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When you look at the rainbow, what you see is the prism like effect of the mist (aerosolized water...

Archeology Can Reveal Truth

The modern definition of science could be stated that it is a systematic study of the natural...

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Robert HayesRSS Feed of this column.

With 15 previous years in the nuclear industry, I am now an associate professor of nuclear engineering here at North Carolina State University in Raleigh (which is the worlds first academic nuclear... Read More »


Currently, burning fossil fuels is the main source of energy here and around the world.  Those fuels emitting greenhouse gasses are considered by most associated scientific organizations in the world as contributing to a potential global catastrophe in the making.  With this, we are critically dependent on electricity for almost every necessity we have in our standard of living. 

All light is made of electromagnetic waves.  This means that like any wave, there is something repeatedly sloshing back and forth with light.  A water wave is crests and troughs on the water going up and down over and over as they travel across the surface.  Light waves have some resemblance in that with light, it is electric and magnetic fields which are periodically wobbling back and forth. 

Detecting ionizing radiation does not mean that a disaster has or will occur.  Detecting radiation is generally a good thing if the radiation is expected, intended or natural.  We and all living things on earth are naturally radioactive.  This is due primarily to our requirement to have a healthy level of potassium and carbon in our bodies (and these are both naturally radioactive). 

When a feather or a plastic bag or almost anything light is placed in water, these items will generally float.  This is easy to understand if you think of water being more dense than the other item.  If you put something heavier in water, it tends to sink like a rock or a piece of metal but this doesn't fully explain how an iron ship can float. 

The two heaviest naturally occurring radioactive elements (by atomic weight) on the earth are Uranium and Thorium.  Uranium is used as a fuel in modern commercial nuclear power reactors for electricity generation.  A lesser known fact is that thorium could also be used as a nuclear fuel .  Naturally occurring thorium is not fissile and so not able to undergo nuclear fission (separation) and as such it takes an initial nuclear reaction to enable this process.

A very popular urban myth is that window glass is a liquid.  This apparently originated by the recognition that old European cathedrals had windows with the glass being thicker at the bottom than the top.  The actual cause of this is not attributable to gravity pulling the glass downward in a slump but rather the early window manufacturing techniques followed by a common practice of mounting window glass with the thicker side down.