Adam Frank appears in the following:
Tuesday, February 02, 2016
In a recent Skype call with a Dutch friend, we discussed her kids and their college experience. Apparently, there had been protests on campus about costs and payments.
"How much are they paying now?" I asked, gritting my teeth in preparation for the answer. "Well," she said, "it's now about ...
Sunday, January 31, 2016
Imagine that, while traveling, you find yourself in a new city and decide to go to the zoo.
After looking around for a while, you notice something odd. All of the animals you see come in three sexes. There is the usual male and female — and there's also a ...
Tuesday, January 19, 2016
So, it finally snowed for real here in Rochester last night.
Yeah, I know what you're thinking: Upstate New York equals lots of snow. Well, not for us this weird winter. (Buffalo, of course, has gotten its share.)
I stood outside for a while under a streetlight watching the giant ...
Tuesday, January 12, 2016
Politics and science are two very different beasts.
Science, at its best, tries to extract some measure of truth about the world from a combination of observation and theory. Politics, even at its best, may be more concerned with perception than truth, using the former as a means to advance ...
Tuesday, January 05, 2016
Each day when you wake up, the world is, for the most part, unchanged from the day before.
The sun rises again in the east. Your underwear falls if you drop it. The water in the sink spirals down the drain like always. Just as important, your mattress won't turn ...
Tuesday, December 29, 2015
So, just cause it's the sweet space between Christmas and New Year's doesn't mean you can't still learn new, cool things — like physics.
Today's coolness is the Magnus effect, which is all about how spinning, flying things get driven sideways.
You've seen this in the way spin on ...
Tuesday, December 22, 2015
It's the solstice again, which is an astronomer's favorite time of year. That's because it's one of the few occasions where we have anything semi-practical to say to anyone.
"Hey, Adam, you're an astronomer. What's this whole solstice thing about?"
Well, I'm glad you asked.
Let's start with why we ...
Monday, December 21, 2015
Tuesday, December 15, 2015
As we all await the premiere of the new Star Wars movie, I'd like to indulge in a wee bit of heresy. Maybe — just maybe — something far, far better than The Force Awakens is making its appearance Tuesday night.
Now, just hear me out as you prepare ...
Tuesday, December 08, 2015
The Paris climate meeting is now heading into its home stretch, as world leaders debate what to make of a human future on a changing planet.
As an astronomer, however, I'm used to taking the long view on things. From that perspective, a startlingly different understanding of climate change appears ...
Wednesday, November 25, 2015
Tuesday, November 24, 2015
This year at Thanksgiving tables across America, folks will sit down with family and ask themselves the time-honored question: "What am I thankful for this year?"
It's a moment that makes Thanksgiving one of the best ideas we ever came up with. But this year, I thinking of tipping that ...
Tuesday, November 17, 2015
I'm good at abstracting things. It's part of my job description as a theoretical astrophysicist.
This weekend, however, I spent much of my time restraining that impulse. I didn't want to hide in the comfort of a million-year perspective or the view from 30,000 light-years. It felt important to keep ...
Tuesday, November 10, 2015
When physicist Erwin Schrodinger considered the question "What Is Life?" his answer was the creation order amidst a cosmic sea of chaos.
In other words, life is a local triumph over entropy. But to hear that idea is one thing; seeing its reality is quite another.
In this video ...
Tuesday, November 03, 2015
Wednesday, October 28, 2015
Tuesday, October 27, 2015
Have you heard the big news? If not, you haven't been paying attention to your Facebook feed.
For the past week or two, the Internet has been lighting up about alien megastructures that might, or might not, be orbiting a star called KIC 8462852.
So what should we make of ...
Tuesday, October 20, 2015
The nation's vast transportation network is a modern-day wonder built from highways and streets, off-ramps and interchanges, cars, trucks and buses. And the fossil fuel that powers it all represents another modern wonder — a complex network of linked drilling platforms, refineries, pipelines, rail lines and trucking operations.
The scale ...
Thursday, October 15, 2015
Tuesday, October 13, 2015
The enormous success of the film The Martian has a lot of people talking about life in space.
What is it really like spending months in small enclosure with a bunch of other astronauts while surrounded by death via a hard vacuum? People being people, it turns out that after ...