November 28, 2015


X-rays are useful in doctor and dentist offices – and also for studying black holes and dark matter.

Dental X-rays are useful for detecting cavities. Credit: Wikimedia Commons/Dmitry G

Most of us encounter X-rays when we have an unfortunate experience with a broken...

November 24, 2015

Most animals cannot see ultraviolet light, but there are exceptions including some butterflies, insects, and maybe Claude Monet.


Bees, important for distributing pollen, can detect some UV light. (Credit: Wikimedia Commons - Jon Sullivan)


Ultraviolet, or “UV,” as it’s...

November 22, 2015

Just because someone has “color blindness” doesn’t mean that they can’t see any color.

Do you have any color deficiencies in your vision?  If not, you should clearly see the number 74 above.  If so, you might see a 21 or no numbers at all.  Image: Wi...

November 21, 2015

If you think infrared light is all about heat, try pointing your TV remote at yourself and pressing buttons.


Thermograms of buildings and houses are often used to help study heat loss or energy inefficienices; Image by Passivhaus Institut 


For many people who...

November 20, 2015

The origin of the microwave oven is directly linked to a melted chocolate bar in someone’s pocket.



A section of a cavity magnetron from "Pingu Is Sumerian


In 1945, engineer Percy Spencer was researching radar technology at the Raytheon Corporation in Waltham, Massac...

November 18, 2015

Radio waves are responsible for making radios work (not surprising), but not for delivering any sound to us.


Radio receivers and transceivers, via


Radio waves – some of the longest wavelengths of light -- a...

November 16, 2015

Light is the fastest thing in our Universe, but we can slow it down. Or it can slow itself down depending on where it travels.


This photo of car headlights streaming by was taken in Belfort, France and combines 8 photos, each lasting for 30 seconds. Image Credit: Thoma...

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