The Science of Sustainability

Physics

Dark Secrets

Dark Secrets

A dark-sky spot amidst the urban light pollution of the Bay Area, taken from Chabot Space & Science Center. Credit: Carter Roberts. When I was growing up, I spent my summers at a camp in the Sierra’s near Colfax, where my mother worked as head cook. This gave me two months' worth of nights every […]

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Out of the Park: The Physics of Baseball

Out of the Park: The Physics of Baseball

At UC Berkeley, a team of undergrads is experimenting with velocity, force, and aerodynamics. But you won't find them in a lab — they work on a baseball diamond, throwing fast balls, sliders and curve balls.

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Out of the Park: The Physics of Baseball

Out of the Park: The Physics of Baseball

At UC Berkeley, a team of undergrads is experimenting with velocity, force, and aerodynamics. But you won't find them in a lab – they work on a baseball diamond, throwing fast balls, sliders and curve balls. QUEST discovers how the principles of physics can make the difference between a strike and a homerun. You may […]

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Supernovae in Aspen

Supernovae in Aspen

Artist's impression of a Type Ia Supernova explosion. A white dwarf (left) steals the matter from the outer envelopeof a red giant companion (right) until it can no longer support the weight. The resulting explosion can be seen across the universe. Credit: David A. Hardy, www.astroart.org & PPARC I'm writing this from the plane on […]

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The Science of Making Decisions

The Science of Making Decisions

Have you ever looked at your credit card bill and thought you needed to have your head examined? Stanford University is using complex brain imaging to study how humans make shopping decisions, and are finding that emotions play a large role in everyday purchases.

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The Science of Making Decisions

The Science of Making Decisions

Have you ever looked at your credit card bill and thought you needed to have your head examined? Stanford University is using complex brain imaging to study how humans make shopping decisions, and are finding that emotions play a large role in everyday purchases. You may listen to the "The Science of Making Decisions" Radio […]

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Titan: It's a Small World After All

Titan: It's a Small World After All

A comparison of one of Titan's 'seas'(left) and Lake Superior. Credit: NASA/Cassini.Saturn's largest moon, Titan, has always held my imagination in a tight grip. Even back in my childhood (we're talking the 60's, before any interplanetary probe had even crossed the Asteroid Belt just beyond Mars), when we knew little more about Titan than its […]

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Good Vibrations

Good Vibrations

How does an elephant know to avoid a hungry lion pride to the west from miles and miles away? They have friends who call them with the 411, dialing direct to their feet. According to expert Caitlin O'Connell-Rodwell, Elephants use their voices to create sounds, which transfer into waves through the ground. The elephants receive […]

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What is Invisible?

What is Invisible?

Some forces, like the electromagnetic force, are very easy to detect using small children in the laboratory. Others aren't so easy. I finished off my last post with mention of some recent dark matter press coverage. I'm going to take this opportunity to delve into this subject with a little more detail. I realize I've […]

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Whalesong and underwater noise pollution

Whalesong and underwater noise pollution

Humpback in Sacramento River. Image source: U.S. Coast GuardFor the past 12 days, residents of the Bay Area have been following the day-to-day saga of two humpback whales (Megaptera novaeangliae) swimming far up to Sacramento River delta. Of course, we don't expect fully ocean-going, marine mammals to wander this far up a freshwater river system, […]

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Reconsidering Nuclear Power

Reconsidering Nuclear Power

Not long ago, nuclear power was unthinkable among environmentalists, particularly in California, where a moratorium on new power plants has put a lid on the industry for thirty years. But that sentiment may be changing. You may listen to the "Reconsidering Nuclear Power" Radio report online. Amy Standen is a Reporter for QUEST and Radio […]

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Astronomy in the News

Astronomy in the News

An artists conception of a planet orbiting a red dwarf star Is it just me, or have we seen a ton of astronomy news coverage in the last month? Lately, it seems like every time I check my inbox, there is a new question from my parents about some great new discovery with a link […]

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Solar flares: flashes with a twist

Solar flares: flashes with a twist

Sunspot 930 (dark area) and associated X-class solar flare of 12/13/06 (bright). Image Credit: Hinode, Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA).The Sun doesn't usually make the headlines–not even something like, "Flash! Nuclear explosion as powerful as a billion H-bombs sighted only 93 million miles from Earth!" Let's face it, things like that just don’t seem relevant […]

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Indoor Air Pollution

Indoor Air Pollution

Most people think of their house as a sanctuary from toxic air. And yet, according to a 2005 State study, Californians spend $45 billion a year on the health effects of indoor air pollution. California lawmakers have failed to pass legislation that would tighten controls on residential air quality, though laws targeting specific pollutants — […]

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Gamma Rays and Monsters

Gamma Rays and Monsters

Most of us are killed after receiving a large dose of gamma rays. For a select few, the exposure can unleash our inner demons. Image courtesy of http://www.hulkmovie.com/navigation/multimedia.htm. Continuing on the theme of Supernovae from my last posting, I’ll take this opportunity to address an earlier question that was asked by one of my loyal […]

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LIDAR: Lasers Nab Leadfoots

LIDAR: Lasers Nab Leadfoots

A growing number of Bay Area police are putting away their old radar guns and embracing new laser beam guns, clocking cars with much more precision than before. QUEST TV finds out how they work.

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LIDAR: Lasers Nab Leadfoots

LIDAR: Lasers Nab Leadfoots

LIDAR (Light-Imaging Detection and Ranging) is the new generation replacement for the older Radar systems that police have been using to catch speeders. LIDAR uses an IR Pulsed Laser Diode to measure speed, distance and direction. By using beam width of less than one-degree, it’s significantly more accurate than the older radar systems. As the […]

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Hinode means sunrise

Hinode means sunrise

A typical, Earth-sized sunspot as seen by Hinode. Credit: Hinode, National Astronomical Observtory of Japan (NAOJ)A new day has dawned– so to speak… Last September, the Japanese space agency, JAXA, launched a new solar observatory satellite, originally designated as "Solar-B." Upon its successful launch, the spacecraft was bestowed its nickname, Hinode (pronounced “heh NO day”), […]

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Science of Big Waves

Science of Big Waves

The organizers of the famous Maverick surf contest have voted that the conditions are right for hanging ten this weekend. The monster waves at Mavericks attract big wave surfers from around the world. But what exactly makes these Half Moon Bay waves so big?

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Nobel Laureate George Smoot and the Origin of the Universe

Nobel Laureate George Smoot and the Origin of the Universe

QUEST TV talks with George Smoot, big bang researcher at UC Berkeley and winner of the 2006 Nobel Prize in Physics.

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