The Physics & Astronomy Category Recipient of the PLOS ONE Early Career Travel Award in the Physical Sciences Is…

  The Physics & Astronomy Category Recipient of the PLOS ONE Early Career Travel Award in the Physical Sciences Is…   post-info Thank you to all community members who submitted applications! We are delighted to

The PLOS ONE Early Career Researcher Travel Awards in the Physical Sciences

By PLOS ONE Editors post-info Early career researchers (ECRs) are very much at the heart of what we do at PLOS. Last year alone, PLOS ONE published more than 20,000 research papers, undoubtedly with tens

ECRs Reflect on Stephen Hawking

0000-0002-8715-2896 “The greatest enemy of knowledge is not ignorance, it is the illusion of knowledge.”  –Stephen Hawking 1942-2018   This week the world lost one of the most impressive scientists in history, the one and

My non supportive response to "All Biology is Computational Biology"

Nobel-worthy gravitational waves; Supreme Court legalities for climate change, abortion

GRAVITATIONAL WAVES MAKE WAVES Here it is only February, but the long-sought detection of gravitational waves announced last week is likely to be the biggest science news of 2016. The ability to see/hear gravitational waves

Gravity visualized in physics demo

Dan Burns explains some properties of time and space using marbles and two large pieces of spandex sewn together in a classroom demonstration.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MTY1Kje0yLg

Physics and me never got along in high school and college, but I did always enjoy the low-budget demonstrations. It's one thing to see calculations on paper. It's another when the professor sets up a stuffed monkey on one side of the room and then shoots a sock out of a pressurized cannon angled at the trajectory you just calculated to make sure the sock hits the monkey on its way down from ceiling height.

Of course you can look it up on YouTube:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cxvsHNRXLjw

In retrospect, shooting a monkey falling out of a tree seems kind of wrong.

And while we're at it, I always liked this demo too. A bicycle wheel gyroscope hangs from a rope, and when it spins its axis stays horizontal like magic.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8H98BgRzpOM

MIT has a 43-demo playlist if you need something to watch during your lunch hour.

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A century of Einstein’s general #relativity, life on a Saturn moon, sugar industry influences dental research

Everything’s relative Einstein’s paper on general relativity was published in 1915. The paper didn’t appear until December of that year, but there’s already been some celebratory centennial doings. Science published a special issue last week, and it looks as if … Continue reading »

The post A century of Einstein’s general #relativity, life on a Saturn moon, sugar industry influences dental research appeared first on PLOS Blogs Network.

Tortoise vs Hare, but in a vacuum this time

We all know how gravity is supposed to work. Without air resistance, a feather and a bowling ball (the standardized materials for all gravitational tests) should accelerate toward the center of the Earth at the same rate, thus striking the ground at the same time. Humans have tested this. It works.

Although we know this thing, it is so far removed from our daily experience that it is still stunning to watch it happen. This fundamental principle is nicely illustrated in this video from the BBC. The video also nicely shows how amazed a roomful of individuals who know how the experiment will work can be when the experiment works exactly as expected.

That is why we need the scientific method to rigorously test hypotheses and incrementally build our knowledge of how the universe works. Our day-to-day experience of and intuition about the world is extremely valuable, but also extremely deceptive.

For the record, the tortoise vs hare in a vacuum race I alluded to in the title would be incredibly inhumane and disappointing, in addition to having no winner – unless, UNLESS we had the tortoise and hare race in spacesuits. Why aren’t we racing animals in spacesuits?

HT: Jared Heidinger


Filed under: Curiosities of Nature Tagged: BBC, Brian Cox, gravity, Jared Heidinger, Physics, scientific method

Science for the People: Cosmology is Hard

sftpThis week, Science for the People is talking about the mindbending science trying to understand the inner workings of the Universe. Astrophysicist Ethan Siegel returns to discuss the BICEP2 experiment, and its search for the fingerprints of cosmic inflation. And they’ll talk to theoretical cosmologist Roberto Trotta about his book The Edge of the Sky: All You Need to Know about the All-There-Is, which explains the history and concepts of cosmology using the 1,000 most common words in the English language.

*Josh provides research help to Science for the People and is, therefore, completely biased.


Filed under: Curiosities of Nature Tagged: BICEP2, cosmology, Ethan Siegel, Physics, Podcast, Roberto Trotta, science for the people

Science for the People: Cosmology is Hard

sftpThis week, Science for the People is talking about the mindbending science trying to understand the inner workings of the Universe. Astrophysicist Ethan Siegel returns to discuss the BICEP2 experiment, and its search for the fingerprints of cosmic inflation. And they’ll talk to theoretical cosmologist Roberto Trotta about his book The Edge of the Sky: All You Need to Know about the All-There-Is, which explains the history and concepts of cosmology using the 1,000 most common words in the English language.

*Josh provides research help to Science for the People and is, therefore, completely biased.


Filed under: Curiosities of Nature Tagged: BICEP2, cosmology, Ethan Siegel, Physics, Podcast, Roberto Trotta, science for the people