About Site

Math & Science  (I was a physics major)
T. Buckingham Thomas physics Oberlin WOBC Richwood Tom Thomas Chyron Infinit Pittsburgh
Articles that are largely about scientific or mathematical questions are listed below.

To search for specific names or events that might be listed elsewhere, click the icon to bring up a Google search box.  Replace ql in the search box with the word or words you seek.


Genesis Years

If we recalculate the Bible's "begats" in a certain way, Methuselah lived only 107 years, not 969.

°King Solomon's Pi

Does the Bible say that the value of pi is 3.00, not 3.14?


The Edison of Oberlin College

Elisha Gray invents the telephone.


Frau im Mond

A silent movie takes a woman and her friends on a rocket trip to the moon.


Atomic Ping-Pong

Learning about nuclear fission and stereo sound with the help of a very tall bus.



°The Flying Yardstick

Under the stereo-imaged catalpa tree, I invent an inefficient flying wing.

Nix to Redox

A modest suggestion for a change in chemical terminology.

Alma Mater

In letters to my mother, I tell of my studies at Oberlin College and some of the people I met there.

°Catalysts Aren't Cheerleaders

A lecture from freshman chemistry.

The Relativitator Files

Correspondence, possibly flirtatious, about a whimsical "scientific instrument."

Passing Notes

A quarky tale of two physics majors.

Apollo on the Moon

My reactions to that historic year, from letters.


"We are stardust: billion-year-old carbon," wrote Joni Mitchell.  Carbon's in all living things.  They're organic.



Determination of Audience Size

Preparing to leave Syracuse, I propose how ratings could be measured at Marion CATV.

The Ted Baxter System

WJM-TV's fictional newscaster invents a method for betting on football that actually works.

Science and Computers

Musing about scientific issues, I acquire calculators and an early "home computer."


 Adjusting the exponents in the formula for an ellipse gives it superpowers.


Be skeptical of the mentalist with a balloon.


°The Arctangential Error Meter

When is an analog display like a fence?


The 1988 design for a one-handed computer keyboard.



Clouds in My Coffee

Another physics major was curious about these swirls until I found a relevant article.  Bad rhymes ensued.

Left on Base Doesn't Matter

Correlating baseball statistics with winning.

°Powers of Ten Museum

An imagined vist to a museum of models on widely different scales, from atoms to galaxies.

Augie and the Topology of Leashes

Why the pup next door had to bark for help.



The Year 2001

Should it be prounounced twenty-oh-one?

Pickover's ESP Experiment

A link to a web page for the credulous.

Oberlin College Science Center

A photo tour of the new and remodeled labs and classrooms, October 2002.

Close Encounter of the Imaginary Kind

A nervous pilot believes his radar altimeter when it suggests Something else is shadowing his plane.

The Diamond Brick Road

A graphical representation of one season's race in a baseball division.

°Merchant of Nothing

Playing the probabilities to make the gullible think they're buying something of value.

°I Need a Stat, Stat!

The statistic doesn't actually have to be relevant; it just needs to seem that way.

Socrates and Leadfoot

Two philosophers discuss why Pittsburgh drivers slow down for tunnels.

Divine Digits

Zoey's ideal dollhouse, my three simultaneous equations in two unknowns, and our idealized concept of God.


If we can be immunized against certain diseases, does the same principle work for homeopathy?  No.

Mirror Images

Why does a mirror swap things left-for-right?  Why not top-for-bottom?


How Tomorrow Came To Be

On February 1, a wager to decide when spring begins.

Homecoming Weekend 2014

Oberlin welcomes back my classmate the science radio star.

The Hyperope

Cataract surgery clears up my vision.

Phooey on the Eclipse

Those dark glasses to protect our eyes from the solar eclipse were a conspiracy to hide something, says Fui.


This website's home page often features shorter notes about physics, geometry, and such.  Click the boxes for lists of links in the following categories:

General Science


Bio, Psych, Pseudoscience



Climate & Coronavirus


The public is grossly misinformed
about how the real world works,

the media feeds that ignorance,

and we urgently need to address this situation
before we are populated by a generation
of affluent but unaware citizens

who can lead our species back
into another Dark Age —
and are already forming up ranks to do just that.

No, that is not overstating the case.

A lot of people hate my skepticism, and I think I understand why. The psychics offer wonders and endless possibilities in a world that often seems difficult and mundane. They promise health, wealth, wisdom, eternal life. But if you examine the record, it's not the psychics but the hard-nosed scientists who have actually delivered the things that improve human life. And, to me, science describes a world far more interesting than any psychic fantasy. It's a good world — not perfect — but it's ours. So we'd better learn to live with it, the way it is.

James Randi

One of the problems we face in the United States is that, unfortunately, there is a combination of an antiscience bias.  ...For reasons that sometimes are inconceivable and not understandable, [people] just don't believe science and they don't believe authority.  ...Science is truth ... and it's amazing sometimes the denial there is.

— Dr. Anthony Fauci, June 17, 2020

Being anti-science is un-American. This country is the aspirational child of the enlightenment, not the idiot son of biblical literalists.

— Bradley Whitford

Science flies us to the moon.  Religion flies us into buildings.

Victor J. Stenger