Science

Category archives for Science

Math with Bad Drawings has a post about “word problems” that will sound very familiar to anyone who’s taught introductory physics. As he notes, the problem with “word problems” for math-phobic students is that it requires translating words into symbols, and then using the symbols to select a procedure. It adds a step to what…

Surprise!

Over at Curious Wavefunction, Ashutosh Jogalekar offers a list of great surprising results in physics. This is fairly comprehensive, but leaves out one of my favorites, which is the discovery of the muon. Muons are particles like electrons, but a couple hundred times heavier. When they were first detected in cosmic ray traces in 1936,…

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…

Science Stories: One-Shots

(When I launched the Advent Calendar of Science Stories series back in December, I had a few things in mind, but wasn’t sure I’d get through 24 days. In the end, I had more than enough material, and in fact didn’t end up using a few of my original ideas. So I’ll do a few…

If I Were Ted Chiang…

(That title doesn’t quite scan as is, but if you stick an “a” in there, you can sing it to the tune of a song from “Fiddler on the Roof”… You’re welcome.) The last time I taught my “Brief History of Timekeeping” seminar was in 2012, so I spent a bunch of time on the…

I’m teaching my “Brief History of Timekeeping” class again this term, and as always, I’m tweaking things a bit. This is one of our “Sophomore Research Seminar” courses, intended to introduce students to academic research, so it’s not specifically a physics class, but I’m choosing to take the statements about research outside the student’s field…