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 The author of Skulls in the Stars is a 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: Mathematics
Infinity is weird: what does it all mean?
The final installment in a series of posts on the size of the infinite, as described in mathematical set theory. The first post can be read here, the second here, and the third here. We have taken a long, strange journey into … Continue reading
Posted in Mathematics
5 Comments
Infinity is weird: to infinity, and beyond!
The third and itturnsoutnotfinal installment in a series of posts on the size of the infinite, as described in mathematical set theory. The first post can be read here, and the second here. I think Buzz Lightyear captures the spirit of this … Continue reading
Posted in Mathematics
1 Comment
Infinity is weird: what’s bigger than big?
The second in what will (probably) be a threepart series of posts on the size of the infinite, as described in mathematical set theory. The first post can be read here. When I was young, there was a series of … Continue reading
Posted in Mathematics
13 Comments
Infinity is weird: how big is infinity?
How big is infinity? Most people, though familiar with the general concept of infinity, would probably answer with a simple, questiondodging response of “infinite.” To be fair, the infinite is a really difficult concept to wrap one’s head around, and … Continue reading
Posted in Mathematics
23 Comments
Getting more with less in imaging: compressive sensing
Update: I felt my original explanations were a little lacking in places, so I’ve added to the post… In recent years, the public has seen remarkable advances in digital imaging technology. In the past few months, for instance, Lytro has … Continue reading
Posted in Mathematics, Optics
27 Comments
In which I engage in mathematical silliness…
There’s been a silly trigonometric pun going around on Google+ the past week involving Bill Cosby. Having seen it enough times, I’ve decided to fight back with my own: I would like to apologize in advance; you may now return … Continue reading
Posted in Mathematics, Silliness
6 Comments
Review of “Mathematical Methods” at Science After Sunclipse!
Just a quick bit of news: Blake Stacey has reviewed my textbook, Mathematical Methods for Optical Physics and Engineering, over at his blog Science After Sunclipse! Although he rightly busts my chops over a number of typos in the text … Continue reading
Posted in Mathematics, Personal
2 Comments
Infinity is weird… even in infinity mirrors!
Even very simple optics can reveal very interesting and surprising phenomena, if one looks carefully enough! I was recently looking into the optics of a socalled “infinity mirror”, which in its simplest incarnation is simply two parallel mirrors on opposite … Continue reading
Posted in Mathematics, Optics
52 Comments
Jennifer Ouellette’s The Calculus Diaries
Calculus plays a rather paradoxical role in modern society: much of our modern technology and science depends upon it, but amongst the general public it is feared, even despised, and treated almost as magic. This is really a problem, as … Continue reading
Posted in Mathematics, Physics
3 Comments
Infinite series are weird — redux!
A bit over a year ago, I wrote a blog post about the mathematics of infinite series, and how weird such series can be, considering in particular the behavior of “conditionally convergent series”. A recent post at Built on Facts … Continue reading
Posted in ... the Hell?, Mathematics
14 Comments