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.

Uncertain Dots 17

After a bit of a hiatus because of scheduling issues, Rhett and I are back to talk about… stuff. Mostly summer classes, World Cup soccer, and Twitter. Also, how we’ve each gotten a blog comment from Neil deGrasse Tyson. Miscellaneous links: – My long-ago book review and Rhett’s more recent complaint about Cosmos, where we…

Smashing Stuff and Making Ice Cream

A few weeks back, a Union alumnus who works at Troy Prep contacted the college to arrange a visit for a bunch of second-graders, and asked if faculty would be willing to arrange talks and demos for the kids. I said something like “Sure, we could probably make liquid nitrogen ice cream for them,” and…

As previously noted, I’m going to the Wordlcon in London this August, and as such will be voting on this year’s Hugo Awards. The publishers provided a packet with at least bits of all the fiction nominees, so I’ve been reading through them at bedtime, and over the weekend finished all the regular nominees– I…

Read Science! on Dog Physics

As noted earlier, I was a guest on the Read Science! hangout on G+ earlier today. If you weren’t able to watch it live, the video is available at that link, and I’ll embed it here: There were some feedback problems with the audio for a little while– annoyingly, it only got bad once the…

Rhett and I haven’t done Uncertain Dots for a couple of weeks due to scheduling issues, but that doesn’t mean I’m neglecting the multimedia side of things. In fact, I’ll be doing a hangout today, as a guest on the Read Science! hangout hosted by Joanne Manaster and Jeff Shaumeyer. The event page is here.…

On Black Magic in Physics

The latest in a long series of articles making me glad I don’t work in psychology was this piece about replication in the Guardian. This spins off some harsh criticism of replication studies and a call for an official policy requiring consultation with the original authors of a study that you’re attempting to replicate. The…

Father’s Day 2014

Today is Father’s Day in the US, so I got a bunch of little gifts from the kids. The Pip’s was just a construction-paper card mostly made by his teachers, with a bit of scribble on it. SteelyKid’s, though, included a fill-in-the-blank booklet that she wrote on and drew pictures to go with. Some of…

The Problems of the GRE

A bunch of people were talking about this Nature Jobs article on the GRE this morning while I was proctoring the final for my intro E&M class, which provided a nice distraction. I posted a bunch of comments about it to Twitter, but as that’s awfully ephemeral, I figured I might as well collect them…

Pre-Tenure and Post-Hoc

I had a couple of conversations at DAMOP last week about career issues, and I just want to note that I will never get used to the idea that I’m a respected elder anything, whose advice would be valued. I basically feel like I lucked into my whole career, so I hesitate to advise others…

Cosmos Reboot Wrap-Up

The Cosmos reboot season finale (or possibly series finale; not sure if they’re trying for a second set of episodes) was last night, but I wasn’t able to take part in the live-tweeting of it thanks to a super-restless Pip who didn’t drop off until 9:30 EDT. I suppose I could’ve waited to start the…