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Sochi Physics Homework

2 months agoAcademics / Physics : Dot Physics

The 2014 Winter Olympics are finished (in case you didn’t know).  The Olympics are filled with interesting physics problems.  If only I had more time, each of these could have been a nice blog post. Instead, it’s up to you...

Nailing down the Yang-Mills problem

Millennium problems represent a major challenge for physicists and mathematicians. So far, the only one that has been solved was the Poincaré conjecture (now a theorem) by Grisha Perelman. For people working in strong interactions and quantum chromodynamics, the most interesting of such problems is the Yang-Mills mass gap and existence problem. The solutions of […]

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…

What Is the Slowest Running Speed For a Loop-the-Loop?

2 months agoAcademics / Physics : Dot Physics

I’ve looked at the loop-the-loop problem before. The basic idea is to take something (like a car) and drive around a vertical loop while not leaving the track. It’s a cool stunt especially with a human. How does it work?...

Plot for Weekend: dream on

2 months agoAcademics / Physics : Resonaances

To force myself into a more regular blogging lifestyle, I thought it would be good to have a weekly column. So I'm kicking off with the Plot for Weekend series (any resemblance to Tommaso's Plot of the Week is purely coincidental). You understand the idea: it's weekend, people relax, drink, enjoy... Show More Summary

‘Black widow’ pulsars consume their mates

With a deadly embrace, 'spidery' pulsars devour their partners. One such pulsar is the first rapidly spinning black widow to be discovered using only gamma rays. Black widow spiders and their Australian cousins, known as redbacks, are notorious for killing and devouring their partners. Show More Summary

Introduce a Girl to Engineering Day

2 months agoAcademics / Physics : Asymptotia

Apparently it was Introduce a Girl to Engineering Day yesterday, so some might say I missed it. But as you know, I think that every day should be Introduce a Girl to Engineering Day, so it is not too late! Have a look a website for it I found (here). Show More Summary

What Is the Resistance of a PASCO 750 Interface Box?

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…

Godzilla Gets Bigger Each Year

2 months agoAcademics / Physics : Dot Physics

I bet you thought Godzilla was godzilla-sized. Well, you are wrong. Godzilla is BIGGER THAN GODZILLA. Check out the new poster from the next version of Godzilla movie. That’s a big Godzilla. BIG. io9 has an interesting post that includes...

Statistically significant

Michelangelo D’Agostino taps his physics ingenuity daily as a data scientist. Michelangelo D’Agostino took a few forays into the world outside particle physics before confidently switching to a career in data science, where he exercises...Show More Summary

US HEP Theory Funding News

Laurence Yaffe has gathered some information about DOE funding of US HEP theory groups, showing sharp drops (average 23%) in such funding for groups reviewed in FY2013 and FY2014. These drops imply serious reductions in the numbers of theory graduate … Continue reading ?

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…

Cosmic rays on demand

At SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory, researchers are using particle accelerators to help them search for the source of ultra-high-energy cosmic rays. In a test facility at SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory, scientists have set the stage for an experiment that mimics what happens when incredibly energetic particles hit our atmosphere. Show More Summary

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…

Isn’t This Physics and Not Computer Science?

2 months agoAcademics / Physics : Dot Physics

My new plan in introductory physics is to require students to demonstrate some ability to create a numerical calculation. Just to be clear, by “numerical calculation” – I mean to solve a problem by breaking that problem into many simpler...

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…

BaBar still breaking new ground

Twenty years after a cutting-edge particle physics experiment at SLAC adopted a royal elephant from a series of children's books as its mascot, BaBar (the experiment, not the elephant) is still looking ahead to future discoveries. In...Show More Summary

Uncertain Questions?

About three hours from now, Rhett Allain and I are doing another “Uncertain Dots” Google hangout. We don’t have a real clear topic, so if you have any questions about physics, academia, blogs, etc. that you’d like to hear us answer, this would be a great time to ask them, via comments here, email, or…

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.…

Do Uniforms Make a Difference in Speed Skating?

2 months agoAcademics / Physics : Dot Physics

It seems the USA speed skaters aren’t doing as well as they had hoped to in the 2014 Winter Olympics. One idea is that the new uniforms could be part of the problem. I don’t know much about skating, so...

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