Astronomy

Category archives for Astronomy

The 2011 Nobel Prize in Physics goes to Saul Perlmutter, Brian P. Schmidt and Adam G. Riess “for the discovery of the accelerating expansion of the Universe through observations of distant supernovae.” Ethan will presumably have a post with about a gigabyte worth of images in it shortly, or if you prefer your information in…

Neutrino Hypotheses Non Fingo

The final sentence of the neutrino paper that everybody is buzzing about: We deliberately do not attempt any theoretical or phenomenological interpretation of the results. From a somewhat older work in physics: Rationem vero harum gravitatis proprietatum ex phænomenis nondum potui deducere, et hypotheses non fingo. Quicquid enim ex phænomenis non deducitur, hypothesis vocanda est;…

Scientists and Science Fiction

Yesterday was apparently Gender in Science day here, while the theme for today is Tab Clearance– a couple of shortish posts about things that deserve more than just a Links Dump mention, but don’t really cohere into any kind of grand synthesis of deep thoughts, or whatever. This particular link was prompted by an item…

Over Twitter, somebody pointed to this article on astronomy outreach (free PDF from that link), which argues that everybody else should stop trying to be Brian Cox: I’ve known Brian for years and worked with him before his celebrity status went supernova. I would love to say “I told you so” to all the TV…

Throwing Something Into Orbit

There’s a lot of stuff in the news lately about asteroids, what with the Dawn mission orbiting Vesta, and the talk of a manned asteroid mission as a possible future step for NASA. Prompted by this, I’m going to dip into the territory usually occupied by Matt and Rhett, and ask a somewhat silly question:…

Launch Pad

For the past few years, astronomer and SF author Mike Brotherton has been running the Launch Pad Workshop, a program bringing interested SF authors to Wyoming (where he’s on the faculty) to learn about modern astronomy. The idea is to teach writers the real facts about the weird and wonderful things going on in astronomy…

p>(This post is part of the new round of interviews of non-academic scientists, giving the responses of Brad Holden, of the University of California Observatories (which, OK, is affiliated with an academic institution, but this is not a traditional faculty-type job). The goal is to provide some additional information for science students thinking about their…

When Aliens Attack

As I have admitted previously, I have a fondness for tv shows about UFO’s, the loonier the better. So, when I learned that there was a show called When Aliens Attack airing last night on the National Geographic channel, I was all over that. I’m happy to report that it did not disappoint– it brought…

Barring a major disaster, I am scheduled to teach one of our Scholars Research Seminar classes next winter. I’ve been kicking the idea for this around for a while, with the semi-clever title “A Brief History of Timekeeping.” The idea is to talk about the different technologies people have used to mark the passage of…

Back in the fall, I got an email from my UK publisher asking me if I’d be willing to read and possibly blurb a forthcoming book, The Four Percent Universe: Dark Matter, Dark Energy, and the Race to Discover the Rest of Reality by Richard Panek. The book isn’t exactly in my field, but there…