Tag Archives: Q*

You May Fire When Ready, Commander.

Strudel asks

So after the recent White House response about Death Stars (well only one) we were talking in the office about how powerful it would need to be to destroy Jupiter (obviously just the power of one Death Star to destroy Earth, right?) and also, if a puny laser won’t work against Jupiter, what effect would deflecting our moon into Jupiter have?

Ah, an easy one.

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I Am Become Q*, Destroyer Of Worlds.

Saying that I have a Ph.D elicits a fairly predictable reaction from most people. They will, in an attempt to appear interested, ask “What subject?” and then when informed that I did Astrophysics – one of the simpler branches of physics if you don’t tangle with cosmology or relativity but which appears to have a fearsome reputation in the eyes of the layman – their eyes glaze over and they either stop talking to me altogether, or else they desperately try to change the subject before I can get a chance to pounce on them, knock them to the ground and inject pure Science into their brains via their ear canal1. There’s a second type of person out there, however; the freakish sort who are genuinely interested in science, and this second type will, after some circumspect small talk, eventually get around to asking me what my thesis was about. And this is a question to which I have gradually evolved a tried-and-tested one-sentence reply:

“I am trying to find out how much energy you need to blow up Pluto.”

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