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.

Physics Blogging Round-Up: February

Another month, another collection of physics posts from Forbes: — Quantum Loopholes And The Problem Of Free Will: In one of those odd bits of synchronicity, a previous post about whether dark matter and energy might affect atoms in a way that allowed for “free will” was followed shortly by a news release about an…

Physics Blogging Round-Up: January

It’s a new month now, so it’s time to share links to what I wrote for Forbes last month: — Small College Astronomers Predict Big Stellar Explosion: I mostly leave astronomy stories to others, but I heard about this from a friend at Calvin College, and it’s a story that hits a lot of my…

So, I tweeted about this yesterday, but I also spent the entire day feeling achy and feverish, so didn’t have brains or time for a blog post with more details. I’m feeling healthier this morning, though time is still short, so I’ll give a quick summary of the details: — As you can see in…

Physics Blogging Round-Up: December

This one’s late because I acquired a second class for the Winter term on very short notice. I was scheduled to teach our sophomore-level “Modern Physics” class, plus the lab, but a colleague who was scheduled to teach relativity for non-majors had a medical issue, and I’m the only other one on staff who’s ever…

There are only a couple of bands I’d drive a significant distance to see live, and now I’ve made the trip to NYC to see two of them. I went to see the Afghan Whigs in 2014, and this past Friday, I drove to Brooklyn for a Hold Steady show. And this time, I have…

Physics Blogging Round-Up: November

I’m not posting as much as I did last year, when I was on sabbatical (gasp, shock, surprise), so making Forbes-blog links dump posts a monthly thing is probably just about sustainable. — What Math Do You Need For Physics? It Depends: Some thoughts about, well, the math you need to learn to be a…

On Feelings and Votes

This is going to be a bit of a rant, because there’s a recurring theme in my recent social media that’s really bugging me, and I need to vent. I’m going to do it as a blog post rather than an early-morning tweetstorm, because tweets are more likely to be pulled out of context, and…

Songs vs. Performance Pieces

At dinner the other night, Kate mentioned this podcast, which excerpts a bit of a Jon Brion interview from 2006 where he makes a distinction between “songs” and “performance pieces.” As an example of the latter, he uses Led Zeppelin, saying that their recordings, as great as they are, are about those specific people in…

Arrival Thoughts

People have been raving about the new movie Arrival, which is an adaptation of Ted Chiang’s “Story of Your Life,” which I did a guest lecture on for a colleague’s class on science fiction some year ago. It’s unusual enough to see a science fiction movie hailed for being smart that Kate and I actually…

Reflections on Matter and Interactions

I’m teaching introductory mechanics for the umpteenth time, using the Matter and Interactions curriculum, as we have for a while. This is going to be my last time teaching out of M&I, though, because last year the department decided to switch to a different book. Starting this winter term, we’ll be using Halliday, Resnick and…