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- The author of Skulls in the Stars is an associate professor of physics, specializing in optical science, at UNC Charlotte. The blog covers topics in physics and optics, the history of science, classic pulp fantasy and horror fiction, and the surprising intersections between these areas.
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Category Archives: History of science
A month ago, I shared the lengthy, odd and sometimes dramatic history of the illusion commonly known as “Pepper’s ghost,” which I believe is more properly called the “Pepper-Dircks ghost.” In researching this post, I uncovered a wealth of fascinating … Continue reading
My recent post on the Pepper-Dircks ghost didn’t include even close to all of the interesting tidbits it could have! There are so many things to learn from the story of the ghost, including some lessons about optics. For example: … Continue reading
My most recent blog post, concerning the history of the Pepper-Dircks Ghost, was extremely long but didn’t even include all the fascinating aspects of its history. For instance: the ghost was such an incredibly effective illusion that it even drew … Continue reading
It is often told that in the 1860s, John Henry Pepper used science and technology to invent a ghost. Or did he? This is the surprisingly tricky question that we will try to answer in this lengthy post. It is a … Continue reading
Several days ago, a truly awe-inspiring and beautiful scientific achievement was announced to the public: the discovery of the first piece of amber ever found to actually contain the preserved tissue from the tail of a dinosaur, including bones, flesh … Continue reading
Science and science fiction go hand in hand, so to speak… but science and horror fiction? There are, in fact, more connections than one might think. A lot of modern science can be quite scary at first glance, and knowledgeable … Continue reading
Some of the most interesting stories in the history of science are those where investigations take a wrong turn. Scientific progress is filled with red herrings, failed assumptions, and wild guesses that rarely make it into the science textbooks. When … Continue reading