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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.
  • This second eBook in our Ask the Experts series – Astronomy – looks skyward and explains a variety of universal phenomena and theories. ...

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  • Manh(a)ttan Recap: Security Theater and Safety Risks [SPOILERS]

    (L-R) Charlie Isaacs (Ashley Zuckerman) and Helen Prins (Katja Herbers) confront Daniel Ellis (John Carroll Lynch) about their safety concerns regarding the nuclear reactor facility as Theodore Sinclair (Corey Allen) looks on.

    The race for the first atomic bomb heats up, and we learn more about the human cost in terms of safety and security protocols on this week’s episode of Manh(a)ttan. “Acceptable Limits” proved to be another more leisurely paced episode, yet tightly plotted, methodically moving pieces in place for what promises to be some fireworks [...]

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    Physics Week in Review: August 30, 2014

    Image: Gabriela Barreto.

    Science Friday LIVE came to Caltech on Wednesday night, for a fun-filled evening exploring the intersection between Hollywood and science. Fortunately, you can listen to the audio if you missed the event. Program highlights included Making Hollywood Digital Doubles: USC scientist Paul Debevec and Avatar actor Stephen Lang talked about how convincing “digital actors” are [...]

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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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