Dot Physics

Archives for June, 2010

Arduino Physics

This is so awesome – an arduino controlled fan cart. If you are not familiar with the arduino, basically it is just a very simple and cheap programmable chip. I have been meaning to play around with one of these, but really I am afraid. Afraid I will like it just a little too much.…

Kids like demos

Sometimes I get asked to do some demos for kids. I like this, it is fun. This week, I was asked to do just such a demo. Kind of as a historical record, I am going to document what I did. The audience It is always important to think about who you are talking to.…

Speed of a rising drop of oil

The oil spill is still in the news (sadly). One thing that keeps coming up is the speed that the oil bubbles rise to the surface. This is important in different oil-capture methods. The common statement is that smaller bubbles of oil can take quite a long time to reach the surface and larger bubbles…

Where is the Maths Department?

I was having a discussion with my father about the budgetpocalypse for universities. I don’t know how it came up, but he asked: “What college is the department of Math in?” At Southeastern Louisiana University, the Department of Math is in the College of Science and Technology. Here is a paraphrase of our conversation. Me:…

Performance Based Funding

The Louisiana Board of Regents is promoting a ‘performance-based’ funding model for the universities in the Louisiana system. In short, the funding each university will receive is based on: The percent of students that graduate Graduating more non-traditional students and minorities Accepting and graduating more students that transfer from community colleges Here is my main…

What is Arnold made of?

Of course I am talking about Arnold Schwarzenegger. After looking at how many bullets he carries in Commando, I remembered this scene (also from Commando) (warning: maybe some not great language and some killing. You have been warned) If you don’t want to watch that clip, here is a shot (sorry for the quality). Clearly…

Somewhere on the internet, I came across this Cracked.com article on movie myths about guns. The article wasn’t too bad, but I really liked this video they included from Arnold’s movie Commando. The myth for this particular clip was that guns never run out of ammo in the movies. Right away, I thought: I wonder…

Pre Reqs: electric potential, electric field, work-energy To start, remember that for a constant electric field the change in electric potential energy would be: WARNING: that is only for a constant electric field. I know you will be tempted later to use this for a different electric field, but DON’T DO IT. But if not…

I imagine that would be silly

Suppose there was an imaginary university. (is that statement redundant?) Let me call this TIU (The Imaginary University). Also, suppose TIU offers summer courses. Further, suppose there is an instructor teaching 2 sections of lab during the summer. Here is a communication that instructor might have received. Dear Person Teaching a Summer Course: It appears…

Basics: Electric Potential

Pre Reqs: Electric Field, Work-Energy, Potential Energy If you are already familiar with the topics listed in the pre-reqs above, this will be uber-simple. Potential energy – short version The work-energy principle basically says: In this most basic form, the energy is just kinetic energy (if you are not going near the speed of light).…