Dark Matter: Is it right in front of us?

Last year, I had just finished my Ph.D. studies, and had moved to Madison, WI to teach introductory physics at the University of Wisconsin. I was working on this paper, and when I submitted it, I got a phone call from New Scientist magazine’s space division. Fast-forward two weeks, and I find this article online, … Read moreDark Matter: Is it right in front of us?

Centripetal vs. Centrifugal force, & the Solar System

One of the worst teaching tools physicists use (and they almost all do it) is to tell students, There’s no such thing as centrifugal force. What can you do when the top physics education website says, “It is important to note that the centrifugal force does not actually exist. We feel it, because we are … Read moreCentripetal vs. Centrifugal force, & the Solar System

Brain-damaged arguments and Boltzmann Brains

Okay, so I got a question from my friend Tamara, who’s a high school teacher in my hometown of New York City. It concerns a recent article she read on the front page of the New York Times about something funny that us scientists are calling Boltzmann Brains. I’ve read this article three times since … Read moreBrain-damaged arguments and Boltzmann Brains

An amazing video on Evolution and Intelligent Design

Evolution, creationism, and intelligent design are words that many people have extremely strong opinions about. Regardless of how you feel about why the laws of nature are what they are, which have evidently allowed us to exist, the evidence for the validity of the theory of evolution with one major mechanism being natural selection is … Read moreAn amazing video on Evolution and Intelligent Design

An amazing discovery: a double Einstein Ring!

One of the perks of being a postdoc at a place like the University of Arizona, one of the top places in the US for astronomy, is that we get a number of really interesting visitors. Today we got paid a visit by Tommaso Treu, an astronomer at UC Santa Barbara. He spoke to us … Read moreAn amazing discovery: a double Einstein Ring!

MOND vs. Dark Matter

The first serious advocate of modifying Newton’s laws instead of postulating unseen (or dark) matter was Moti Milgrom, from whom today a new article appears on the astrophysics preprint archives. In particular, Milgrom asserts the following: MOND predictions imply that baryons alone accurately determine the full field of each and every individual galactic object. These … Read moreMOND vs. Dark Matter

Setting up for the Blogosphere

In preparation for the launch of startswithabang.com, I am attempting to embed a video I had found on youtube, of the slow-motion ignition of a lighter. How does this work?  The video demonstrates that to make something very simple happen (to get a sustained, controlled flame out of a compact piece of equipment), a lot of … Read moreSetting up for the Blogosphere