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Hontas FarmerRSS Feed of this column.

Currently I am an adjunct professor at the City Colleges of Chicago and the College of DuPage . My research focuses on astrophysics from massive star formation to astroparticle physics. Born and... Read More »


NASA welcoming private space flight participants is not new and it is misleading to call these people "tourist".

General Relativity (GR) is 100 years old and today.   Many writings will try to simplify it using illustrations with sheets and bowling balls and such.  If you want to have a more precise idea of what it really is and you know a bit of algebra this article is for you.  Here is what GR is in simple but still mathematical terms understandable to all who know high school algebra.

We will start with the Pythagorean theorem.  Then add to it until we get to the formula that gives us the big bang theory.  Then relate that to gravity.  

A quark star is a hypothesized type of object more dense than a Neutron star but not dense enough to form a black hole. Long ago theorized, could such an object be observed via, and even made possibly through, gravitational waves? This is not a likely outcome since the conditions it would take to create such an object would be very rare however it is just barely possible. Read on and consider with me what well established theories and laws of physics say about what the LIGO collaboration reportedly observed. Theories posited by Steven W Hawking and Jacob Bekenstein in particular regarding black hole thermodynamics may be put to the test by this kind of observation.

Gravitational wave astronomy in space, that is the goal of the LISA Collaboration.  LISA stands for Laser Interferometer Space Antenna.  This collaboration is having a very early meeting in Florida and at that meeting there will be certain public talks broadcast on YouTube.  I will embed those here. With perhaps a translation for the perplexed later.  

If you find gravitational wave astronomy i.e. as done by the LIGO collaboration interesting, then you will love what LISA will do. 

Biased against Women and Black People? That is what the Harvard Implicit Association test  (IAT)showed me.  I took them more than once and this was the overall result.  As a SMALL part of a large collaboration that may put hardware into space, I was invited to take this test in preparation for a diversity workshop.  Since I could not attend the conference, I thought it wise to send these results out to the group.   Some may feel like these tests only target straight white males to malign them as racist and sexist.   The IAT could also show one is biased against white people.

A simple slice of life as an academic.  No chair was assigned for the session Z13 in which my theoretical research was presented along with great work in varying fields but with related themes.  Waves, and/or fluids connected all that was discussed.  The research I found most interesting was not my own.    My peers in the session elected me to the honored position since none was assigned.  Likely because APS trusted us not to act in appropriately.