I almost missed it! It turns out today, August 14th, 2012, is the 5-year anniversary of the founding of this blog!
My very first post on August 14th, 2007 was titled, “Educate or Bust” and that title describes the purpose of this blog just as well today as it did back then. (Though, hopefully, the writing has improved over the years.)
To celebrate, I thought I’d share links to some of those science blog posts I’ve written that I am particularly fond of. I hope you enjoy this trip back through my blog’s history!
- Optics in the Haunted Mansion! (May 12, 2009). One of the perks of being a scientist is being able to peek “behind the scenes” at places like Disney World without actually being behind the scenes! While on our honeymoon at Disney, my wife and I took numerous trips through the Haunted Mansion. I had never thought about how its illusions worked before, but once I thought about it I was able to correctly deduce the answer.
- Faster than a speeding photon? Precursors test whether light can be faster than light (October 9, 2011). Last year, there was a media frenzy when it looked, briefly, like neutrinos might have been detected moving faster than the speed of light (they weren’t). At nearly the same time, researchers were performing independent experiments to see whether light could violate its own speed limit while traveling in matter. I was quite happy with my explanation of the difficult physics behind the experiment, and managed to get a mention on “Boing Boing”!
- Attack of the giant squid! (August 4, 2010). After I blogged an old paper describing a sighting of a “kraken”, Sarah Kavassalis asked if I could find the most famous paper about the giant squid: an 1874 incident in which a recklessly curious fisherman ran afoul of a squid bigger than his boat! I found not only the original paper, but a wonderful story and a significant moment of scientific history.
- The saga of the scientific swindler! (February 24, 2011). Speaking of wonderful stories: some of the most remarkable stories of scientific history have been forgotten through the years, just waiting to be rediscovered in technical journals! When I started to browse through the first issues of Science in the late 1800s, I kept finding mentions of a “swindlers” of geologists and paleontologists. The con man’s story is a fascinating one, and basically forgotten until I rediscovered it. Also got featured in Boing Boing!
- The gallery of failed atomic models, 1903-1913 (May 27, 2008). One of my first major posts on the history of science was one of my most elaborate! Before the structure of the atom was elucidated by the experimental work of Rutherford and the theoretical work of Bohr, many physicists guessed wildly at it. Tipped off by a vague comment in a book on the history of atomic physics, I tracked down the original papers describing pretty much all of these early atomic models and explained them all in some detail. Not my best writing (one of my earliest science blog posts), but one of my favorite posts.
- So, what is a “temporal cloak”, anyway? (January 7, 2012). I actually did my PhD on the physics of invisibility before it was a “cool”, and still remain actively interested in the subject. In this post, I explained how a new form of cloaking known as “temporal cloaking” works, and related it back to its more famous counterpart.
Here’s hoping I have many more years of science (and weird fiction) writing ahead of me!