Riding the lightning–

Specifically, I just finished recording a Titanium Physicists podcast with host Dr. Ben Tippett, Dr. Amanda Bauer, and Zach Weiner, which was about the most fun you can have without attending grad school. The topic was the physics of lightning, and not only did I learn a ton (Amanda is studying lightning on other planets in the solar system, and what it can teach us about their atmospheric composition!) but I got to talk about the cool thing I discovered at Worldcon.

In the Chicon 7 dealer’s room, across from the Tachyon Press table where I was signing, there was a table full of beautiful, illuminated blocks of acrylic graced by fractal, dendritic patterns. After staring at them for about fifteen minutes, it occurred to me that I was looking at miniature Lichtenberg figures.

You’ll have to check out the podcast for details, but basically, when I was done signing I scampered across to quiz them on their display. Todd Johnson was gracious enough to explain that they were Stoneridge Engineering, and that what I was looking at was indeed Lichtenberg figures.

Any conversation that begins, “First you rent a particle accelerator–” is going to involve me squealing. A lot.

So anyway, the podcast goes live on Sunday, and I will remind.

In other news, Scott and I hiked Willow River State again, and this time there are decent photos!

There’s a gorgeous waterfall…

Willow River State Park, Wisconsin, September 2012

And an egret…

Willow River State Park, Wisconsin, September 2012

And some dude sport climbing on one hell of an overhang. At least it’s bolted.

Willow River State Park, Wisconsin, September 2012

Posted: Wednesday, September 12th, 2012 @ 3:17 am
Categories: Blog, Interviews, Newscrawl, Podcasts.
Tags: , , , .
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5 Responses to “Riding the lightning–”

  1. Robert J. Trembley Says:

    Here’s my blog entry about a Lichtenberg run my wife and I went on with these folks:

  2. Angela Says:


    My father had an award from IEEE for one of his papers where the central part of it was a piece of acrylic with one of those figures that looked *exactly* like a tree in winter. Though in his case, it was caused by an electron beam laser. Pop was a nuclear physicist who specialized in Optics as they call it.

    I didn’t know people SOLD them now! *runs off to shop* That is so effin’ cool!

  3. matociquala Says:

    Robert@#1: Thanks for the link! I may have been squealing and bouncing on my toes right there in the dealer’s room.

    Angela@#2: Ooo, there’s a use for them I had not thought of! Physics is beautiful.

  4. Todd Johnson Says:

    It was fun to meet you and visit at our dealer’s table. Somehow I must have missed all the squealing though!
    There are more examples of our stuff here:
    I look forward to your podcast and hope I can figure out how to hear it!

  5. matociquala Says:

    Cool! Thank you, Todd–it was a highlight of my con!