Category Archives: physics

The physics of a rising chain

Posting will be light this morning as Professor Ceiling Cat has cat stuff to do. In the meantime, entertain yourself with two videos of a remarkable phenomenon of physics: the slinking chain. The first shows the phenomenon, and the second goes into greater detail. A longer video: If you want a more detailed explanation for […]

It’s alive!

But it’s dead in another world! Thanks to several readers for sending this.

Sean Carroll: There is no classical world

I’m not a physicist but wanted to direct you to Preposterous Universe, where, in a new post called “There is no classical world,” Sean Carroll mentions an experiment showing definitively that even a macroscopic object—a mirror cooled to near absolute zero—behaves according to quantum rather than classical mechanics.  That is, instead of remaining absolutely still, […]

Demonstration of some physical principle I don’t understand

Okay, some physics maven please explain this to me, and also why a few of the patterns formed by the sand are asymmetrical.  (I haven’t looked up the Chladni plate experiment.) From io9, where the notes say this: Stop what you’re doing and watch this. It’s a video of sand. Sand skittering around on a […]

Philosophy of the gaps?

Humanist, poet, ex-scientist, ex-physician, philosopher, prolific writer —the list goes on—Raymond Tallis is the only person I’ve seen whose profession is described as “polymath” on Wikipedia.  But being a polymath doesn’t always guarantee you’re right.  In his column at the Guardian yesterday, “Philosophy isn’t dead yet, Tallis claims that philosophy—metaphysical philosophy—is the only way physics […]

An awesome animation of single atoms

I’ll be busy today, so talk among yourselves. In the meantime, here’s an animation created by moving carbon atoms around one by one with precise (and astounding) new technologies. As the BBC reports, Researchers at IBM have created the world’s smallest movie by manipulating single atoms on a copper surface. The stop-motion animation uses a […]

The Ceiling Cat particle

An unpublished capture of a particle collision from CERN’s Large Hadron Collider: h/t: List of X

Atheist Peter Higgs decries the name “God particle”

It’s time for everyone to stop calling the Higgs boson the “God Particle”. For one thing, it seems to have been publisher’s trick to boost sales of a physics book by Leon Lederman (here at UC) and Dick Teresi. As the Telegraph reports, Lederman wrote in the book “God particle”: “This boson is so central […]

An amazing Japanese commercial (and a note on Tippett and Krauss)

Well, I thought I’d seen it all, but this Japanese commercial for a smartphone, brought to my attention by alert reader Jon, beats all. It’s a huge xylophone, placed in a hilly Japanese forest, that plays Bach’s Jesu, Joy of Man’s Desiring as a wooden ball rolls down it.  Fantastic—do not miss this one! Imagine […]

“Fine-tuning”: is the multiverse a Hail Mary pass by godless physicists?

I’ve finished the book Atoms and Eden, a series of interviews by Steve Paulson of luminaries in the science-and-religion debates. The book includes interviews with people on all sides, including Karen Armstrong, John Haught, Sam Harris, Dan Dennett, Jane Goodall, and so on. Judging by Amazon, the book hasn’t garnered much interest, but I’d recommend […]


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