Category Archives: physics

Steven Weinberg’s new book on the history of science (with excerpts)

It’s a great pity that Steven Weinberg’s new book on the history of science, To Explain the World: The Discovery of Modern Science, is coming out too late to be included in my own book, in which I discuss the apologists’ contention that science was an outgrowth of medieval Christianity. Weinberg’s book, whose existence I discovered through a […]

Lawrence Krauss rebuts “Science increasingly makes the case for God”

On Christmas Day of last year, the Wall Street Journal published a short piece by Eric Metaxas called “Science increasingly makes the case for God” (The subtitle is “The odds of life existing on another planet grow ever longer. Intelligent design, anyone?”). If the WSJ link takes you to the subscription page, just Google the […]

Why the Sun doesn’t go around the Earth

Earlier I asked readers to think about (and comment on) why, if motion is relative, it still makes more sense to say that the Earth orbits the Sun than vice versa.  I had my own take, but the answer is not super-obvious. So I asked Official Website Physicist™ Sean Carroll for the answer, and here’s […]

Grape plasma

Who would have thought that you could microwave a cut grape for just a few seconds, and produce a glowing plasma in your microwave. Have a look at this instructional video (NOTE: I am not telling you to try this at home, but if you do, report back.) The explanation, from Now I Know: The […]

Nobel Prize for Physics goes to three who invented a light-emitting diode

This happened about 45 minutes ago, and here’s my CNN bulletin This year’s Nobel Prize for physics has been awarded to Isamu Akasaki, Hiroshi Amano and Shuji Nakamura “for the invention of efficient blue light-emitting diodes which has enabled bright and energy-saving white light sources,” the awarding committee said. The committee said the trio’s work […]

Zero-G kittehs

I always thought Russians were the world’s greatest cat lovers—until I saw this video. Reader Stephen Q. Muth, better known as Butter’s Staff, sends this intriguing video of a cat (and two mice, barely visible) subjected to zero gravity on one of those airplane rides where, as a plane goes over the top of a parabolic arc, […]

Another Schrödinger’s cat meme

It’s the end of a very long week. I’ll be leaving tomorrow afternoon, so there will be a Caturday felid, a Hili dialogue, and perhaps a few sundry treats before I take off for the Chicago-Warsaw leg. In the meantime, have a cat: From Super-Fun-Pak Comix by Ruben Bolling: Or, in Hili’s case, napping and lapping […]

Two physicists pile on Chopra

Resident guest writer/biologist Matthew Cobb is friends with physicist Brian Cox, and sometimes appears on his “Infinite Monkey Cage” show. Matthew keeps me filled in on Cox’s continuing Twi**er battle with Deepakity, which I’m very glad about since it means that someone who knows more than I about physics can keep Chopra busy tweeting nonsense. […]

A funny interview with Stephen Hawking

Everybody who interviews Stephen Hawking treats him as a god, and there’s no doubt the man is smart, but this interview, by John Oliver, shows that Hawking has a good sense of humor. Oliver treats Hawking as Stephen Colbert would, with irreverence and a bit of faux solipsism. This is from Oliver’s “Last Week Tonight” show, and […]

New chemical element found

Well, element 117, which has the titular name of “ununseptium”, was actually discovered by a team of Russians and Americans four years ago, and has been submitted for recognition as an “official element,” but its creation was just replicated by a group in Darmstadt, Germany, and that should speed its acceptance. The new discovery and its implications […]

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