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Physics

Hal Harris's picture

Physics for Future Presidents: The Science Behind the Headlines

Mon, 09/01/2008 - 01:00 -- Hal Harris

The Presidential campaign to this point has been waged so devoid of issues that one might think that there is nothing to discuss other than lipstick and the number of houses the candidates own. Beyond such trivialities as foreign policy, health care, immigration and the war(s), there a few minor issues that have something to do with science.

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Home Photovoltaic Systems for Physicists

Wed, 07/02/2008 - 02:00 -- Hal Harris

The July 2008 isue of Physics Today has a special focus: "Energy Today and Tomorrow". It features three articles of interest to chemists and physicists, "Grand Challenges in Basic Energy Sciences" by Graham R. Fleming and Mark A. Ratner, "Energy Efficiency and the Built Environment" by Leon Glicksman, and this one by Thomas Murphy Jr.

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The Sky is Falling

Sun, 06/01/2008 - 01:00 -- Hal Harris

How likely is it that an asteroid or a comet of significant size will impact the earth, and what would be the consequences? It is now widely accepted that the dinosaurs were wiped out by such an event, and recent research suggests that previous estimates of the number of asteroid impacts may have been much too low.

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The Ten Most Beautiful Experiments

Thu, 05/01/2008 - 01:00 -- Hal Harris

Lists of "the best" movies, books, sports stars, American Idols, etc. etc. are often intriguing and controversial. Science has its own lists, be they Nobelists or most-cited publications. Just a little while ago (could it really have been November, 2005?) Philip Ball's list of "elegant" chemistry experiments was my choice of the month.

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The Copernican Myths

Sun, 12/02/2007 - 01:00 -- Hal Harris

When asked by one of our students about the significance of Nicolaus Copernicus (1473-1543) and his revolutionary (pun intended) theory of the solar system, most of us would recite the folkloric tale. A brilliant astronomer, dissatisfied with the inaccuracies of Ptolemy, devised a completely new model for the solar system.

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Exploding Disk Cannons, Slimemobiles, and 32 Other Projects for Saturday Science

Thu, 02/01/2007 - 00:00 -- Hal Harris

Neil Downie runs a Saturday science program for kids in Guildford, UK, that appears to be the most fun that anybody could have. This book is the third in a series that describes projects that he has invented for kids to build and investigate (often with the help of an adult).

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American Prometheus: The Triumph and Tragedy of J. Robert Oppenheimer

Sat, 07/01/2006 - 01:00 -- Hal Harris

I am old enough to remember the 1954 hearings in the matter of J. Robert Oppenheimer, but I was too young to understand that there was more to this story about a supposed Communist in the nuclear weapons program than was being reported in the Los Angeles newspapers of the time.

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Fantastic Realities: 49 Mind Journeys and a Trip to Stockholm

Mon, 05/01/2006 - 01:00 -- Hal Harris

Fantastic Realities is an adult book. Much of it consists of issues of the "Reference Frame" column that Professor Wilczek, 2004 Nobel laureate in physics, writes for his colleagues in Physics Today. In writing for that audience, Wilczek addresses fellow scientists who are expected to be familiar with "ordinary" physics, but not his specialty, quantum chromodynamics.

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