Relativity

Category archives for Relativity

Cosmos F*$&ing Loves Science

The fourth episode of the Cosmos reboot aired last night, and as I said on Twitter it was a beautiful demonstration of why I’m finding this show intensely frustrating. There were flashes of brilliance, but also quite a few bits that left me shaking my head. Thus fitting the pattern of the previous episodes– I…

One of the interesting things about the pile of old theses we found in the basement is the opportunity to look at things that nobody believes any more. Past installments of the Old Thesis Club have shown people fumbling toward an understanding of quantum physics via electron scattering and spectroscopy, but in both of those…

Of Controversies and Clocks

A few months back, I got a call from a writer at a physics magazine, asking for comments on a controversy within AMO physics. I read a bunch of papers, and really didn’t quite understand the problem; not so much the issue at stake, but why it was so heated. When I spoke to the…

Last year, Alan Alda posed a challenge to science communicators, to explain a flame in terms that an 11-year old could understand. this drew a lot of responses, and some very good winners. This year’s contest, though still called the “Flame Challenge,” asked for an answer to the question “What Is Time?” This is a…

SCENE: The library at Chateau Steelypips. DADDY is typing on the computer, while THE PIP plays on the floor. Enter STEELYKID. STEELYKID: I’m already four years old. DADDY: Yes, yes you are. THE PIP: Thbbbbbbbpppt! STEELYKID: How old is The Pip? DADDY: Eleven months. Not quite one year. STEELYKID: When The Pip is four, how…

In which we look at a slightly crazy-sounding proposal from my former boss, the experimental realization of which is getting close to completion. ———— I spent more or less the entire first day of DAMOP a couple of weeks ago going to precision measurement talks. Most of these were relatively sedate (at least by the…

I was going to post something noting that the great WordPress transition will begin at 7pm tonight, and comments after that time will be lost like Roy Batty’s tears. However, I have much happier news: tomorrow’s Science Times (available on the Web already) will include a review of How to Teach Relativity to Your Dog!…

So, you find yourself living in the San Francisco Bay area, and you maybe have a dog who would like to know something about relativity, or you maybe want to someday have a dog who will want to know something about relativity, or you maybe want to know something more about relativity yourself, in case…

I’m trying not to be Neurotic Author Guy and obsessively check online reviews of How to Teach Relativity to Your Dog every fifteen minutes. I’ve actually been pretty successful at it, so successful that I didn’t notice the first posted review at Amazon until my parents mentioned it to me. It’s a really good one,…

So, the infamous OPERA result for neutrino speeds seems to be conclusively disproven, traced to a problem with a timing signal. Matt Strassler has a very nice explanation of the test that shows that the whole thing can almost certainly be traced to a timing error that cropped up in 2008. This problem is generally…