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

The Pandemic and Our Erratic Leader

By Michael RiordanOn Oct 10, 2020

With regard to the ghastly coronavirus pandemic, President Donald J. Trump is a colossal failure who just cannot admit failure and therefore needs to create his own alternative reality to [...]

The Pandemic and the Presidency

By Michael RiordanOn Sep 25, 2020

In early January 2018, Bill Clinton’s science adviser Neal F. Lane and I published a New York Times opinion column titled, “The President’s Disdain for Science,” which began, “Since [...]

The Testing of Three Northwest Counties

By Michael RiordanOn May 14, 2020

Comparisons of the Covid-19 public-health responses and data from San Juan, Skagit, and Whatcom Counties reveal striking differences that may help these counties and Washington state chart a viable path [...]

See more by Michael Riordan

Recent comments

"No, I didn’t, Jon, but thanks for the link. I will check it out when I get some time. Back to broadband, are you aware that Orcas Power and [...]

Oct 24, 2020 on
Starlink is No Star

"The astronomy community is up in arms about Starlink and other sky-blotting multi-satellite communications systems on the drawing boards. So much sunlight will be reflected from the thousands of satellites [...]

Oct 23, 2020 on
Starlink is No Star

"As the horrific coronavirus pandemic grinds relentlessly onward, with US deaths now exceeding 210,000 according to the Johns Hopkins database, the GOP is emerging as what long-time Republican strategist Edward J. [...]

Oct 06, 2020 on
The Pandemic and the Presidency

"Drump’s disdain for science and his flouting of mask wearing have now led directly to at least ten confirmed Covid-19 cases, in what some are beginning to call [...]

Oct 05, 2020 on
The Pandemic and the Presidency

"Recent polls have also shown that Democrats are much more likely to wear masks than Republicans, and to regard them as perhaps the best way to prevent spread of the [...]

Sep 29, 2020 on
The Pandemic and the Presidency