Category Archives: History of science

The Hunt for Vulcan, by Thomas Levenson

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

Posted in History of science, Physics | 2 Comments

Breaking the Chains of Gravity, by Amy Shira Teitel

Over the past few years, we’ve been treated to a stunning array of achievements in space exploration, such as the Juno Mission (inserted into orbit around Jupiter on July 4, 2016), New Horizons (passed Pluto on July 14, 2015), and Rosetta (landed … Continue reading

Posted in History of science, Physics | 3 Comments

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