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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.
  • During allergy season, sufferers know the drill: runny nose, watery eyes, sneezing up a storm. If you also have asthma, symptoms might also include coughing and wheezing. Then there’s the common cold, which also presents with similar symptoms. ...

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  • Physics Week in Review: July 19, 2014

    Credit: Kwon O. Chul,

    It’s been a busy week on the physics front, so let’s get the shameless self-promotion out of the way upfront. I chatted with NPR’s Arun Rath on Weekend Edition about my recent New Scientist article on digital history and London’s Old Bailey.  The Open Notebook interviewed me and several other physics-centric science writers about tackling [...]

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    GUEST POST: Adjunct Instructors Petition for Change

    Credit: Ann Kottner

    Note: We’re pleased to feature a guest post by former Cocktail Party Physics co-blogger Ann (Lee) Kottner. Jennifer has graciously given me space to ask for some help from the science writing and STEM academic and post-ac community. If you’ve been in academia at any time in the last 30 years, you know that the [...]

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    Physics Week in Review: July 12, 2014


    This week, the marvelous documentary about the discovery of the Higgs boson, Particle Fever, became available on iTunes. It’s well worth a download. And Higgs fever continues apace, at least among particle physicists. The Higgs Particle Behaves In A Way Consistent With The Standard Model – Maybe A Dark Supersymmetry?  Related: Does The Higgs Violate [...]

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    Physics Week in Review (Independence Day Edition): July 5, 2014

    Image Credit: NASA/Alzate/SDO

    It’s Fourth of July weekend in the US, so our American readers are hopefully enjoying the long weekend away from the Internet. For everyone else, Jen-Luc Piquant has her usual round of nifty physics-related links gleaned from the past week of Web surfing. First up in a bunch of holiday-themed links: Hidden vortices! The Science [...]

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    Physics Week in Review: June 28, 2014

    Image courtesy of József HAJDÚ and Ksenia Vytuleva.

    Confirmed: That Was Definitely the Higgs Boson Found at LHC — you know, in case you were still wondering. Related: New result from LHC strengthens the case that the Higgs interacts with both types of particles in the Standard Model. Also: The Higgs Boson Should Have Crushed the Universe: inflation “really throws a wrench into [...]

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    Physics Week in Review: June 21, 2014

    Credit: Jim Dingilian,

    It’s the physics story that just won’t die. BICEP2 was back in the news yet again as the collaborators finally published their much-anticipated peer-reviewed paper, prompting headlines like this: Astronomers Hedge on Big Bang Detection Claim.  Okay, so maybe they had dust in their eyes but they reaffirmed ripples in time in their published paper, [...]

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    Physics Week in Review: June 14, 2014

    Image: NASA Ames Research Center

    Just a reminder for those of you in the Chicago area: I’ll be speaking Monday July 16th, 6 PM, at the Harold Washington Library Center. And in case you missed this week’s Virtually Speaking Science, I chatted with Jacquelyn Morie about avatars, identity and the potential of virtual worlds. Oh, and I have a feature [...]

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    Physics Week in Review: June 7, 2014

    Credit: Alain Delorme,

    As you read this, we are flying home to Los Angeles after an exhausting but exhilarating trip: 10 days, 2 continents, 3 flights, 2 trains, 4 hotels, 18 car rides, 7 panel discussions, 3 interviews, and 5 lectures between the two of us.  (The circles under my eyes are now saucers.) First stop: New York [...]

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    Physics Week in Review: May 31, 2014

    Photo: Tan et al., Antiquity

    First, a few housekeeping announcements: Those in New York City today can see me at the World Science Festival’s Science and Story Cafe at 1:30 PM, where I’ll be hanging out with neuroscientists David Eagleman and Dean Buonomano. And you can catch me again at 4 PM, chillaxing will rock star mathematician Edward Frenkel, among [...]

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    Free Fallin’: Equivalence Holds Even At Atomic Level

    Galileo's inclined plane experiment. Fresco by G. Bezzuoli, 1841.

    One of the first things we learn in school about physics — along with Newton’s laws of motion — is that all objects fall at the same rate, regardless of their mass. It’s now known as the equivalence principle — more precisely, the weak equivalence principle — and it is a central tenet of Einstein’s [...]

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