Popular Science

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In addition to my website hhyu.org, I have been using Medium as the publishing platform for my general-audience writing. Interestingly, the most popular article that I have written has also been the most technical one. In How many photons get into your eyes?, I demonstrated how to estimate the number of photons emitted by various light sources. This article receives daily hits.

From 2014-2017, I wrote a series of articles for the Chinese speaking communities. They were published first on Medium and then syndicated to The News Lens. I am looking into opportunities to publish them in a more formal format in English. Some of the topics that I have written about:

  • Kolas don’t have small brains - I explained how neuroscientists compare brains and dispelled the myth that koalas have unusually small brains.

  • Rene Descartes and the trilobite eyes - explains Rene Descartes’ contribution to the study of optics and vision.

  • Can I see what a cat see? - A short article where I calculated the visual acuities of various animals and compared my own vision (I’m very myopic) to them. It’s interestingly cited by the Chinese edition of the wikipedia about the Snellen chart.

  • Where is the brain of Paul Broca? - A travelog about an attempt to find the preserved brain of Paul Broca - the father of modern systems neuroscience. Carl Sagan wrote that Broca’s brain was preserved in a jar in a museum in Paris, but it has apparently been missing. Carl Sagan was probably the last person who made a comment on Paul Broca’s own brain.

  • “The scientific traveller” is a series about tourist destinations that are of interest to scientists. In addition to looking for Broca’s brain in Paris, I also wrote about paying tribute to Henri Poincare, the great mathematician, in a Paris cemetery, and about visiting one of the first theatres of anatomy in Bologna.