Links for 2011-06-02

  • ""My name is Erasto B Mpemba, and I am going to tell you about my discovery, which was due to misusing a refrigerator."

    With those words, Tanzanian student Erasto Mpemba entered scientific history, and also sparked a scientific mystery and controversy that remains ongoing today, some 40 years later!

    The phenomenon Mpemba found is now known as the Mpemba effect, and is the very counterintuitive idea that, under certain circumstances, a quantity of very hot/boiling liquid can freeze faster than an equal quantity of cold liquid!"

  • "Whenever I attend ASM, there are always students standing next to unattended posters. It's somewhat depressing: they've cleaned and gussied themselves up, sweated over the details of their posters, and are gamely trying to not look depressed at the complete lack of attention their posters are receiving. Because I like helping, I'm going to provide some advice which might only be worth what you paid for it."
  • "Academics use posters to present research, but their posters are often ugly, with tiny text, confusing layouts, and dubious colour schemes. Better Posters is about making posters informative and beautiful."
  • "Also significant is which books they are buying. At Johns Hopkins, more than 70 percent of the e-books sold since last July have been "backlist" titles -- books that had been out for more than a year. At the University of Kentucky, 87 percent were backlist. At the University of North Carolina, 90 percent. That means that the presses' recent success in moving e-books has not come as a result of any kind of concerted marketing effort to get customers to spring for the electronic versions. Rather, it has happened despite a lack of such efforts.

    "The front list is where the majority of the publicity and promotion activities are focused," says Torrey. "And so these books are enjoying success that is not driven by the marketing and publicity activity around new books.""

Tags

More like this

Thank you so much Chad for telling us about Erasto Mpemba's discovery (even if it be a form of rediscovery.) This effect, however it is resolved or future developments, shows what amateurs (which includes students not yet blessed with suitable degrees) can accomplish in science. My congrats to Mr. Mpemba for noticing this anomaly at a tender age, and for persisting since amateurs are often ignored.

Both amateurs and those striving to present novel challenges to conventions have support from the Foundational Questions Institute. Mission statement: "FQXi catalyzes, supports, and disseminates research on questions at the foundations of physics and cosmology, particularly new frontiers and innovative ideas integral to a deep understanding of reality, but unlikely to be supported by conventional funding sources." Name link offers potential disproof of a popular solution to the measurement problem, other essays deal with similar issues and more. The winners of their current contest will soon be announced.