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.

On Putting Words in Einstein’s Mouth

Modern media being what it is, I should get out in front of this, so: I am guilty of putting words in Einstein’s mouth. I mean, go watch my TED-Ed video on particles and waves, or just look at the image up top– that very clearly shows Einstein saying words that he probably never said.…

The Edge of the Sky by Roberto Trotta

I get a fair number of books to review, but I’m often pretty bad about writing them up in a timely manner. Of course, most of them are well over 70 pages long, which is why I’ve managed to turn around Roberto Trotta’s The Edge of the Sky: All You Need to Know About the…

Entrance Music

The AV Club had a Q&A last week asking “What would be your entrance music?” As a music fan and a sports junkie this is, of course, a nearly irresistable question, though a lot of other things got in the way before I could get around to typing up an answer. I’ve always kind of…

The Pleasure of Working Things Through

My bedtime reading for the past week or so has been Steven Gould’s Exo (excerpt at Tor). This is the fourth book in the Jumper series (not counting the movie tie-in novel), and ordinarily wouldn’t be worth much of a review, because if you haven’t read the first three, this book won’t make a lick…

Uncertain Dots 22

After a long absence due to travel (some of which is discussed), Uncertain dots returns! Rhett and I talk about recent travels, how people going into internet-based physics outreach these days would probably do better to make videos than blog, physics in science fiction, celestial navigation, and as always, our current courses. Some links: —…

Cash and Respect

The London School of Economics has a report on a study of academic refereeing (PDF) that looked at the effect of incentives on referee behavior. They found that both a “social incentive” (posting the time a given referee took to turn around the papers they reviewed on a web site) and a cash incentive ($100…

Bad Graphics, STEM Diversity Edition

There was a article in Scientific American about diversity in STEM collecting together the best demographic data available about the science and engineering workforce. It’s a useful collection of references, and comes with some very pretty graphics, particularly this one, showing the demographic breakdown of the US population compared to the science and engineering fields:…

The second one of the TED-Ed lessons I wrote about quantum physics has now been published: What Is the Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle. This is, again, very similar to stuff I’ve written before, specifically this old blog post and the relevant chapter of How to Teach [Quantum] Physics to Your Dog. As usual, I tried but…

My TED@NYC adventure last fall didn’t turn into an invite to the big TED meeting, but it did lead to a cool opportunity that is another of the very cool developments I’ve been teasing for a while now: I’ve written some scripts for lessons to be posted with TED-Ed. The first of these, on particle-wave…

Intelligence vs. Priorities

Steven Pinker has a piece at the New Republic arguing that Ivy League schools ought to weight standardized test scores more heavily in admissions. this has prompted a bunch of tongue-clucking about the failures of the Ivy League from the usual suspects, and a rather heated concurrence from Scott Aaronson. That last finally got me…