Physics Blogging Round-Up: July

Another month, another collection of blog posts for Forbes:

The Physics Of Century-Old Mirror Selfies: Back in the early 1900’s there was a brief vogue for trick pictures showing the same person from five different angles; this post explains how to do that with mirrors.

Why Research By Undergraduates Is Important For Science And Students: A reply to an essay talking up the products of undergraduate research projects, arguing that the most valuable part of research is the effect on students.

What Does It Mean To Share ‘Raw Data’?: Some thoughts on the uselessness of much “raw data” in my field to anyone outside the lab where it was produced.

Breaking Stuff Is An Essential Part Of The Scientific Process: Thoughts on how the most important year of my grad school career was the frustrating one in which I broke and then repaired everything in the lab.

Measuring The Speed Of Quantum Tunneling: A couple of recent experiments use a clever trick to look at whether there’s a time delay as electrons tunnel out of an atom in a strong electric field. Unfortunately, they get very different results…

I was a little disappointed that the photo-multigraph thing didn’t get more traction, but it was fun to do, so that’s okay. The quantum tunneling post did surprisingly well– I thought it was likely to be a little too technical to really take off, but it did. Always nice when that happens.

The other three are closely related to a development at work, namely that on July 1 I officially added “Director of Undergraduate Research” to the many hats I wear. I’m in charge of supervising the research program at Union, disbursing summer fellowships and small grants for research projects and conference travel, and arranging a number of research-oriented events on campus. This involves a certain amount of administrative hassle, but then again, it’s hassle in the service of helping students do awesome stuff, so I’m happy to do it.

Anyway, that’s where things are. Blogging will very likely tail off dramatically for the fall, possibly as soon as this month (though I already have one post up), as I have a book on contract due Dec. 1, and a review article due to a journal a month later. And, you know, classes to teach and research to direct…

Comments

  1. #1 Griffith Winthrop
    usa
    August 8, 2017

    Has anyone confirrmed Diracs prediction that gravitatonal force strength has declined since the beginning of time?

  2. #2 tcmJOE
    August 11, 2017

    My view of raw-data is “do what you can”. My research was closer to mechanical engineering (and so the data I collected was fairly close to understandable physics concepts – force, displacement, etc) and much of my code was “scripts to process into nice figures”, but it wasn’t much headache for me to share things on GitHub. At the very least, there were several papers in my field where I was trying to estimate values based on points on graphs, but if I could have recreated the graphs on my own computer pulling out the data would have been very easy.

    And any simulation work done should be easily shareable. If it’s in-house ad-hoc stuff, just publish the scripts. If you’ve got ABAQUS or Gaussian or other proprietary software platforms, at least include whatever scripts/parameters you had as input for them.

  3. #3 Thomas
    Ca
    August 13, 2017

    In a particle free environment does time cease to exist? Next question. What would happen if a Black Hole ran out of matter to consume?

  4. #4 Thomas
    Ca
    August 13, 2017

    If antimatter is truly the opposite of Matter how is it that scientists are able to define it with particle based physics! It doesn’t exist.