Physics Blogging Round-Up: ARPES, Optics, Band Gaps, Radiation Pressure, Home Science, and Catastrophe

It's been a while since I last rounded up physics posts from Forbes, so there's a good bunch of stuff on this list:

-- How Do Physicists Know What Electrons Are Doing Inside Matter?: An explanation of Angle-Resolved Photo-Electron Spectroscopy (ARPES), one of the major experimental techniques in condensed matter. I'm trying to figure out a way to list "got 1,800 people to read a blog post about ARPES" as one of my professional accomplishments on my CV.

-- The Optics Of Superman's X-Ray Vision: Spinning off a post of Rhett's, a look at why humanoid eyes just aren't set up to work with x-rays.

-- Why Do Solids Have Band Gaps?: A conceptual way to see why there are some energies that electrons simply can not have inside a periodic structure.

-- How Tropical Birds Use Quantum Physics: Blue feathers on many birds aren't blue because of pigment, but thanks to the same physics that gives solids band gaps.

-- Why Do We Teach Old Physics? Because It Works: We had another round of people lamenting the emphasis on "old" topics in introductory courses; here's my defense of the standard curricular order.

-- How Hard Does The Sun Push On the Earth? In which one of The Pip's silly superhero books gets me thinking about radiation pressure forces.

-- How To Use A Laser Pointer To Measure Tiny Things: In which I use a green laser to settle the question of who in Chateau Steelypips has the thickest hair.

-- Don't Just Talk About Science With Your Kids, DO Science With Your Kids: A simple home experiment, and a pitch for the importance of doing simple experiments at home.

-- How Quantum Physics Starts With Your Toaster: A blog version of my half-hour fake class on the "ultraviolet catastrophe" and why Planck needed the quantum hypothesis to solve black-body radiation.

Both blogs are likely to be on a sort of hiatus for the next little bit. I'm giving a talk at Mount Holyoke tonight, which will get me home really late, then Thursday and Friday I'm going to NYC for a space conference. Then on Saturday, we're flying to Florida with the kids and my parents, and going on a Disney cruise in the Caribbean for all of next week. Which will provide a badly needed opportunity to kick back by the pool, because oh, God, so busy...

More like this

As promised in the last catch-up post, a set of pictures less devoted to cute-kid shots. 213/366: Zone Defense The superhero-themed "zones" of our house, as defined by the Pip. The Pip has been making one of his preschool teachers draw superheroes for him. At some point, he cut these out with…
As the post title says, it's been a whole two months since the last time I did a round-up of my physics blog posts for Forbes. That's less content than you might think, though, because with the new academic term starting and some deadlines I had for other stuff, I posted basically nothing for most…
So, yesterday was my big TEDxAlbany talk. I was the first speaker scheduled, probably because I gave them the title "The Exotic Physics of an Ordinary Morning," so it seemed appropriate to have me talking while people were still eating breakfast... The abstract I wrote when I did the proposal…
You may or may not have noticed that I've been making a concerted effort to do more ResearchBlogging posts explaining notable recent results. I've been trying to get at least one per week posted, and coming fairly close to that. I've been pretty happy with the fake Q&A format that I've settled…