Natural Sciences

The Valancourt Book of World Horror Stories, Volume 1

Having a quiet night at home and realized this would be a good time to catch up on some book blogging! I finally started getting back into reading, after a long pandemic-depression hiatus, at the start of the new year, but am way behind in writing about the books I read.

Let’s start with The Valancourt Book of World Horror Stories, Volume 1, which came out in December of 2020.

Edited by James Jenkins and Ryan Cagle, the founders of Valancourt Books, this volume collects a bunch...

Old School Dungeons and Dragons: Part 20

Wow, have I been doing these threads forever? Yes, yes I have! The first one was in August of 2019!

Anyway, here are some more old school Dungeons & Dragons posts, compiled from my twitter threads.

Night Below, an Underdark Campaign (1995), by Carl Sargent. This one is a truly epic D&D product!

Night Below was billed as the “first epic campaign adventure for the AD&D game,” though that it certainly a bit of an exaggeration, considering the whole Against...

Old School Dungeons and Dragons: Part 19

Have I really done enough twitter threads of old school Dungeons and Dragons to fill 19 posts? Yes, I have, and there’s more to come!

Let’s jump right in…

The Book of Lairs (1986), by Jim Ward and Michael Breault. This next product was a big deal when it first came out, as I remember!

The Book of Lairs served as something somewhat new for TSR: instead of a single adventure, the volume contained over sixty mini-adventures that could be inserted into a campaign on...

Thomas Young sees the light (1800)

A post inspired by work I’m doing on my next book, on the history of invisibility! Also will help me get my thoughts in order to write the book chapter.

At the turn of the nineteenth century, humanity’s understanding of the nature of light underwent a dramatic transformation. For about a century, the study of optics had been dominated by the views of Isaac Newton, who published his classic work on the subject, Opticks, in 1704. Newton did rigorous experiments, testing...

Old School Dungeons & Dragons: Part 18

Time for another round of old school Dungeons and Dragons, taken from my long-running twitter series!

Dragons (1986), by Cory Glaberson. Here is another supplement in the Role Aids line for D&D that was produced by Mayfair Games, originally under the untested premise that TSR couldn’t sue them for making unlicensed products!

Role Aids produced game supplements and adventures with annoyingly generic names. Like “Undead,” which presented an entire...

Me on This Week in Science!

I’m having a lot of fun doing video chats on science shows lately! A few days ago, I happened to see that This Week in Science talked about some optics that I am familiar with, and I jokingly complained to them that I should have been consulted. Well, that turned into me appearing to talk about optics, invisibility, and cat physics this week! You can watch the interview and discussion below:


Personally Speaking… about Falling Felines!

Hi all, I’ve been rather busy with work lately and haven’t had much time to blog. I’ve got a lot to write about, and no time to do it! In the meantime, however, I gave a talk at my university about my Falling Felines and Fundamental Physics book which, thanks to the pandemic, will be about as “official” as a book tour event as I will have.

The event was a lot of fun, and the video is available below for anyone interested in watching! The talk itself was about...

Row, row row your boat, James Clerk Maxwell (1841)

Another short post inspired by my work on my upcoming book on the history of invisibility physics!

James Clerk Maxwell (1831-1879) is rightly regarded as one of the most important physicists of the 19th century, and indeed of all time, thanks to his work on a variety of subjects: color vision, statistical mechanics, and electromagnetic theory. It was Maxwell who find the “missing link” in electromagnetic theory, a previously unknown factor in the interaction...

Some photos of the conjunction!

You may have heard that yesterday there was a rare planetary conjunction, in which Jupiter and Saturn appear very close together in the sky! Well, the planets will still be close for several days, and I thought I would go out tonight and try a few shots with my old Canon PowerShot camera, which did surprisingly well.

So, here’s one of the best images I got, where you can actually see the rings of Saturn, probably not much different than Galileo did when he first looked at the planet...

Superoscillations: imaging beyond the limits of diffraction

This past week I gave a virtual talk to the Charlotte Amateur Astronomy Club about a fascinating development in wave physics and imaging called “superoscillations,” and I thought I would record a version that I could share here!

Hopefully the video makes sense — I throw in a little history about the wave theory of light in addition to the discussion of modern developments.