Thermo/StatMech

Category archives for Thermo/StatMech

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…

026/366: Pancakes in Infrared

The image here of a pancake cooking isn’t particularly interesting in its own right, other than as documentation of our weekend ritual at Chateau Steelypips. Saturday and sunday mornings, Kate sleeps in while the kids watch cartoons and I cook pancakes for them. SteelyKid absolutely drowns hers in maple syrup, then refuses to eat them,…

Winter Thermodynamics: Foggy Glasses

We’re having a brutal cold snap at the moment, and while today’s early-morning dog walk was considerably warmer than yesterday’s, it was still 0F/-18C out, which is way colder than I like. When I came back in the house after the walk, my glasses instantly fogged up. But I had to take some stuff outside…

Deflategate on Discovery Canada

I know I said I was done with this story, but this was actually recorded last week: The Daily Planet show on Discovery Channel in Canada contacted me last week when all this deflated-football silliness was exploding, and got a cameraman to come over and record me talking about it. The episode aired Monday night,…

Deflategate: The Final Chapter

The low-level cold I’ve been nursing for a month now finally exploded into the full unpleasantness of my usual winter illness Saturday, or else I would’ve been more active following up on my Deflategate article and my ideal gas law post. As it was, for most of the day, I could barely keep on top…

So, as mentioned yesterday, I got an email asking me about the weird scandal involving the Patriots and underinflated footballs, so I wrote a piece for the Conversation on the subject. since a few people had beaten me to citations of the Ideal Gas Law, though, I decided to bring my own particular set of…

One of the cool things about working at Union is that the Communications office gets media requests looking for people to comment on current events, which sometimes get forwarded to me. Yesterday was one of those days, with a request for a scientist to comment on the bizarre sports scandal surrounding the deflated footballs used…

Thermal Thursday: How Good Is My Mug?

One of my favorite Christmas presents this year was a Seek Thermal camera to use with my Android phone. This allows for a lot of idle physics-y fun, taking pictures of things in thermal mode. One idea I had was to do a sort of follow-up to the test of my insulated mug that I…

Holiday Thermal Physics

One of my Christmas gifts this year was a Seek Thermal camera, so I can continue my transformation into Rhett Allain. What’s this for? Why, physics, of course. Such as this video of the operation of the Christmas pyramid my parents picked up in Germany, and had set up at the start of Christmas dinner:…

Another weekend day, another story I’m going to outsource a bit. In this case, to the original scientist, who at the time of his discovery was a 13-year-old schoolboy in Tanzania: In 1963, when I was in form 3 in Magamba Secondary School, Tanzania, I used to make ice-cream. The boys at the school do…