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17 posts tagged with physics and history. (View popular tags)
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Project Mogul

You may have heard how sounds travel farther during a temperature inversion, when air near the ground is cooler than the air above. But do you know how this phenomenon is related to the 1947 UFO crash in Roswell, New Mexico? [more inside]
posted by mbrubeck on Jun 8, 2014 - 14 comments

Eppur si muove

The Great Ptolemaic Smackdown is a nine-part series posted by sci-fi author and statistician Michael F. Flynn to his blog last year, covering the historical conflict between heliocentrism and geocentrism, with a special focus on Galileo. They are based on an article (pdf) by Flynn which originally appeared in the Jan/Feb 2013 issue of Analog. [more inside]
posted by zarq on Apr 8, 2014 - 10 comments

The number of constituent particles in one mole of a given substance.

Avogadro Project - The International Avogadro project relates the kilogram to the mass of a fixed number of atoms by measuring the number of atoms in a sphere of silicon. I'll leave this here.
posted by hypersloth on Jun 8, 2013 - 26 comments

A Shory Biography of Emmy Noether

Amalie Noether: The Mighty Mathematician You’ve Never Heard Of
posted by jjray on Mar 27, 2012 - 49 comments

Listening to the past, recorded on tin foil and glass, for the first time in over a century

Towards the end of the 1800s, there were three primary American groups competing to invent technology to record and play back audio. Alexander Graham Bell worked with with Charles Sumner Tainter and Chichester Bell in at their Volta Laboratory in Georgetown, Washington, D.C., while Thomas A. Edison worked from his Menlo Park facilities, and Emile Berliner worked in his independent laboratory in his home. To secure the rights to their inventions, the three groups sent samples of their work to the Smithsonian. These recordings became part of the permanent collections, now consisting of 400 of the earliest audio recordings ever made. But knowledge of their contents was limited to old, short descriptions, as the rubber, beeswax, glass, tin foil and brass recording media are fragile, and playback devices might damage the recordings, if such working devices are even available. That is, until a collaborative project with the Library of Congress and Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory came together to make 2D and 3D optical scanners, capable of visually recording the patterns marked on discs and cylinders, respectively. [more inside]
posted by filthy light thief on Feb 10, 2012 - 21 comments

The Cartoon Guide to Life, the Universe, and Everything

Larry Gonick is a veteran American cartoonist best known for his delightful comic-book guides to science and history, many of which have previews online. Chief among them is his long-running Cartoon History of the Universe (later The Cartoon History of the Modern World), a sprawling multi-volume opus documenting everything from the Big Bang to the Bush administration. Published over the course of three decades, it takes a truly global view -- its time-traveling Professor thoroughly explores not only familiar topics like Rome and World War II but the oft-neglected stories of Asia and Africa, blending caricature and myth with careful scholarship (cited by fun illustrated bibliographies) and tackling even the most obscure events with intelligence and wit. This savvy satire carried over to Gonick's Zinn-by-way-of-Pogo chronicle The Cartoon History of the United States, along with a bevy of Cartoon Guides to other topics, including Genetics, Computer Science, Chemistry, Physics, Statistics, The Environment, and (yes!) Sex. Gonick has also maintained a few sideprojects, such as a webcomic look at Chinese invention, assorted math comics (previously), the Muse magazine mainstay Kokopelli & Co. (featuring the shenanigans of his "New Muses"), and more. See also these lengthy interview snippets, linked previously. Want more? Amazon links to the complete oeuvre inside! [more inside]
posted by Rhaomi on Jun 6, 2011 - 29 comments

Women of the Royal Society and elsewhere

The Royal Society's lost women scientists. Women published in the Royal Society, 1890-1930. Most influential British women in the history of science. Women at the Royal Observatory Greenwich. Heroines of Science. Women Biochemists, 1906-1939. Women in Science. Previously: The Women of ENIAC.
posted by mediareport on Jan 12, 2011 - 9 comments

If you wouldn't like living that way (in the lowest status slot in the pecking order), you're doing it wrong.

Metafilter's Own Charlie Stross asks the question; " You, and a quarter of a million other folks, have embarked on a 1000-year voyage aboard a hollowed-out asteroid. What sort of governance and society do you think would be most comfortable, not to mention likely to survive the trip without civil war, famine, and reigns of terror?" engrossing commentary follows. (via)
posted by The Whelk on Dec 11, 2009 - 156 comments

Selected Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society

To celebrate the start of its 350th year, the Royal Society has put online 60 of its most memorable scientific papers. [more inside]
posted by Electric Dragon on Nov 30, 2009 - 28 comments

Mayan Muons and Unmapped Rooms

Ghost Particles & Pyramids: How physicists and archaeologists “see” inside ancient monuments.
posted by homunculus on Aug 21, 2008 - 11 comments

"The simplest example of the truly complex"

Anything but clear. It is well known that panes of stained glass in old European churches are thicker at the bottom because glass is a slow-moving liquid that flows downward over centuries. Well known, yes, but long known to be wrong. Scientists still disagree about the nature of glass, and researchers continue to try to understand its dual personality . [more inside]
posted by amyms on Jul 29, 2008 - 15 comments

Physics milestones of the past 50 years

Physical Review Letters' 50th anniversary retrospective promises to be an interesting survey of the physics landscape for the past half-century.
posted by Wolfdog on Feb 27, 2008 - 6 comments

A delightfully nerdy page for nerds

Dr. James B. Calvert, professor emeritus of engineering at the University of Denver, has an incredibly rich and deep personal webpage, which includes such gems as Latin for mountain men, the correct corn-hog ratio, travel by brachistochrone, anomalous sound propagation and the guns of Barisal, and about a billion other awesomely nerdy topics.
posted by sergeant sandwich on Jan 28, 2007 - 16 comments

Vintage Radio and Scientific Equipment

The Spark Museum John Jenkins' collection of vintage wireless, radio, scientific and electrical equipment, including Crookes and Geissler tubes, Barlow wheels and other early electric motors, loudspeakers and many more oddball electrical devices. [via TeamDroid]
posted by mediareport on Nov 13, 2006 - 9 comments

handprint: watercolors & watercolor painting

i began cataloging the colors, and put the color list on the web. over time, the paint catalog turned into a web site.
posted by ijoshua on Jun 27, 2006 - 7 comments

The Sceptical Chymist

The Works of natural philosopher Robert Boyle (1627 - 1697) at the Robert Boyle Project, based at Birkbeck College, University of London.
Widely regarded as the first modern chemist (his book The Sceptical Chymist is perhaps the founding text of chemistry as a science), he was also an alchemist and made significant contributions in physics (for example Boyle's law) and physiology.
The Robert Boyle homepage has as its centrepiece a large collection of images of Boyles' papers. Images and transcriptions of his marvellous work diaries are available at the AHRC Centre for Editing Lives and Letters.
posted by thatwhichfalls on Nov 11, 2005 - 5 comments

Mayonnaise.

Mayonnaise. It spawned the discovery of the Casimir effect, which proves that the universe will always expand. Invented in 1756, George Washington Carver seemed to have his hand in it. Not to be confused with its more-disgusting knockoff, mayonnaise has a lot going for it. A favorite Spelling Bee word, a racial litmus test, a hair conditioner--is there anything mayonnaise can't do? Mefi says you can even win prizes with it! What other condiments have spawned theories? Sunday school kids learn about faith and mustard seeds, but is there anything out there for ketchup?
posted by TheManWhoKnowsMostThings on Oct 18, 2002 - 100 comments

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