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.

002/366: Boids

I spent a while this morning typing on my laptop on the deck, and brought the new camera out with me for occasional procrastination. The shady spot at that hour has a nice view of the bird feeder, and I snapped a few shots of these guys feeding (using a telephoto lens): (I cropped and…

On Advising Students to Fail

Slate’s been doing a series about college classes everyone should take, and one of the most heavily promoted of these has been a piece by Dan Check urging students to take something they’re terrible at. This is built around an amusing anecdote about an acting class he took back in the day, but as much…

Today, I officially stopped being department chair, and started my sabbatical leave. I also acquired a new toy: My old DSLR camera, a Canon Rebel XSi that I got mumble years ago, has been very good for over 20,000 pictures, but a few things about it were getting kind of flaky– it’s been bad at…

On the Need for “Short Story Club”

So, the Hugo awards were handed out a little while ago, with half of the prose fiction categories going to “No Award” and the other half to works I voted below “No Award.” Whee. I’m not really interested in rehashing the controversy, though I will note that Abigail Nussbaum’s take is probably the one I…

Friday Giant Children Blogging 082815

SteelyKid starts second grade next week, and her summer project was to read Julius, the Baby of the World and make a poster with baby pictures of herself. This, of course, led to looking at a lot of old photos of SteelyKid, including many of the Baby Blogging shots I took back in the day…

I seem to be settling into a groove of doing about two posts a week at Forbes, which isn’t quite enough to justify a weekly wrap-up, but works well bi-weekly. (I’m pretty sure that’s the one that means “every two weeks” not “twice a week,” but I always struggle with that one…) Over the last…

A couple of articles came across my feeds in the last day or two that highlight the truly important cultural divide in academia. Not the gap between sciences and “humanities,” but the much greater divide between faculty and administration. This morning, we have an Inside Higher Ed essay from Kellie Bean on the experience of…

I forgot to do this last week, because I was busy preparing for SteelyPalooza on Saturday, but here are links to my recent physics posts over at Forbes: — What ‘Ant-Man’ Gets Wrong About The Real Quantum Realm: On the way home from the Schrödinger Sessions, I had some time to kill so I stopped…

Science Talks and Pick-Up Hoops

Over in Tumblr-land, Ben Lillie has an interesting post on all the stuff that goes on behind the scenes of a science talk. It’s an intimidatingly long list of stuff, in quite a range of different areas. But this is a solved problem in other performance fields: And that raises and interesting question, since aside…

Wizard Trouble

I was staring out the diner window, watching it rain, when Jimmy the werewolf slid into the booth behind me. “We got trouble, boss,” he said, and I spilled coffee over the back of my hand. “Asshole,” I said, not turning around. “How about a little warning next time?” “Don’t want to let on I…