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Science by Blogging


Particle Physics Tracks in a Bubble Chamber. Click to enlarge. Blogs are normally thought of as more personal diary/opinion vehicles, butI havebelieved inthe potential for blogsas an excitingteaching toolever since my small success withblogging in the Fall 2005 Chaos and Fractals course.

This potential is taken to the nth degree in a very informative article by Sean Carroll in APS News (May 2006). There Carroll describes his own view of blogging as "a great opportunity for physicists to exchange ideas more readily with each other, and to let the rest of the world share the thrill of the process by which science truly progresses."

Carroll, is a a member ofthe Cosmic Variance group blog whose physicist/astrophysicist contributors write about "science, art, politics, culture, technology, academia" (the similarity to FractaLog is not intentional -but I am heartened to see all of these scientists out there willing toplace their science in the context of life itself.)

Read Carroll’s article for ideas of howblogging helps him, and how it might help you - in teaching, research, and, everything else.

Carroll describes a number of interesting blogs. I list them here as a resource.

Distler's Musings - a REAL physics blog, with "musings" on cosmology, string theory, and other heavy stuff - you'll get the sense that real science is going on here. Kavli Institute for Theoretical Physics (UC Santa Barbara)-here separate blogs are used for news and interaction for individual Institute programs Quantum Diaries- set of blogs kept up by 25 particle physicists during the 2005 World Year of Physics in 2005. The blogs could be on any topic. There are no more posts as of the end of 2005, but the archives are available. Bad Astronomy - Phil Plait of Sonoma State University writes about myths and misuses of astronomy, and also the good stuff coming out of modern astronomical studies Uncertain Principles - Chad Orzel, an atomic physicist at Union College,covers "physics, politics, andpop culture" Biocurious , maintained by grad students/postdocs Andre Brown and Igor Kulic (U Penn) and Philip Johnson (Simon Fraser U), is a "weblog about biology (and physics, grad school, and miscellaneous other things!) through the eyes of physicists." Inky Circus - Maintainted by British journalists Anna Gosline, Katie Law, Anne Casselman, this blog is an accompanying effort to their goal of launching "a new popular science magazine aimed at women. It will cover interesting and timely science stories, with an emphasis on topics that appeal to women, such as medical research and the environment" Cocktail Party Physics -By Jennifer Ouellette,a science writer with a non-science backgroundat spins , this provides "Physics with a twist" I'll say! Jennifer's posts are incredibly interesting, with possibly the widest variety of topics you'll find anywhere - and their connection to physics. And when Sean Carroll writes about the potential of blogging, consider this: when Ouellette's blog came on the scene earlier this year, she and her site were lauded by Carroll on his site. Mutual kudo and trackbacks followed leading to the ultimate permalink - they are now engaged.