Author Archives: The Physicist

Q: How hard would it be to keep the Moon from drifting away?

Physicist: Almost prohibitively! Ever since the Moon entered the scene 4.5 billion years ago, it’s been slowly drifting away.  Initially it was around 15 times closer and bigger across in the sky.  The effects that push it away decrease rapidly … Continue reading

Posted in -- By the Physicist, Astronomy, Engineering, Physics | 7 Comments

For the first time ever, you can buy a book!

Physicist: Over the past year I’ve been putting together a collection of some (fifty-four) of my favorite and most elucidating articles from the past decade, revised, updated, and in book form.  You can get your very own copy here! In … Continue reading

Posted in -- By the Physicist | 10 Comments

Q: Where is all the anti-matter?

Physicist: Anti-matter is exactly the same as ordinary matter but opposite, in very much the same way that a left hand is exactly the same as a right hand… but opposite.  Every anti-particle has exactly the same mass as their … Continue reading

Posted in -- By the Physicist, Particle Physics, Physics | 14 Comments

Q: Is it possible to write a big number using a small number? Is there a limit to how much information can be compressed?

Physicist: Although there are tricks that work in very specific circumstances, in general when you “encode” any string of digits using fewer digits, you lose some information.  That means that when you want to reverse the operation and “decode” what … Continue reading

Posted in -- By the Physicist, Combinatorics, Computer Science, Entropy/Information, Math | 8 Comments

Q: Is reactionless propulsion possible?

Physicist: In a word: no. A reactionless drive is basically a closed box with the ability to just start moving, on its own, without touching or exuding anything.  The classic sci-fi tropes of silent flying cars or hovering UFOs are … Continue reading

Posted in -- By the Physicist, Physics, Relativity | 15 Comments

Q: How can I set up a random gift exchange that’s different from year to year?

The original question was: I’ve got a large family and we do a yearly gift exchange one person to one person. And I’d like to make a algorithm or something to do random selection without repeating for some time. And … Continue reading

Posted in -- By the Physicist, Combinatorics, Experiments, Math | 2 Comments