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  • Jen-Luc Piquant sez: "They like us! They really like us!"

    "Explains physics to the layperson and specialist alike with abundant historical and cultural references."
    -- Exploratorium ("10 Cool Sites")

    "... polished and humorous..."
    -- Physics World

    "Takes 1 part pop culture, 1 part science, and mixes vigorously with a shakerful of passion."
    -- Typepad (Featured Blog)

    "In this elegantly written blog, stories about science and technology come to life as effortlessly as everyday chatter about politics, celebrities, and vacations."
    -- Fast Company ("The Top 10 Websites You've Never Heard Of")
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« of alchemy and iron man | Main | growing pains »


cool blog
me a Software Engineer from India...keep d good stuff coming :-)

I am a graduate student in physics who studies "computational neuroscience."

I think I've only commented once here before because the posts here are great but don't tend to lend themselves to discussion. Cocktail Party Physics was the first blog that left me no choice but to get over my distaste for the word and read regularly, almost 5 years ago now. I think I'm grateful for that, but maybe I should be sending you a bill for the countless hours I've lost to my Google Reader since then...

Aw, shucks. Thanks for the kind words, Jennifer. I am glad that you are looking forward to my book, as I am certainly anticipating yours! (And, as I have said before, 2010 is a great year for women science writers, with great new titles by you, Mary Roach, Rebecca Skloot, Deborah Blum, Maryn McKenna, and others.)

Also, you wrote "That's something every author I know is grateful for: the support of colleagues when it comes time to publish a book."

That goes double for me. Without the help of writers like you (plus Ed Yong, Tom Levenson, Carl Zimmer, Mark Henderson, and others) the manuscript for what is now called Written in Stone would still be languishing on my hard drive. In fact, I remember discussing my germ of a book idea over the phone waaaay back in the winter of 2008, and your famous Science Online talk about using blogs as "writing laboratories" made me get serious about my own writing. To put it simply, I couldn't have done this without your help, and I appreciate the encouragement you have given this neophyte.

Reader and occasional commenter here, and a small presence elsewhere on the blogohedron.

This is a census, right? You can't make me fill out the census.

Oh wait, I guess by commenting on this being a census I have essentially filled out the form.

Well, then on to the shameless plug: I am Rhett Allain, a student, physics faculty, and blogger at DotPhysics.

I think I like reading blogs just as much as I like writing. If you want an example of the stuff I write about, check out:

What is Arnold made of? In this post, I show (using physics of course) that Arnold Schwarzenegger is not human. He must be a robot.

Just thought I'd check in and say "hi"! I'm a physics faculty member with a specialty in classical optics (once derisively referred to by a colleague as "19th century physics"), blogger, and generally attention-deficit human being.

Looking forward to the book, and hoping to convince my math-phobic wife to give it a look!

(P.S. We'll have to get in contact sometime when you're less busy about the cross-blog collaboration we mentioned briefly on twitter!)


I've been reading your blog for a few years now and never commented (actually I've never commented on any blog). I enjoy the posts here and find reading them a great way to avoid working on my thesis.

I'm a graduate student in physical oceanography, which means I've mastered some of the superpowers of calculus (a painful process!). Recently, I started a blog on somewhat random topics here:

I've just started reading your blog - Art teacher since '87, and Mad Scientist since 2000.

@Brieux: We've been talking about how to generate more conversationally inclined topics. BUt really, we just write about what interests us and hope others find it interesting too.

Happy you all delurked to say hi and by all means leave links to blogs, blog posts, etc....

Amusing theme for discussion =))) by the way, these books useful, thanks the author!

I’m interested in science, almost all of it, as an amateur. I was born in London almost 60 years ago. I did a first degree in Chemistry followed by a Masters and a PhD in Chemical Spectroscopy, which took me into corners of all the Natural Sciences. But then I fled academe due to the lack of permanent jobs and spent my working life in IT. I have recently taken early retirement from a job as a senior IT project manager. Nevertheless I retain an all-round interest in science and natural history which I follow through New Scientist, Scientific American, Discover and other blogs — but of course as an amateur I can pick and choose to read whatever grabs my interest. On my blog I also cover anything which takes my interest, especially given my self-selected role as a practising catalyst, quietly enabling others to develop by providing different philosophies and views of the world.

I am glad to support your fellow bloggers! They have some great themes for their books and I'll be diving in tonight!

I'm a wide ranging reader who must have found you through a blog link years ago. I enjoy the sassy yet sincere writing and the effort to communicate science to describe the world.

Think there's any chance that the laser fusion project at Livermore labs will come through? That's the latest focus for my "technology will pull our fat out of the fire" fantasy.

Oh and congrats on the book! and everything else you manage to do!

Ah, at least one other reader I know (Hi Rhett!) but that's hardly surprising.
I'm a physicist and science communicator, and I'll be on a panel at AAPT on social media in the classroom with Jennifer next week! I'll look for those bags under your eyes...

@Stephanie: looking forward to seeing you! RE: bags under eyes -- you have no idea. I've gotten very good at makeup tricks to diminish them, and go through tons of Visine for the bloodshot eyes. Drinking way too caffeine, too. I wish I were joking. But I'm not. I really am exhausted....

@Nimble: I'm a fan of the Livermore fusion project, but every physicist I ask about it says we're nowhere near achieving viable fusion energy. It takes more energy to achieve fusion than the amount of energy they get out of it, so it's just not ready to compete with fossil fuels. But one day!

Jen - is it that it takes too much power to produce fusion, or too much power to contain fusion? I'd always heard it was the latter.

My background: I've been programming since the days of punch cards and plug boards. Currently working in the field of Mental Health, but spent some time in the Air Force dealing with satellites and nukes. Also a strong background in fire & police dispatch and communication.

Hi. I'm a creepy lurker. This week I'm a poet. In the past, I've been philosopher, critical care nurse, bio-ethicist (still can't shake this), writer (fiction, non-fiction, tweets) -- a sort of factotum with very few actual skills. Considering starting a blog as an excuse to write more. I think you know my life-partner and sperm donor, Coturnix. He's a dreamboat. You are a very fine writer, very fine. Hope to meet you in the Triangle in January, or perhaps even in LA. xoxo

I'm a geeky user experience architect/software designer who is always looking for ways to make math and science more interesting for my 11 year old son and 10 year old daughter... especially my daughter, who thinks math is "stupid". I often use the topics in the blogs here as dinner conversation... like "You heard about the big oil spill, right? What is it a bad thing?" Next thing you know, I'm talking about hydrophobic materials.

We have a very hairy cat (named "Poofers") and the kids decided Poofers could probably clean the gulf by herself.

Moments like that are priceless... thank you for helping to make them happen.

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    Physics Cocktails

    • Heavy G
      The perfect pick-me-up when gravity gets you down.
      2 oz Tequila
      2 oz Triple sec
      2 oz Rose's sweetened lime juice
      7-Up or Sprite
      Mix tequila, triple sec and lime juice in a shaker and pour into a margarita glass. (Salted rim and ice are optional.) Top off with 7-Up/Sprite and let the weight of the world lift off your shoulders.
    • Listening to the Drums of Feynman
      The perfect nightcap after a long day struggling with QED equations.
      1 oz dark rum
      1/2 oz light rum
      1 oz Tia Maria
      2 oz light cream
      Crushed ice
      1/8 tsp ground nutmeg
      In a shaker half-filled with ice, combine the dark and light rum, Tia Maria, and cream. Shake well. Strain into an old fashioned glass almost filled with crushed ice. Dust with the nutmeg, and serve. Bongos optional.
    • Combustible Edison
      Electrify your friends with amazing pyrotechnics!
      2 oz brandy
      1 oz Campari
      1 oz fresh lemon juice
      Combine Campari and lemon juice in shaker filled with cracked ice. Shake and strain into chilled cocktail glass. Heat brandy in chafing dish, then ignite and pour into glass. Cocktail Go BOOM! Plus, Fire = Pretty!
    • Hiroshima Bomber
      Dr. Strangelove's drink of choice.
      3/4 Triple sec
      1/4 oz Bailey's Irish Cream
      2-3 drops Grenadine
      Fill shot glass 3/4 with Triple Sec. Layer Bailey's on top. Drop Grenadine in center of shot; it should billow up like a mushroom cloud. Remember to "duck and cover."
    • Mad Scientist
      Any mad scientist will tell you that flames make drinking more fun. What good is science if no one gets hurt?
      1 oz Midori melon liqueur
      1-1/2 oz sour mix
      1 splash soda water
      151 proof rum
      Mix melon liqueur, sour mix and soda water with ice in shaker. Shake and strain into martini glass. Top with rum and ignite. Try to take over the world.
    • Laser Beam
      Warning: may result in amplified stimulated emission.
      1 oz Southern Comfort
      1/2 oz Amaretto
      1/2 oz sloe gin
      1/2 oz vodka
      1/2 oz Triple sec
      7 oz orange juice
      Combine all liquor in a full glass of ice. Shake well. Garnish with orange and cherry. Serve to attractive target of choice.
    • Quantum Theory
      Guaranteed to collapse your wave function:
      3/4 oz Rum
      1/2 oz Strega
      1/4 oz Grand Marnier
      2 oz Pineapple juice
      Fill with Sweet and sour
      Pour rum, strega and Grand Marnier into a collins glass. Add pineapple and fill with sweet and sour. Sip until all the day's super-positioned states disappear.
    • The Black Hole
      So called because after one of these, you have already passed the event horizon of inebriation.
      1 oz. Kahlua
      1 oz. vodka
      .5 oz. Cointreau or Triple Sec
      .5 oz. dark rum
      .5 oz. Amaretto
      Pour into an old-fashioned glass over (scant) ice. Stir gently. Watch time slow.