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Another week, another set of posts at Forbes to link here: — Why Do Solids Have Energy Bands? A conceptual explanation of why putting together lots of atoms with electrons in well-defined energy levels leads to a solid with electrons filling broad energy bands. — This Is The Key Distinction Between Magic And Advanced Technology:…

The big development of the week is that I bought a new car, as seen in the featured image. This ate up most of Tuesday, but I still got some quality physics blogging in over at Forbes: — The Basic Science Behind Creating Colors: A look at two quantum-mechanical phenomena and one quirk of biology…

Physics Blogging Round-Up

Another busy week of physics-y blogging over at Forbes. I’m pretty bad about remembering to post pointers to individual posts here, but I can probably just about manage to do a weekly links dump of what I’ve been posting. — What’s The Point Of Science Without “Eureka!” Moments? Picking up on a conversation I had…

The Birth of BEC

I’m massively short on sleep today, and wasn’t going to blog until I saw somebody on Facebook mention that June 5th 1995 is the date of record for the first Bose-Einstein condensate at JILA in Boulder. I couldn’t let that pass, so I wrote it up for Forbes: Twenty years ago, in the summer of…

Over at Wired, Rhett has a post providing mathematical proof that he takes too many photos. As is traditional, he includes homework at the end of the post, specifically: Now it is your turn. Find the number of photos you have taken each year. Is it possible for you to detect changes in your life…

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,…

A Note to the University of Pretoria

So, the mysterious strings of digits that I wrote about the other day seem to be part of a class assignment from the University of Pretoria in South Africa. Students are being asked to go read and comment on blogs, and the random digits are individual student identifiers. This makes sense given the form and…

My Quantum Alarm Clock

One of the things I struggle with a bit when it comes to writing about cool modern physics is how much to play up the weirdness. On the one hand, people just can’t get enough of “spooky action at a distance,” but on the other hand, talking too much about that sort of thing makes…

Help Me Understand Comment Spam

So, I get a lot of comment spam here, probably a couple of orders of magnitude more than I get real comments (sigh). The vast majority of this gets blocked by built-in filters, so none of the stuff pitching medically implausible treatments for whatever makes it to a point where I have to see it.…

We’re into admitted student season, that muddy period when large numbers of anxious high-school seniors visit college campuses all over the nation, often with parents in tow, trying to decide where to spend the next four years. As a result, I’ll be spending a good deal of time over the next few weeks talking to…