Built on Facts

Archives for January, 2011

I always tell my students that they should never just write down an equation blindly and start plugging things in. If you don’t understand what you’re doing, you’re much more likely to make a mistake. Sometimes I don’t take my own advice. On a science forum I read occasionally, a person who was just taking…

Sunday Function

In my free time during data acquisition runs and the like, I’ve been paging through Hardy and Wright’s famous textbook An Introduction to the Theory of Numbers. It has something of a legendary reputation among pure math textbooks, and so far as I can tell it is entirely deserved. One of the topics treated in…

Sunday Function

This Christmas I got a little handheld GPS, which I’ve been using mostly for geocaching. As the device acquires signals from the various satellites dutifully orbiting overhead, it displays your position coordinates and a figure indicating the estimated uncertainty. At the beginning of the acquisition or if the view of the sky is poor, it…

Quantum Bouncing Ball, Concluded

Well, last time we were looking about the classical probability density for a bouncing ball, and the quantum mechanical probability distribution for the same. They looked not even a little bit alike. This is kind of a problem, since we know from experience that classical physics works pretty well, and from more modern work we…