Category: Science

A frank look at gender inequality in science

A frank look at gender inequality in science

I just read a fantastic blog post discussing gender inequality in science by Sabine Hossenfelder, a theoretical physicist, author, and Research Fellow at the Frankfurt Institute for Advanced Studies. Written partly in reaction to the recent Strumia debacle, she presents a frank summary of the issue of women’s representation in science, and physics especially.

The universe and your morning coffee

The universe and your morning coffee

In a closed system, like the universe, entropy can only stay the same or increase over time. And yet we see rich complexity emerge, both here on Earth (including life itself!) and across the cosmos. How does this apparent order emerge in a system with increasing entropy? The answer lies in your morning coffee.

You will be missed, Stephen Hawking

You will be missed, Stephen Hawking

Physicists are born in two ways–either lured in by the mysteries of particle physics or the wonder of the vast cosmos. For myself and many others, Stephen Hawking offered us one of our first glimpses of both worlds.

Yes, it is safe to drink and breastfeed

Yes, it is safe to drink and breastfeed

After a long pregnancy, I was looking forward to my first refreshing beer. But I worried about what impact having a drink would have on my breast milk. There’s a lot of conflicting advice out there.

Big Reaction: Nanoscale etching a penny

Big Reaction: Nanoscale etching a penny

My lab is located at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (LBL), just up the hill from UC Berkeley. The lab is home to a wide range of cool research and cutting edge technology. The demo shown here, produced by the Molecular Foundry at LBL, showcases two different techniques for creating nanoscale features.

Big Reaction: Microwaving Ivory soap

Big Reaction: Microwaving Ivory soap

The key to this reaction is using Ivory soap. This type of soap has little air pockets throughout (it floats in water). The microwave excites trapped water molecules, transferring heat to the air pockets. The air rapidly expands, creating the foam growths.

Lamb’s Ear, a plant you can pet

Lamb’s Ear, a plant you can pet

On a recent trip to the San Francisco Botanical Garden, I stumbled on the niftiest plant ever. It’s called Stachys byzantina or “Lamb’s Ear”, named for the softness of it’s leaves. And WOW are they soft.