Robert McNees Profile picture
Professor, physicist. Black holes, quantum gravity, cosmology. Rocky Top. Tar Heel. RTs are spooky action at a distance. Opinions mine, not employer's. He/him.
THEE NerdlyRegina Profile picture Skepticus Profile picture 2 added to My Authors
Oct 8, 2018 4 tweets 2 min read
Good afternoon. Happy Dogtober.
Oct 7, 2018 4 tweets 2 min read
The physicist Niels Bohr was born #OTD in 1885. He applied Planck’s new ideas about quanta to develop the first modern model of atomic structure in 1913, which motivated the development of quantum mechanics over the next few decades.
Inage: Atomic Heritage Foundation Here’s a thread from last year about the historical context for his model, and how it set physicists on the path to quantum mechanics.
Oct 5, 2018 4 tweets 1 min read
Jason Van Dyke found guilty of 2nd degree murder and multiple counts of aggravated battery with a firearm. All 16 counts of aggravated battery. One for each shot.
Oct 4, 2018 4 tweets 3 min read
Koba & Takeda submitted their paper "Radiation Reaction in Collision Processes, III" to the journal Progress of Theoretical Physics #OTD in 1948. It described a method for calculating certain quantities in quantum electrodynamics via "transition diagrams." academic.oup.com/ptp/article/4/… Their paper was submitted just two days before Freeman Dyson's ground-breaking article on Feynman diagrams was submitted to Physical Review. The approaches are very similar, as was clear to all three scientists!
Oct 4, 2018 4 tweets 2 min read
He took out a full page ad in the newspaper demanding the death penalty for five black kids who turned out to be innocent, and still insisted on their guilt even after the real perpetrator confessed. Here is the ad Trump placed in all four of New York’s major newspapers, months before the end of the trial, when I’d assume presumption of innocence would still apply.
Oct 4, 2018 4 tweets 2 min read
Sputnik 1, the first satellite made by humans, was launched into low Earth orbit #OTD in 1957.
Image: NSSDC, NASA The launch of Sputnik marked the beginning of the Space Age. Here, let a young Jeff Goldblum show you what the mood was like in the Pentagon.
Oct 2, 2018 5 tweets 1 min read
This is obviously, laughably not true. How could anyone make a statement like this and expect to be taken seriously. I don’t know one guy, including myself, who doesn’t have the death sentence on 12 systems.
Oct 2, 2018 10 tweets 2 min read
Dr. Donna Strickland, one of the three recipients, is only the third woman to win the Nobel Prize in Physics since 1901, and the first in 55 years. nytimes.com/2018/10/02/sci… I don’t want to focus on that, but the Nobel in Physics has been so bad for so long that I don’t feel like you can talk about it without acknowledging how its status has been devalued by the persistent and gratuitous sexism.
Oct 1, 2018 6 tweets 2 min read
What a time we live in.
bloomberg.com/news/articles/… If Kavanaugh picking a fight with a guy he misidentified as the lead singer of UB40 is what derails this thing, I’m done.
Oct 1, 2018 4 tweets 2 min read
Maria Mitchell snuck out of a party #OTD in 1847, so she could do some observing from the roof of her family's home. She spotted a comet with their 2-inch reflector, which she carefully observed for a few more days before her father notified a friend at the Harvard Observatory. Sneaking out of a party to do some science is pretty much my signature move, so I have always felt a great fondness for this discovery.
Oct 1, 2018 4 tweets 1 min read
When you notice that it is October. slide into october like
Sep 29, 2018 15 tweets 4 min read
Enrico Fermi, one of the foremost experimental and theoretical physicists of the 20th century, was born #OTD in 1901. Now estimate how many other physicists were born on that day.
Image: New York Public Library Fermi was only 21 when he completed his PhD at Pisa, and after a few years abroad working with Born and Ehrenfest he became a lecturer at Florence. It was there that he worked out the statistics of a collection of particles satisfying Pauli's exclusion principle.
Sep 28, 2018 5 tweets 1 min read
6yo: What does a farmer use to check his math?

Me: [wary] Idk, what?

6yo: A COW-culator 6yo: Who is a sheep’s favorite musician?

Me: Um, who?

6yo: Lady BAA-BAA
Sep 28, 2018 5 tweets 1 min read
Flake can say that, and then vote yes, but even if Grassley agrees to the terms he is under no obligation to honor them. By this time Monday Flake will be penning an op-ed about how unfortunate it is that Grassley didn't honor the terms of their "deal" but also somehow Democrats are equally at fault.
Sep 28, 2018 8 tweets 3 min read
Astronomer and mathematician Pierre-Louis Moreau de Maupertuis, exact date of birth unknown, was born around this time in 1698 and baptized #OTD. He was among the first to articulate the principle of least action, one of the most beautiful ideas in physics.
Image: Wellcome Trust Maupertuis originally formulated his principle to explain the motion of light, arguing that the integral of its velocity along the path it follows is minimized. This allowed him to recover Snell's Law for the refraction of light as it passes between different materials.
Sep 28, 2018 5 tweets 2 min read
Anyone surprised by this is willfully ignorant. Senator @JeffFlake is the great political coward of our time. He probably knows this on some level, but he will never, ever be President. Meanwhile, everyone has lost count of the number of times Kavanaugh casually perjured himself before the Senate. The modern GOP is a moral wasteland.
Sep 25, 2018 15 tweets 3 min read
Late night dungeons and dragons controversy. tbh Gandalf was a fourth level illusionist don’t @ me
Sep 24, 2018 6 tweets 1 min read
If only you belonged to a body with some sort of oversight capacity that would allow it to protect the Special Counsel's investigation. Then you could do something about this. Maybe Collins and Flake can go halfsies on a Senate fainting couch.
Sep 23, 2018 6 tweets 2 min read
Good evening. Civil, nautical, and astronomical twilight.
Sep 21, 2018 5 tweets 2 min read
[Ron Howard narrating]
They looked nothing like each other Kavanaugh was an absolute garbage candidate to begin with, why didn’t they just nominate someone whose candidacy wouldn’t inevitably lead them to “perhaps a very different-looking doppelgänger committed the sexual assault” jfc
Sep 17, 2018 5 tweets 2 min read
Good evening. And good evening.