Hunting Einstein’s waves

July 30, 2014


Technicians install portions of the Advanced LIGO detector at Livingston, Louisiana. Credit Michael Fyffe/LIGO.

This spring I traveled to Baton Rouge to visit a gravitational-wave hunter named LIGO. It’s one of the biggest and most expensive facilities the National Science Foundation has ever invested in, and it still hasn’t produced what it was built to do.

Posted in: physics

Science, 400 kilometers high

June 13, 2014


Zero-g and she feels fine. Credit NASA.

There’s a lot going on aboard the International Space Station these days.

Posted in: space

Surf’s up on Titan

March 24, 2014


A close-up view of Titan's polar seas (blue). Credit NASA.

Planetary scientists may have just spotted the first waves on an ocean beyond Earth. They’re on Saturn’s largest moon, Titan.

Posted in: astronomy, space

On getting into science writing

February 27, 2014


MIT logo

My alma mater, MIT, has a short piece on their alumni blog about my entry into science writing as a career. I started out as a geologist (Course XII rocks!) and ended up as a reporter. You can read the short piece here.

Posted in: journalism

Evolution of a river

January 13, 2014


The Colorado near Page, AZ. Credit: flickr/Trodel.

I live in the state of Colorado, but on the eastern side of the Continental Divide — and thus on the wrong side of the mountains from the storied river that bears the state’s name.

Posted in: geology

Troubled waters

October 3, 2013


You hope you never have to use one of these.

I’ve only been to sea twice on research vessels. In 2003, I spent a week aboard the drillship JOIDES Resolution off the coast of Oregon. In July 2013, I went back to the same general area aboard the R/V Thomas G. Thompson, a University of Washington-owned ship.

Posted in: oceans

Laki: the forgotten volcano

June 7, 2013


laki signpost

Tomorrow is the 230th anniversary of a volcanic eruption that you’ve probably never heard of, but that changed the history of science and the history of Europe. On the morning of June 8, 1783, the ground ripped open in south-central Iceland and began spewing fountains of fire into the air.

Posted in: volcanoes

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