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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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Class prep and jury duty have kept me from blogging for a while, but I got sent down a rabbit hole yesterday looking at how 0-60mph times are measured, and figured I might as well get a Forbes post out of it...
A recent article claims that the Tesla Model S accelerates from 0 to 60mph in less time than it would take if you dropped it out of a plane. But how plausible is it for a car to accelerate that fast?
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The aerodynamic question came up on other channels, as well. That is a factor for highly specialized racing cars optimized for that, but it's not relevant for the Tesla. The Tesla Model S actually generates a small amount of lift in wind tunnel tests, the opposite of what you'd want for increasing acceleration: https://www.tesla.com/sites/default/files/blog_attachments/the-slipperiest-car-on-the-road.pdf
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Chad Orzel

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One of the great things about the Schrodinger Sessions is getting to see how really smart people describe their work, which provides me with new analogies that I can totally steal for teaching and blogging purposes. This one's from Alan Migdall, and I wrote it up at Forbes.

A simple twist on sudoku number-puzzles provides a nice analogy to illustrate the mind-bending weirdness involved in quantum entanglement.
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Chad Orzel

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I'm heading down to DC for the second round of the Schrodinger Sessions, but here's something topical for you to read while I'm driving: An explanation of how quantum cryptography could've helped the DNC avoid an embarrassing scandal.

Want to send some messages that would be embarrassing if they got released to the wrong people? Quantum physics is here to help.
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Chad Orzel

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This past weekend we took the kids to Great Escape where they loved the wave pool, and the weekend before we went to Jones Beach to see ocean waves, so here's a post at Forbes about (some of) the physics of waves in water.
Whether you like surfing or just bobbing in an artificial pool, there's a ton of entertaining physics in the motion of water waves.
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Chad Orzel

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This is relevant to the interests of some of you. A look at the physics behind curve balls and why it is that small changes in the composition of the ball make a big difference in hitting.

In honor of tonight's All-Star game, a look at how curve balls change direction (and how we know that) and why the composition of baseballs makes a big difference in hitting, drawing on the historical investigations of Lyman Briggs.
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Another post about ancient Roman structures, prompted by a trip down the wormhole of "how did they design these things, anyway?" Which leads indirectly to thinking about the fundamental arbitrariness of the split between fundamental science and "just engineering."
The division between "science" and "engineering" that leads physicists to look down at engineers is ultimately pretty arbitrary.
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Here's a big long thing, prompted by discussions at the Schrodinger Sessions, on some of the tools and techniques physicists use to do clear and unambiguous demonstrations of quantum phenomena.

Now I'm off to spend the rest of the day serving on a grand jury, which more or less guarantees that this will turn out to contain some sort of huge, embarrassing error...
The weird predictions of quantum mechanics are endlessly fascinating, all the more so because they're confirmed by experiment. Here's a look at three techniques physicists use to make the strange properties of quantum physics clearly visible.
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Some physics blogging inspired by the fans at the gym where I play pick-up hoops at lunchtime. Does blowing air around with a fan raise its temperature?
We often say that temperature measures the speed of air molecules. So, does blowing air around with a fan on a hot day actually INCREASE the temperature?
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Chad Orzel

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There were signs all over Maryland's campus about orientation for new students when I was there last week for the Schrodinger Sessions. That got me thinking about general advice for the incoming students who are freaking out a bit, so here's a very big-picture look at what you should get out of college, posted over at Forbes.

Some very general, big-picture advice about what you should come away with from four years in college, if you want to be successful in the long term.
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There's been some discussion of the apparent size of the Death Star on the Rogue One poster, which provided me with both a nice hook for a blog post over at Forbes, and an excuse to play with my collection of camera lenses.

The poster for "Rogue One" has people arguing about whether the Death Star appears too big. In this post I break out some zoom lenses and kids' toys to show how you might make that effect happen in reality.bv
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That's beautiful!
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Forgot to post this earlier, but I wrote a long post at Forbes about the origin of forces between atoms and molecules that are electrically neutral. By happy coincidence, these also got mentioned in a Physics World story today, about a new computational approach to understanding why water is weird: http://physicsworld.com/cws/article/news/2016/jul/13/neural-networks-provide-deep-insights-into-the-mysteries-of-water 
A look at how electrostatic forces make atoms and molecules attract each other even when none of them have an electric charge.
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One more Rome-inspired blog post for Forbes, this one on how the aesthetic appeal of the city's many fountains owes a great deal to the attractive forces between water molecules. With some nice pictures of fountains that I took when we were there.

The aesthetic appeal of water splashing in a fountain is ultimately due to individual water molecules each tugging on their neighbors.
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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
Basic Information
Gender
Male
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