What is Structural Color?

Our everyday sense of color is based on the absorption of light. If our shirt appears red, a dye or pigment is absorbing all of the colors except for red. By contrast, structural color is based on reflection, not absorption. Structural color is an important consequence of the fact that light is a wave. We can define the color either through the wavelength — the physical distance between the repeating crests, or the period — the amount of time for the wave to repeat. »

Teaching Disabilities

I really enjoyed this recent interview of Eric Weinstein on The Tim Ferriss Show Podcast. One of the most powerful moments for me was when Eric says, “We don’t talk about teaching disabilities, we talk about learning disabilities.” (1:08:41) Eric continues: A lot of the kids that I want are kids that have been labelled learning disabled but they are actually superlearners, they’re like learners on steroids who have some deficits to pay for their superpower. »

Materials Science Startup Lessons

I’ve learned a lot over the last year of running polySpectra, as part of the Cyclotron Road accelerator program at LBNL. Here are a few bite-sized tips that might help you in your endeavors: A prototype is worth a million words. Most people have a very hard time hearing descriptions of chemical and physical properties and translating that into an accurate mental image. Even people with PhDs in your field may not immediately understand what you are talking about (although they will pretend they do, which is even worse). »

Graduate School Application Advice

Some advice on your graduate school applications from someone who’s done it (thankfully only once) and advised other people to do it (a few times ;)): Get your applications in early. Most schools won’t admit it, but admissions are very often a rolling process. I know students who were admitted to schools 2 months before the deadline. Get in touch with the professors you think you’d like to work for. »

The Economics of Scientific Collaboration

I just finished reading Michael Nielsen’s book, “Reinventing Discovery”, which I highly recommend. One of my favorite discussions in the book is also explored in his 2008 essay “The economics of scientific collaboration”. Nielsen’s concept of “expert attention” as a scare resource provides a unique lens through which to explore the economic aspects of scientific research, as a market in and of itself. While there are plenty of debates on the economics of science in the typical ‘discovery > technology > commercial products > quality of life’ arc, Nielsen explores the market aspects of doing science, as opposed to the output of science. »