Physics

Category archives for Physics

Science Journalism vs. Sports Journalism

Over at Backreaction, Bee takes up the eternal question of scientists vs. journalists in exactly the manner you would expect from a physicist: she makes a graph. Several of them, in fact. It’s generally a good analysis of the situation, namely that scientists and journalists disagree about how to maximize information transfer within the constraints…

Olympic Physics Chat

I spent a while on Friday morning talking about the physics of the Olympics with a couple of science classes in Tennessee and Lawrence Norris from the National Society of Black Physicists, organized by Adam “@2footgiraffe” Taylor. This was done via a Google hangout, so the video is recorded on YouTube: The recording seems to…

For the latest in our ongoing series of post where I overthink simple questions, I’d like to present the longest single continuous experiment in Uncertain Principles history, which took six and a half hours yesterday. All to answer the question in the post title. This may seem like a waste, given that I could download…

Computers and Shades

In comments to the post on computer display colors, Will Slaton notes that Mac displays emit polarized light. And, indeed, this is an inherent part of the backlit LCD technology– the individual pixels are bits of liquid crystal between two polarizers, and an applied voltage causes the liquid crystal molecules to flip between a state…

Long Overdue Snow Physics Post

Ages and ages ago, I posted the picture that’s the “featured image” above, and asked people to submit physics comments about it. Then I got distracted by a series of shiny things, and never did anything with the handful of responses I got. Because I’m a Terrible Person. Anyway, it’s long overdue, but here are…

Uncertain Dots, Episode 5

In which Rhett and I talk about color vision, undergraduate research projects, blog networks, outreach activities, and how thermodynamics is a lie. Things mentioned in the discussion: The Flame Challenge My post about looking at computer monitors with a spectrometer Physics Quest I’m inadvertently doing a bit of product placement here– the T-shirt I’m wearing…

On Computer Color

This year’s “Flame Challenge” is to explain color in terms an 11-year-old can follow. I have opinions on this subject, a background in AMO physics, and access to scientific equipment, so I’m putting something together. In the course of this, though, it occurred to me to wonder how my different portable computing devices process color.…

On the Steering of Sleds

In the previous post about luge, I mentioned that there was one thing that came up when Rhett and I were talking about this, namely why there are differences in times between racers. The toy physics model I set up last time suggests that the difference between riders is only a matter of aerodynamics– two…

The Physics of Crazy Sleds

In the Uncertain Dots hangout the other day, Rhett and I went off on a tangent about the physics of the Olympics, specifically the luge. If you’re not familiar with this, it’s basically psycho sledding: people riding tiny little sleds down a curved track at 80mph. The “featured image” above shows Erin Hamlin of the…

Snow Plow Projectile Physics

We got over a foot of snow yesterday and today, so schools are closed. Except Union is a residential college, so we never close, which means I have to dig my car out all the same. Which I did, clearing a path to the unplowed street, then took Emmy for her morning walk. During which,…