Filipina Helps Prove Einstein’s Theory of Relativity

This is old news, it happened two years ago, except this March, 28 year old astrophysicist Reinabelle Reyes visited the Philippines, rekindling interest in her two-year old achievement at the tender age of 26. She, and a group of fellow scientists, managed to prove how galaxies up to 3.5 billion light years away cluster together just the way General Relativity predicted, proving the theory in a pan-galactic scale when it has only been previously proven within the solar system.
In her interview, she comes off as a sensible, humble person; her achievement is certainly refreshing considering women in the news nowadays range from ex-president Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo’s fight against corruption charges to Kim Kardashian, about which the less said, the better. If young girls want a role model, they would be wise to choose Ms. Reyes.

I find it also interesting that Ms. Reyes is an atheist (from reading the article, I suppose she is, though there are so many subtle shades of position in the matter of one’s faith that I could be wrong). Yes, it is common for astrophysicists and mathematicians to be atheists (the most popular example is Stephen Hawking), but there are also many Jesuits who are astrophysicist and mathematicians, the most notable is Christopher Clavius. The previous president of Ateneo de Manila, Fr. Nebres, is a mathematician. The present president, Fr. Villarin, is a physicist. It would be interesting to ask these two people how their faith survived the scientific method.



I need  these!

Art mixes it up with Science

I love it when art mixes it up with science. There are scientists, intelligent, creative people, who often take up the brush or play the piano. They like to do something CREATIVE and lo and behold, they’re good at it! Too bad, I don’t often hear an artist doing something scientific like make a discovery or something. There should be more of that, too.
Artist thinks ‘science’ and ‘tech’ with varied works

And YES, here are some more links of Artists popularizing science. Not quite DOING science yet, but it’s a step! An organization mixing up science and art to find new forms of expression. Biologist who takes up painting another scientist with a taste for watercolor David Goodsell is another scientist/painter

The Science of Avengers

Did Avengers get the science right? Copernicus (aka Andy Howell, astrophysicist at UC Sta. Barbara) brings in a review of the Avengers from a scientist’s point of view. Avengers fares pretty good, actually, compared to other films (unlike his review of Star Trek, in which he points out several major mistakes no self-respecting science fiction movie with time travel and starships should make).

You can tell he’s a physicist, because he hardly covers the possibility of the Hulk (he just accepts it, on faith, like a priest) or of Captain America (He says it’s not interesting. Enhancing a human being is not as interesting as stars and black holes?).

He also doesn’t cover the SHIELD Helicarrier’s cloaking device. In James Bond’s “Tomorrow Never Dies” (who stole the idea from Masamune Shirow’s “Ghost in a Shell”, they use video cameras to project on an object what is behind it, theoretically rendering it invisible, but that doesn’t work well on moving objects or objects as large as an aircraft carrier. There are other possibilities I found in Wikipedia.

That still leaves a lot to Geek Out on, like the Cosmic Cube, Thor’s lightning striking Iron Man (Why should Stark be surprised? It’s a Faraday Cage!) and how much energy would it take to lift the Helicarrier?

Here are Copernicus’s reviews on the science of the Avengers:

The Science of The Avengers Part 1

The Science of the Avengers Part 2

The Science of Thor

and as a bonus, Copernicus also links to io9’s video on the possibilities of creating superheroes (the portion regarding genetics starts at 5:43 in the video):

io9’s The Science of the Avengers

Large Hadron Collider…in Lego!

I have seen many things in Lego. Batman, the entire Star Wars Saga, an inkjet printer (made by Google founder Larry Page). Well, if pop culture can be rendered in Lego, they might as well do something educational, hence the Large Hadron Collider!

Created by a physicist at the Niels Bohr Institute in Denmark, Sascha Mehlhase spent $2,600 of customized bricks and 33 hours to assemble 9,500 bricks into a model of the ATLAS detector, one of the seven particle detectors in the LHC. The ATLAS detector is 25 meters in diameter. Its Lego counterpart is .6 meters tall. The scale is 1:50, or perfectly life-sized for a Lego figure.

Now, if only someone can render the entire 27 km length of the LHC in Lego.

The article is here and they apparently have more pictures here

While we are on the subject of Lego (can you sense that I have a lifelong love for this toy?) here are 6 inventions made of Lego that actually work! I see a twin-lens camera, a robot arm and a 3D milling machine. Go Lego!