Chad Orzel is an Associate Professor in the Department of Physics and Astronomy at Union College in Schenectady, NY. He blogs about physics, life in academia, ephemeral pop culture, and anything else that catches his fancy.

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…