Profile

Cover photo
Chad Orzel
Works at Union College
Attended University of Maryland, College Park
Lived in Schenectady, NY
13,055 followers|158,562 views
AboutPostsPhotosYouTube

Stream

Chad Orzel

Shared publicly  - 
 
In a very fundamental way, superhero stories are incompatible with science. A realization after watching a bunch of Marvel movies in close succession.

(Blatant +Jim Kakalios bait warning...)
I’m not really a comic-book guy, but I’ve watched a bunch of comic-book movies recently. Kate was really fired up for the new Captain America movie, so I finally got around to watching the first one as background for that, then when I was sleep-deprived last week I watched the second Thor movie via on-demand…
6
1
Rick Garcia's profile photoJim Kakalios's profile photoDavid Foster's profile photoEvan "Skwid" Langlinais's profile photo
12 comments
 
I was thinking more of "Reed Richards Is Useless":

http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/ReedRichardsIsUseless

(The "Film" section goes on rather longer about Tony Stark.)
Add a comment...

Chad Orzel

Shared publicly  - 
 
Last night at bedtime, SteelyKid (age 5.6) got interested in cosmology, and I tried to explain the Big Bang to her. This is a rough transcript of the conversation.
6
Add a comment...

Chad Orzel

Shared publicly  - 
 
If you're engaging in mathematical silliness today in honor of "Pi Day," you're doing it wrong.
Today is March 14th, 3/14 in the normal American way of writing dates, so you’ll find a lot of silliness on the web today talking about “π Day” due to the coincidental similarity with the first three digits of π (see, for example, Rhett’s annual post). But, of course, this is an archaic and local…
4
2
Matt McIrvin's profile photoLance Mannion's profile photoKenneth Cavness's profile photoNick Gotch's profile photo
4 comments
 
We could come up with a plenitude of different magic number dates to celebrate math. That's not really the point, it's just good to celebrate math. 3/14 (US) strikes a chord with most people and so works just dandy with me.
Add a comment...

Chad Orzel

Shared publicly  - 
 
Why does the canonical falling-bomb whistle decrease in pitch? This was supposed to be a five-minute blog post, but ended up as something that will eventually lead to a VPython simulation. 

(The thumbnail image is a bonus picture of SteelyKid looking tough with a squirt gun she won at one of last weekend's birthday parties...)
3
2
Amy Young's profile photoAaron Dean's profile photoRoger Weber's profile photoEvan "Skwid" Langlinais's profile photo
4 comments
 
+Jasper Janssen I have also heard that theory!
Add a comment...

Chad Orzel

Shared publicly  - 
 
In which I make a short video attempting to answer the question "What Is Color?" for this year's Flame Challenge. Includes lasers and spectrometers, computer monitors, and even a bit of biology.
3
Mike Kozlowski's profile photo
 
That is a super-excellent explanation.
Add a comment...
Have him in circles
13,055 people
Danniel Lima's profile photo
Corry Andrews's profile photo
Wilson James's profile photo

Chad Orzel

Shared publicly  - 
 
Cosmos last night provided a nice history of optics, other than the bizarre omission of the classic experiments proving that light is a wave. It wouldn't be the Cosmos reboot without some kind of weird frustrating gap, I guess...
Another Monday, another recap of a new episode of the Cosmos reboot. This one was all about optics, and much of it was excellent. This was in part due to the fact that its first couple of historical segments focused on non-Western figures, and I don’t know as much about their background to be able…
2
Add a comment...

Chad Orzel

Shared publicly  - 
 
Two great sequences in last night's Cosmos, and two things that kind of bugged me.
1
Mike Kozlowski's profile photoBill Davidsen's profile photoEvan "Skwid" Langlinais's profile photoA Honore's profile photo
10 comments
 
To be fair, while SteelyKid did seem to be zoning out during the Bruno sequence, at dinner that night, she talked enthusiastically about the cartoon where a guy poked a star and then stuck his head under the curtain and saw the whole universe, but they threw him in jail.
Add a comment...

Chad Orzel

Shared publicly  - 
 
I made a cryptic comment on Twitter complaining about Ben Lillie's "Humanities of Science Communication" piece, and this blog post explains why.
1
Add a comment...

Chad Orzel

Shared publicly  - 
 
Because they'd revoke my blogging license if I didn't say something about the Cosmos reboot... TL;DR version: Nice visuals, dubious history, good intro, looking forward to more depth.
4
Matt McIrvin's profile photoDon Denesiuk's profile photo
2 comments
 
I haven't watched this yet, and am trying to decide whether to push it to my kid as something she'll like if she liked Bill Bryson's books and David Pogue's NOVA episodes. I'm suspecting yes, but the bits about Giordano Bruno might lose her.

I think Sagan's treatment of history was actually kind of similar, including the weaknesses. I recall he was very big on the philosophers of Ionia and the Library of Alexandria as precursors of modern scientific culture, and in a way they were, but again, there's a lot of stuff you have to ignore.

(I think the Greek atomists, especially during the Roman Empire period, actually were, even more than they were precursors of scientific culture, precursors of modern popular skeptic/nerd culture: Lucian's "Alexander the Oracle-Monger" really does read like an adventure of Martin Gardner and James Randi chasing after some psychic-healing quack.)
Add a comment...

Chad Orzel

Shared publicly  - 
 
Some thinking out loud about old science writing, the new SAT, and changing attitudes toward unfamiliar words.
1
Add a comment...
People
Have him in circles
13,055 people
Danniel Lima's profile photo
Corry Andrews's profile photo
Wilson James's profile photo
Work
Occupation
Associate Professor, Union college Department of Physics and Astronomy
Employment
  • Union College
    Associate Professor of Physics, 2001 - present
  • Yale University
    Postdoctoral Associate, 1999 - 2001
Places
Map of the places this user has livedMap of the places this user has livedMap of the places this user has lived
Previously
Schenectady, NY - New Haven, CT - Rockville, MD - Komae, Japan - Williamstown, MA - Whitney Point, NY
Links
Story
Introduction
Chad Orzel is an associate professor in the Department of Physics and Astronomy at Union College in Schenectady, NY. He is also the author of How to Teach Physics to Your Dog (Scribner, 2009), a popular-audience book explaining quantum mechanics through imaginary conversations with his dog, Emmy.
Education
  • University of Maryland, College Park
    Chemical Physics, 1993 - 1999
  • Williams College
    Physics, 1989 - 1993
Basic Information
Gender
Male