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.

Found in a Box

I recently ascended to Czar of Physics. (Oops — I mistyped Chair and it autocompleted to Czar!) It’s not my first year as Czar, but this time, during the handover from the previous Czar, I inherited a small cardboard box. Inside I found … Continue reading

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If Apple Designed Buildings…

When Steve Jobs phoned Pritzker Prize architect Norman Foster in 2009 for help designing Apple’s new Cupertino California campus, he said “Don’t think of me as your client; think of me as one of your team”. The design that evolved … Continue reading

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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 by shedding eddies alternately up and down, sometimes fast enough to be heard as … 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, I estimate that Scott aged about 9 ms … 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 a utilitarian 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 a collection of 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 … 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 deployed 11 satellites to low Earth orbit — and performed reversal, supersonic retrograde, and landing burns to return the first stage to … Continue reading

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