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Why science is NOT ‘Just a Theory’

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November 13, 2014 at 7:16 pm

Posted in EDUCATION

An Exploration of the Limits of the Maxwell-Boltzmann Distribution

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The probability distribution of speeds is given in terms of the dimensionless variable x = v/vp, where vp is the most probable speed.

The probability distribution of speeds is given in terms of the dimensionless variable x = v/vp, where vp is the most probable speed.

Yi-Chi Yvette Wu, L. H. Ford
Selected aspects of the Maxwell-Boltzmann for molecular speeds are discussed, with special attention to physical effects of the low speed and high speed limits. We use simple approaches to study several topics which could be included in introductory courses, but are usually only discussed in more advanced or specialized courses…
… Read more at http://arxiv.org/pdf/1410.6965v1.pdf

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October 28, 2014 at 11:09 am

Vampire Selfie: A Curious Case of an Absent Reflection

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Top view of a person standing in an elevator while facing the door. (a) Rays originating from a point (O) on an object, reflected from a plane surface, form a virtual image at the apparent point of origin (I) of the reflected rays. (b) Rays originating from a point on an object, reflected from many irregularly oriented small facets, cannot be traced back to an apparent common point of origin, so no image forms. (c) If many points (O1, O2, O3, etc.) along the object are approximately the same color and shape, then the randomly reflected rays from these various points can appear to have a common origin (I) and form an image.

Top view of a person standing in an elevator while facing the door. (a) Rays originating from a point (O) on an object, reflected from a plane surface, form a virtual image at the apparent point of origin (I) of the reflected rays. (b) Rays originating from a point on an object, reflected from many irregularly oriented small facets, cannot be traced back to an apparent common point of origin, so no image forms. (c) If many points (O1, O2, O3, etc.) along the object are approximately the same color and shape, then the randomly reflected rays from these various points can appear to have a common origin (I) and form an image.

Joshua M. Grossman
During a recent ride in an elevator, I was startled by an observation. Once the door closed, the features on the back wall of the elevator were evident in a reflection on the door; however, my own reflection appeared absent . How could that be? What physics caused this curious phenomenon? The elevator had wooden molding, including horizontal strips that ran all the way around the back and sides . These horizontal strips were what showed up most clearly in the reflection. The door’s surface was brushed metal with the brush marks all running vertically. Therein lay the solution…
…Read more at scitation.aip.org

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October 25, 2014 at 6:25 am

Posted in EDUCATION

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Relativity Isn’t Relative

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absolutivity

Written by physicsgg

April 3, 2014 at 4:42 pm

Posted in EDUCATION, RELATIVITY

Humans could fly on Saturn’s moon Titan

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P5_1 You can fly
flying on titan

H.Lerman, B.Irwin, P.Hicks

Many humans dream of flying like a bird. Although it is not possible on Earth, it is on Titan.
This paper explores the dimensions of a wingsuit allowing a human to easily take-off from the surface
of Titan.
It was calculated that the wing area would be approximately 4.7 m2 assuming an initial run up speed of 6m/s.
This value is larger than the average wingsuit wing area of 1.4 m2.
For this area the human will have to run at a speed of 11 m/s, which has only been reached by a small number of humans….
… Read more at https://physics.le.ac.uk/journals/index.php/pst/article/view/625/420

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March 3, 2014 at 4:00 pm

Posted in EDUCATION

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Leonard Susskind: The Theoretical Minimum

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In this course, world renowned physicist, Leonard Susskind, dives into the fundamentals of classical mechanics and quantum physics. He discovers the link between the two branches of physics and ultimately shows how quantum mechanics grew out of the classical structure. In this lecture, he discusses some of the basic logic in quantum mechanics and then moves into some more mathematical concepts.

Read also: “The man who proved Stephen Hawking wrong

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February 27, 2014 at 4:01 pm

A Tiny Speaker Printed on a Single Sheet of Paper

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elec-planche-anatomique-de-haut-parleur2 (1)

Coralie Gourguechon created a paper speaker and amplifier. Image: Coralie Gourguechon

BY LIZ STINSON
If you’re the tinkering type, you’ve probably deconstructed a fair number of electronics. It doesn’t take a genius to tear apart a radio, but once you get past the bulk of plastic packaging and down to the guts, you begin to realize that reading the mess of circuits, chips and components is like trying to navigate your way through a foreign country with a map from the 18th century.
But it doesn’t have to be so complicated, says Coralie Gourguechon. “Nowadays, we own devices that are too complicated considering the way we really use them,” she says. Gourguechon, maker of the Craft Camera, believes that in order to understand our electronics, they need to be vastly simpler and more transparent than they currently are.

Which is why the France-based product designer decided to totally deconstruct them. In her most recent project, Gourguechon has created a series of paper electronics—an amplifier, speaker and radio—stripped down to their most basic components and fitted onto a single sheet of paper. “The idea was that the sheet of paper become the object, with no complicated assembly needed,” she says.

The anatomy of each gadget’s operating system is outlined in bold icons, like an anatomical roadmap that teaches users how to build the object. Each graphical representation has a function: the circuit icons teach users what connects to what, the anatomical chart shows the inner workings of the components and the patterns of the paper modules help users to shape their own paper circuit. “I saw this as a map, that could help for the assembly of the product, or in order to repair it,” she says.

All of the components are linked together through a series of lines that are printed with conductive ink, which allows the paper electronics to actually function. To turn the speaker on, for example, you pop out the sound cone in order to amplify your input. To close the circuit and turn it off, you simply lay the cone flat.

It’s hard to believe, but the devices are totally functional, if a little on the weak side. “It does sound quite good considering the simplicity of the device; of course it’s not as clear as a regular speaker, the sound is lower and low frequencies do not go out very well.”

Though this is just a prototype, Gourguechon says that she can envision a day where paper electronics could be part of a massive database of pattern modules that users could simply print out and assemble. I’m particularly interested into open systems and about the oncoming technologies that could help building this alternatives,” she says. I’m looking forward to the progress of printed electronics, both 2D and 3D. I hope that we will find an effective way of solving the problem of electronic waste, which is growing quickly.”
Read more at http://www.wired.com/design/2013/12/a-tiny-speaker-made-out-of-paper/?cid=co16124664#slideid-374581

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December 21, 2013 at 10:41 am

Posted in EDUCATION, ELECTROMAGNETISM, TECHNOLOGY

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Peter Higgs: I wouldn’t be productive enough for today’s academic system

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Physicist doubts work like Higgs boson identification achievable now as academics are expected to ‘keep churning out papers’

Peter Higgs: 'Today I wouldn't get an academic job. It's as simple as that'. Photograph: David Levene for the Guardian

Peter Higgs: ‘Today I wouldn’t get an academic job. It’s as simple as that’. Photograph: David Levene for the Guardian

Peter Higgs, the British physicist who gave his name to the Higgs boson, believes no university would employ him in today’s academic system because he would not be considered “productive” enough.

The emeritus professor at Edinburgh University, who says he has never sent an email, browsed the internet or even made a mobile phone call, published fewer than 10 papers after his groundbreaking work, which identified the mechanism by which subatomic material acquires mass, was published in 1964.

He doubts a similar breakthrough could be achieved in today’s academic culture, because of the expectations on academics to collaborate and keep churning out papers. He said: “It’s difficult to imagine how I would ever have enough peace and quiet in the present sort of climate to do what I did in 1964.”

Speaking to the Guardian en route to Stockholm to receive the 2013 Nobel prize for science, Higgs, 84, said he would almost certainly have been sacked had he not been nominated for the Nobel in 1980.

Edinburgh University’s authorities then took the view, he later learned, that he “might get a Nobel prize – and if he doesn’t we can always get rid of him”.

Higgs said he became “an embarrassment to the department when they did research assessment exercises”. A message would go around the department saying: “Please give a list of your recent publications.” Higgs said: “I would send back a statement: ‘None.’ ”

By the time he retired in 1996, he was uncomfortable with the new academic culture. “After I retired it was quite a long time before I went back to my department. I thought I was well out of it. It wasn’t my way of doing things any more. Today I wouldn’t get an academic job. It’s as simple as that. I don’t think I would be regarded as productive enough.”

Higgs revealed that his career had also been jeopardised by his disagreements in the 1960s and 70s with the then principal, Michael Swann, who went on to chair the BBC. Higgs objected to Swann’s handling of student protests and to the university’s shareholdings in South African companies during the apartheid regime. “[Swann] didn’t understand the issues, and denounced the student leaders.”

He regrets that the particle he identified in 1964 became known as the “God particle”.

He said: “Some people get confused between the science and the theology. They claim that what happened at Cern proves the existence of God.”

An atheist since the age of 10, he fears the nickname “reinforces confused thinking in the heads of people who are already thinking in a confused way. If they believe that story about creation in seven days, are they being intelligent?”

He also revealed that he turned down a knighthood in 1999. “I’m rather cynical about the way the honours system is used, frankly. A whole lot of the honours system is used for political purposes by the government in power.”

He has not yet decided which way he will vote in the referendum on Scottish independence. “My attitude would depend a little bit on how much progress the lunatic right of the Conservative party makes in trying to get us out of Europe. If the UK were threatening to withdraw from Europe, I would certainly want Scotland to be out of that.”

He has never been tempted to buy a television, but was persuaded to watch The Big Bang Theory last year, and said he wasn’t impressed.
Read more at http://www.theguardian.com/science/2013/dec/06/peter-higgs-boson-academic-system

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December 7, 2013 at 8:49 am

Posted in EDUCATION, High Energy Physics

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