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Want to know what I'm writing these days? You can usually find it here.( NOTE: Some of the articles are no longer available online, or are behind a paywall.

Go here for my work as science editor at Gizmodo.

"It Takes a Phase Transition to Change a Mind," Boom, Fall 2015.

"The New Laws of Explosive Networks," Quanta, July 14, 2015.

"The Fuzzball Fix for a Black Hole Paradox," Quanta, June 23, 2015.

"This Would Solve Everything: Einstein's Dice and Schroedinger's Cat by Paul Halpen" (book review), New York Times Book Review, May 3, 2015.

"An Interstellar Culture Clash" (book review), Physics World, May 2015. [subscription required]

"How Quantum Pairs Stitch Spacetime: Tensor Networks and Entanglement," Quanta, April 28, 2015. [Syndicated at Wired]

"Multiverse Collisions May Leave Traces in the Sky," Quanta, November 10, 2014. [Syndicated at Wired]

"Jordan Ellenberg's How Not To Be Wrong and More" (book review), New York Times Book Review, August 3, 2014.

"Crime Mining: Hidden History Emerges from Court Data," New Scientist, June 28, 2014.

"The Cut Stays Out of the Picture," Pacific Standard, May/June 2014. (You can read an accompayng blog post here.)

"A Fundamental Theory to Model the Mind," Quanta, April 3, 2014.

"Ten Things I Learned About Me (and Maybe You, Too)," Slate, January 30, 2014.

"Mars Attack! Adam Steltzner of the Mars Rover Team," Smithsonian, December 2013.

"The Future Fabric of Data Analysis," Quanta, October 9, 2013. [Syndicated at Wired]

"The Mathematical Shape of Things to Come," Quanta, October 4, 2013. [Syndicated at Wired]

"In the Hunt for Dark Matter, Promises To Keep," Quanta, July 18, 2013. [Syndicated at Wired]

"Model Behavior: The Mathematics of Juggling," Quanta, May 9, 2013. [Syndicated at Scientific American]

"Biologists Home in on Turing Patterns," Quanta, May 9, 2013. [Syndicated at Scientific American]

"The Director of Evolution," Slate, March 8, 2013.

"A Long, Strange, Trip," Mental Floss, January/February 2013. [Reprinted at Neatorama.]

"Alice and Bob Meet the Wall of Fire," Quanta, December 21, 2012. [Syndicated at Scientific American]

"Will We Ever... Travel Faster Than Light?" BBC Future, October 3, 2012.

"Cracking Eggs 101," Slate, September 26, 2012.

"Science on the Rocks," Mental Floss, March/April 2012.

"Let the Geek Worship Begin," New Scientist, March 26, 2011 (book review)

"The Scholar and the Caliph," Physics World, January 2011 (fiction)

"Big Game Theory," Discover, November 2010

"Going With the Flow," Wall Street Journal, July 21, 2010 (book review)

"A Many Worlds Thriller," Physics World, June 2, 2010 (book review)

"Genius in Hiding," New Scientist, November 21, 2009 (book review)

"Apollo with Warp Drive? Make It So," The Washington Post, July 19, 2009

"Corporate Interests," Physics World, October 2008.

"Can You Solve These Mysteries?" New Scientist, July 16, 2008 (book review)

"Nature's Surround Sound," New Scientist, July 12, 2008

"The Big Bang Theory," Symmetry, January/February 2008.

"Judge Imposes Stricter Measures on US Navy Sonar Tests," Physics Today, February 2008

"Femtosecond Lasers Prepare to Break Out of the Laboratory," Physics Today, January 2008

"Mechanical Mysteries of the Yodel," New Scientist, December 22, 2007

"Cold Plasmas Enter the Biomedical Arena," Physics Today, December 2007

"White LEDs Poised for Global Impact," Physics Today, December 2007

"Opals Inspire Shameless Sheen-Stealing," New Scientist, July 28, 2007

"Beginner's Mind," Symmetry, March 2007

"Soap Suds and Cosmic Secrets," New Scientist, February 24, 2007

"Scientists in Love: When Two Worlds Collide," Nature, February 15, 2007

"Architects Bridge the Void," New Scientist, June 13, 2006

"Lucky Horseshoe," On Earth, Fall 2003

"Bubble, Bubble: The Physics of Foam," Discover, June 2002

"Teaching Old Masters New Tricks," Discover, December 2001

"Pollock's Fractals," Discover, November 2001

"The Scrooge of Science," Salon, March 15, 2000

"The Call of the Past," Salon, September 15, 1999


I maintain a personal science and culture blog called Cocktail Party Physics, hosted by my faux-French avatar/alter ego, Jen-Luc Piquant.

I provided episode recaps of the rebooted Cosmos TV series for the Los Angeles Times Showtracker blog in 2014:

Standing Up in the Milky Way, March 10, 2014.

Some of the Things That Molecules Do, March 17, 2014.

When Knowledge Conquered Fear, March 24, 2014.

A Sky Full of Ghosts, March 31, 2014.

Hiding in the Light, April 7, 2014.

Deeper, Deeper, Deeper Still, April 14, 2014.

The Clean Room, April 21, 2014.

Sisters of the Sun, April 28, 2014.

The Lost Worlds of Planet Earth, May 5, 2014.

The Electric Boy, May 12, 2014.

The Immortals, May 19, 2014.

The World Set Free, June 2, 2014.

Unafraid of the Dark, June 9, 2014.

Nautilus: Facts So Romantic (Selected Posts)

The Chemistry and Psychology of Turning Water Into Wine, June 17, 2015.

The Purest of the Purists: The Puzzling Case of Grigori Perelman, October 2, 2013.

Unwinding the Mystery of Namibia's Crop Circles, August 29, 2013.

The Quirky Muon Might Just Spur a Physics Breakthrough - Again, August 12, 2013.

The Unlikely Rocks Found in Mosques, Siberia, and Outer Space, August 7, 2013.

The Trouble with Teleportation, July 30, 2013.

The Time-Honored Quest to Find the Rules of Time Travel, July 23, 2013.

Reading the Tea Leaves: How Particles Can Travel Upstream, July 12, 2013.

Splitting Image: The Alternate Realities of the Multiverse, June 27, 2013.

Why Every Coin Flip May Be a Schroedinger's Cat, June 12, 2013.

14 Words for Horse: The Linguistics of Avatar and Game of Thrones, June 3, 2013.

Looking at Art Through Different Eyes - Like a Bee, May 24, 2013.

Why Pianos, and Monkeys, Can Never Really Play the Blues, May 13, 2013.

NOVA: Nature of Reality

A Brief History of the Speed of Light, February 27, 2015.

There's More Than One Way to Hunt for Gravitational Waves, Part II, November 13, 2014.

There's More Than One Way to Hunt for Gravitational Waves, Part I, November 12, 2014.

Quantum Physicists Catch a Pilot Wave, September 3, 2014.

3 Quarks Daily

Back in 2006, 3QD co-editor Abbas Raza asked me to write a monthly column called "Random Walks" as part of the site's Monday fare (featuring original essays instead of the usual links). I don't know what Abbas was expecting, but it probably wasn't quirky musings on Alice Cooper, C.S. Lewis, the Ultimate Fighting Championships, Jack Chick comics, and tarot decks. Time constraints forced me to bow out of the column after a year, but it was fun having an outlet for my non-scientific musings. Here are the collected columns for your reading enjoyment:

Past Perfect
Narnia, Schmarnia
Band of Brothers
Casino Royale
Heart of Darkness
She's a Rebel
Less Than Zero
The Trouble With Harry
Primal Instincts
Shuffling the Cards
Nightmare Theater
Tunnel Vision


In 1995, back when I was just starting out as a science writer, I became a contributing editor of a brand-new publication: The Industrial Physicist magazine, published by the American Institute of Physics. The magazine folded after a nine-year run, and even the archives are no longer online, but here's some of the stuff I wrote for the magazine anyway.

Quantum key distribution, December 2004
Seeing with sound, June 2004
John Woollam's career in ellipsometry, April 2004
Time-resolved spectroscopy comes of age, February 2004
Smart fluids move into the marketplace, December 2003
Bioinformatics moves into the mainstream, October 2003
A new wave of microfluidic devices, August 2003
Switching from physics to biology, April 2003
Quantum dots for sale, February 2003
Building the nanofuture with carbon tubes, December 2002
Science goes exploring under the sea, August 2002 (PDF)
Silicon-germanium gives semiconductors the edge, June 2002 (PDF)
Illuminating new territory with lidar, April 2002 (PDF)
Inventing high-tech instruments, February 2002 (PDF)
Seeing the future in photonic crystals, December 2001 (PDF)
Biomaterials facilitate medical breakthroughs, October 2001 (PDF)
Physicist leads theory group at Microsoft Research, August 2001 (PDF)
Semiconducting polymers on display, June 2001 (PDF)
Quantum cascade lasers turn commercial, April 2001 (PDF)
Developing fiber-optic communications, February 2001 (PDF)
Exploiting molecular self-assembly, December 2000 (PDF)
Radio on a chip will revolutionize communications, August 2000 (PDF)
Shirley Jackson puts a new face on physics, June 2000 (PDF)
Detection on the cutting edge, April 2000 (PDF)
Physicists graduate from Wall Street, December 1999 (PDF)
Young researcher pushes display technology, October 1999 (PDF)
The incredible shrinking microphone, August 1999 (PDF)
Smart pixels wed optics and electronics, June 1999 (PDF)
Lasers open up the life sciences, April 1999 (PDF)
Electronic noses sniff out new markets, February 1999 (PDF)
Fuel cells gather steam, February 1999 (PDF)
Combinatorial materials synthesis, December 1998 (PDF)
Superconductor power applications, December 1998 (PDF)
New ultrasound therapies emerge, September 1998 (PDF)
Biosensors: Microelectronics marries biology, September 1998 (PDF)
SQUID sensors penetrate new markets, June 1998 (PDF)
Failure analysis in a nanometer world, June 1998 (PDF)
Speech recognition: Humanizing the interface, March 1998 (PDF)
Optical data storage looks beyond CDs, March 1998 (PDF)
Materials competition for flat panel displays, December 1997 (PDF)
Science and art converge in concert hall acoustics, September 1997 (PDF)
(Science writing award from Acoustical Society of America)
Contamination control in vacuum systems, September 1997 (PDF)
Digital displays with micromirror devices, June 1997 (PDF)
Nanostructured materials get tough, June 1997 (PDF)
Solving real-world problems virtually, March 1997 (PDF)
Free-electron lasers: A radical alternative, March 1997 (PDF)
How smart are smart materials?, December 1996 (PDF)
MEMS: Mega promise for micro devices, September 1996 (PDF)
TRIZ-based tools promote innovation, September 1996 (PDF)
The diode-pumped laser revolution, June 1996 (PDF)
New waste treatment methods being developed, June 1996 (PDF)
The microfabrication boom, March 1996 (PDF)
GPS industry poised for explosive growth, December 1995 (PDF)