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Robert Zubrin's Credible Proposal to Save the ISS From Destruction.

Robert Zubrin, a great Aerospace Engineer and advocate for human space exploration, has a credible...

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Hontas FarmerRSS Feed of this column.

My research focuses on astrophysics from massive star formation to astroparticle physics. Born and raised in Chicagoland I have lived in Bellwood, IL since 1984 and attended public schools here... Read More »

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In science the things that have a tiny probability of happening are the things which make for the best headlines.  News reporters cover crashes, not safe landings or auto races where nothing goes wrong.  Transgender care for youth is like this.  Reuters and other media know that the trainwreck will get ratings. They wrote “No definitive research has established a link between social media use and gender identity among youths.”  Then published a story that presents this very thing as being the case ignoring all evidence.
 

Republicans tend to favor big, impressive science projects. While the Democrats have a portion of their constituency which believes, against all numerical proof, that money spent on space science could cure world hunger. This stereotype is only partially true but to the extent it is true the divided government result is great for science. This ensures that there is no constituency in Congress that will be able to agitate for cutting budgets for organs such as NASA, the Department of Energy (high energy physics), the National Science Foundation (so many things) and so on.

The most important service to physics can be revealing that there are problems to be solved rather than solving them.   As the Nobel laureates, prize winners, Alain Aspect and John F. Clauser  did by demonstrating the fundamental difference between classical and quantum mechanics.  Anton Zeilinger who also won for his key work on teleportation and quantum information.  These are kin to the fundamentals of electricity in terms of how they may effect human technology in the future. 
Spooky action at a distance 

The solution to the issue of dark matter and dark energy may be found by way of modifying Einstein's equations of General Relativity.  Working with Shane Larson of Northwestern University we may have found an analytical and exact solution to one such set of equations.  With this we may be able to test such proposals once and for all using the future Laser Interferometer Space Antenna, LISA. Exact solutions to the differential equations that describe fundamental physics are rare. So rare they are sometimes called by name.  As one of many collaborators in the Laser Interferometer Space Antenna, Fundamental Physics working group, solving such problems is just what I do.

The launch of the new SLS rocket for the mission Artemis I was scrubbed earlier today due to valve issues.  Rocket engines, especially multi engine systems are very complex and dynamic systems in which any sign of a problem means the best policy is to abort.  Especially before launch.  These engines run on hydrogen and oxygen which must be kept at near absolute zero Kelvin.  As such an engine being the wrong temperature can indicate a leak.  

Every physicist knows how nuclear weapons work. However, where our weapons are deployed, our level of readiness to use them, and what we know about other countries’ weapons and deployments would not be common knowledge. Any person with a completed undergraduate and/or graduate education in physics knows how they work. The details of quantum mechanics, radiation, nuclear fission, fusion, electronics and so forth are in our textbooks. These things are well known to us. Many of us have a good idea of the basic engineering behind nuclear weapons. We know what materials are needed, and what type of precautions are needed to work with them.