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 »


Given the invasion of Ukraine and how both the US and Russia regard the ISS with deep pride our abandoning it would send a strong message to Russia.  There is no moral or ethical way to continue the ISS program as if nothing has fundamentally changed in the world.

War between NATO and Russia and its allies is a very real possibility.  Not a probability or a likelihood necessarily but much more of a possibility than ever since the aftermath of World War II.  Given this being a real possibility some hard information on how to survive a nuclear attack is in order.  In short if you are in the immediate fireball, blast, or firestorm areas of a thermonuclear attack there is not much that you can do.  For most people, the issue is being near a primary but nonmilitary target.   Major logistic infrastructure concentrations such as airports, seaports, petrochemical infrastructure, power generation infrastructure would be primary or secondary targets.  Major population centers are unlikely t

Despite breathless reports by non scientist reporters may say scientist at NIST have not warped time or even really done much that has to do with General Relativity directly. What Toby Bothwell et. al did accomplish is as one peer reviewer put it is an “Impressive result in time keeping and Time and Frequency metrology.” In normal plain English they managed to measure smaller units of time than before with smaller uncertainty of measurement than before. What they did was improve on the methods that could be used to measure effects on time at scales where quantum mechanics would be relevant.

Today we celebrate women in STEM. Meaning adult human females or anyone who identifies as a woman and lives as a woman who against so many stereotypes is a STEM professional. I am most proud to work as a member of the LISA consortium as a small part of the Fundamental Physics Working Group. I contribute my little bit to working out what physics will be tested by the Laster Interferometer Space Antenna (LISA). This is a space probe which will do the same thing as LIGO but at a much grander scale and looking at a different part of the gravitational wave spectrum. Work we do will inform fundamental physics for as long as human beings do fundamental physics. I am most proud to be a small part of this big team effort.

An Illinois judge has overruled Governor JB Pritzker's mask mandate at least in the case of students who are party to the lawsuit.  It was denied being a class action and even admits that the collective bargaining agreements between teachers unions and school districts that call for mitigation efforts still stand.  From what I have been able to see at the two places I work and around Illinois Colleges and universities nothing has changed at all.   As a legal guidepost

The whole observable universe cannot be a simulation by some future version of humans or by computers using humans as a source of converting biomass into energy and providing a richer simulation. The Matrix movies were convinced as a transgender allegory and as a critique of capitalism. A critique which would apply to any hierarchical system from religion to the operation of any real socialist state ever. A question to ask is could something like the matrix ever really exist? Could some future human society simulate the whole universe, would they even need to?