It’s a new month now, so it’s time to share links to what I wrote for Forbes last month:
— Small College Astronomers Predict Big Stellar Explosion: I mostly leave astronomy stories to others, but I heard about this from a friend at Calvin College, and it’s a story that hits a lot of my pet issues, so I wrote it up.
— For Scientists, Recognition Is A Weird And Contingent Thing: Vera Rubin tops the list of great women in science who died in 2016, but AMO physics lost two great women but less famous women as well. I spent a while thinking about why they had such different levels of status.
— Squeezing Through A Loophole In The Laws Of Physics To Cool A Drum: A detailed look at a new experiment from NIST in Boulder, using squeezed light to reach temperatures below the standard quantum limit.
— How Much Scientific Research Is Wasted?: There was a claim floating around that 85% of biomedical research is a waste of time. On closer inspection, it turned out to be underwhelming, but the general question of what counts as waste in science is interesting.
— Do Dark Matter And Dark Energy Affect Ordinary Atoms?: A post in which I almost violate Betteridge’s Law of Headlines, because the answer is “Yes, but not so you’d notice.”
As always, I’m basically happy with these, though I was running a fever while I wrote the last one, so it might not be the clearest thing I’ve ever done. I’m also very pleased to have gotten nice email from two of the people mentioned in these posts thanking me for the stories. I’m always nervous when I recognize the name of a scientist in my inbox, for fear that they’re writing to complain that I misunderstood or misrepresented them, so a “Nice job!” message is wonderful.
This month also showed the typical lack of correlation between effort and traffic– the post I worked hardest on was the one about Vera Rubin, Debbie Jin, and Katharine Gebbie, but it got the fewest views of the lot, even with the last couple being overshadowed by momentous political events. The astronomy one was dashed off really quickly, and did the best, because there’s a boundless audience for astronomy.
And, so, that was January. On to the next thing.