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Trust Me, I’m a Scientist

In Education by Brian Koberlein

When I was in graduate school, a friend of mine asked about my research. I was studying aspects of black holes in the early universe, so I explained a bit about black holes, the big bang and such in broad terms. Afterwards she shook her head and responded: “Bull poopy.” Our conversation went for a bit longer, with her arguing that I couldn’t possibly know what I was claiming to be true, and me trying to explain how I knew these things, but it was clear that opinions wouldn’t change. The simple fact was that she didn’t trust me. I was either confused or lying, so nothing I said could possibly change her mind.

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Copy Pasta

In Education by Brian Koberlein

Something is amiss in the universe. There appears to be an enormous deficit of ultraviolet light in the cosmic budget. Or, so I’m told. I was asked by a few readers about a new study showing there is less light in the universe than expected. They heard of this from various articles showing up on the web. Like this one …

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Science and Non-Science

In Education by Brian Koberlein

This video is on RIT’s Escharian Stairwell. The Escharian Stairwell is a stairwell that loops back upon itself. So if you walk up a flight of stairs you find yourself back where you started. It’s inspired by M. C. Escher’s Ascending and Descending. At this point you probably recognize that the stairwell is nonsense. The video was created as the project of an RIT graduate student. It is well done, but clearly not real. Surprisingly (or perhaps not surprisingly) many people think it is.

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Measuring the Sun

In Education by Brian Koberlein

Last month there was an annular eclipse, but unless you happen to live in Antarctica, you probably didn’t get a chance to see it. You can, however make your own solar observation to measure the size of the Sun. This experiment uses the principle of parallax, and all you need is a sunny window, some cardboard, a pencil, and a tape measure.

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Our Universe

In Education by Brian Koberlein

If you are fortunate, you have come across a book or two that has deeply impacted your life. One such book for me is by Roy A. Gallant: The National Geographic Picture Atlas of Our Universe.

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On Dark Matter and Dinosaurs

In Education by Brian Koberlein

There is no evidence that dark matter killed the dinosaurs. None whatsoever. It’s link-bait noise that makes the job of communicating real science all that more difficult.