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Surprise!

Over at Curious Wavefunction, Ashutosh Jogalekar offers a list of great surprising results in physics. This is fairly comprehensive, but leaves out one of my favorites, which is the discovery of the muon. Muons are particles like electrons, but a couple hundred times heavier. When they were first detected in cosmic ray traces in 1936,…

Mathematics Without Apologies

If you’d asked me ten years ago to describe a book I’d love to read that could be characterized as part of an “incredibly unlikely trend in books about math for the general public”, I might have chosen “brilliant meditations … Continue reading ?

The Visitors

Yesterday I sneaked on to campus for a few hours. I'm on family leave (as I mentioned earlier) and so I've not been going to campus unless I more or less have to. Yesterday was one of those days that I decided was a visit day and so visit I did. Show More Summary

Of symmetries, the strong force and Helen Quinn

Scientist Helen Quinn has had a significant impact on the field of theoretical physics. Modern theoretical physicists spend much of their time examining the symmetries governing particles and their interactions. Researchers describeShow More Summary

Snowpocalypse 2015

For the last few days the media in New York have been filled with continuous frantic warnings of the deadly storm of the century bearing down on the city. Grocery stores have been emptied, with long lines of desperate people … Continue reading ?

Deflategate on Discovery Canada

I know I said I was done with this story, but this was actually recorded last week: The Daily Planet show on Discovery Channel in Canada contacted me last week when all this deflated-football silliness was exploding, and got a cameraman to come over and record me talking about it. The episode aired Monday night,…

Fly, Fly Away

Tonight’s bedtime stories included two books involving flying characters: Foo, the Flying Frog of Washtub Pond (in which the title character gets blown into the sky by a gust of wind), and The Magic Brush. The latter is a dead-grandparent book, but ends with a cheerful picture of the kids reunited with their grandfather in…

Eureka on “Inquiry”

While I’ve managed to generate a lot of blog traffic talking about football, I sort of suck at turning that into book sales. Sigh. I am, however, continuing to do interviews in support of Eureka: discovering Your Inner Scientist, the most recent of which is this one with WICN’s Inquiry, hosted by Mark Lynch. This…

Ain’t No Party Like a SteelyKid Party

I’ve mentioned in a few places that SteelyKid frequently comes home from school/ camp/ day care singing garbled versions of current pop hits. So for the first time since about 1990, I added a Top 40 station to my car radio presets, so I would know what she was actually trying to sing. This leads…

Deflategate: The Final Chapter

The low-level cold I’ve been nursing for a month now finally exploded into the full unpleasantness of my usual winter illness Saturday, or else I would’ve been more active following up on my Deflategate article and my ideal gas law post. As it was, for most of the day, I could barely keep on top…

QIP 2015 “live”-blogging, Day 3

We promise we’ll finish posting these soon! Day 3 was only a half day of talks with a free afternoon, and the rainy weather of the first two days finally subsided just in time. Jean-Pierre Tillich Decoding Quantum LDPC Codes … Continue reading ?

Superconducting electromagnets of the LHC

You won't find these magnets in your kitchen. Magnets are something most of us are familiar with, but you may not know that magnets are an integral part of almost all modern particle accelerators. These magnets aren’t the same as the one that held your art to your parent’s refrigerator when you were a kid. Show More Summary

Tom Brady and the Ideal Gas Law: Physics of Deflategate

So, as mentioned yesterday, I got an email asking me about the weird scandal involving the Patriots and underinflated footballs, so I wrote a piece for the Conversation on the subject. since a few people had beaten me to citations of the Ideal Gas Law, though, I decided to bring my own particular set of…

Football Physics and the Science of Deflate-gate

One of the cool things about working at Union is that the Communications office gets media requests looking for people to comment on current events, which sometimes get forwarded to me. Yesterday was one of those days, with a request for a scientist to comment on the bizarre sports scandal surrounding the deflated footballs used…

DECam’s nearby discoveries

The Dark Energy Camera does more than its name would lead you to believe. The Dark Energy Camera, or DECam, peers deep into space from its mount on the 4-meter Victor Blanco Telescope high in the Chilean Andes. Thirty percent of theShow More Summary

Thermal Thursday: How Good Is My Mug?

One of my favorite Christmas presents this year was a Seek Thermal camera to use with my Android phone. This allows for a lot of idle physics-y fun, taking pictures of things in thermal mode. One idea I had was to do a sort of follow-up to the test of my insulated mug that I…

Happy Second Birthday Lily

Two years ago, I blogged when Lily was born.  Today I can blog that she runs, climbs, swims (sort of), constructs 3-word sentences, demands cake and cookies, counts to 10 in both English and Hebrew, and recognizes colors, letters, shapes, animals, friends, relatives, the sun, and the moon.  To all external appearances she’s now conscious as you and I […]

Flowers of the Sky

Here is a page of a lovely set of (public domain) images of comets and meteors, as depicted in various ways through the centuries. The above sample is from the famous [...] Click to continue reading this post ?

Hiring Completed

Having made several mentions here of the two tenure-track faculty positions we were trying to fill, I feel like I ought to at least note the completion of the search. As of last Friday, all the papers have been signed with properly dotted i’s and crossed t’s, and we have two new tenure-track assistant professors…

How to build your own particle detector

Make a cloud chamber and watch fundamental particles zip through your living room! The scale of the detectors at the Large Hadron Collider is almost incomprehensible: They weigh thousands of tons, contain millions of detecting elements...Show More Summary

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