Physics

Category archives for Physics

“Science casts a long black shadow back over who we think we are, and where it falls the temperature falls with it. Its touch is chilly and unforgiving.” -Richard K. Morgan Here on Earth, when we’re dealing with normal matter, it’s relatively easy to measure the temperature of something. Even if you don’t have a thermometer…

“These neutrino observations are so exciting and significant that I think we’re about to see the birth of an entirely new branch of astronomy: neutrino astronomy.” -John Bahcall From the Hubble expansion of the Universe to isotropy and homogeneity to the light elements to the leftover radiation glow to the formation of large-scale structure in…

“Is your Hot Pocket cold in the middle?” “It’s frozen. But it can be served boiling lava hot.” “Will it burn my mouth?” “It’ll destroy your mouth. Everything will taste like rubber for a month.”  -Jim Gaffigan You’ve all had the experience: you’re all excited to microwave your favorite snack. So you pull it out…

“For my part I know nothing with any certainty, but the sight of the stars makes me dream.” -Vincent Van Gogh Ever since the BICEP2 team reported their findings — and evidence for B-mode polarization of the cosmic microwave background indicating gravitational waves from inflation — the physics world has never been the same. Recently,…

“Art has a way of confronting us, of reminding us, of engaging us, in what it means to be human, and what it means to be human is to be flawed, is to be contradictory, is to be often weak, and yet despite all of these what we would consider drawbacks, that we’re also quite…

“He who loves practice without theory is like the sailor who boards ship without a rudder and compass and never knows where he may cast.” -Leonardo Da Vinci One of the great tools that theorists use in their arsenal is the reductio ad absurdum, or the notion that if you can prove that the acceptance of…

“The atoms become like a moth, seeking out the region of higher laser intensity.” -Steven Chu Sure, lasers are fascinating entities. By stimulating the right medium with the right conditions, you can induce the stimulated emission of radiation of the same exact wavelength in the same exact direction over and over again. But is there…

Striking Cosmic Gold (Synopsis)

“Don’t gain the world and lose your soul; wisdom is better than silver or gold.” -Bob Marley Going back to ancient times, it’s hard to think of a more commonly coveted element than gold. In fact, trying to transmute other elements into it was perhaps the holy grail of the pseudoscience of alchemy, the forerunner…

“Other than the laws of physics, rules have never really worked out for me.” -Craig Ferguson When you think about the Standard Model of particle physics, you very likely think about all the matter, energy, particles, antiparticles, forces and interactions of the Universe. And you might legitimately worry that this is all there is. Never fear; it can’t…

How the Sun *really* shines (Synopsis)

“Mr. Burns: Smithers, hand me that ice-cream scoop. Smithers: Ice-cream scoop? Mr. Burns: Damn it, Smithers! This isn’t rocket science, it’s brain surgery!”  -The Simpsons I bet you’re one of those people who hears a term like “nuclear physics” and thinks that’s hard stuff, way over your head. But in many ways, it’s the easiest of all…