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Chad Orzel
Works at Union College
Attended University of Maryland, College Park
Lived in Schenectady, NY
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Chad Orzel

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A popular misconception about American football is that the game is chock full of stupid people. This is a mistake, and in a Super Bowl edition of "Football Physics" over at Forbes, I talk about how football players are actually great thinkers, at least on the field.

The popular image of NFL players is of gifted athletes who aren't all that bright. This is very far from the truth, though-- in fact, they're great scientific thinkers.
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That coat was totally guys' fashion in the 1920's.
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Some news stories yesterday got me to dig into this "quantum pigeonhole principle" paper enough to figure out what's going on. The details turn out to be both more and less weird than the way they're described, as I try to explain at Forbes.

Most stories about a just-published paper say it shows that quantum mechanics lets you put three particles into two boxes so that no two are together. What it actually says is both more and less weird than this.
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The other day, we took the kids to the local science museum, and The Pip played with big soap bubbles. Later that day, +Kate Nepveu asked a question about the shape of the bubble, which led to me scribbling diagrams and equations in Starbucks, and from there to a physics-y blog post.

There's a lot of physics hiding in a cute picture of my son playing with soap bubbles at the local science museum.
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I got a shiny new phone with a wireless charger, and you just know I have to get a physics blog post out of that. So here's a post at Forbes tracing the physics of the device back to one of my favorite historical physicists.

The wireless charger that came with my new smartphone has a very
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Question for phone cognoscenti (is, mostly +Mike Kozlowski ): I need to replace my aging Moto X, and readily available options are the Droid Turbo or Nexus 6. I've liked the two Motorola phones I've had, and would rather not need to deal with major readjustments in basic hardware.

Given those two choices, which is better? The large size is not a major issue, as I'm a big guy.

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Droid Turbo is basically the new Moto X, except uglified by Verizon with a bunch of crapware. It is technically superior to the Nexus 6 in some ways, but I don't know much about how the screen looks (specs are good, but the "unbreakable" thing implies plastic?) or whatever.

Nexus 6 is a decent phone if the size is good with you. It is a year old and has been replaced, though, and if you buy through Verizon you probably won't get the updates that real Nexuses get, because Verizon is a bag of dicks.

Another option is the Nexus 6P, which DOES work on Verizon, but people on the internet report mixed success in getting Verizon store people to activate it for you (they should, but -- surprise! -- some of them are assholes), so you might have to try multiple locations. (If your current phone has a Nano SIM, you can just move it over, and then it'll work without any fuss.)

Basically, the 6P is the best phone but might be an aggravating experience to get working; of the other two... I think they're both in the same ballpark, generally, so if you don't have strong preferences for bigger screens or bigger batteries or whatever that would distinguish them, I'd try playing with them and see which one you find that you like the look/feel of the best?
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A little holiday-related physics silliness, brought to you by the heavy fog that moved in last night, Ethan "Starts with a Bang" Siegel's Santa post, and John William Strutt, better known to history as Lord Rayleigh.
There's a good, solid physics reason why Santa might want his team led by a reindeer whose nose glows red specifically, rather than green or blue.
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Yay, optics!
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Because social media tends to be a little erratic, I'll post a link here to this round-up of the last several weeks of physics blogging, in case you missed me flogging any of the individual posts here...
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In honor of Groundhog Day, four physics stories that come around so often they might make you think you're trapped in a time loop.

Physics news might sometimes make you think you're stuck in a time loop, hearing about the same discovery for the umpteenth time. Here are four types of physics stories you've probably heard many times, and why you should expect to hear them again.
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These are the ones that repeat in publications where people generally know what they're talking about.

There needs to be a special edition of this article for New Scientist and things that cite New Scientist. It'd have "Einstein is wrong now", the faster-than-light communication method (maybe a subset of the preceding) and the reactionless drive proven real by NASA.
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Another Forbes post on the physics of gravity in The Expanse, specifically the occasional shots of poured liquid going sideways. Which is exaggerated for visual effect, but has roots in the real physics of Coriolis forces.
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+Chad Orzel Very specifically: The statement  of the article, ``Of course, there really ought to be an asterisk attached to that statement of the Equivalence Principle, because there are, in fact, some ways you can distinguish between gravity due to a nearby massive object (like a planet) and “gravity” due to acceleration.'' is, simply, wrong. The illustration preceding it is, just, misleading. 
The statement claiming a distinction between `` the Coriolis effect, that would let you distinguish between the sort of gravity you get on the surface of the Earth and the fake gravity created on a rotating space habitat.'' is, similarly, wrong-that's the whole point of general relativity, in particular, and its generalizations, that reduce to it-that any such distinction is meaningless. While such a distinction was, indeed, possible in the Newtonian approximation, it turns out to be empty of content when realizing what the possibility of being able to perform a  general change of coordinates implies. The terms ``artificial gravity'' or ``fake gravity'' , are, precisely, Newtonian misconceptions-they don't make sense, anymore, because there's no way any experiment can give them any meaning. It would be a very good idea to promote avoiding them. 

Gravity beyond the equivalence principle can only mean what was mentioned previously: additional fields, beyond the metric, that don't couple directly to matter:, and can't be attributed to new forms of matter, but, only to properties of spacetime: scalar-tensor theories or supergravities-eventually with broken supersymmetry, it's the field content that matters. Scalars provide additional attractive forces, vectors additional repulsive forces (a remark made by J. Scherk in the 1970s, http://inspirehep.net/record/142417). Spinors require more care.

There are ongoing experimental programs that attempt to place bounds on the contributions of such additional fields. 

For a recent overview: http://relativity.livingreviews.org/Articles/lrr-2014-4/

The statement about straight line motion is, misleading, too, since motion in free fall, in any spacetime, is along the ``straight line'' in that spacetime-if there are non-inertial forces present, it's not, however-and that has consequences, that have been measured many times, in all sorts of ways.
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Took a blogging break for a bit over the holidays, so let's ease into the New Year with something simple and non-controversial. Like, say, the Many-Worlds Interpretation of quantum physics...

Many people object to the Many-Worlds interpretation of quantum physics on the grounds that all the extra
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Photos from New Year's Eve when I spent the afternoon wandering around Charleston, SC.
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I would love to visit Charleston again.
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Back at the start of the month, I gave a talk at TEDxAlbany, which went really well. They've now finished processing the video from that, so here's a blog post with the clip embedded. In case you want to know what I look and sound like doing a TED-type talk.

(Plussing up a storm today...)

A couple of weeks ago, I gave a talk at TEDxAlbany on how quantum physics manifests in everyday life. I posted the approximate text back then, but TEDx has now put up the video: So, if you’ve been wondering what it sounded like live, well, now you can see…
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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
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Previously
Schenectady, NY - New Haven, CT - Rockville, MD - Komae, Japan - Williamstown, MA - Whitney Point, NY
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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
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Male