The Year in Books, 2018 (in which I am reminded that I don’t like science fiction)

I’ll start this year-in-review post with some highlights of the year in fiction, noting the larger than usual amount of science fiction I read — a mistake I will hopefully not make again — and then write about non-fiction, graphic novels, and movies. (Past years’ lists: 2017, 2016, and 2015.) Fiction My two favorites of … Continue reading The Year in Books, 2018 (in which I am reminded that I don’t like science fiction)

A pound of flesh — a puzzle about estimates, energy, and life

In my “Physics of Energy and the Environment” class [1], we try to construct estimates of how much energy is required by various aspects of modern civilization. Transportation is the main focus — it’s important, energetically costly, and the physics underlying it can be grasped by non-science-major undergrads in a few weeks [2]. Teaching this … Continue reading A pound of flesh — a puzzle about estimates, energy, and life

Election day biophysics

(A short election day post!) I always start off my “biophysics for non-science majors” class with an interesting picture. Today, since it’s election day, I tried to think of something that links politics and science and came up with these photos that I took at the Library of Congress this past summer, where there’s a … Continue reading Election day biophysics