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[In case you are wondering about the name of this blog….we, you and I and everyone and everything on Earth and everything in the galaxy and beyond, we are all baryonic.]

Among the stereotyped traits of of scientists are literal-mindedness, pedantry, and most of all, a complete lack of humor. This goes doubly so for physicists and astrophysicists.

And yet… a second thought brings one to all those oddly evocative names:

The Big Bang.

Black holes.

Strange quarks.



Other fields have their fantabulous names as well: the idea of a Velociraptor chasing you has thrilled dinophillic children for years, and who couldn’t love a gene called SonicHedgehog? But I’m going to focus on the origin of whimsical names in physics and, a bit, in astrophysics.


Welcome to Baryonic Narratives!

This is an occasional blog–I hope to make it weekly–collecting essays, blog posts, and various writings I’ve written. A number of these have previously appeared on Athena Andreadis’ blog, Starship Reckless, while others have appeared on Science In My Fiction.

I am a professor of physics at San Diego State University; my research revolves mostly around theoretical nuclear physics and the quantum structure of atomic nuclei. Hence the title*.  I’m also a “pro” (by the definition of the Science Fiction Writers of America) science fiction author, and have even had over twenty poems published. Also hence the title.  For a while at SDSU I taught a course on Science and Science Fiction, although due to budget constraints we could not offer that course any longer.

I plan to write about science, about fiction, and especially about science fiction.  I hope you enjoy.  I do request civil behavior; strangely enough, even science can stir up trolls. Although I am employed by a public university, this is a private blog.

More later. Please enjoy.


* Baryons = particles made of three quarks = protons and neutrons. Hence, we are all baryonic. You too.