Posts tagged science
My friend Mark at the Canadian Light Source is having all the fun. I wanna touch an enormous T-Rex tooth!! This is so cool, it’s almost worth taking a trip over to Saskatoon to see it.
“Invention comes from inspiration and inspiration comes from seeking, really, just exploration.”
This is a fantastic video with some stunning views of the RHIC tunnels, and a great conversation with physicists from all over the country about what it means to do basic research in particle physics, and what we would lose if we don’t continue to fund science. Give it a watch.
“ Still, the enthusiasm of the participants, aided by generous consumption of frequently refilled pitchers of Martini at each table, sabotaged the commission’s intent to keep the affair “scientific and academic”. Luis Alvarez, a Berkeley physicist who was 16 years away from his Nobel prize, set his tablecloth on fire. Another party-goer shouted words of encouragement to the final speaker before passing out on the table.”
“ Scientists aren’t made: they are unmade.”
Stay curious, kiddos.
The colors seen best by human eyes are green and yellow, which, according to an interesting Quora thread, is the reason school buses are painted that bright yellow color. Evidently, we detect yellow 1.24 times more quickly than red out of our peripheral vision.
“ Good science is a creative process. You make leaps and have some way of filtering them. There’s an illusion that science follows in lock step, one thing from another. It never works that way. It’s more about wacky leaps of faith. It can be helpful to have a method, which is really just your way of filtering through the leaps. But you have to come up with good content — that’s the part where there’s a certain way of always asking questions helps, both as a scientist and as a creative writer. My intuition on this idea: being a good scientist or creative writer is about maintaining the wide-eyed wonder of a child and asking questions all the time. That’s what really makes discovery happen in any field.”
This is the best distillation of the absolute wrongness of the idea of “Science vs. Art” that I’ve ever read. Science isn’t in opposition to art. The creativity and innovation required for art are the same employed in scientific endeavors. And though they look very different at times, science and art play similar roles: they ask us to look at the world in a new way. They teach us to discover.
Some really REALLY well-trained dogs are teaching us chemistry on Youtube now. Yay puppies! Yay chemical bonds!! YAY FOR THE INTERNET!!!
These days, I find myself needing to look at a Periodic Table of the Elements fairly often. That’s what happens when you’re trying to decipher the alphabet soup of chemistry into comprehensible news articles. Anyway, I started looking around for a beautiful Periodic Table to hang on my office wall and I came upon this gorgeous spiral version from a 1949 Life Magazine special on the atom. (Click to see it bigger).
The description from the magazine follows:
The irregular spiral above is a systematic arrangement of the 92 natural elements, the four new elements so far created by man and eight more elements which it is theoretically possible to create… It is on the basis of this number [of electrons] that the elements are arranged in sequence: after hydrogen, with its single electron, come helium with two, lithium with three, beryllium with four and so on around the spiral… The table is so organised that elements whose chemistry is almost identical are grouped together in blocks or connected by solid arrows (all the inert gases – helium, neon, etc. – fall in the single gray block at the left).
I especially love the muted colors. They remind me of old animations; I half expect that narrator from the 1950s Goofy cartoons to start telling me about the noble gases or something.
Brookhaven’s very own “young Einstein” was named one of Popular Science’s Brilliant 10. His name is Anže Slosar and he earned his spot on this list of the coolest and most innovative scientists in the country by using a kind of backwards astronomy.
I talked with him last week about his work and found out that instead of the usual approach of measuring the light that comes from galaxies to map out the cosmos, he and his team focused instead on the gas clouds that block the light.
Using one of the world’s largest digital cameras to look at the early universe, they mapped out what’s called the “Lyman-alpha forest” – irregular patterns in the spectra of light from distant quasars that are created when the light passes through hydrogen gas clouds. It’s a bit like determining the shape of someone’s hand by watching a shadow puppet show. […]
“Using these quasars as backlights…we can measure the universe as it was 11 billion years ago. That’s really revolutionary. There’s no other technique that can accomplish this,” Slosar says.
And from this work, we’re getting the most accurate 3-D map of the early universe. Pretty amazing, right? I love the idea of someone pioneering a new way to study the universe by literally looking at his work from a new angle.