How does space become transparent? The Orion Nebula answers (Synopsis)

“So numerous are the objects which meet our view in the heavens, that we cannot imagine a point of space where some light would not strike the eye;—innumerable stars, thousands of double and multiple systems, clusters in one blaze with their tens of thousands of stars, and the nebulae amazing us by the strangeness of … Read moreHow does space become transparent? The Orion Nebula answers (Synopsis)

Mini-Movie Monday: Genesis Episode 5,  Our Galaxy’s Gravity (Synopsis)

“I think if I had to choose, I would rather have gravity instead of zero gravity. It’s fun for a while, but I’d rather live on Earth.” –Kevin A. Ford By now, you’ve probably had a lot of opportunities to think about what holds our Universe together: the incredible force of gravitation. Although it’s the … Read moreMini-Movie Monday: Genesis Episode 5,  Our Galaxy’s Gravity (Synopsis)

Mini-Movie Monday: Genesis Episode 4: Atoms (Synopsis)

“A physicist is just an atom’s way of looking at itself.” –Niels Bohr There’s a wonderful story that the Universe tells us about itself: the story of where everything in it came from, and how it came to be this way. From the perspective of a human being, there’s possibly no component of that as … Read moreMini-Movie Monday: Genesis Episode 4: Atoms (Synopsis)

Mini-Movie Monday: Genesis Episode 3, The Galaxy (Synopsis)

“The larger the island of knowledge, the longer the shoreline of wonder.” –Ralph W. Sockman After millennia looking up at the Milky Way overhead, it’s only recently that we discovered our galaxy had a spiral-like structure, and that the other spirals and ellipticals in the night sky are galaxies much like our own. But how did … Read moreMini-Movie Monday: Genesis Episode 3, The Galaxy (Synopsis)

Mini-Movie Monday: Genesis Episode 2, Our Solar System (Synopsis)

“When you look at the stars and the galaxy, you feel that you are not just from any particular piece of land, but from the solar system.” -Kalpana Chawla Two weeks ago, we released the first video in our web series: Genesis, the story of where all this comes from. The video was on Organic … Read moreMini-Movie Monday: Genesis Episode 2, Our Solar System (Synopsis)

Mini-Movie Monday: Genesis Episode 1, Organic Molecules (Synopsis)

“You may have heard the world is made up of atoms and molecules, but it’s really made up of stories. When you sit with an individual that’s been here, you can give quantitative data a qualitative overlay.” –William Turner This blog has always been about the cosmic story common to us all: the story of … Read moreMini-Movie Monday: Genesis Episode 1, Organic Molecules (Synopsis)

Ask Ethan #19: Why does the Milky Way look curved?

“The fact that we live at the bottom of a deep gravity well, on the surface of a gas covered planet going around a nuclear fireball 90 million miles away and think this to be normal is obviously some indication of how skewed our perspective tends to be.” –Douglas Adams Even though our main blog … Read moreAsk Ethan #19: Why does the Milky Way look curved?

Weekend Diversion: One for the Experimenters

“My idea of perfect happiness is a healthy family, peace between nations, and all the critics die.” –David Mamet As a theorist in physics, most of my research time is spent looking for errors in painstaking calculations, writing and running simulation code, and trying desperately to connect some very abstract concepts to potential observables in … Read moreWeekend Diversion: One for the Experimenters

Weekend Diversion: Spider Webs… on drugs?

“If I see a spider in my house, I put it in a cup, and then I take it outside. I save it. What is wrong with me?” –Jacqueline Emerson There’s something not only incredibly useful but also beautiful about the intricate structure of a spider web. It’s such a universally admired phenomenon that it’s … Read moreWeekend Diversion: Spider Webs… on drugs?