I don’t know about you, but for me, quantum physics is the stuff of sci-fi even before it’s part of a sci-fi plot. It’s disconcerting at a fundamental level (Yes. I just did that.) as it is. Add in some otherworldly considerations, and a sci-fi tale is born. In the case of The Three-Body Problem […]
The Three-Body Problem blends Quantum Mechanics and Classical Physics into a story with a fascinating premise. The characters and plot, combined with the science, make this first book in the series, one you must read. I rate this a 4/5. Plot: So you send out a signal and now someone wants to annihilate you. Sounds like a Stephen […]
If you’ve ever loaded your worldly possessions into a truck in preparation for a move, you have firsthand experience with the concept of “tippability.” Load all your heaviest stuff on top of your lightest stuff and, if you manage not to crush the lower layer, you’ll have a seriously unbalanced load — the sort of […]
The disappearance of flight MH370 and the capsizing of the Sewol Ferry are devastating events. The anguish of the families and the suffering of those onboard these vessels is painful to contemplate. The events seem inexplicable, yet there are scientific principles involved. We must understand these principles if we are to prevent a repeat of […]
How does NJIT Professor Bruce Bukiet’s baseball projection model work? Baseball’s Chief Geek and I discussed what it takes – in terms of logic and computing time – to model a baseball game. We also discussed the difficulty of modeling baseball compared to sports like basketball or football. It’s to Bukiet’s credit, and talent in […]
It’s Opening Day! The start of the baseball season. What could be more? For the rest of the week, I’ll be posting excerpts from an interview I had with NJIT Associate Professor of Mathematical Sciences, Bruce Bukiet, aka Baseball’s Chief Geek. He’s a mathematician with a bias toward math with a purpose. His annual projections […]
In this BBC presentation, Physicist Dr Helen Czerski takes us on an amazing journey into the science of bubbles. Bubbles may seem to be just fun toys, but they are also powerful tools that push back the boundaries of science. From the way animals behave to the way drinks taste, Dr Czerski shows how bubbles […]
My mission as a science writer is to make the complex simple. It frustrates me when I encounter well-educated people who insist there is no simple way to explain x, y, or z. Having written an entire book about applied fluid dynamics for laypeople, I also frankly find this hard to believe. SO – one ongoing project of […]
Konstantin Eduardovich Tsiolkovsky was born in Russia in 1857. The fifth of eighteen children, Tsiolkovsky first imagined a place without gravity when he was 8. It was a small hydrogen-filled ballon that rose to the ceiling each time he let it go that excited his imagination. Tsiolkovsky’s mother taught him to read and write. Before […]
Russian Rocketman Konstantin Eduardovich Tsiolkovsky, truly a “Citizen of the Universe,” introduced these Sixteen Stages of Space Exploration in 1926. He believed that these incremental steps would bring man into space and allow him to thrive: Design of rocket-propelled airplanes with wings. Progressively increasing the speeds and altitudes reached with these airplanes.
Three men, working independently in three different countries, were at the forefront of liquid-fueled rocket development. Although all three did their work at the start of the 20th century, none of them knew of the others’ work in time to use that work in their investigations, yet all three had one important thing in common.
Here’s a shout out to Erwin Schrodinger, the Austrian physicist who formulated the thought experiment known as Schrodinger’s cat. The problem illustrates the contradiction to common sense that occurs when quantum mechanics is applied to everyday objects – in this case, to Schrodinger’s cat. According to the thought experiment posited in 1935, a cat sealed up in […]
The capability to magnify objects by a factor of up to one million was made possible with the invention of the first transmission electron microscope (TEM) by German scientists Ernst Ruska and Max Knoll in 1931.With the TEM, it was finally possible to view things at the molecular level. Studies were made of the proteins that make up the human body. Metals were also studied. The TEM made all of this possible by focusing a beam of electrons to pass through an object, rather than by focusing light on the object as was done with traditional microscopes. Particles smaller than 200 nm were able to be viewed.
You can tell a lot about an element from its position on the Periodic Table. In fact, the periodic table is designed to make information about the chemical properties of an element readily available. So all you need is the periodic table. Right? Not exactly. The periodic table tells you all about an element at the conventional scale. When you’re looking at an element at the nanoscale, things can change.