Posts Tagged ‘Greg Gbur’

My 25 Mundane Neutrino Explanations

Today I had the most fun I’ve ever had on Twitter, thanks to the OPERA experiment working out of CERN, home of the Large Hadron Collider.

The blogosphere is ablaze with news that they seem to have detected neutrinos traveling faster than light.  If true, it would be the biggest science news of the century, overturning one of the most fundamental concepts in physics.  There is obviously much skepticism amongst scientists.  For a typically insightful explanation, check out Bad Astronomer Phil Plait‘s post:  Faster-than-light travel discovered? Slow down, folks

The Twitter fun began when a discussion between two physicist/mathematician-types, Blake Stacey (@blakestacey) and S.C. Kavassalis (@sc_k) led Blake to tweet:

@sc_k Maybe we need to counterbalance the HEP blogohedron with a Twitter meme? e.g., #mundaneneutrinoexplanations

Then he spun out a few funny examples of more mundane explanations for the unusual neutrino measurement:

  • #CERN physicists did arithmetic on old Pentium computers
  • #CERN physicists let undergrads near the experiment
  • Calculations done by visiting Americans who still don’t get the metric system.

…  all with the #mundaneneutrinoexplanations hashtag appended.

I think I was the first one to follow his lead with:

  • Forgot to carry the one
  • Confused neutrino with one sent later
  • Study published by Wakefield et al

Then @drskyskull and @physicsdavid and others joined in (even astophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson and the Bad Astronomer) and, before you know it, the Twitterverse was alive with funny explanations, some of which may be as likely as superluminal neutrinos.  I ended up spitting out about 25 of them, which I present here, as they were tweeted, in reverse chronological order (so start from the bottom).  Enjoy!




Guest hosting Dr. Kiki’s Science Hour with Greg Gbur

For the next few weeks I will be guest host of Dr. Kiki’s Science Hour on Leo Laporte’s TWiT network. Dr. Kiki is out on maternity leave, having just given birth to a beautiful baby boy 20 days ago! Previous guest hosts have included Phil Plait, David Harris, and Jeri Ellsworth.

The show streams live every Thursday on TWiT at 4pm Pacific/7pm Eastern. For other time zones, do the math! You can also watch or download it later.

For first-time visitors: in addition to my science-flavored stand up comedy, I also make science videos for Time Magazine’s website. That link will send you to my vids on, or you can click the VIDEO tab above and see them on this site. Quite a variety of topics in science and science fiction. I am also a contributor to Neil de Grasse Tyson‘s radio show StarTalk Radio.

Follow me on Twitter: @sciencecomedian
Subscribe to my YouTube videos:

“Let There Be Light!” – my first show will be about light and weird science facts. My guest is Greg Gbur, an associate professor of Physics and Optical Science at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte, specializing in research on theoretical classical optics. Since August of 2007 he has blogged as “Dr. SkySkull” at Skulls in the Stars, where he covers optics, the history of physics, historical weird fiction, and the interconnection of these subjects. Greg also co-founded the history of science blog carnival The Giant’s Shoulders. He has over 60 peer-reviewed publications and is the author of the upcoming textbook, “Mathematical Methods for Optical Physics and Engineering”.

– Follow Greg on Twitter: @drskyskull
– Skulls in the Stars blog
– Go directly to the Weird Science Facts category on Greg’s blog
– Greg’s recent invisibility article on Scientific American
– Read his very in-depth post The Saga of the Scientific Swindler! (1884-1891)

When the show is available, I will post the video here and perhaps some additional notes and links. Please follow me on Twitter, subscribe to my YouTube channel, and get on my Email list.

Next week my guest will be science writer extraordinaire Carl Zimmer!

Thanks for stopping by!