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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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  • Physics Week in Review: January 24, 2015

    Image: J. Adam Fenster, University of Rochester

    Sunday brought two NFL playoff games, whereby the Seattle Seahawks eked out an unlikely victory over the Green Bay Packers, and the New England Patriots trounced the Baltimore Colts. But the latter game sparked a controversy (dubbed “DeflateGate” on Twitter) about whether the Patriots may have illegally deflated the football slightly to make it easier [...]

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    Physics Week in Review: January 17, 2015

    1997 Nobel Laureate Steven Chu. Credit: Volker Steger

    This week on Virtually Speaking Science, I chatted with physicist Ainissa Ramirez, co-author of Newton’s Football: The Science Behind America’s Game about her life as a self-described science evangelist and “Science Underground,” her new micro-podcast with journalist Bill Retherford. Related (since we talked a bit about the rare earth metals used in so many consumer [...]

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    Physics Week in Review: January 10, 2014

    Credit: Alberto Seveso,

    As you read this, we are making our way back to sunny Los Angeles after spending some time in Seattle. The Emerald City is on fire with Seahawks fever, so it seems appropriate to read that geologists Are Going to Measure Seattle Seahawk Fans’ Feetquake, via the judicious distribution of sensors around the stadium. Scientists [...]

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    Physics Week in Review: January 3, 2015

    Convective mass transfer in a champagne glass. Image credit: F. Beaumont et al.,

    Welcome to 2015 and take a moment to bask in The Beauty of a Grain of Sand on a Cosmic Beach. You, too, can start off the new year admiring a gorgeous photo of a barred spiral galaxy, along with thoughts from the Bad Astronomer on how big our human minds can be — even [...]

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    My Favorite Physics Books of 2014


    Sneaking in at the last couple of  hours of 2014, here’s the promised list of Jen-Luc Piquant’s favorite popular physics books of 2014 — although as always, the definition of “physics book” can be a little fuzzy. Boundaries are for blurring, people. All in all, it was a great year for the genre, starting with: [...]

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    Physics Week in Review: December 27, 2014

    Credit: A. Gonoskov, C. Harvey, A. Ilderton, F. Mackenroth, M. Marklund,

    Welcome to the final links roundup of 2014. It’s a little light this week, because, well, folks are busy with family and holidays and whatnot. Nonetheless, a few hardy souls still managed to feed the Internet some sweet, sweet content. December 21 was the winter solstice. Vox had a post declaring that December 21, 2014 [...]

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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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