David Crowley

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Einstein's wonderful letter to David Hilbert: A message for our times

David Hilbert (born today in 1862) was one of the greatest mathematicians of the 20th century. He made incisive contributions to a remarkable range …


A stunning prediction of climate science — and basic physics — may now be coming true

A lot of people deny climate change. Not many, though, deny gravity.<p>That’s why a recent animation released by NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory — well, it came out in April, but people seem to be noticing it now — is so striking. Because it suggests the likely gravitational imprint of our changing …

Global Warming

Turn Empty Beer Cans Into Sun-Tracking Cameras

Best use of a six-pack in a while<p>In a world of digital cameras and instant gratification, photographer Justin Quinnell embraces pinhole photography, a technique hundreds of years old. He uses beer cans and photographic paper to record the gradual shift in the sun’s path over the course of several …

Are our kids failing in maths because they can’t read?

There has been a lot of hand-wringing about mathematics lately. According to national and international testing we are not getting any better at it …


How the Simpsons have secretly been teaching you math

<i>This episode of</i> Inquiring Minds, <i>a podcast hosted by best-selling author Chris Mooney and neuroscientist and musician Indre Viskontas</i><i>, also features a</i> …


10 Phrases Great Speakers Never Say

Want to ruin a presentation in seconds? Just drop in one of these sentences.<p>While it's really hard to immediately win over a crowd, it's really easy for a speaker to lose the room within the first few minutes of a presentation.<p>To make sure you don't lose your audience, here's Boris Veldhuijzen van …

Public Speaking

The No-Fail Way To Stop Procrastinating

Illustrated by Anna Sudit.<p>I’m working on Before and After, a book about habit-formation, so I constantly ask myself, “What are the issues in my life …

First-ever high-resolution images of a molecule as it breaks and reforms chemical bonds

The single-atom moving finger of the nc-AFM could feel not only the individual atoms but the forces representing the bonds formed by the electrons …

10 Lessons I Learned from a Year of Productivity Experiments

Over the last 12 months I have conducted countless productivity experiments on myself, interviewed some of the most productive people in the world, …

Time Management

How to set up a foolproof note-taking system for writers and other nerds (Part 3)

Welcome to the final part of our series about note-taking for writers (or anyone else). Today we’re going to look at getting clippings and bookmarks into Evernote, to be stored and accessible alongside your scanned, paper-based notes (Part 1) and your text notes grabbed on your iPhone or Mac (Part …

The Nobel Prize in Physics Is Really a Nobel Prize in Math

Experiment is the ultimate judge of a theory, and that’s why we need expensive and sophisticated machines like CERN's particle accelerator. But the amazing fact is that scientists like Einstein and Higgs made their discoveries with little more than pen and paper.<p>This year's Nobel Prize in Physics …

Math: The ultimate BS detector

Disappearing Color Wheel - Sick Science! #182

Color Wheel

Centripetal Force Penny - Sick Science! #157


Popsicle Stick Chain Reaction - Sick Science! #144


Falling Ring Catch - Sick Science! #046

Cork in the Bottle Trick - Sick Science! #015

Pendulum Catch - Sick Science! #013


Reach Them to Teach Them - Steve Spangler 2009

Optical Illusion - Magic Arc

Inseparable Books - Sick Science! #199


This Simple Math Concept Went Nowhere For A Century And Then — BOOM — Computers

What's truly amazing is that sometimes a branch of math will start out as something completely abstract, with no immediate scientific or engineering applications, and then much later a practical use can be found.<p>Boolean algebra is the combination of logic and algebra, initially developed by George …


Homemade Projector - Sick Science! #201


To Clean Up Oil Spills, Magnetize The Oil First

Physicist Arden Warner's new process uses magnetism instead of toxic chemicals to mop up oil spills<p>By day Arden Warner is a physicist at the Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory, working on the next generation of particle accelerators. After hours, he has been devising a non-toxic way to clean up …

Friction Physics Reveals Details Of How People Hauled 100-Plus-Ton Stones To China's Forbidden City

Sounds like cold, hard work<p>Records say that in 15th-century China, workers hauled 100-ton-plus stone blocks 43 miles from a quarry to build the Forbidden City, over man-made paths.<p>The workers dug wells every half-kilometer to reach water, which they would pour to create ice roads in the deep …

Meet the Woman Who Just Won Math

There’s been a persistent (though obviously false) cultural perception that women just aren’t any good at math. Which is why, historically, women …

What My Mother Learned from Einstein

How a young woman's correspondence with the Nobel laureate changed her life forever<p>In 1946, my mother, Myfanwy, was 16 and going to school in Cape Town, South Africa, when she wrote a letter to Albert Einstein that changed her life forever. She shared her dreams of becoming a scientist, describing …

An Origami Microscope For Less Than a Dollar

Bringing microscopes where none have gone before.<p>Imagine a world where every child owns a microscope. A clever new method to fold the instrument from a single sheet of paper may bring that dream closer to reality.<p>In the Foldscope, invented by Stanford University engineers, creased paper creates a …

Can We Hack Our Vision To See Infrared With The Naked Eye?

A team of biohackers is attempting to modify the human sensory spectrum.<p>“Can you imagine a color you’ve never seen?” Jeffrey Tibbetts asks, looking directly into the Skype camera. We would like to think that we can, of course, that our imaginations are limitless. But the answer, no matter how much …

Greenhouse gases grew at alarming rate in 2013, UN weather agency says

Believed to be largest year-to-year increase since 1984<p>Atmospheric volumes of greenhouse gases hit a record in 2013 as carbon dioxide concentrations …