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.

Science Story: Not a Bath House

(When I launched the Advent Calendar of Science Stories series back in December, I had a few things in mind, but wasn’t sure I’d get through 24 days. In the end, I had more than enough material, and in fact didn’t end up using a few of my original ideas. So I’ll do a few…

The Big Picture of Eureka

No, not the little cover .jpg that I use as the “featured image” to tag these posts promoting Eureka. The post title refers to the Big Picture Science radio show from the SETI insitute. I’m one of the people interviewed in the latest episode, Maria Konnikova (author of Mastermind) and Louis Liebenberg. This is another…

The Bright Side of the BICEP2 Story

I’ve done yet another piece for The Conversation, this one expanding on something I’ve been saying in interviews promoting Eureka: that knowing the process of science can help people sort good science from bad. In this particular case, I take the somewhat #slatepitch-y angle that the recent high-profile unraveling of the BICEP2 experiment’s claim to…

The State of Blogging 2015

I was going to let Andrew Sullivan’s departure from blogging pass without comment– I haven’t been a regular reader of his stuff in around ten years, after all– but a couple of mysterious guys in dark suits showed up at the house and pointed out that as someone who started blogging in 2002, I would…

This was a good week for “Chad bristles at side issues of massively reshared stories,” with the Vox and gender bias stories, and also this PBS piece urging parents to tell their kids science stories. That probably seems surprising, given what I do around here, but while I fully endorse the end of that piece,…

I’ve seen a lot of reshares of this report about the long-term effect of gender bias in elementary math, which comes from an NBER working paper about a study of Israeli schools. The usual presentation highlights one specific result, namely that on a math test graded by teachers who knew the names of the students,…

I’ve seen a bunch of re-shares of this Vox profile of a “Men’s Rights Activist” on various social media channels, with reactions varying from “This is fascinating” to “Boooo-ring.” I thought it was sort of interesting, but not really in the way it was intended to be. The thing I found most striking the way…

Science Story: Impossible Conditions

(When I launched the Advent Calendar of Science Stories series back in December, I had a few things in mind, but wasn’t sure I’d get through 24 days. In the end, I had more than enough material, and in fact didn’t end up using a few of my original ideas. So I’ll do a few…

On Intelligence and Talent

Probably the dumbest person I’ve ever met in my life was a housemate in grad school. I didn’t do my lab work on campus, so I wasn’t living in a neighborhood where cheap housing was rented to students, but in a place where folks were either genuinely poor, or in the market for very temporary…

Why Is Snow White?

It didn’t make the news, because skittish media types are mostly based in New York City and thus don’t care about anything north of Westchester County, but we had a big snow storm yesterday. It started snowing Sunday night, though, and kept up through pretty much dinnertime Monday. Both the local schools and the snow-day…