Michael Riordan

Posting Citizen Journalist • Eastsound, WA • Member since Nov 25, 2016

Michael Riordan writes about science, technology and public policy from Orcas Island, where he lives and kayaks. He holds a PhD degree in physics from MIT, having worked on the experiments that led to the discovery of quarks. He has taught courses about the history of physics and technology at Stanford University and UC Santa Cruz. He is author of "The Hunting of the Quark" as well as coauthor of "The Solar Home Book", "Crystal Fire", "The Shadows of Creation", and — most recently —"Tunnel Visions: The Rise and Fall of the Superconducting Super Collider" (Chicago, 2015). Riordan has published articles and essays in "The New York Times", "Washington Post", "San Francisco Chronicle", "Seattle Times", "Harvard Business Review" and "Technology Review". A Guggenheim Fellow and a Fellow of the American Physical Society, he was awarded the 2002 Andrew Gemant Award by the American Institute of Physics in recognition of his efforts communicating physics and its wider cultural implications.

Articles by Michael Riordan

Canada’s Pipe Dream Threatens the Salish Sea

By Michael RiordanOn Mar 31, 2019

Based in part on an article originally published in Seattle Times Opinions on March 10, 2019. Coauthored with Janet Alderton, whose brief bio appears below. Despite overwhelming opposition from British Columbia, Washington [...]

What Are Our Lawmakers Hiding?

By Michael RiordanOn Feb 25, 2018

In a brazen attempt to suppress public access to existing records of legislators’ activities, the Washington state Senate and House overwhelmingly passed Senate Bill 6617 on Friday, February 23, hardly two days [...]

What Is Doug Ericksen Thinking?

By Michael RiordanOn Feb 13, 2018

A recent Seattle Times op-ed by Senator Doug Ericksen (“Trump’s first year has been a resounding success,” 31 January 2018) suggests he has gotten drunk on the Trump Kool-Aid and is [...]

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Recent comments

"Yes, my calculation was for absolutely pure Hg with a specific gravity of 13.6 g/cc. For material that contained only 1766 ppm Hg, multiply by 563, or over 5000 Olympic-sized pools! 

Feb 17, 2020 on
Sitting on a Gold Mine?

"Your figure of 28,000 tons of mercury absolutely boggles the mind, Tip. How sure are you about it? I did a back-of-the-envelope calculation and came up with nine Olympic-sized swimming pools [...]

Feb 16, 2020 on
Sitting on a Gold Mine?

"And what about the surveillance potential of 5G? The cells will be much smaller because the microwave frequencies used will be much larger, making it much easier to track our [...]

Feb 03, 2020 on
RING! RING! Rama Lama Ding Dong...

"As writer Phil Robertson of Human Rights Watch succintly put it, “Washington State Senator Doug Ericksen is precisely what ‘pay-to-play,’ dictatorship-supporting scumbags look like.” Enough said.

May 20, 2019 on
Seattle Times to Doug Ericksen: Step Down

"According to a recent, authoritative NOAA report, noise pollution from passing vessels is one of the three major factors adversely impacting the orcas and limiting their population growth — the [...]

Apr 01, 2019 on
Canada's Pipe Dream Threatens the Salish Sea