Amid the deluge of data, speculations, and commiserations about the ongoing COVID-19 (coronavirus) pandemic, here’s a modeling exercise mixing epidemiology and economics that I haven’t seen done, and that I think is important. Stated in four parts: 1. Closing schools and businesses saves lives by slowing the spread of disease, facilitating the treatment of infected … Continue reading A pandemic model I’d like to see
I’ve been working on a popular science book about biophysics, writing as well as illustrating it. I’m about three-quarters done, hopefully on track for my contractually obligated completion date later this year. The book isn’t a secret, but I haven’t broadly announced it, nor have I posted a summary. So here it is: an announcement and … Continue reading Book Announcement: Building Life!
This evening, the American Physical Society suddenly cancelled its largest annual conference, the March Meeting, the day before it was to start. I’m one of the 10,000 physicists who will now not be spending the coming week in Denver. The cancellation is due to fears of the coronavirus. Some would say the caution is warranted; … Continue reading A Coronavirus-Cancelled Conference
Can the teardrops that fall after reading bad science writing generate renewable electricity? Yes, they can. 1. The puzzle of power from raindrops The usually excellent Marginal Revolution blog features daily “Assorted Links” that point to interesting articles on an exceptionally wide variety of topics, most often related to economics or sociology. Monday’s included a … Continue reading Can the teardrops that fall after reading bad science writing generate renewable electricity? Yes, they can.
About a new paper from my lab  on how membranes flow through water, featuring our shortest title ever! For many years I’ve been interested in the physical properties of cell membranes, properties determined in large part by the underlying lipid bilayer. Bilayers are remarkable materials, and my research group has measured characteristics such as … Continue reading Watching membranes do nothing
Synopsis: I investigate a mystery about rising conference costs and reach a different conclusion than expected. A few days ago I was registering for the American Physical Society (APS) March Meeting, the major yearly gathering of Physicists, and noticed that the registration fee is quite a bit higher than it was last year. I made … Continue reading The Case of the Rising Conference Registration Fee
Once again, a post about notable books I read last year, some great, some awful. (Past years’ lists: 2018 , 2017, 2016, and 2015.) Fiction This was the year of long books, at least more so than most years. I finally read all 963 pages of Anna Karenina, which was wonderful — sprawling, fast-moving, and … Continue reading The Year in Books, 2019