About

Rhett Allain is an Associate Professor of Physics at Southeastern Louisiana University. He enjoys teaching and talking about physics. Sometimes he takes things apart and can’t put them back together.

4 thoughts on “About

  1. Hello Dr Allain

    I just read your Wired article on the effect of planting trees on CO2 etc. You didn’t mention what happens to the carbon sequestered by each tree when the tree dies. Does it just disappear?

    1. The tree could decay and then go back to CO2 or it could get buried in the ground and eventual turn into fossil fuels so that when aliens take over the planet in a billion years, they too can ruin the atmosphere with their giant SUVs

      1. So unless the stock of trees continues to grow the effect on CO2 is zero, not even the small amount you mentioned. It might be a good plan to submit a Corrigendum to the Wired article.

  2. I also enjoyed your Fermi calculation of the carbon that would be removed from the atmosphere if everyone planted a tree. You might also note that the root mass of a tree is roughly equal to its above ground mass. That’s only a factor of two, but I was surprised to learn this some years back. People have only recently started systematically measuring root systems.

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