Category Archives: physics

NASA animation: black hole sucks in passing star

On the NASA site you can find this description of a new piece of research about a star encountering a black hole, and observations from X-ray spectral analysis of what happened when it did. Predictably, the results are dramatic, though some of the star stuff doesn’t get sucked all the way in. I haven’t read the paper (reference […]

Bad science journalism: The Express reports that scientists have “proved” that God didn’t create the universe

I should start giving an award for the Most Misleading Science Journalism of the Year. If I did, this article from The Sunday Express would surely be a contender. Here’s the headline (click on it to go to the article): The piece starts like this: A TEAM of scientists have made what may turn out to be […]

Krauss on neutrinos and the Nobel Prize

I’m jealous that Lawrence Krauss seems to have secured a regular gig as a New Yorker columnist. Don’t they need a biologist or anything? However, you can’t fault him,  as the man writes a good column. His newest one, “What neutrinos reveal,” is straight physics, so presumably it won’t alienate anyone, even Edward “I Can Prove […]

Feser to Krauss: Shut up because of the Uncaused Cause

I didn’t know anything about the Witherspoon institute, where Catholic religious philosopher Edward Feser has published a strident piece called “Scientists should tell Lawrence Krauss to shut up already“, but it appears to be a right-wing think tank. According to Wikipedia: The Witherspoon Institute opposes abortion and same-sex marriage and deals with embryonic stem cell research, […]

Schrödinger’s bacterium: physicists plan to put a microbe in two places at the same time

Okay, this is WAY above my pay grade, but I’ve been sent articles on this by several authors, including an explanation at the Guardian. It’s a description by two theoretical physicists of an experiment that uses quantum superposition to put a bacterium in two places at the same time. They plan to collaborate with experimentalists to actually carry it […]

Stephen Hawking to give the 2015 Reith Lectures

Professor Ceiling Cat is going home to rest, but before I do I want to call your attention, courtesy of reader Dermot C., to the fact that Stephen Hawking will be giving this year’s series of Reith Lectures for the BBC. This prestigious series has featured leading thinkers since 1948, when Bertrand Russell first spoke on “Authority and […]

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 […]


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