Category Archives: Prof. Orzel

Prof. Orzel Presents TED@NYC Talk

Prof. Orzel presenting TED@NYC talk
Prof. Orzel presenting TED@NYC talk

Prof. Orzel was invited to present a talk at TED@NYC, a competition to choose speakers for the main TED conference.
Adapting a chapter from his upcoming book, Eureka: How to Think Like a Scientist, he shared five important steps in the process used by scientists like Albert Einstein, Ernest Rutherford and Niels Bohr. They looked at experimental evidence and introduced new ideas that both explained the particular phenomenon they were looking at and fit together with the ideas of others to make a coherent whole. This, in turn, led to the notion of electrons behaving like waves (introduced by Louis de Broglie). See this
story for more details.

Prof. Orzel Publishes Review Article

Associate Professor and Chair of the Department of Physics and Astronomy Chad Orzel published an invited review article in the Comments on Atomic, Molecular, and Optical Physics series in the journal Physica Scripta. The article, “Searching for new physics through atomic, molecular and optical precision measurements” describes a number of experiments that are searching for physics beyond the Standard Model of particle physics not with billion-dollar particle accelerators, but through ultra-precise studies of the properties of atoms and molecules and their interaction with light.

The full article is available for free for the next 30 days at:

Prof. Orzel Featured Speaker at Opening of Quantum Nano Center

Chad Orzel, Associate Prof. and Chair of Physics and Astronomy, was one of the featured speakers at the opening of the new Mike and Ophelia Lazaridis Quantum Nano Center at the University of Waterloo in Ontario, Canada. The Quantum Nano Center will house the Institute for Quantum Computing and the Waterloo Institute for Nanotechnology, and was made possible by a gift from Mike Lazaridis, founder of Research in Motion, the maker of Blackberry. Designed to foster collaboration and innovation, the Quantum Nano Center is a state-of-the-art research facility which will play a central role in the drive to create a “Quantum Valley” in the Waterloo area playing the same role for next generation information technologies that Silicon Valley does for conventional computers.

Prof. Orzel was part of two events at the Open House, giving a public lecture on “What Every Dog Should Know About Quantum Mechanics,” and taking part in a panel discussion on “Bridging Worlds,” about the connections between the strange worlds of the quantum and nano systems studied at the QNC and future everyday technologies. The other panel participants were Mike Lazaridis, Raymond Laflamme (the Executive Director of the Institute for Quantum Computing) and Tom Brzustowski (a former Canadian government minister and expert on innovation). Both the lecture and the panel were recorded for future broadcast on the Web and TV Ontario.

Open House info

QNC info

Professor Orzel Essay part of “The Best Science Writing Online 2012”

Chad Orzel, Associate Professor and Chair of Physics and Astronomy, had an essay published in the anthology “The Best Science Writing Online 2012,” from Scientific American Books, an imprint of Farrar Strauss Giroux. The essay, “Faster Than a Speeding Photon” provides a detailed explanation of the claimed measurement of neutrinos moving faster than the speed of light, explaining the research article in terms accessible to a non-physicist. (This claim was later shown to be an error, though sadly, after the book had gone to press…)

The Best Science Writing Online 2012, guest edited by prominent science writer Jennifer Ouellette, collects 50 of the best essays on science published in online venues during 2011. Prof. Orzel’s essay was originally published on his physics weblog, Uncertain Principles, which is part of the ScienceBlogs network produced in partnership with the National Geographic Society.

More information about the book

The original blog post

Prof. Orzel’s Publishes Second Book: How to Teach Relativity to your Dog

Chad Orzel, Associate Professor of Physics & Astronomy, has published his second book: How to Teach Relativity to Your Dog, in which he explains relativity through imaginary conversations with Emmy, his German shepherd mix. The book is a follow-up to Orzel’s popular How to Teach Physics to Your Dog (see this post).

See the following links for more information:
Press Release
New York Times Review
Review in Wired
Times Union article
Cosmic Log article

Prof. Orzel Speaks at AAAS Meeting

Associate Professor Chad Orzel gave a presentation at the 2011 annual meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science in Washington, DC, as part of a symposium titled “Science Without Borders: Learning from TIMSS Advanced 2008,” about the Trends in International Math and Science Survey, an international test of math and physics given to students in nine countries. Chad’s talk, “What Physics Knowledge Is Assessed in TIMSS Advanced 2008?” evaluated the content of the physics test by comparing them to college and high school curricula and tests developed through physics education research. Other speakers in the symposium included representatives from the international study center that administers TIMSS, and from the national test centers in Norway and Slovenia talking about their nations’ experience with TIMSS Advanced.

The AAAS is one the world’s largest general scientific society, and one of the premier science organizations in the world. This year’s meeting brought together several thousand scientists, educators, journalists, and policy makers from some 50 countries.

Physics and Astronomy Summer Research 2010

Once again, we are happy to have a large collection of students and faculty working on research this summer. Many (but not all) of them are shown here:

Summer Research Students and Faculty 2010

In this picture: Front row (left to right): Katie Schuff, Ana Mikler, Katie O’Brien, Colin Gleason, Chad Harrington. Second row: Anna Sise, Erin Osgood, Prof. LaBrake, Prof. Maleki. Third row: Prof. Orzel, Tim Kuehn, Prof. Reich, Mark Sullivan, Prof. Marr. Fourth row: Pavel Aprelev, Hannah Ryan, Rob Moore, Prof. Koopmann, SreyNoch Chin, Colin Turley, Prof. Vineyard. Back row: Adam Margulies, John Sheehan, Pengfei Zhang, Prof. Wilkin, Prof. Newman, Amer Khraisat, Prof. Amanuel.

For more information on summer research at Union, see the Undergraduate Research Page, or come to the Summer Student Seminar Series.