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    Jennifer Ouellette Jennifer Ouellette is a science writer who loves to indulge her inner geek by finding quirky connections between physics, popular culture, and the world at large. Follow on Twitter @JenLucPiquant.
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  • Manh(a)ttan Recap: The Sins of the Past [SPOILERS]

    Daniel Stern plays Glen Babbit on "Manh(a)ttan, a scientist with a secret in his past.

    If you were wondering how Manh(a)ttan was planning to up the stakes yet again after the death of Sid Liao and the ensuing fallout, the latest episode (“A New Nuclear Cosmology”) should address that curiosity, as sins both past and present take center stage — and if a few immediate consequences may have been temporarily [...]

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    Physics Week in Review: August 23, 2014

    Credit: Robert Bosch,

    Summer is winding down, but the ongoing drought in much of the southwestern US shows no sign of abating. In fact, it’s so dry in California (where we live) that the ground is literally rising. “One doesn’t think of rock as being elastic, but over tens and hundreds of kilometers, the Earth is behaving elastically.”  [...]

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    Manh(a)ttan Recap: An Appetite for Self-Destruction [SPOILERS]

    Ashley Zukerman as Charlie Isaacs and Christian Clemenson as Niels Bohr in "Manh(a)ttan.

    The residents of the Los Alamos base camp receive a special visitor in this week’s episode of Manh(a)ttan — none other than Niels Bohr, he of the infamous model of the atom and one of the unquestioned giants of 20th century physics. Gossip abounds in advance of the great man’s arrival, namely, speculation that the [...]

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    Physics Week in Review: August 16, 2014

    Credit: Martin Kimball,

    This week on Virtually Speaking Science, I chatted with astrophysicist Katie Freese, author of a new book, The Cosmic Cocktail: Three Parts Dark Matter. Also, regular readers may have noticed I’ve been recapping episodes of the new WGN America series, Manh(a)ttan, each week (Part 1, Part 2, Part 3) — the best new show you’re [...]

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    Manh(a)ttan Recap: The Human Cost of Wartime Scientific Progress [SPOILERS]


    Last week’s episode of Manh(a)ttan closed with a bombshell — the shooting of physicist Sid Liao, who was being interrogated on suspicion of leaking classified documents — and as expected, this week’s episode (“The Hive”) dealt with the fallout from that cataclysmic event, both personally and professionally. (It also featured a snazzy new opening title [...]

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    Physics Week in Review: August 9, 2014

    Credit: Lauren Bowker and the Unseen Studio,

    The big news in space science this week: the Rosetta spacecraft catches its comet! Here’s what comes next. Why does it take 10 years to catch a comet? This computer simulation retraces Rosetta’s amazing journey. Related: Rosetta will teach us more about comets than we have learned in 50 years. Also: Could an astronaut on [...]

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    Manh(a)ttan Recap: Faustian Bargains and Pandora’s Box (SPOILERS)


    (Note: If you missed the pilot episode of Manh(a)ttan, you can read my recap here. And be forewarned: spoilers lie ahead!) Loyalties are tested, and bad bargains are struck in this week’s episode of Manh(a)ttan (“The Prisoner’s Dilemma”). The pilot, though promising, was slower-paced, focusing on setting up the premise, and as such, had to [...]

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    Physics Week in Review: August 2, 2014

    Dirty Martini under microscope. Credit: BevShots,

    Looking for a few good popular math books? In the latest New York Times Book Review, I look at five terrific recent ones: Jordan Ellenberg’s How Not to Be Wrong, David J. Hand’s The Improbability Principle, The Norm Chronicles by Michael Blastland and David Spiegelhalter, Infinitisimal by Amir Alexander, and The Grapes of Math by [...]

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    Manh(a)ttan Recap: Assembling a Nuclear Family

    The cast of "Manh(A)ttan."

    Jen-Luc Piquant was eagerly anticipating the premiere of the new series, Manh(a)ttan, on WGN America, a historic 13-episode (to start) drama set at Los Alamos in the early days of the Manhattan Project. We’re such huge fans of physics history, after all, and the World War II era is particularly rich fodder for both big [...]

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    Physics Week in Review: July 26, 2014

    Credit: Carlo Bernardini,

    Meet the 2014 recipient of the AIP Gemant Award, my own Time Lord, Sean Carroll. “Science isn’t a separate kind of human endeavor, utterly different from other things that we do,” said Carroll. “It’s part of what makes us human, a natural outcome of our intrinsic curiosity and urge to better understand the world.”  Related: [...]

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