"Galileo's Pendulum" is a blog covering physics, astronomy, math, and related topics - all for a non-specialist audience. I am especially interested in showing how science actually works, and how the various conceptual pieces fit together to make the theoretical framework that provides the best description of the natural world.
Galileo's Pendulum's Latest Posts
A study of 19 quasars — extremely bright black holes at the centers of galaxies — showed the matter swirling around them spins in accordance with where they reside. Galaxies form a vast network of clumps and filaments connecting them, the cosmic web known as the large-scale structure of the Universe. Researchers found that at […]
Yesterday, a robotic probe named Philae landed on the surface of a comet. That’s the first time humanity has ever attempted a comet landing, and for good reason it was an exciting occasion. Things didn’t quite go right: the probe bounced twice and seems to be resting on its side, though it is still in […]
Poetry is an ancient art, certainly predating written language. From the beginning, poets have described and wondered about the heavens: stars, planets, and the rarer transient events: eclipses, comets, meteors. And as our knowledge about the Universe has broadened, poetic descriptions have changed too. Sometimes studying the Universe can make us feel small, but poetry […]
Many astronomical images are beautiful. People especially love pictures of spiral galaxies or planetary nebulas, but some others evoke a gradual sense of beauty. In science, beauty comes with knowledge: knowing what you see reveals why something is beautiful. The image above is one such: it’s fuzzy and not particularly colorful, but when you know […]
Protons give every atom its fundamental identity. The number of protons tells you where an atom sits on the Periodic Table, while the number of neutrons and electrons can vary (within limits). However, they are not fundamental: they are made of three quarks, gluons to bind things together (yeah, the name is even derived from […]
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