Physics

Category archives for Physics

Attempted Mpemba Effect

One of my favorite modern tales of scientific discovery is the Mpemba Effect, named after Erasto Mpemba, a schoolboy in Tanzania who noticed while making ice cream that hot mix put in the freezer solidified faster than cold. This counter-intuitive result has been replicated a bunch of times, and physicists and chemists continue to debate…

165/366: Wintry Science

It was bitterly cold over the weekend here in the Northeast, with daytime high temepratures in the single digits Fahrenheit. This has little to recommend it in terms of, you know, leaving the house, but it did provide an opportunity to try some SCIENCE! Unfortunately, I left the notepad with the data (such as it…

160/366: Nice Crowd

I did bring my good camera with me to Newport News, and took it on the tour of Jefferson Lab yesterday, but despite the existence of DSLR pics, you’re getting a cell-phone snap for the photo of the day: That’s the audience about 10-15 minutes before my talk last night, so it was a good…

I’ve been remiss in my self-promotional duties, but I’m giving a public lecture tomorrow night in Newport News, VA, as part of the Jefferson Lab Science Series. This will be my traditional “What Every Dog Should Know About Quantum Physics” talk, with the sad addition of a slide honoring the late, great Queen of Niskayuna…

In yesterday’s post about the lack of money in academia, I mentioned in passing that lack of funding is part of the reason for the slow pace of progress on improving faculty diversity. That is, we could make more rapid progress if we suddenly found shitloads of money and could go on a massive hiring…

A long-ish stretch of time, but I was basically offline for a bunch of that because I needed to finish a chapter I was asked to contribute to an academic book. So there are only four physics posts from Forbes to promote this time: — ‘The Expanse’ Is A Rare Sci-Fi Show That Gets Simulated…

152/366: Fun With Motion Blur

This one was a whole bunch of work for one smallish shot… So, in past rounds of “science-y things with my fancy camera,” I looked at the effect of ISO settings and apertures. This time out, I wanted to look at something moving, and the way that it blurs with increasing exposure time. My initial…

One of the things about being a physicist that makes it tough to have any sensible work-life balance is that I’m constantly seeing little things and thinking “Oooh! Physics!” then getting distracted from what I’m actually supposed to be doing. Take, for example, our bathroom sink. I have noticed, from time to time, a weird…

Quantum Short Fiction, Voting Open Now

The Center for Quantum Technologies is running a “Quantum Shorts” contest, where they solicited short stories exploring some aspect of quantum physics. They cut their large number of applicants down to two short-lists of ten, one for the “Open” category, and one for the “Youth” category. They’ll be giving out a “People’s Choice Award” based…

The Exotic Physics of an Ordinary Morning

A couple of weeks ago, I gave a talk at TEDxAlbany on how quantum physics manifests in everyday life. I posted the approximate text back then, but TEDx has now put up the video: So, if you’ve been wondering what it sounded like live, well, now you can see…