Wiki’s definition of astrophysics is comprehensive. Contemporary astrophysics often is associated with Big Science programs involving both observational and theoretical work by large, interdisciplinary teams. Astrophysics is the branch of astronomy that employs the principles of physics and chemistry “to ascertain the nature of the heavenly bodies, rather than their positions or motions in space.”… Continue reading Astrophysics is what?
I’ve been reading about quantum spin for awhile and taking notes. Hobson’s book1, for example, discusses the foundational experiment which discovered spin. In the mean time, Space.com posted an article today which may serve as a placeholder for the topic while my draft notes on other topics develop. The Space.com article “The Weird Quantum Property… Continue reading Quantum spin — angular what?
So many media headlines today regarding the observation of both light (EM spectrum, not just visible/optical light) and gravitational waves from colliding neutron stars. Lots of visualizations. Big science in action. Here’s a sampling of headlines: Gravitational waves from kilonova collision of neutron stars discovered – The Washington Post Gravitational waves: So many new toys… Continue reading Kilonovas and multi-messenger astrophysics
Much buzz this morning regarding announcement of the 2017 Nobel Prize in physics. Among others, the Caltech Alumni Association emailed an article. See this PDF version for the full, extended story: Kip Thorne (BS ’62) and Caltech Professor Barry C. Barish Win 2017 Nobel Prize in Physics Below are excerpts. The 2017 Nobel Prize in Physics… Continue reading Caltech scientists awarded 2017 Nobel Prize in physics
I typically add samples of books to my Kindle library when considering purchases. While examining my Kindle library yesterday, I started reading a sample of Art Hobson’s 2017 book Tales of the Quantum: Understanding Physics’ Most Fundamental Theory and then became interested in his background. A Google search found biographical information, references to his books,… Continue reading Point particles RIP
As noted previously, quantum physics has struggled with infinities. A recent Space.com article on black holes reminded me of another part of that saga. Black holes serve as touchstones in several ways. Wiki: … there are some theoretical circumstances where the end result is infinity. One example is the singularity in the description of black… Continue reading Beyond the infinity of black holes
Buzz Lightyear‘s tag line “To infinity … and beyond” reminds me of the mantra in modern physics that the appearance of infinities in equations tells us that we don’t understand something, that our computational model has hit a wall, so to speak. Wiki: Sometimes an infinite result for a physical quantity may mean that the… Continue reading Infinity and beyond … under the rug
Much in the media over the years, the Cassini–Huygens space mission ended today with the controlled re-entry of the Cassini orbiter into Saturn’s atmosphere after over 13 years there. Wiki: Cassini–Huygens, or more commonly, Cassini, is a Flagship-class unmanned robotic spacecraft which was planned, built, launched, and operated in collaboration between NASA, the European Space Agency, and… Continue reading Cassini finale — historic Saturn mission ends
I’ve followed news and documentaries on the Voyager probes over the decades. A friend recently wrote: Did you happen to see the recent retrospective on the Voyager space crafts on PBS? 1 Great show! Fascinating to see how much their work and their “baby” meant to the scientists and engineers — now in their 80s.… Continue reading The Golden Record — “We offer friendship across the stars”
There’s a lot of media coverage on the upcoming total solar eclipse on August 21, 2017. More attention than I remember for any eclipse event. These events have been noteworthy throughout history. Varied reactions and interpretations. This Space.com article “How Eclipses Drove 2,000 Years of Math: A Q&A With Stephen Wolfram” (August 18, 2017) highlights… Continue reading Eclipse as tale of computation