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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.
  • Terrible lizards. That’s what the word “dinosaurs” means. Yet dinosaurs are not true lizards, and they are not necessarily terrible either. ...

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  • Physics Week in Review: December 20, 2014

    Credit: Jonty Hurwitz,

    The Christmas holiday approacheth, and for those of a Maker bent, here’s how to Build A Sled For Slinging Snowballs — Winter Warfare Will Never Be the Same.  If you’re more the craft-y sort, now you can deck the halls with Nobel physicists with this physics twist on the craft of cutting paper snowflakes. Bonus: [...]

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    Celebrating the Silly and the Sublime: the Best Physics Papers of 2014

    Credit: DR Fred Espenak/SPL

    It’s tradition for various science media outlets to publish their lists of biggest scientific breakthroughs of the year right about now. And no doubt those breakthroughs deserve the attention and acclaim. But let’s face it, most scientific papers don’t get lauded as major breakthroughs; science progresses incrementally. We at the cocktail party think such papers [...]

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    Best Physics Videos of 2014

    Credit: Andrzej Dragan

    It’s that time of year, when we all look back over 2014 and reflect on all the cool science stuff that happened. Today, Jen-Luc Piquant has compiled her Top 20 physics-themed videos of 2014 — with the caveat that not all of them were actually created in 2014. But we discovered them this year, and [...]

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    Physics Week in Review: December 13, 2014

    Gift idea for the metaphysicist? The Science Tarot!

    If you missed this week’s Virtually Speaking Science, the theme was This Is Your Brain on Movies. I chatted with cognitive neuroscientist Jeffrey Zachs, author of  a fantastic new book — Flicker: Your Brain on Movies — about science, cinema, and the brain. This is awesome: Parable of the Polygons: how harmless choices can make [...]

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    Physics Week in Review: December 6, 2014

    Credit: James Duffin. Used with permission.

    After Thursday’s aborted launch, the Orion Spaceship finally Blasted Off at Dawn on Friday morning. You can watch the official NASA video here. And here are 17 HQ Photos from the Launch. A few hours later, the Orion Capsule Finished its ‘By-the-Book’ Test flight with a clean landing in the Pacific Ocean.  Related: How a [...]

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    Explore Magical Dimensions and More with Matt Parker

    Visualizing time as a fourth dimension via a tesseract in "Interstellar."

    Should you happen to live in the United Kingdom, Matt Parker — a.k.a. @StandUpMaths on Twitter — probably needs no introduction. He’s a former math teacher from Australia, relocated to London, who combines his love of math with stand-up comedy. Parker is regular on the hugely popular BBC Radio4′s Infinite Monkey Cage (hosted by physicist [...]

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    Physics Week in Review (Thanksgiving Edition): November 29, 2014

    Thanksgiving dinner a la Piet Mondrian. Credit: Hannah Rothstein,

    Chances are our US readers are still in recovery from Thursday’s feasting. Fortunately Jen-Luc Piquant has compiled lots of interesting links for your weekend reading pleasure while you recuperate. First up: it’s time for the annual debunking ritual. No, the amino acid known as tryptophan in turkey doesn’t make you sleepy: these are the real [...]

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    Physics Week in Review: November 22, 2014

    Credit: Nuala O'Donovan,

    Here’s a disquieting thought for your weekend: Dark Energy Might Be Stealing the Glue Holding the Universe Together. A new invisibility cloak simultaneously works for heat flow and electrical current. The Proton and Neutron Just Got Two Brand New Subatomic Cousins in the Baryon Family.  A new LHCb result adds two new composite particles to [...]

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    Physics Week in Review (Philae Edition): November 15, 2014

    The craggy surface of the comet - looking over one of Philae's feet. Credit" ESA/Rosetta/Philae/CIVA

    “The Philae has landed!” Excitement over the Rosetta mission has been building for weeks, with tons of explanatory blog posts on what the lander is meant to find, helpful historical timelines, and an Astronaut Simulating the Comet Landing while on board the Space Station. At long last, the wait is over: European Space Agency’s Philae [...]

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    Nobel Vintage: Fundamental Physics Prize Co-Winner Sells No Wine Before Its Time

    Nobel laureate Brian Schmidt checks the status of his fermenting grapes.

    Last night the winners of the 2015 Breakthrough Prizes were announced, including the $3 million Fundamental Physics Prize — likely the most lucrative such honor in science. And while prior winners have skewed heavily towards string theory and theoretical cosmology, this year’s winners were the Nobel-winning teams responsible for measuring the accelerating expansion of the [...]

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