Featured image: A sunset over Lake Michigan on July 5th, 2008. When photographed by Dr. Vanderbei, he didn’t realize the curved Earth would change the mirrored solar radius. (Courtesy Optics & Photonics)
This week, we host Prof. Robert Vanderbei of Princeton’s Department of Operations Research and Financial Engineering (also this summer’s Scientist in Residence at the Princeton Public Library!), expert on telescope design and hobbyist in (among many things) astrophotography. Robert has a passion for digging into the unusual, finding ways to prove to himself how the world works. With astrophotography, he uses telescopes and high-quality cameras to measure distances in space and sometimes discover surprises like variable stars—but he is careful to mention that you can measure an amazing amount even with the right sunset photo. Even down here on Earth, Robert explains how he verified that “local warming” is occurring right alongside global climate change, as demonstrated via years of weather station data you can download yourself.
In other news:
- Given the archaeology of greasy urns found near Stonehenge, it could be that the monument builders used pig fat to help transport stones from quarries to the famous site.
- After over sixty years since a plethora of atomic bomb tests overhead, some of the Marshall Islands are still uninhabitably radioactive.
The playlist can be found on WPRB.com or below.