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Cocktail Party Physics

Physics Week in Review: March 21, 2015

Credit: Tom Wagner, http://iowatom.weebly.com

That deafening sound you heard over Wednesday and Thursday was the sound of millions of science-minded folks collectively banging their heads against their computer screens in frustration. The trigger: a fear-mongering Op-Ed in the New York Times Style section by Nick Bilton, who decided that the new Apple watch and similar smart watches and wearable [...]

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Cocktail Party Physics

Physics Week in Review (Pi Day Edition): March 14, 2015

Planet – bottom of a glass containing half and half, water, food coloring. Stars – salt, cinnamon, baking powder. Credit: Navid Baraty, http://www.navidbaraty.com

Today we celebrate the Pi Day of the Century: March 14, 2015, is the first five digits of pi, or 3.1415.  It’s also Albert Einstein’s birthday, so Sean Carroll reminded us how they are intimately connected; yes, Pi has something to do with gravity. So did Rhett Allain over at Dot Physics: Why is Pi [...]

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Cocktail Party Physics

Physics Week in Review: March 7, 2015

Credit: EPFL

Brrr! Winter still has much of the country in its iron grip. While you’re waiting for spring to make its presence known, perhaps you’d like to try your hand at photographing Snowflakes in Freefall.  A team of researchers at the University of Utah have developed a Multi-Angle Snowflake Camera to do just that. Related: here [...]

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Cocktail Party Physics

Physics Week in Review: February 28, 2015

Meteorite clasts imaged in different colors. Image: AMNH/YouTube.

Science fared pretty well at this year’s Academy Awards. Case in point: Here’s Best Actor Eddie Redmayne on Portraying Stephen Hawking. The Alan Turing biopic, The Imitation Game, also received multiple nominatians, and the mathematician who wrote the book on Turing told journalist Christopher Mims that The Imitation Game is a fitting tribute to the [...]

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Cocktail Party Physics

Physics Week in Review: February 21, 2015

Iconic image from Joy Division's "Unknown Pleasures" album (1979), based on pulsar data.

Winter is in full force in the Northeast, so naturally science has some insights to share for those caught in the snowdrifts. For example: Don’t Jump Out of a Window Into Snow: But If You Do… it’s best to understand the physics of a snow jump. Related: Winter Thermodynamics: the science of Foggy Glasses. Mysterious [...]

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Cocktail Party Physics

Physics Week in Review (Valentine’s Edition): February 14, 2015

Credit: Marcus DeSieno, http://marcusdesieno.com

Today is Valentine’s Day. In love? Or just the opposite? Express how you feel with physics-inspired Valentines—and anti-Valentines for those who perhaps aren’t huge fans of the holiday. Or check out these science-y valentines for geeks in love.  Related: The stats of Sex & Love: Mathematician’s formulae for how to pull abd who to marry. [...]

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Cocktail Party Physics

Physics Week in Review: February 7, 2015

Credit: Electron and Confocal Microscopy Laboratory, Agricultural Research Service, USDA

The physics in-jokes came fast and furious in this week’s episode of The Big Bang Theory. While telling Penny about his latest research over dinner, Leonard has a brainstorm insight, and ends up collaborating with Sheldon on a cosmology paper, which they post to the online arXiv. It gets covered on the Quantum Diaries blog [...]

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Cocktail Party Physics

Physics Week in Review: January 31, 2015

Credit: Michael Grab, http://www.gravityglue.com

The Super Bowl is tomorrow, which means people were still obsessing over the so-called “DeflateGate” controversy stemming from the Patriots’ win over the Colts. This week, the N.F.L. Investigator Consulted with a Columbia Physicist. The verdict: Deflation Experiments Show Patriots May Have a Point After All; the pressure change could easily be due to atmospheric [...]

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Cocktail Party Physics

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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Cocktail Party Physics

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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