science

Dot Physics

Category archives for science

Scale Model of the Solar System

The solar system is difficult to show correctly. Why? It is difficult because the size of things are vastly different. Let me use units common in solar-system astronomy, the Astronomical Unit (or AU). One AU is the distance from the Sun to the Earth. If I want to look at all the planets, I would…

A great example of a model

This picture has been all over the blogs. I don’t want to talk about this picture too much – that has been done (a good summary discussion can be found at Bad Astronomy). Apparently, this is some type of rocket mistake or something. Although the picture is cool, it is not as cool as this…

A small version of the seasons

So, it snowed here (in Louisiana). Sure, it wasn’t a lot, but it was still a big deal. The following day, there was still some snow on the house roofs. I took some pictures. Here is a shot looking at the North side of a house. And here is a view of the South side…

I need a little rock help

Maybe this isn’t that mysterious. However, quite some time ago my daughter found this rock in the backyard. First, you must understand that this is an odd occurrence. In this part of Louisiana, there really aren’t any rocks, just dirt. When she showed it to me, I readily dismissed it as some lava rock from…

The third leg of science??

I am sad to say the following comes from a school that I attended. This was from an alumni newsletter regarding the activities of one of the physics faculty. “Since the time of Archimedes, sciences advanced along two avenues, through new experiments and through theory….” I have a problem with just that first part, but…

Rutherford scattering toy, and more

My friend Konrad showed me this awesome toy he made. I know it doesn’t make sense yet, so let me explain. Basically, you take this marble and roll it down the tray through the pegs. The pegs sort of randomize where the marble rolls through the hidden section. Inside the hidden section, it looks like…

Seasons, short and simple

I love this question: Why is it warmer in the summer than in the winter (for the Northern hemisphere)? Go ahead and ask your friends. I suppose they will give one of the following likely answers: The tilt of the Earth The tilt of the Earth makes us closer to the Sun We are closer…

The development of the atomic model

I love this story. It is a story of how ideas changed about the nature of the atom. These are the notes (and diagrams) I use when I teach the atomic nature of matter to non-science majors. The best thing about this story is that it is a great example of science. Science (or scientists)…

Modeling vs. Art

I have been reflecting on my recent failure to realize that the Giant Water Slide Jump was fake (more analysis here). I think the guys that made this video did a really good job on several levels. First, the motion appears to do two important things: shows constant acceleration in the vertical direction shows constant…

Pluto. Planet, or not?

Still moving stuff over from my last server. Here is one that keeps coming up. Surprisingly, I STILL get comments and questions from students and teachers about Pluto. Questions such as: “Why do scientists hate Pluto?” “How did they discover that Pluto was not a planet” “What will happen to our planet songs without Pluto?”…