Get to the Chopper!

We won a family pass to the Empire State Aerosciences Museum just across the river in Glenville, and since soccer was canceled for the holiday weekend, I took the kids over there this morning. They had a couple of their collection of decommissioned military aircraft open, including the Huey helicopter SteelyKid is thinking about co-piloting […]

Laser-Cooled Atoms: Chromium

Element: Chromium (Cr) Atomic Number: 24 Mass: Four “stable” isotopes between 50 and 54 amu. Chromium-50 is technically radioactive, with a half-life considerably longer than the age of the universe, so… Laser cooling wavelength: 425nm, but see below. Doppler cooling limit: 120 μK. Chemical classification: Transition metal, smack in the middle of the periodic table. […]

Wanted: The Hoosiers of Science

I’ve been revising a chapter on collaboration in science for the book-in-progress, making an analogy to team sports. And it occurred to me as I was trying to find a way to procrastinate, that while science is a highly collaborative endeavor, most of the popular stories that get told about science are not. There’s no […]

Laser-Cooled Atoms: Lithium

Element: Lithium (Li) Atomic Number: 3 Mass: Two stable isotopes, masses 6 and 7 amu Laser cooling wavelength: 671 nm Doppler cooling limit: 140 μK. Chemical classification: Alkali metal, column I in the periodic table. Yet another greyish metal. We’re almost done with alkalis, I promise. Less reactive than any of the others, so the […]

How to Teach Physics to Your Thai Dog

The list of editions of my books in character sets I can’t read just got bigger: I got author copies of the Thai edition of How to Teach Physics to Your Dog. The cover is the “featured image” above (and I’ll copy it below for those on RSS), and I love the goofy tongue on […]

Admissions and Hiring: Faculty Are Students in a Funhouse Mirror

In one of those Information Supercollider moments, two very different articles crossed in my social media feeds, and suddenly seemed to be related. The first was this New York Post piece by a college essay consultant: Finally, after 15 or so years of parents managing every variable, there comes the time when a student is […]

Laser-Cooled Atoms: Strontium

Element: Strontium (Sr) Atomic Number: 38 Mass: Four stable isotopes, ranging from 84 to 88 amu Laser cooling wavelength: Two different transitions are used in the laser cooling of strontium: a blue line at 461 nm that’s an ordinary sort of transition, and an exceptionally narrow “intercombination” line at 689 nm. Doppler cooling limit: 770 […]