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.

Relativity and Baseball

It’s baseball playoff time, so sport shows are full of one of the great mysteries of the season, exemplified by this .gif (from SBNation): No, not “Raul Ibanez, really?” but “How can he make the ball go that far?” After all, even very good outfielders are lucky to reach home plate with a throw from…

One Does Not Simply Science Into Mordor

I recently shot a bunch of video of myself in front of a green screen, for something that will be revealed in due time. Of course, if you have green-screen footage of yourself, you’re pretty much obliged to do something silly with it, so here’s a quick GIMP-ing of a still from the video (also…

Uncertain Dots 24

If you like arbitrary numerical signifiers, this is the point where we can start to talk about plural dozens of Uncertain Dots hangouts. As usual, Rhett and I chat about a wide range of stuff, including the way we always say we’re going to recruit a guest to join us, and then forget to do…

Nobel Prize for Blue LEDs

The 2014 Nobel Prize in Physics has been awarded to Isamu Akasaki, Hiroshi Amano and Shuji Nakamura for the development of blue LED’s. As always, this is kind of fascinating to watch evolve in the social media sphere, because as a genuinely unexpected big science story, journalists don’t have pre-written articles based on an early…

Nobel Season 2014

With this morning’s announcement of the 2014 Nobel Prizes in Physiology or Medicine, the annual Nobel season is upon us. I didn’t do a betting pool post this year, because when I announced last year’s winner, I was reminded that I had never paid off the prize to the previous year’s winner. So I think…

The Afghan Whigs at the Beacon Theater

Saturday afternoon, I drove down to the city to see the reunited Afghan Whigs play the Beacon Theater on the Upper West Side. I saw them years and years ago in DC, around 1996 or so on the tour for Black Love, and that was a great show. They’ve always been one of my favorite…

The exciting news of the week: Eureka: Discovering Your Inner Scientist has gotten a starred review in Publishers Weekly. Woo-hoo! They’ve said nice things about my previous two books, but getting the star is a big deal. And it’s a really good capsule description of the book, with a great pull quote in the last…

Uncertain Dots 23

Our semi-regular video hangout returns. In this episode, I’m wearing a tie, because I gave the department colloquium this week, and for psychological reasons I always dress up a bit to give talks. This was recorded under an hour after my talk, which probably explains why I’m a little more punchy than usual… I’m not…

Yes Virginia, There Are Quantum Jumps

In a weird coincidence, shortly after I wrote a post about “quantum leap” as a metaphor, I was looking up some stuff about John Bell and ran into mentions of a paper he wrote called “Are There Quantum Jumps?” Bell is borrowing a title from Schrödinger, who wrote a pair of articles (really, one article…

Eureka Publicity: Blurbs and Talks

Eureka: Discovering Your Inner Scientist has officially been sent to the printers, so we’re at the phase of things where I don’t have anything to do but think about publicity. There are some reviews forthcoming, at least one of which I’m very happy about, but I’ll share more about that when it becomes public. I’ve…