Category Archives: History of science

1975: Neutrons go right round, baby, right round

Some time ago, I wrote about a fascinating 1975 experiment in which the relationship between quantum mechanics and gravity was tested.  The experiment was made possible by the new — at the time — technique of neutron interferometry, in which the wave … Continue reading

Posted in History of science, Physics | 9 Comments

Hilda Hänchen and the Goos-Hänchen effect

Today, the United Nations declared February 11 to be the “International Day of Women and Girls in Science,” starting a new effort to get more women into science and keep them there.  In honor of this new day, I thought … Continue reading

Posted in History of science, Optics, Women in science | 4 Comments

1801: Fraunhofer gets research funding in the worst possible way

It is rather unsettling to think that scientific careers are often made by simple luck.  For example, eventual Nobel Prize winner Albert Michelson (1852-1931) only got an education thanks to the literal last-minute intervention of none other than the President … Continue reading

Posted in ... the Hell?, History of science, Physics | Leave a comment

Marguerite O’Loghlin Crowe steps from the shadows

Update: Additional images provided by Alice Zent at the end of the post! Some five years ago, I shared an intriguing anecdote from the biography of Albert A. Michelson, in which Michelson — who had a reputation of being incredibly … Continue reading

Posted in History of science, Women in science | Leave a comment

“Science Chamber of Horrors” talk at the Schiele Museum

On October 29, 2015, I was invited to present a Science Cafe at the Schiele Museum in Gastonia, NC, based on my “Science Chamber of Horrors” Tumblr!  I think it went well and I appreciated the invitation to speak there. … Continue reading

Posted in General science, History of science, Horror, Personal | 1 Comment

Physics demonstrations: Lichtenberg figures

I am a big fan of nature and science-themed artwork, whether inspired by natural phenomenon or created by physical processes.  In my office — which includes several pieces of work by Artologica, by the way — I have the following eye-catching piece. … Continue reading

Posted in History of science, Physics demos | 2 Comments

1975: The year that quantum mechanics met gravity

Since the revolutionary development of both theories in the early twentieth century, it is fair to say that general relativity and quantum mechanics have had a rather hostile relationship to one another.  One reason for this is simple a matter of … Continue reading

Posted in History of science, Physics | 5 Comments