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Douglas Natelson
Works at Rice University
Attended Stanford University
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Douglas Natelson

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Nano and the oil industry
I went to an interesting lunchtime talk today by Sergio Kapusta , former chief scientist of Shell .  He gave a nice overview of the oil/gas industry and where nanoscience and nanotechnology fit in.   Clearly one of the main issues of interest is assessing (...
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News items: Feynman, superconductors, faculty shuffle
A few brief news items - our first week of classes this term is a busy time. Here is a video of Richard Feynman, explaining why he can't readily explain permanent magnets to the interviewer.   This gets right to the heart of why explaining science in a popu...
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Drought balls and emergent properties
There has been a lot of interest online recently about the " drought balls " that the state of California is using to limit unwanted photochemistry and evaporation in its reservoirs.  These are hollow balls each about 10 cm in diameter, made from a polymer ...
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Assorted items
Time is getting short before our semester starts here, and there is much to be done, so I'll be brief: A library of nice online interactive physics applets /demos from the University of Colorado.  However, between the ongoing security pains of both Java and...
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What are Weyl fermions? Will they really lead to computers 1000x faster?
A new paper  (published online in Science) with experimental work from Zahid Hasan 's group at Princeton has made a splash this week.  In it, they argue that they see evidence in crystals of the compound TaAs for (quasi)particles that have the properties of...
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A grand challenge for nano: Solar energy harvesting near the thermodynamic limit
As I'd mentioned earlier in the week, the US Office of Science and Technology Policy had issued a call for "Grand Challenges" for nanotechnology for the next decade, with a deadline of July 16, including guidelines about specific points that a response shou...
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Douglas Natelson

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Short term-ism and industrial research
I have written multiple times ( here and here , for example) about my concern that the structure of financial incentives and corporate governance have basically killed much of the American corporate research enterprise.  Simply put:  corporate officers are ...
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Anecdote 5: Becoming an experimentalist, and the Force-o-Matic
As an undergrad, I was a mechanical engineering major doing an engineering physics program from the engineering side.  When I was a sophomore, my lab partner in the engineering fluid mechanics course, Brian, was doing the same program, but from the physics ...
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Anecdote 4: Sometimes advisers are right.
When I was a first-year grad student, I started working in my adviser 's lab, learning how to do experiments at extremely low temperatures.   This involved working quite a bit with liquid helium, which boils at atmospheric pressure at only 4.2 degrees above...
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Sci-fi time: Do laser pistols make sense?
The laser pistol (or similar personal directed energy weapon ) is a staple of science fiction, and you can imagine why:  No pesky ammunition to carry, possible some really cool light/sound effects, near-speed-of-light to target (though phasers and blasters ...
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The nanoscale: The edge of emergence
One of the most profound concepts to come out of condensed matter physics is the idea of emergent properties - nontrivial properties of a system that are not trivially deducible from the microscopic aspects and interactions of the underlying degrees of free...
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Active learning vs. lecturing: the annual hectoring
The new issue of Nature contains this article , discussing the active learning approach to teaching.  Actually, "discussing" is too neutral.  The title of the article and the subheadline flatly state that  lecture-based pedagogy is "wrong".  The article inc...
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Have him in circles
330 people
Anna Mikhaylova's profile photo
John Bulava's profile photo
Pisrut Phummirat's profile photo
sharafkn's profile photo
Lyle Andrews's profile photo
Patrick Wheeler's profile photo
Lightman Y. Li's profile photo
Sampath Satti's profile photo
hande erdebil's profile photo
Education
  • Stanford University
    Physics, 1993 - 1998
  • Princeton University
    Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering, 1989 - 1993
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Employment
  • Rice University
    Professor of Physics and Astronomy, 2000 - present
  • Bell Labs
    Postdoctoral Member of Technical Staff, 1998 - 2000
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Male