Physics

Category archives for Physics

Eureka: Quantum Crosswords

My new book comes out one month from yesterday, or four weeks from tomorrow. Of course, yesterday was Sunday, and tomorrow’s a federal holiday, both lousy times for promotional posts, so I’ll drop this in today instead. Here’s a promotional video I put together, about how the history of quantum mechanics can be compared to…

General Relativity With Toddler Toys

A couple of times last week, I mentioned on Twitter that I was going to demonstrate relativity with toddler toys and string. This was an inspiration that hit late on Thursday, when I was trying to think of a better way to explain embedding diagrams (the technical term for those stretched-rubber-sheet pictures that everybody uses…

Quick Interstellar Thoughts

I’m teaching a Gen Ed course on relativity this term, which means I’m spending the last few weeks of the term discussing black holes. Which, in turn, means there was no way I couldn’t use that story about Kip Thorne calculating the appearance of a black hole for the movie. Especially since I have the…

I’m teaching relativity in a course with an astronomy prefix, which means I’m obliged to talk about stars and stuff. Yesterday’s lecture was about neutron stars, and how their existence was confirmed by the discovery of pulsars (with the story of Jocelyn Bell Burnell included). This requires some discussion of angular momentum to explain how…

A fine if somewhat intermittent tradition hereabouts has been the offering of high-concept Halloween costumes for people interested in physics, surfacing in 2010, 2012, and 2013. I’m a little too fried right now to do anything all that deep, but I’ll try to offer a few suggestions; see also these particle-physics suggestions from Symmetry magazine,…

Particle Fever and Modern Art

As mentioned last week, I was the on-hand expert for the Secret Science Club’s foray into Massachusetts, a screening of the movie Particle Fever held at MASS MoCA. This worked out nicely in a lot of respects– it gave me an excuse to visit the newly renovated Clark Art Institute in Williamstown and check out…

Uncertain Dots 25: The Lightning Round

I got the time for the regular hangout wrong, and then we had some weird computer difficulties, so we only had ten minutes for Uncertain Dots this week. Which was enough time for me to say disparaging things about comic book movies, so, you know, if that interests you… Here’s the making of Interstellar story…

On Not Talking, for the Right Reasons

Over at Backreaction, Bee has a nice piece on our current age of virality. Toward the end, she discusses some of the ways this applies to science, specifically a quote from this Nature article about collaborative efforts to measure “big G”, and a story about a Chinese initiative to encourage collaboration. She writes of the…

Particle Physics in Western Mass.

That’s “Mass” as in Massachusetts, not the stuff associated with the Higgs field… specifically, North Adams, MA, where I’ll be this Saturday night, October 25th, at the Secret Science Club screening of Particle Fever. This will be at the MASS MoCA, tickets here. The Secret Science Club is a regular gathering in New York City…

In odd-numbered years (by the Gregorian calendar, anyway), the University of Toronto offers the John Stewart Bell Prize for Research on Fundamental Issues in Quantum Mechanics and Their Applications. This is not connected to the Jon Stewart of the Daily Show– he’s purely classical, as you can tell from the fact that there’s no “h”…