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Phlogiston, Dark Energy and Modified Levity

What happens when something burns?

Had you aslked a seventeenth-century scientist that question and the chances are the answer would  have involved the word phlogiston… 597 more words

The Universe And Stuff

One More for the Bad Statistics in Astronomy File...

It’s been a while since I last posted anything in the file marked Bad Statistics, but I can remedy that this morning with a comment or two on the following… 576 more words

The Universe And Stuff

A scientific paper with 5000 authors is absurd, but does science need "papers" at all?

Nature News has reported on what appears to be the paper with the longest author list on record. This article has so many authors – 5,154 altogether – that 24 pages (out of a total of 33 in the paper) are devoted just to listing them, and only 9 to the actual science. 1,584 more words

The Universe And Stuff

A Problems Class in Complex Analysis

My theoretical physics examination is coming up on Monday and the students are hard at working revising for it (or at least they should be) so I thought I’d lend a hand by deploying some digital technology in the form of the following online interactive video-based learning resource on Complex Analysis:


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The Universe And Stuff

R.I.P. Sir Sam Edwards

I’ve only found out this morning that Professor Sir Sam Edwards passed away last week, on 7th May 2015 at the age of 87. Although I didn’t really know him at all on a personal level, I did come across him when I was an undergraduate student at the University of Cambridge in the 1980s, so I thought I would post a brief item to mark his passing and to pay my respects. 362 more words

The Universe And Stuff

Ned Wright's Dark Energy Piston

Since Ned Wright picked up on the fact that I borrowed his famous Dark Energy Piston for my talk I thought I’d include it here in all its animated glory to explain a little bit better why I think it was worth taking the piston. 581 more words

The Universe And Stuff

Dark Energy and its Discontents - the Talk

Yet another very busy day, so I just have time to post the slides of the talk I gave last week, on  Friday 24th April 2015, entitled… 39 more words

The Universe And Stuff