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.

Kids and Construction Update

The big development of this week is that construction started on the Great Chateau Steelypips Renovation of 2017. We’re extending one part of the back of the house about ten feet to gain a bedroom on the second floor, and gut-renovating the kitchen, dining room, and mud room. This is a massive undertaking, with a…

Kid Growth Update

At SteelyKid’s softball game today, the Pip provided an ideal cute-kid photo to use as a springboard to some SCIENCE! Or at least, a graph… Anyway, here’s the Little Dude showing off how tall he’s gotten: OK, really he’s hiding under Kate’s raincoat (after two beautiful sunny days in a row, we’re back to dreary…

Kid Reading Update

For a long time now, I’ve had a Sunday routine with the kids, where we go to the Schenectady Greenmarket and then to the Open Door (which is right next to the outdoor market, and a couple blocks from the indoor location), then to lunch at Panera, and usually grocery shopping. We have a standing…

Inside Higher Ed ran a piece yesterday from a Ph.D. student pleading for more useful data about job searching: What we need are professional studies, not just anecdotal advice columns, about how hiring committees separate the frogs from the tadpoles. What was the average publication count of tenure-track hires by discipline? How did two Ph.D.…

Physics Blogging Round-Up: April

It’s the first week of May, which means we’re due to see flowers watered by all this damn rain soon, and also a recap of the various posts I wrote for Forbes during April: — Why Are There Too Many Papers In Theoretical Physics?: A look at the origins of “ambulance chasing” in high-energy theory,…

Kid Writing Update

One of the things parents of multiple kids often talk about is how they don’t end up doing the same things with second children that they did with their first. For example, I carried the weekly Appa-for-scale photos on with SteelyKid for a couple of years, but didn’t last anywhere near that long with The…

Physics Blogging Round-Up: March

Another month, another batch of blog posts at Forbes: — In Physics, Infinity Is Easy But Ten Is Hard: Some thoughts on the odd fact that powerful math tricks make it easy to deal uncountably many interacting particles, while a smaller number would be a Really Hard Problem. — New Experiment Explores The Origin Of…

There was a kerfuffle in academic social media a bit earlier this week, kicked off by an anonymous Twitter feed dedicated to complaints about students (which I won’t link to, as it’s one of those stunt feeds that’s mostly an exercise in maximizing clicks by maximizing dickishness). This triggered a bunch of sweeping declarations about…

I mentioned in passing in the Forbes post about science funding that I’m thoroughly sick of hearing about how the World Wide Web was invented at CERN. I got into an argument about this a while back on Twitter, too, but had to go do something else and couldn’t go into much detail. It’s probably…

A bunch of people in my social-media feeds are sharing this post by Alana Cattapan titled Time-sucking academic job applications don’t know enormity of what they ask. It describes an ad asking for two sample course syllabi “not merely syllabi for courses previously taught — but rather syllabi for specific courses in the hiring department,”…