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Physicist turned carbon catcher

Particle physics inspires ASU professor Klaus Lackner's work on climate change. In the early 2000s, physicist Klaus Lackner decided to change fields based on one powerful idea: that we can pull carbon out of the air fast enough to counter...Show More Summary

Eureka: Radio, Radio

Two radio appearances upcoming as I continue to promote Eureka: Discovering Your Inner Scientist: — Tomorrow, Friday the 19th, I’ll be going down to WAMC around 11am to be on Roundtable, talking with Joe Donahue. This will be live, but fairly short. This is available on a whole host of stations in the not-The-City part…

Advent Calendar of Science Stories 18: Third Time’s the Charm

The winter solstice holidays are a time for family and togetherness, so building off yesterday’s post about the great Marie Sk?odowska Curie, we’ll stay together with her family. Specifically her daughter Irène Joliot-Curie and her husband Frédéric. The Joliot-Curies are possible answers to a number of Nobel Prize trivia questions– only mother and daughter to…

LHC filled with liquid helium

The Large Hadron Collider is now cooled to nearly its operational temperature. The Large Hadron Collider isn’t just a cool particle accelerator. It's the coldest. Last week the cryogenics team at CERN finished filling the eight curved sections of the LHC with liquid helium. Show More Summary

Defend the Integrity of Physics

This week’s Nature features a call to arms from George Ellis and Joe Silk, entitled Scientific method: Defend the integrity of physics. I’m very glad to see well-known physicists highlighting the serious problem for the credibility of science raised by … Continue reading ?

Advent Calendar of Science Stories 17: Kickstarter in 1921

There’s no way I could possibly go through a long history-of-science blog series without mentioning the great Marie Sk?odowska Curie, one of the very few people in history to win not one but two Nobel Prizes for her scientific work– if nothing else, Polish pride would demand it. She made a monumental contribution to physics…

Kids Love Breaking Stuff

I visited SteelyKid’s first-grade class yesterday with several liters of liquid nitrogen. Earlier in the fall, they did a science unit on states of matter– solid, liquid, gas– and talked about it in terms of molecules being more spread out, etc. Looking at her homeworks, I said “Oh, damn, if it wasn’t the middle of…

The Turing movie

Last week I finally saw The Imitation Game, the movie with Benedict Cumberbatch as Alan Turing. OK, so for those who haven’t yet seen it: should you?  Here’s my one paragraph summary: imagine that you told the story of Alan Turing—one greatest triumphs and tragedies of human history, needing no embellishment whatsoever—to someone who only sort-of understood it, and […]

Deck the halls with Nobel physicists

Symmetry presents a physics twist on the craft of cutting paper snowflakes. If you’re looking for a way to decorate for the holidays while also proudly declaring your love of science, symmetry has got your back. Below you’ll find templates...Show More Summary

Advent Calendar of Science Stories 16: Undergraduate Research

“You wanted to see me, Herr Professor?” “Hans! Yes, come in, come in. Just going over the account books. Frightful amount of money going out of this place.” “Well, radium is expensive…” “Ha! Oh, and speaking of which– here’s one of the sources. Absent-mindedly dropped the fool thing in my pocket last night when I…

The Life and Death of Blog Networks

The hot topic of the day is, of course, the big shake-up at Scientific American’s blog network. The official statement is, of course, very carefully worded, but the end result is that they’re shedding a bunch of blogs and instituting a standard set of guidelines for those that remain. A more detailed breakdown of who’s…

Eureka: Waldo at the Galaxy Zoo

Over at Medium, they’ve published a long excerpt from Eureka: Discovering Your Inner Scientist, that gives a good flavor of what the book’s really like. It’s about how the process for solving hidden-object games like the classic Where’s Waldo books is comparable to the process used by Henrietta Leavitt to revolutionize our understanding of the…

Advent Calendar of Science Stories 15: An Unusual Resume

“…and take care that all the signatures go in the right way round, eh, James? I was able to soothe Mr. Dance last time, but if another copy comes back to be rebound, M. de la Roche will put you out.” “Yessir.” “A little more care, there’s a good lad. Run home, now, we’ll see…

Results of a College Education?

One of my favourite Mark Twain sayings: "cauliflower is nothing but cabbage with a college education". Spotted these in the Hollywood farmer's market on Sunday: [...] Click to continue reading this post ?

Advent Calendar of Science Stories 14: A Slip of Card

Scientific controversies aren’t always settled by a single dramatic experiment, but it’s a lot of fun when they are. It’s even more fun when they can be carried out with, as the author put it, “without any other apparatus than is at hand to every one.” I’m speaking in this case of the famous “double…

Eureka: Signing, Q&A, Canadian Review

A few items for Sunday morning: — First and foremost, in just a few hours from now, I’ll be signing books at the Open Door. If you’re in Quebec or central Pennsylvania, you better leave now; Boston or NYC, you can have a cup of coffee first. Farther than that, you might try calling them…

Tiger’s Jaw

One of the many plants that look a lot happier after the much-needed rain… (Although, to be fair, it was flowering before the rain began.) -cvj

Planck: what's new

Slides from the recent Planck collaboration meeting are now available online. One can find there preliminary results that include an input from Planck's measurements of the polarization of the Cosmic Microwave Background (some which were previously available via the legendary press release in French). Show More Summary

Advent Calendar of Science Stories 13: Timing Light

Speaking of the timing of astronomical phenomena, as we were yesterday, the timing of celestial bodies was the key to the first demonstration of one of the pillars of modern physics, the fact that light travels at a finite speed. This actually pre-dates yesterday’s longitude discoveries, which I always forget, because it seems like it…

Science-y Gifts for Kids

One of the questions from a caller when I was on the “Think” show was about how to keep kids interested in science. As I said, the issue isn’t so much creating in interest as working to not squelch the interest that’s already there. Taking kids to cool places like zoos and science museums is…

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