Before it was a website, Ask A Mathematician / Ask A Physicist was two guys sitting in the desert at Burning Man, presuming to answer (almost) any question that happened to occur to whomever happened to appear at our stand. [more inside]
posted by Obscure Reference
on Aug 27, 2011 -
Old Theories As Limits of New Ones
-- Theoretical physicist, Lubos Motl, takes a brief tour through the history of physics, and explains the simple mathematical relationship of old theories to the theories that replace them.
posted by empath
on Aug 5, 2011 -
Physicist Freeman Dyson reviews two new books about Richard Feynman
, one about the science and one in graphic novel
He never showed the slightest resentment when I published some of his ideas before he did. He told me that he avoided disputes about priority in science by following a simple rule: "Always give the bastards more credit than they deserve." I have followed this rule myself. I find it remarkably effective for avoiding quarrels and making friends. A generous sharing of credit is the quickest way to build a healthy scientific community.
, and probably in the future, but not predictably so.
posted by cogneuro
on Jul 12, 2011 -
"The conventional wisdom, promoted by government and echoed
by the subservient media, is that UFOs are mysterious objects
which by definition are unknowable. Anyone attempting to explain
them is a charlatan perpetrating a hoax and using 'junk physics' .
That may not be so.
" [more inside]
posted by Obscure Reference
on Jun 19, 2011 -
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
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
), 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 -
A new paper
by William J. Bruno
of the Theoretical Biology & Biophysics group at Los Alamos National Laboratory argues that past arguments about the impossibility of biological tissue damage from cellphone signals have failed to consider a quantum effect whereby multiple photons in a small volume can have constructive interference, and that such an effect likely does occur in practice. Synopsis here
) [more inside]
posted by crayz
on Apr 28, 2011 -
... and there is no dark matter/energy!
Dr. Philip Mannheim
has succeeded in developing a cosmological and quantum field theoretic consistent PT symmetric theory that contains no kind of dark matter and dark energy.
Space is flat in the absence of matter, and even the largest galactic rotation curves are predicted. Perhaps most interestingly, it also handles the cosmological constant and zero-point energy 'problems' simultaneously! (This is the final paper in a long list of publications
, but it makes the case such that it's importance is immediately recognized. I leave it to the experts to recognize it's true beauty.) All hail the internets!
posted by quanta and qualia
on Apr 21, 2011 -
"The Earth tide
is a little-known daily event, similar to the oceans' more familiar tides. But the sun and moon's gravity doesn’t just pull on water, it deforms the Earth itself, causing the ground beneath us to bulge toward the pulling heavenly body." [more inside]
posted by Paragon
on Mar 10, 2011 -
Horizon asks "What is reality?"
-- youtube for links for those outside the UK: 1
. It's a hard question. To help you answer it, Stanford has a set of free courses available on line by Leonard Susskind:
, New Revolutions in Particle Physics
, Quantum Entanglement
, Special Relativity
, Classical Mechanics
, Statistical Mechanics
, The Standard Model
. (Each link is to lecture 1 of a full college course of a dozen or so lectures.) If you need help with the math, the Khan Academy
should help get you up to speed.
posted by empath
on Jan 23, 2011 -
and other fun experiments. An excerpt from from coverage of research at the Aerospace Medical Division Hq 657Oth Aerospace Medical Research Laboratories
including scenes of F-104 seat ejection; drop tests from C-130 and ejection from F-106; effects of weightlessness on cats and pigeons in a C-131; test subjects in water tank, on centrifuge, in heat chamber and on complex coordinator. Also, scenes of vertical deceleration tower, incline impact test facility, vertical accelerator, equilibrium chair and vibration platform. More videos can be found at Airboyd.tv
: Accident Animations
, Aviation Films
, Military Flight Training Films
, and Space Shuttle Vidoes
posted by Fizz
on Jan 15, 2011 -