Archives for June, 2011

How to be a good GREAT teacher

“The mediocre teacher tells. The good teacher explains. The superior teacher demonstrates. The great teacher inspires.” -William Arthur Ward Every so often, people get up-in-arms about teaching and education in college. New studies come out, new methods are touted and tried, curricula get revised, and pretty much everyone gets criticized. Anyone familiar with the undergraduate…

“This nebula had such a resemblance to a comet in its form and brightness that I endeavored to find others, so that astronomers would not confuse these same nebulae with comets just beginning to shine.” -Charles Messier Astronomers have been scouring the skies for new discoveries since long before the invention of the telescope. Why,…

Defining the Big Bang

“As far as I see, such a theory [of the Big Bang] remains entirely outside any metaphysical or religious question. It leaves the materialist free to deny any transcendental Being. He may keep, for the bottom of space-time, the same attitude of mind he has been able to adopt for events occurring in non-singular places…

“Damn with faint praise, assent with civil leer, And without sneering, teach the rest to sneer; Willing to wound, and yet afraid to strike, Just hint a fault, and hesitate dislike.” -Alexander Pope As you know, last weekend I was on vacation at a certain music festival, and of course, a good time was had…

Are Miniature Black Holes Everywhere?

“It is no good getting furious if you get stuck. What I do is keep thinking about the problem but work on something else. Sometimes it is years before I see the way forward. In the case of information loss and black holes, it was 29 years.” -Stephen Hawking When we look out at the…

Striving for the Speed of Light

“The very closest stars would require many years to visit, even traveling at the speed of light, which is impossible according to Einstein’s theory of relativity. Today’s fastest spaceships would require 200,000 years to travel to Alpha Centauri, our closest bright star. The energy required to send a hundred colonists to another star, as Frank…