Tag Archives: Science Fiction

Stephen R. Wilk: How The Ray Gun Got Its Zap

I sometimes think that we should spend at least a little time explaining everyday manifestations of physics to undergraduates, so that they can talk about phenomena that appear in everyday lives. How The Ray Gun Got Its Zap (2013), is subtitled Odd Excursions Into Optics, which (combined with the manifesto above) pretty much covers what … Continue reading Stephen R. Wilk: How The Ray Gun Got Its Zap

The Celestial View From A Relativistic Starship: Part 2

In my previous post, I described the visual appearance of the starry sky for an observer moving at a substantial fraction of the speed of light—for instance, aboard a working Bussard interstellar ramjet, like the one pictured above. I’ll recap the terminology I established in that post, which comes from Special Relativity. We call the … Continue reading The Celestial View From A Relativistic Starship: Part 2

The Celestial View From A Relativistic Starship: Part 1

This is another one of those topics (like Coriolis effect and human vacuum exposure) that many science fiction writers seem to know enough about to include it in their stories, but not quite enough to get right. So in this post (and an estimated three subsequent posts) I’m going to write about what the starry … Continue reading The Celestial View From A Relativistic Starship: Part 1

Coriolis Effect In A Rotating Space Habitat (Supplement)

I’ve received a few enquiries in response to my post “Coriolis Effect In A Rotating Space Habitat”, concerning something I didn’t address at the time—what happens to the trajectory of objects moving parallel to the axis of rotation. (Though I did mention this topic in passing in my post about the Coriolis effect in general.) … Continue reading Coriolis Effect In A Rotating Space Habitat (Supplement)

Kim Stanley Robinson: New York 2140

We’ve got good tech, we’ve got a nice planet, but we’re fucking it up by way of stupid laws. I’ve written about Kim Stanley Robinson before, when I reviewed his Green Earth. I mentioned his environmentalist and anti-capitalist concerns, his lyrical descriptions of landscape, his long passages where nothing much happens except characters talking to … Continue reading Kim Stanley Robinson: New York 2140