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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.
  • Physics Week in Review: April 19, 2014

    Credit: Gary Drostle,

    This week fans of the night sky and space exploration celebrated the Birth of Human Spaceflight, with Yuri’s Night. Related (kinda): “You can’t take the sky from me.” The First Instagram From Space Is Of An Astronaut In A Firefly T-Shirt. In honor of the Easter holiday, What Happens When You Throw a Peep Out [...]

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    Physics Week in Review: April 12, 2014

    Credit: Edward Tufte,

    There were several physics news items this week, coming on the heels of the APS April Meeting in Savannah Georgia. Like a BOSS: Astronomers make the most precise measurement yet of the expanding universe. Related: The universe is expanding, but how quickly? Quasars may shed some light. Meet Big Bird, the highest-energy neutrino ever detected. [...]

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    Physics Week in Review: April 5, 2014

    Photo: Jack Long,

    The biggest physics news this week is the announcement of possible hints of dark matter in Fermi data, namely, a curious excess of gamma-ray light coming from the center of our galaxy.  Could this be a sighting of dark matter turning visible at the center of our galaxy? For a bit more background, here’s Natalie [...]

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    Physics Week in Review: March 29, 2014

    "Caterpillar" by Claire Droppert,

    This week there continued to be Ripples From the Big Bang. Sean Carroll discussed When Nature Looks Unnatural: “Ultimately it’s nature, not us, that decides what’s natural.” And Matt Strassler was back, explaining Which Parts of the Big Bang Theory are Reliable, and Why.  Also: The gravitational-wave finding would strengthen case for multiverse and all [...]

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    Physics Week in Review (BICEP2 Edition): March 22, 2014

    Credit: BICEP2

    Really, there was only one physics story this week — or at least one that dominated the headlines, and deservedly so. I’m talking about the exciting major announcement from the BICEP2 collaboration (Background Imaging of Cosmic Extragalactic Polarization 2), rumored last week, that pretty much lived up to the hype — they announced the possible [...]

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    Physics Week in Review: March 15, 2014

    Image: Francisco Aragon et al,

    For those who don’t hang out much on Google+ (and also for those who do), the Time Lord (a.k.a. Caltech physicist Sean M. Carroll) and I did a live hangout with Read Science, co-hosted by my fellow SciAm blogger Joanne Manaster. Apparently there are lots of people who don’t realize that we’re married; hence Joanne’s [...]

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    Serpentine Style: The Physics of Flying Snakes

    Credit: Jake Socha/Virginia Tech

    Jen-Luc Piquant noticed a couple of news items this week on the latest research into the physics of so-called flying snakes. It just so happens I wrote about this back in 2010, prior to joining Scientific American‘s blog network, so it’s worth reviving parts of that original post here, along with the new work.  You [...]

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    Guest Post: Is It Solipsistic in Here, or Is It Just Me?

    Author Amanda Gefter, right, with her father, Warren Gefter.

    NOTE: Jen-Luc Piquant is delighted to feature a guest post today by fellow science writer Amanda Gefter, author of the wonderful new book, Trespassing on Einstein’s Lawn: A Father, a Daughter, the Meaning of Nothing, and the Beginning of Everything I’m sure every freshly published author struggles with the ungainly demands of self-promotion. It’s taxing [...]

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    Physics Week in Review: March 8, 2014

    Maps of gamma rays from the center of the Milky Way galaxy, before (left) and after signals from known sources were removed, reveal an excess that is consistent with the distribution of dark matter. Credit: Daylan et al., via Quanta.

    We’ve been a bit crazed this week plugging the new book, as authors are wont to do. I chatted with Chris Mooney on Mother Jones’ Inquiring Minds podcast on how the science of self is exploring not just who we are, but if we are. Also, I played guest instead of host this week on [...]

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    Physics Week in Review: March 1, 2014

    "Primordial Mount Fuji," by Yasuo Nomura,

    It’s been a busy week. Tuesday evening, I gave a lecture based on the new book (Me, Myself, and Why: Searching for the Science of Self) at Seattle’s Town Hall.  And later today, I’ll be appearing at Politics and Prose bookstore in Washington, DC, so if you’re in the area around 3:30 PM, stop in [...]

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