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.

Kids Keep You Young

A week or so ago, this statistical analysis of listening trends in pop music got a bunch of play on Twitter and Facebook, but I was too busy to do anything with it. The headline result, reported with all the accuracy you should expect of such things is people stop listening to popular music at…

I’m still in the late stages of an awful cold, but shook it off a bit to write a new conversation with Emmy, the Queen of Niskayuna over at Forbes: “HEY! YOU POODLES! STAY OFFA MY LAWN!” “Emmy! Stop barking!” I sit up. She’s at the gap between the fences, where she can see into…

So, Kate and I hired a babysitter last night, and went to see the new Avengers movie. You might not have heard of it, it’s kind of obscure… (There will be some mild SPOILERS below; if you’re intensely opposed to that sort of thing, don’t read the rest of this…) So, I didn’t realize it…

Giant Ants and Illegal Acts

A month or so back, when I went to Vanderbilt to give a talk, I met Robert Scherrer, the department chair down there, who mentioned he was starting a blog soon. That blog is Cosmic Yarns, and has now been live for a while, but I’ve been too busy to do a proper link. He’s…

Einstein and Revolution

As mentioned over the weekend, I gave a talk last week for UCALL, part of a series on “The Radical Early 20th Century.” I talked about how relativity is often perceived as revolutionary, but isn’t really, while Einstein’s really revolutionary 1905 paper is often overlooked. And, having put the time into thinking about the subject,…

Over the last month or so, it’s been kind of hard to avoid this book, even before it hit stores. Big excerpts in the New York Times and The Guardian generated a good deal of buzz, and arguments on social media. Unsurprisingly, as one of the main elements of the book is a look at…

Way Less Scary Than Death

This week has been a particularly good one for highlighting how weird my career is. On Thursday, I gave a lecture for the Union College Academy of Lifelong Learning, talking for nearly two hours about Einstein (in Memorial Chapel, shown in the “featured image” above). On Friday, I drove clean across New York State (which…

Neil deGrasse Tyson’s TV talk show had its debut Monday night on the National Geographic channel, something that’s very relevant to my interests. It airs after I go to bed, though, so I set the DVR to record it, and watched it Tuesday afternoon. Then I was too busy yesterday to write about it… Anyway,…

A Quantum of Sunshine

It was nice and sunny this morning when I sat down at Starbucks to do some blogging, so I wrote a new Forbes post about the quantum physics that makes sunshine possible. This also brings in xkcd’s take on the fundamental forces, and even a little bit of SteelyKid. Sadly, it’s now grey and dreary,…

My Valuable Extra Phone

Back when we went to London for Worldcon (and then I went to Sweden for a workshop), I bought a smartphone in Heathrow thinking I could sell it back when I left. That turned out not to work the way we thought, but it’s served me well ever since as an e-reader. It can’t connect…