physics

ATLAS Soared: Fabiola Gianotti and the Discovery of a Higgs Particle (Women In Science 19)

ATLAS Soared: Fabiola Gianotti and the Discovery of a Higgs Particle (Women In Science 19)

In a corner of a room, tucked unostentatiously away from the notice of the raving hordes of just barely contained school children using their field trip to Berkeley’s Lawrence Hall of Science to wreak havoc, there lies behind glass a hundred year old circular object no bigger than a water canteen. It’s the world’s first cyclotron, held together by wire and wax, and built by Ernest O Lawrence in 19... »

The Science of Bubbles + Bubble Universe Cocktail

The Science of Bubbles + Bubble Universe Cocktail

This post is based on a demonstration I gave in the Skepchick Space Lab at CONvergence 2014 on the science of bubbles. If you saw the demo and came to check out the blog, welcome! (My post about the molecular gastronomy Sandbox will be up next week!) Below is a video of the demo, filmed by our wonderful volunteer Chris Pederson. A written version of the presentation is below the fold, followed by ... »

Mary Somerville: Savior of British Mathematics.

Mary Somerville: Savior of British Mathematics.

In the 1750s, when France was foundering scientifically in the Cartesian shallows, it took Emilie du Châtelet’s French translation of Newton’s Principia to reinvigorate Continental physical science. Then it was England’s turn to toss itself headlong into the longest stretch of scientific stagnation it has ever known. From the age of Newton, Harvey, Halley, Boyle, Hooke, and Wren, there stretched a... »

Hedy LaMarr: The Movie Star Who Invented Bluetooth… in 1942.

Hedy LaMarr: The Movie Star Who Invented Bluetooth… in 1942.

A movie star. An avant-garde composer. A radio-controlled torpedo. Wi-Fi. One of the unfortunate truths about our web of modern comforts is that the great majority of them stem, via twisting strands of causality, from warfare. World War II in particular forced the West into an orgy of technological creativity whose fruits we are still blithely and blissfully nomming on. One of the strangest storie... »

Parity Girl: The Experimental Physics of Chien-Shiung Wu

Parity Girl: The Experimental Physics of Chien-Shiung Wu

How does a neutrino sign its name? Sometimes it’s only the truly absurd questions that can break physics from its well-worn grooves and force it to elaborate fantastic new schemes to explain reality.  The notion that, for some processes, there is a distinct right or left handed bias in nature, is one that was routinely scoffed at right until the moment it was proven true by a series of supremely e... »

Emmy Noether Solves the Universe.

Emmy Noether Solves the Universe.

“Momentum is always conserved, except when it isn’t.” In high school physics, we learn all manner of conservation laws, one at a time, when they accidentally happen to pop up, without so much as a word of explanation for WHY nature seems to care so much about these quantities.  We’ve asked, of course, only to have our knuckles rapped for impertinence or, in our less corporal age, been referred to ... »

A toast to sparkling wine!

A toast to sparkling wine!

New Year’s Eve is upon us, which means it’s time to break open the bubbly! Want to drop a little knowledge along with your toasts? Here’s a rundown on this most festive of beverages (including a video that changed my life forever): 1. Champagne is sparkling wine from a specific region of France east of Paris and can be made from white chardonnay, pinot noir, or pinot meunier. The... »

Sex, Cards, and Calculus: The Life of Émilie du Châtelet

Sex, Cards, and Calculus: The Life of Émilie du Châtelet

In popular mythology, the 1687 publication of Newton’s Principia was the culminating moment when one human told the world how the universe works, performed his century’s equivalent of the mic drop, and then received the adulation that was his due.  Of course, it worked nothing like that, and while England was quick to lionize his intellectual achievement, it took half a century for his ideas to ca... »

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