Accentuate the Positive

Via Kieran Healy an example of the happy coexistence of science and religion: The Vatican Observatory. I particularly like Kieran’s comment regarding the Vatican Advanced Technology Telescope: I think that’s just fantastic–like something out of Phillip Pullman. Is it too much to hope for the Vatican Superconducting Supercollider, which would once and for all resolve […]

CFP: Least Favorite Misconceptions

I should probably stick to doing only one audience-participation thing at a time (there are more Top Eleven posts on the way), but it’s a busy week for me at work, and I’m not really going to have time to post a lot of long articles, so there will be a few “talk among yourselves” […]

Top Eleven: Michael Faraday

Next up in the Top Eleven is a man who is largely responsible for the fact that we have electricity to run the computer you’re using to read this. Who: Michael Faraday (1791-1867) a poor and self-educated British scientist who rose to become one of the greatest physicists of the 19th Century. When: Around 1831. […]

Happy New Year

The lunar new year on Janurary 29, 2006 marks the beginning of the Year of the Dog in the Chinese system. We are pleased to present New Year’s Greetings from Her Majesty, Emmy, Queen of Niskayuna: Bow before Emmy! Bow before Emmy NOOOOWWWWWW!!!! Or, failing that, at least rub her belly:

A Simple Game

Possibly the hardest thing to understand about the game of basketball is that it’s really a very simple game. You pass the ball, you catch the ball, you shoot the ball, you rebound, you play defense. If you watch too much of the NBA, or sloppy college teams, or “Street Ball” on ESPN2 in the […]

Top Eleven: Henry Cavendish

Next up in the Top Eleven is an experiment whose basic technique is still in use today. Who: Henry Cavendish (1731-1810), a British scientist who made a number of discoveries in physics and chemistry, but received credit for very few of them. When: 1797. What: Cavendish’s modern claim to fame is the torsion pendulum experiment, […]

Top Eleven: Isaac Newton

Third in the Top Eleven is Sir Isaac Newton, who squeaks in with two nominations for two different experiments. Who: Isaac Newton (1642-1727), famous English physicist, mathematician, alchemist, Master of the Mint, and Neal Stephenson character. When: Newton was secretive and reluctant to publish anything, so it’s sort of hard to assign dates. I’m going […]

Top Eleven: Ole Roemer

The second in the Top Eleven is the first quantitative measurement of the speed of light, by Ole Christensen Roemer (whose last name ought to contain an o-with-a-slash-through-it, that I’ve rendered as an “oe”). Who: Ole Roemer (1644-1710), a Danish astronomer. When: The crucial observations were made around 1675. What: Roemer made careful observations of […]