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.

Father’s Day 2015

Act I: STEELYKID and THE PIP: Happy Father’s Day, Daddy! DADDY: Aww, that’s sweet. So, what are you going to make me for breakfast? STEELYKID and THE PIP: What? DADDY: It’s father’s day, right? So you guys should be cooking breakfast for me. STEELYKID and THE PIP: No!!!! THE PIP: We can’t cook breakfast for…

I’ve been really busy with year-end wrap-up stuff, but have also posted a bunch of stuff at Forbes. which I’ve fallen down on my obligation to promote here… So, somewhat belatedly, here’s a collection of physics-y stuff that I’ve written recently: — Using Atoms To Measure Tiny Forces: A post reporting on some very cool…

Kids and Schools and Liberal Guilt

Matt “Dean Dad” Reed is moving to New Jersey, and confronting one of the great dilemmas of parenting (also at Inside Higher Ed): what school district to live in. This is a big problem for lots of academics of a liberal sort of persuasion: From a pure parental perspective, the argument for getting into the…

Graduation 2015

Commencement was today, the 14th of those that I’ve been to as a faculty member. As usual, the procession was led in and out by the Schenectady Pipe Band; I realized that after many years of this, I’m coming to associate “Scotland the Brave” with graduation… This was a really unpleasant year for me in…

In Praise of AMO Physics

I’m at DAMOP this week, though it took longer to get here than it should’ve– severe storms yesterday canceled the flight I was supposed to take from Baltimore to Columbus, so I had to rebook to the 6am departure this morning, whee. I think this is the first time I’ve ever had a flight canceled…

Engaging in a bit of tab clearance before I head off to DAMOP tomorrow afternoon, I noticed that I still had How to Teach an Ancient Rape Joke open. This is because while I found it kind of fascinating, it’s not all that directly relevant to what I do, and I didn’t have anything all…

What a Difference a Year Makes

Back in October or so, SteelyKid’s first-grade class started a weekly journaling exercise. Every Monday, we were supposed to send in a sheet with some prompts on it– words about something interesting that happened over the weekend, and the kids started the day writing about… whatever it was. I was a little dubious about having…

The Birth of BEC

I’m massively short on sleep today, and wasn’t going to blog until I saw somebody on Facebook mention that June 5th 1995 is the date of record for the first Bose-Einstein condensate at JILA in Boulder. I couldn’t let that pass, so I wrote it up for Forbes: Twenty years ago, in the summer of…

Over at Wired, Rhett has a post providing mathematical proof that he takes too many photos. As is traditional, he includes homework at the end of the post, specifically: Now it is your turn. Find the number of photos you have taken each year. Is it possible for you to detect changes in your life…

Hugo Reading: Not-Novels

As much for my own future reference as anything else, some thoughts on the bits of the Hugo ballot that aren’t Best Novel (which I’ve already talked about). At this point, I’ve probably read as much of the voter packet as I’m going to (though if I’ve left out something actually good, I could go…