ve been pretty quiet about educational matters of late, for the simple reason that I was too busy teaching to say much. The dust having settled a bit, though, I thought I would put some notes here about what I did this past term, and what worked. I had two sections of the introductory Newtonian…

My Week in Waterloo

I spent the last few days in Ontario, attending the Convergence meeting at the Perimeter Institute. This brought a bunch of Perimeter alumni and other big names together for a series of talks and discussions about the current state and future course of physics. My role at this was basically to impersonate a journalist, and…