Category Archives: Physics

Detecting Gravitational Waves from Prescott, Arizona

This year’s Nobel Prize in Physics was awarded to three men, but the detection of gravitational waves was the work of a thousand scientists and students — 10 of them from Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University in Prescott.

Read/listen to my full story at KJZZ’s Arizona Science Desk:
Embry-Riddle Scientists, Students Contribute to Nobel-Winning Research

Mantle Mystery Yields to Diamond Vise

Cross section of a diamond anvil cell. Illustration by Tobias1984.

Improved imaging of the Earth’s interior has unlocked new subsurface mysteries, including an area 600 miles (1,000 kilometers) down where the mantle’s usual flow pattern changes.

Now, at a lab bench on the planet’s surface, a team of researchers might have found the reason why.

Read/listen to my full story at KJZZ’s Arizona Science Desk:
Researchers Use Diamond Vise To Crack Mantle Mystery

Taking the Mystery Out of Microbursts

Microburst near Amarillo, Texas. Image from the National Severe Storms Laboratory. Credit: Jason Boggs.

Phoenix, Arizona, is not known for strong winds, but that all changes when monsoons annually deliver destructive downdrafts like the one that damaged its five-story Burton Barr Central Library. In this piece, and in the interview that follows it, I clear up some of the confusion that still  whirls around these blasts.

Read/listen to my full story at KJZZ’s Arizona Science Desk:
Understanding How Microbursts Are Formed

Or listen to my interview on KJZZ’s The Show.

We’re Not in Phoenix Anymore: How Radio Signals “Skipped” All the Way to Kansas

Yes, it’s that exciting.

Unlike AM signals, FM is confined to line-of-sight, so Phoenix’s KBAQ radio station doesn’t typically reach much beyond the Valley of the Sun, let alone to a Volkswagen Beetle 875 miles away. So it’s no wonder that Ken Baker of the Radio Kansas Network was surprised to see what resolved on his HD tuner that day.

Read/listen to my full story at KJZZ’s Arizona Science Desk:
How Phoenix-Area Radio Signals Can Bounce All The Way To Kansas

Is Progress Outpacing Precaution? Experts Weigh In

Illustration by An Arres.

No one expects the machinery of progress to roll backwards, but sometimes it seems that no one is watching the speedometer (or manning the brakes, assuming any exist).  Is this a fair assessment? If so, should we be worried — and what can we do about it?

In this feature, experts on technology, risk, science, policy and neuroscience discuss risk, innovation and how our values affect our conceptions of both.

Read/listen to my full story at KJZZ’s Arizona Science Desk:
ASU Experts Weigh the Risks of Innovation