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Hontas FarmerRSS Feed of this column.

Currently I am an adjunct professor at the City Colleges of Chicago and the College of DuPage . My research focuses on astrophysics from massive star formation to astroparticle physics. Born and... Read More »


Perversion and sexual assault is what Geoff Marcy is accused of not “harassment” or treating a conference like a “dating market”.  In our collective zeal to protect women from unwelcome but otherwise ordinary advances let us not conflate asking someone at a cocktail party over drinks on a date with doing what UC Berkley Prof Geoff Marcy is accused of.

How does knowing that neutrinos have mass, and change from one kind of particle to the other kind benefit all mankind?  Why should Takaaki Kajita and Arthur B. McDonald get a Nobel Prize for finding this?  What the heck is a neutrino anyway?  How does the impact of science like basic Physics or Astronomy compare to say… lung cancer research in terms of the immediacy of the impact?  In short why should the normal average person care about Neutrinos?  In a tweet, a better understanding of the basic forces particles and fields that comprise the material world will inevitably lead to numerous direct applications that will effect the daily lives of our descendants.   

NASA has announced that there is flowing liquid water on Mars.  Where there is water there is life.  That is an old adage among astrobiologist.  We “follow the water”.  Water had lead us to be hopeful that on icy bodies such as the icy moons of Jupiter, Saturn, and maybe even the (dwarf) planet Pluto there is life under the ice.

Yes you too can be a college professor just as long as you let go of the archaic idea that the only legitimate way to be a professor is to be tenured and have no other enterprises or income.    The day of the professor who does nothing but research and teaching and can never be fired is over.  In fact it was never traditional that such was the case.

A three inch long equation (or according to Kaku one inch) is the holy grail of post modern theoretical physics.  We all want one equation from which one can derive all known physical laws. I don't have that.  What I have today is a three inch equation which goes a step towards unifying gravity and the standard model of particle physics.  It will allow one to predict the gravitational corrections to standard model interactions. Not only do I have a theory to present, but an experiment to propose which could test this theory.

The open access, open post publication peer review journal, The Winnower will issue DOI's to all past and future Reddit r/Science AMA's.  The people who write on reddit, sometimes called "redditors", are known for having a large impact on the discourse on the internet.  Millions of people use redit as a place to find human filtered relevant information.    This step is intended to provide a way to cite these discussions.  Often important points about research papers are made on Reddit and nowhere else.  
(Full disclosure:  I was one of the authors who beta tested The Winnower.  Work I published there lead to me getting a conference talk at the April APS conference this year.) 

Here is what The Winnower says quote: