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.

There has been a lot of stuff written in response to the Hugo award nomination mess, most of it stupid. Some of it is stupid to such an impressive degree that it actually makes me feel sympathetic toward people who I know are wrong about everything. One of the few exceptions is the long essay…

SteelyKid, Galactic Engineer

“Hey, Daddy, did you know that in five or six million years the Sun is going to explode.” “It’s five or six billion years, with a ‘b.’” “Right, in five or six billion years, the Sun’s going to explode.” “Well, a star like our Sun won’t really explode. It’ll swell up really big, probably swallow…

A Note to the University of Pretoria

So, the mysterious strings of digits that I wrote about the other day seem to be part of a class assignment from the University of Pretoria in South Africa. Students are being asked to go read and comment on blogs, and the random digits are individual student identifiers. This makes sense given the form and…

My Quantum Alarm Clock

One of the things I struggle with a bit when it comes to writing about cool modern physics is how much to play up the weirdness. On the one hand, people just can’t get enough of “spooky action at a distance,” but on the other hand, talking too much about that sort of thing makes…

Help Me Understand Comment Spam

So, I get a lot of comment spam here, probably a couple of orders of magnitude more than I get real comments (sigh). The vast majority of this gets blocked by built-in filters, so none of the stuff pitching medically implausible treatments for whatever makes it to a point where I have to see it.…

I continue to struggle to avoid saying anything more about the Hugo mess, so let’s turn instead to something totally non-controversial: gender bias in academic hiring. Specifically, this new study in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Science titled “National hiring experiments reveal 2:1 faculty preference for women on STEM tenure track” with this…

I’ve been falling down on the job of informing you about promotional events for Eureka, mostly because the pace of these has slackened. But I’ll be on the radio today, on WYPR’s “Midday with Dan Rodricks” based in Baltimore (I’ll be in the usual studio in Albany for this…). This is scheduled for a full…

Good Examples of Science in Fiction

I continue to read way too much about the ongoing Hugo mess, and will most likely eventually lose my battle not to say anything more about it. In an attempt to redirect that impulse in a productive direction, I wrote a thing for Forbes about some of my favorite treatments of science in SF: Of…

The Pip is in a big superhero phase at the moment, and all of his games revolve around being a superhero of some sort. He has also basically memorized a couple of 30-page Justice League books, after demanding them over and over at bedtime. As I did with SteelyKid, I make a game out of…

Bright Lights and Up-Tempo Tracks

The folks on the Hold Steady fan board arranged a Mix CD exchange recently, and I agreed to take part, putting together a playlist of stuff and sending off a bunch of electronic files a couple of weeks ago (I don’t know if the drive on my desktop can even burn CD’s any more, even…