Physics

Category archives for Physics

“It’s tempting to go to the throat of the volcano to get the data, because if you do you’re a hero … It’s a battle between your mind and your emotions. If your emotions win out, you can get yourself in a lot of trouble.” –Ken Wohletz Back on Monday, I shared with you the incomparable…

“Is no one inspired by our present picture of the Universe? This value of science remains unsung by singers, you are reduced to hearing not a song or poem, but an evening lecture about it. This is not yet a scientific age.” –Richard Feynman There are many scientific facts that are simply remarkable when it comes…

Battle of the Nobel Laureates (Synopsis)

When it comes to the very nature of quantum mechanics — about the inherent uncertainty and indeterminism to reality — it’s one of the most difficult things to accept. Perhaps, you imagine, there’s some underlying cause, some hidden reality beneath what’s visible that actually is deterministic. After all, a cat can’t simultaneously be dead and alive until…

The Most Wanted Particle (Synopsis)

“Innovation is taking two things that already exist and putting them together in a new way.” –Tom Freston Yes, the Universe can be considered the ultimate innovator, taking the fundamental particles and forces of the Universe, and assembling them into the entirety of what we know, interact with and observe today. But what is it…

“If you are caught on a golf course during a storm and are afraid of lightning, hold up a 1-iron. Not even God can hit a 1-iron.” –Lee Trevino When it comes to lightning, you inevitably think of thunderstorms, rain, and the exchange of huge amounts of charge between the clouds above and the Earth.…

“On a cosmic scale, our life is insignificant, yet this brief period when we appear in the world is the time in which all meaningful questions arise.” –Paul Ricoeur What you see is what you get, except when it isn’t. We’re all familiar with Hubble’s law, or the notion that the Universe is expanding, and…

Supertides are real!

“But less intelligible still was the flood that was caused by forty days’ rain, and forty nights’. For here on the moors there were some years when it rained for two hundred days and two hundred nights, almost without fairing; but there was never any Flood.” –Halldór Laxness Once every 18 years, a French Abbey…

“There is, I believe, in every disposition a tendency to some particular evil, a natural defect, which not even the best education can overcome.” “And your defect is a propensity to hate everybody.” “And yours… is wilfully to misunderstand them.” –Jane Austen Every time we go to higher and higher energies in our particle accelerators,…

“The sun is a miasma Of incandescent plasma The sun’s not simply made out of gas No, no, no The sun is a quagmire It’s not made of fire Forget what you’ve been told in the past” –They Might Be Giants It’s such a simple fact — that the Sun is made out of hydrogen…

Imagine that you’ve got that absolutely weightless feeling, the kind you get when you lose your balance and hurtle towards the ground. Are you on a roller coaster? Did you fall out of an airplane? Or are you in an accelerating elevator? According to Einstein’s Equivalence Principle, there’s really no way for you to tell,…