Archives for September, 2010

Weekend Diversion: What we don’t know

“Well, although I do not suppose that either of us knows anything really beautiful and good, I am better off than he is; for he knows nothing, and thinks that he knows.” -Socrates This weekend, I’m pleased to bring you a song by Wizz Jones, a British singer-songwriter who’s been at it for over 50…

Q & A: How can anything come from a black hole?

“Consideration of particle emission from black holes would seem to suggest that God not only plays dice, but also sometimes throws them where they cannot be seen.” -Stephen Hawking Last week, I wrote about how high-energy cosmic rays strike Earth’s atmosphere and wind up bombarding everything on Earth’s surface with super-fast moving particles, some of…

The Physics of a Fighter Jet Rainbow!

“When once you have tasted flight, you will forever walk the earth with your eyes turned skyward, for there you have been, and there you will always long to return.” -Unknown Someone showed me a picture yesterday, and my initial reaction was simply, “WOW!” See for yourself: But, as a physicist, I look at something…

“I saw for the first time the earth’s shape. I could easily see the shores of continents, islands, great rivers, folds of the terrain, large bodies of water. The horizon is dark blue, smoothly turning to black. . . the feelings which filled me I can express with one word–joy.” -Yuri Gagarin It takes a…

“Each song has its own secret that’s different from another song, and each has its own life. Sometimes it has to be teased out, whereas other times it might come fast. There are no laws about songwriting or producing. It depends on what you’re doing, not just who you’re doing.” -Mark Knopfler There are a…

“We have been forced to admit for the first time in history not only the possibility but the fact of the growth and decay of the elements of matter. With radium and with uranium we do not see anything but the decay. And yet, somewhere, somehow, it is almost certain that these elements must be…

The View From Mercury

They will see us waving from such great heights “Come down now,” they’ll say. But everything looks perfect from far away “Come down now,” but we’ll stay. -The Postal Service It isn’t the weekend, but I’d feel terrible showing you these pictures without giving you the right song to take you through it, so here’s…