Author Archives: John F. Lindner

About John F. Lindner

John F. Lindner was born in Sleepy Hollow New York and educated at the University of Vermont and Caltech. He is a professor of physics and astronomy at The College of Wooster. He has enjoyed multiple yearlong sabbaticals at Georgia Tech, University of Portland, and University of Hawai'i. His research interests include nonlinear dynamics, celestial mechanics, and variable stars.

Singing in the Wind

Wires suspended above our streets are a late 19th century technology stubbornly persisting into the 21st century. They can hum in a breeze. A wire disturbs the air flow shedding eddies alternately up and down, sometimes fast enough to be heard as a … Continue reading
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Into the Wind

  Last month, on 2016 April 18, a SpaceX Falcon 9 launch vehicle delivered a Dragon cargo capsule to the International Space Station and successfully landed its 48-m first-stage booster on the drone ship Of Course I Still Love You … Continue reading
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Dreaming Eyes Wide Open

1968. White Plains, New York. My mother takes me to a matinee of 2001: A Space Odyssey. The theater seats thousands and the movie plays continuously all day without commercials or trailers. A uniformed usher with a flashlight seats us. … Continue reading
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Kelly Twin Paradox

Yesterday astronaut Scott Kelly returned from nearly a year in free fall aboard the International Space Station to join his identical twin brother Mark back on Earth. Due to their different spacetime paths, Scott aged about 25 µs less than his … Continue reading
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A New Kind of Astronomy

One of the first things I did as a grad student in 1982 was tour the Laser Interferometer Gravitational Wave Observatory (LIGO) prototype on the Caltech campus about a block from my dorm. It was housed in an industrial-looking L-shaped … Continue reading
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Hillary & Armstrong

You’re probably familiar with the iconic photograph of Edmund Hillary standing atop Earth’s highest mountain wearing an oxygen mask in air so thin the sky is almost black as space — but actually, Hillary’s companion Tenzing Norgay didn’t know how … Continue reading
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Ticktock Deadbeat Escapement

The escapement is one of history’s greatest inventions. It enables wood or metal to tell time. The animation below illustrates a pendulum clock’s deadbeat escapement, apparently introduced by Richard Townseley, Thomas Tompion, and George Graham in the late 1600s and … Continue reading
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The Falcon Has Landed

Monday evening, the first of SpaceX’s 70 m (or 230 ft) Falcon 9 full thrust launch vehicles successfully orbited 11 satellites — and returned the first stage to Cape Canaveral for a safe landing. Recent upgrades to the Falcon 9 … Continue reading
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ER = EPR?

This month is the 100th anniversary of Albert Einstein’s November 1915 discovery of the gravitational field equations of General Relativity, in which test masses move along the straightest possible paths (called geodesics) in spacetime curved by the density and flux … Continue reading
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The Martian

Ridley Scott’s The Martian (2015) is the best Mars exploration movie I have yet seen. Genuinely faithful to Andy Weir’s popular novel, The Martian chronicles astronaut Mark Whitney’s struggle to survive being inadvertently stranded on Mars and the efforts by … Continue reading
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