A Personal Update: The Day To Day Work Of One Physicist.

A brief personal update as to what I have been doing.  There has been much interesting science...

A Simple Way To Assess The Likelihood K2-18 b Host Alien Life. The Odds Are Almost 50-50.

How can you as a person who is not a scientist know if a given claim of having found alien life...

Reported Failure To Reproduce Superconductivity, But Replication Of Apparent Diamagnetism, At Room Temperature In LK-99

Last week it was claimed that a material that would be superconducting at  normal pressure...

Understanding The Great Discovery of A Universal Gravitational Wave Background by the Interational Pulsar Timing Array Collaboration.

What are gravitational waves? What are Pulsars and what does it mean to time a pulsar? How does...

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Hontas FarmerRSS Feed of this column.

Currently I am an adjunct professor at the College of DuPage. My research focuses on astrophysics from massive star formation to astroparticle physics. Born and raised in Chicagoland I have lived... Read More »


As a test of Einstein’s General Theory of Relativity the Event Horizon Telescope image shows us an extreme example of light being bent by the mass of a black hole. General Relativity (GR) predicts that solar mass objects will do this to some degree which is very hard but not impossible to measure. In the case of a black hole it predicts what Event Horizon Telescope saw to within the measurement precision of the EHT. Any modified theory of gravity that stands a chance would have to match these observations.

Real astronomical images rarely look like their artist representations.  The images produced by the Event Horizon Telescope will be no different.  That said, an image of the light near the event horizon of the black hole at the center of our galaxy will be many times more detailed than the famous image of a similar black hole from the galaxy M87.  The main reasons for this are distance and improvements in the instrument.  M87 is about 53 million light years away.  While the center of our own galaxy, Sagittarius A*, is just about 26,000 light years away.  

Veritasium is still wrong by his own standards because he did not give the full real explaination which is rooted in the real theory of electricity and magnetism.  Quantum Electro Dynamics.  In fact with that theory in hand the way this works out is more straight forward.

It is very unlikely that Fermilab’s new findings on the mass of the Wboson mean that the standard model is broken. It will be exciting if it does. This is not to say that their experimental findings are wrong. Fermilab themselves propose the much more likely possibility that we need to compute the predicted values more precisely in the standard model. Another possibility that occurs to me is that we scientists need to both compute the values predicted by established theory even more precisely and also extend the established theory a little bit.

Don't Look Up did not win an Oscar tonight.  Generally, I don't care about the Oscars but then Will Smith legit slapped Chris Rock so hard that it made the Russo-Ukrainian war stop trending.

The harsh truth of nuclear war in our modern era is not that everyone would die right away but that hundreds of millions would die in the combatant states while hundreds of millions would have to survive radiation and starvation. If you are one who sees the flash, has time to Duck and Cover, and for whom the light is distant you are not in the clear. Instead, soon fallout will be upon you a deadly black rain, and black ash will be upon you. How to survive this if you have not prepared at all up to this point? Dirt and Distance are your friends.