0054: "Science"

This forum is for the individual discussion thread that goes with each new comic.

Moderators: Moderators General, Prelates, Magistrates

Posts: 37
Joined: Wed Sep 20, 2006 4:44 am UTC

0054: "Science"

Postby ERTW » Sun Oct 21, 2007 4:58 am UTC


alt text: Bonus points if you can identify the science in question


I didn't see a thread for this comic in the list and had a story to share about it.

So this week Peter Milonni has been visiting the University of Toronto giving a series of lectures about the Casimir effect. At one point he was talking about early quantum electrodynamics. One of the slides he put up was the blackbody spectrum of the microwave background and when he put it up he said "We've been studying this for years. We know it's there. It works." I had to excuse myself from the room before I broke down laughing.

Posts: 5
Joined: Sun Oct 21, 2007 6:12 am UTC

Re: "Science" discussion

Postby iGeek » Sun Oct 21, 2007 6:14 am UTC

This reminds me of a brilliant Richard Dawkins clip: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-_2xGIwQfik

User avatar
Posts: 628
Joined: Wed Sep 12, 2007 6:22 am UTC
Location: Western New York

Re: "Science" discussion

Postby Surgery » Sun Oct 21, 2007 6:48 am UTC

I particularly like how it is in direct opposition to this one

Posts: 7
Joined: Sat Dec 09, 2006 1:24 am UTC

Re: "Science" discussion

Postby timhuff » Mon Dec 24, 2007 2:50 am UTC

Ok, I'm not nerdy enough. haha. Could someone post a quick explanation? or a wikipedia article? haha
to give you a feel for where I'm at, I know Energy Density and have made a hobby out of studying various parts of physics... but I don't know this graph (which I have the feeling is very famous). Anyone care to explain?

Posts: 61
Joined: Tue Jul 24, 2007 5:09 pm UTC
Location: Halle (Belgium)

Re: "Science" discussion

Postby ocean_soul » Wed Dec 26, 2007 7:13 am UTC

It's the spectrum of the cosmic microwave background radiation. It's famous because it's one of the best agreements between theory and experiment.
Finite simple group of order two

You're the upper bound in the chains of my heart
You're my Axiom of Choice, you know it's true

by The Klein Four Group

Black Seed
Posts: 2
Joined: Thu Feb 28, 2008 8:27 pm UTC

Re: "Science" discussion

Postby Black Seed » Mon Mar 03, 2008 7:25 pm UTC

The planck function!

User avatar
Posts: 404
Joined: Fri Apr 25, 2008 3:08 pm UTC

Re: "Science" discussion

Postby meat.paste » Fri Apr 25, 2008 3:28 pm UTC

My chemistry training has betrayed me. I saw the exp[-1/kT] and thought Boltzman. I should have thought Stefan-Boltzman. Damn.

Thanks for the clarification. The answer is obvious, once it's known.

Posts: 1
Joined: Thu May 08, 2008 9:01 pm UTC

Re: "Science" discussion

Postby sternis » Thu May 08, 2008 9:10 pm UTC

I saw this just recently and I thought "Hey, I recognise this, it's the planck function, using the frequency of the radiation as variable", so I thought I'd look it up a little more, since I haven't really understood excactly what it shows. So I did a little reasearch and I have one thing that bothers me: the value of 160,4 GHz. Is this really the correct value, 'cause I'm only finding values of like THz. Or am I in the wrong area of the frequency field (I'm around the area of visible light)?

Robin S
Posts: 3579
Joined: Wed Jun 27, 2007 7:02 pm UTC
Location: London, UK

Re: "Science" discussion

Postby Robin S » Thu May 08, 2008 11:06 pm UTC

The blackbody radiation function can, in theory at least, take any frequency as its peak. The peak here is 160.4 GHz because, as mentioned above, that's the peak frequency of the Cosmic microwave background radiation.
This is a placeholder until I think of something more creative to put here.

Posts: 1
Joined: Sat Jan 16, 2010 4:27 am UTC

Re: "Science" discussion

Postby swacsp » Sat Jan 16, 2010 4:38 am UTC

First I'm studying astronomy for sci olympiad. then I go over galaxies and cosmic microwave background radiation. I'm flipping through randomly on xkcd and find the old "science. it works, bitches" cartoon and suddenly notice something. What's going on? I haven't even finished chemistry yet?! Now everywhere I go I'm being attacked by cmb radiation, lol penzias and wilson's 46th anniversary, and all I've had is an 8th grade physical science education! ..though I do recognize planck's constant but have no idea what it's use is.

Posts: 1
Joined: Sun Jan 24, 2010 10:20 pm UTC

Re: "Science" discussion

Postby dlciii » Sun Jan 24, 2010 10:24 pm UTC



This was a couple years ago. But they loved your shirt. I actually went on stage with them and did the old bullet trick.

I am ordering a new one because I am fatter and the old shirt is beat up.

Thanks for all the laughs!

Posts: 1
Joined: Sun Feb 13, 2011 11:40 pm UTC

Re: 0054: "Science"

Postby joelflores556 » Sun Feb 13, 2011 11:54 pm UTC

I found a shirt like the one in the photo, while playing the 17th hole at the Old City Park Disc Golf Course in Moab, Utah. It's beat up and sun bleached, perfect for working on the car in the front yard. who's shirt am I wearing?

User avatar
Eternal Density
Posts: 5580
Joined: Thu Oct 02, 2008 12:37 am UTC

Re: 0054: "Science"

Postby Eternal Density » Tue Jun 07, 2011 1:27 am UTC

I wonder if this comic inspired the following.
Play the game of Time! castle.chirpingmustard.com Hotdog Vending Supplier But what is this?
In the Marvel vs. DC film-making war, we're all winners.

User avatar
Posts: 1909
Joined: Tue Nov 11, 2008 2:21 pm UTC
Location: Niels Bohr Institute, Copenhagen.

Re: 0054: "Science"

Postby Tass » Tue Apr 02, 2013 8:10 pm UTC

Return to “Individual XKCD Comic Threads”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: moody7277 and 31 guests