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...

User picture.
picture for Hank Campbellpicture for Robert H Olleypicture for Fred Phillipspicture for Chidambaram Rameshpicture for Patrick Lockerbypicture for Jerry Decker
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 »


Mass formation psychosis does not exist as a term used in psychology, or social psychology according to two professionally done fact checks by Reuters and the Associated Press.

Breaking Grichka Bogdanoff one of two brothers who attained a PhDs in questionable circumstances and went on to popularize their views has died of COVID 19.  He was not vaccinated against Covid 19 according to a statement released by his agent. 

The James Webb Space Telescope has taken longer to reach this point than it took to build a great Egyptian pyramid. A pyramid had to be built in at most 20 years to be ready to act as a burial site for a Pharaoh of old Kingdom Egypt. At a time when forty was old age, even for the ruler of a nation who took the throne at about twenty that was the deadline. JSWT has taken longer and in that respect has been a greater challenge and as great of an achievement. Even if one of over one hundred single points of failure in the process from launch to full deployment goes wrong it is an achievement. There are scientists and technicians who are my age now who started work on aspects of JWST as fresh undergraduate students in the early 2000’s.

A couple of weeks ago Derrick Muller of the YouTube Channel Veritasium made a video asserting that the electrical energy in a circuit does not flow through the wires but through the fields. This is true and yet also a misleading misconception. This misconception in his problem arises because it deals with a circuit loop that reaches from the Earth to the Moon and back with a one-meter gap between the wires. He also uses a definition of the light being “on” which seems to be having any minuscule amount of current flow through the bulb. Then he justifies this will completely correct classical, non-relativistic electromagnetic theory.

No one would like confirmation of the Alcubierre warp drive metric being realized in the real world more than me. However, this is a good time to remind the media and public that a publication does not mean confirmation of this or any other result. Publication in a peer reviewed journal simply means that 2-3 outside experts looked at this paper and can find no obvious reason to think it is false. Confirmation would mean an independent team of researchers trying to replicate this effect in their own laboratory. Then publishing their result. Confirmation would preferably this effect being reliably and robustly replicated in numerous independent labs.

NASA will announce its 2021 crop of astronauts which was delayed at least twice due to COVID 19.  There were around 20,000 applicants for this arduous job.  Which is surprising since the requirements while not super common are not super uncommon either.  I tried my luck at being the third astronaut from the tiny village of Bellwood IL. Maybe I still have a shot at getting to pretend to go to Mars in a ground based NASA simulation mission known as CHAPEA.  Without a doubt those who are selected are or will be in very rare air.  (rimshot)   

UPDATE: Here are NASA's New Astronauts.