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...

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