Highlights from "Project Hail Mary"

By Andy Weir

Cover of the book Project Hail Mary

Cool thing about pendulums: The time it takes for one to swing forward and backward—the period—won’t change, no matter how wide it swings. If it’s got a lot of energy, it’ll swing farther and faster, but the period will still be the same. This is what mechanical clocks take advantage of to keep time. That period ends up being driven by two things, and two things only: the length of the pendulum and gravity.

Everything emits light. The temperature of the object defines the wavelength of light emitted. Planets are no exception.

Anything smaller than the wavelength is functionally nonexistent to that photon. That’s why there’s a mesh over the window of a microwave. The holes in the mesh are too small for microwaves to pass through. But visible light, with a much shorter wavelength, can go through freely. So you get to watch your food cook without melting your face off.

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