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For all you Harry Potter Fans.... - May 5, 2009 at 1:39AM
Blay
50 Posts

Your very own Invisibility cloak!!

http://www.physorg.com/news160409033.html


Oh they are so close!  That pesky 3rd dimension!! gahh!


I doubt this would be useful in the optical...but in the IR its nice.  There are a lot of applications for this


LHC Q and A - Apr 23, 2009 at 11:02AM
Blay
50 Posts

I came across this article in my morning news reading:

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/7598996.stm


Black holes, multi dimensions, dark matter....answers for skeptics of what the science of the LHC can do....Brian Cox answers all.  If you still know anyone that is scared the LHC is going to destroy the world, Brian addresses that at the very end of the article.  It's a good article to pass on to your family!


Some cool sites - Apr 16, 2009 at 1:17AM
Blay
50 Posts

Hello!


If you are feeling unproductive and need a better distraction then facebook check out these fun physics sites:

http://www.alienearths.org/glimpse/

GLIMPSE (Galactic Legacy Infrared Midplane Extraordinaire) is a survey of the inner part of the Milky Way Galaxy in which we reside (largely done at UW ...yay!) . The images come from the IRAC instrument on board the Spitzer Space Telescope, The interative map lets you pan around the milky way and check out interesting things

http://www.alienearths.org/online/general/activities.php

All kinds of geeky games at alienearth...a lot of them seem to be playing up to the proposed Terrestrial Planet Finder http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Terrestrial_Planet_Finder

And just so I don't seem totally bias to astronomy...everyone's favorite:
http://particleadventure.org/

The particle adventure! explore the subatomic zoo!


Enjoy!


Grad school wisdoms - Apr 2, 2009 at 9:18PM
Blay
50 Posts

Sorry for the sparse posts....grad school is destroying me right now! ahhhh!

Speaking of which...let's chat about grad schools. After all, it is that time of the year!  Many of your I'm sure have already heard from schools about acceptance.  This a really great time in your career...you're almost done with undergrad and getting wined and dined  and flown all over the country to visit schools.  However, it can also be a very difficult time because of the really hard/life changing decisions that have to be made.  

I guess I just want to emphasis to have fun but also ask questions and really think about this decision.  Also, consider taking time off if you think you might need it.  A lot of times grad schools will let you defer.  Personally, I knew what I wanted and jumped right in...but that isn't for everyone.  Don't feel pressured to go somewhere you don't want or start before you are ready.

Also, grad school is a lot of work...but it's also pretty fun!  If you liked college then you will LOVE grad school...and if you hated college...well....I guess you're signing up for 5-8 (....yes it could be 8!!!) more years of it.  Don't let anyone tell you that grad school is all work and no play.  I'm going to several international conferences this year (IAU in Rio for sure!) all expenses paid.  

Bottom line: pick the place and program that you will fit best in...even if it's not the most 'prestigious' school.  You'll be much happier and probably more successful!

Anyone want to share their grad school experiences?  Or talk about grad school anxieties?  Or ask questions??  Now is the time!


Shuttle Discovery launches! - Mar 15, 2009 at 10:34PM
Blay
50 Posts

We finally got to see the delayed ISS shuttle launch on the ides of March!

http://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/shuttle/main/index.html

The launch is really spectacular! Check out the vid


Physicists Without Borders - Mar 8, 2009 at 12:27PM
Blay
50 Posts

I've been thinking about this idea for sometime...

A lot of professions have programs that go into developing countries and do community work. Two that come to mind are Engineers Without Boarders and Doctors Without Boarders.  What about physics/astronomy?  What can we offer?

I think the really war torn countries are out of our reach.  These places need fresh water and food before needing physics.  But what about countries that are relatively stable...where most of the population goes to school and generally has access to safe water and food.  This would include most of Eastern Europe, parts of South America, and most of East Asia.  Kids here could benefit from having a strong knowledge in physics.  Not only will it help them get into universities abroad and in their country but will strengthen critical thinking skills in the general public and dispel superstitions.  We have a long way to go in improving science ed. in America... much less the rest of the world.

People everywhere have a right to know how the world works.  If you're interested, check out http://www.astronomerswithoutborders.org

Post edited March 8, 2009 at 12:29 PM EST.


John McCain is Twittering... - Feb 28, 2009 at 3:05PM
Blay
50 Posts

Apparently John McCain has a Twitter blog:

http://twitter.com/senjohnmccain

This recent blog is about 'wasteful' congressional spending


While I might agree that #5 maybe is excessive (although beavers are pretty fiesty creatures...gotta keep them in line!!).... #2 kinda pisses me off...


"#2. $2 million "for the promotion of astronomy" in Hawaii - because nothing says new jobs for average Americans like investing in astronomy"

Um...wow.  Promotion of astronomy not only can create jobs in Hawaii considering Hawaii has huge investments in astronomy with the Keck telescopes on Mauna Kea, but is essential for public literacy in science.  I think it's safe to argue that of all the sciences, astronomy holds the most fascination with the public.  Many people I know got into physics, chemistry , or engineering because of an early interest in astronomy.  I remember vividly falling in love with astronomy watching Discovery channel and TLC documentaries on the Universe and Space travel.  Sadly, these shows have been replaced with make over shows and reality TV.   2 million isn't even that much.  Promoting astronomy  means going to classes and doing demos, adding exhibits in museums, and doing public observing.  I do public observing at state parks in WI and in Madison and we reach thousands of people in the state ever year...people that are really curious about science and want to learn.  2 million is a small price to pay to enable the public to be able to enjoy the fruits of their tax payer dollars.  

I guess the good news is we have a president that understands all this.  Woot Obama!


While you're doing your physics - Feb 25, 2009 at 12:15AM
Blay
50 Posts

While you're studying away check out www.last.fm

It's internet radio that is way better then pandora.  Just type in your favorite artists and go!


Year of Astronomy! - Feb 22, 2009 at 11:26PM
Blay
50 Posts

Hello everyone!

I figured I'd kick off the spring blogging with a few thoughts that are very relevant to 2009, the Year of Astronomy!

As an astronomy grad student myself, the fact that the world is focusing on astronomy makes me wonder what direction the field is going in and how we can improve diversity.  Recently I read an article saying "There are about 15 African-American professional astronomers in the United States. Not 15 percent, fifteen. Latinos and Native Americans are similarly underrepresented."  And if this is the status of minorities  in one of the richest and most equitable countries in the world, what about those struggling to be astronomers and physicists in other parts of the world?  It certainly gives food for thought on how imperfect a world we live in and how lucky we are to be given the opportunity to study nature's wonders.

So, for myself, I think of the Year of Astronomy as both a time to reflect on how far we have come since Galileo and how far we still have to go, not just in terms of science, but on issues that hit much closer to home.  To celebrate 2009, the astronomers at UW Madison will be hosting several public displays  during the summer months at the Saturday farmers market.  This will be a great opportunity to reach the public, since the farmers market here is a pretty big deal ;)  Is anyone else doing something with their university to celebrate astronomy in 2009?


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