Physics

Category archives for Physics

My Week in Waterloo

I spent the last few days in Ontario, attending the Convergence meeting at the Perimeter Institute. This brought a bunch of Perimeter alumni and other big names together for a series of talks and discussions about the current state and future course of physics. My role at this was basically to impersonate a journalist, and…

I’ve been really busy with year-end wrap-up stuff, but have also posted a bunch of stuff at Forbes. which I’ve fallen down on my obligation to promote here… So, somewhat belatedly, here’s a collection of physics-y stuff that I’ve written recently: — Using Atoms To Measure Tiny Forces: A post reporting on some very cool…

In Praise of AMO Physics

I’m at DAMOP this week, though it took longer to get here than it should’ve– severe storms yesterday canceled the flight I was supposed to take from Baltimore to Columbus, so I had to rebook to the 6am departure this morning, whee. I think this is the first time I’ve ever had a flight canceled…

The Birth of BEC

I’m massively short on sleep today, and wasn’t going to blog until I saw somebody on Facebook mention that June 5th 1995 is the date of record for the first Bose-Einstein condensate at JILA in Boulder. I couldn’t let that pass, so I wrote it up for Forbes: Twenty years ago, in the summer of…

Over at Wired, Rhett has a post providing mathematical proof that he takes too many photos. As is traditional, he includes homework at the end of the post, specifically: Now it is your turn. Find the number of photos you have taken each year. Is it possible for you to detect changes in your life…

Last week, the blog Last Word On Nothing did a piece on the best and worst sciences to write about, and the two writers tapping physics as the worst said things that were really disappointing to hear from professional writers. I nearly wrote an angry rant here in response, but Jennifer Ouellette covered it more…

Last week, I did a post for Forbes on the surprisingly complicated physics of a light bulb. Incandescent light bulbs produce a spectrum that’s basically blackbody radiation, but if you think about it, that’s kind of amazing given that the atoms making up the filament have quantized states, and can absorb and emit only discrete…

I was proctoring an exam yesterday in two different sections of the same class, so I had a lot of quite time. Which means I wrote not one but two new posts for Forbes… The first continues a loose series of posts about the exotic physics behind everyday objects (something I’m toying with as a…

Breaking Boards

One of the highlights of teaching introductory mechanics is always the “karate board” lab, which I start off by punching through a wooden board. That gets the class’s attention, and then we have them hang weights on boards and measure the deflection in response to a known force. This confirms that the board behaves like…

On Toys in Science

The big social media blow-up of the weekend was, at least on the science-y side of things, the whole “boys with toys” thing, stemming from this NPR interview, which prompted the #GirlsWithToys hashtag in response. I’m not sorry to have missed most of the original arguments while doing stuff with the kids, but the hashtag…