December 2010
Posts published on this day
Posts published on this day
Posts published on this day
Posts published on this day
Posts published on this day
Posts published on this day
Posts published on this day
Posts published on this day

Archive: Physics Stop December 2010

Gender stereotyping and physics

Marcus Wilson Nov 20, 2015

The Institute of Physics (IOP) has recently released “Opening Doors: A guide to good practice in countering gender stereotyping in schools” (You can access the report here and read some commentary at a recent IOP conference here.) Although funded jointly by the Government Equalities Office (now I’m sure such a thing didn’t exist when I lived … Read More

Feedback, feedback and more feedback

Marcus Wilson Nov 13, 2015

I’ve recently received the final report from the Conference Organizing company that looked after the New Zealand Institute of Physics (NZIP) conference, back in July. The report includes such things as the final accounts, the breakdown of who attended, and feedback from participants. It’s the feedback that is particularly interesting.  When we attend an event, it’s … Read More

Attacked by an umbrella

Marcus Wilson Nov 05, 2015

We have a spring-loaded umbrella at home. The idea is that you press a button, and it automatically springs into shape – its shaft springs out and the canopy unfolds. I’ve often wondered about the wisdom of such a mechanism and thought what would happen if it went off in an inconvenient confined space, such as a shop packed … Read More

Global Positioning Stupidity

Marcus Wilson Oct 22, 2015

I take back what I said last week about amazing vehicle management systems on milk tankers. Last night a GPS took a forty-two tonne tanker onto the three-tonne-rated Cambridge High Level Bridge, in what could have been a catastrophe. The bridge, with which I am very familiar, was designed for people, horses-and-carts, and the occasional … Read More

Tanker physics

Marcus Wilson Oct 14, 2015

I’m currently at the Metrology Society of Australasia conference in beautiful Queenstown. For those that don’t know, which might be most of you, metrology is the science of measurement. How do you measure things well? At this conference, we’ve got presentations on measuring temperature, pressure, liquid volume (a surprisingly tricky one this – if you want to do it accurately, … Read More

Plants in circular motion

Marcus Wilson Oct 05, 2015

In our first-year physics lab we have the following horticultural experiment.  Here we have some bulbs growing on a rotating turntable. The array of five pots is placed on the turntable so that the centre pot is at the centre of the turntable; the left- and right-hand pots are at the perimeter.The turntable is rotating at about half-a-revolution a second. Read More

If gravity increased…

Marcus Wilson Sep 25, 2015

A colleague remarked to me yesterday, as we were trudging up the two flights of stairs from the tea-room to the third floor, “I’m sure they turn up the force of gravity in this building each year.” I feel like that too, sometimes. However, I suspect it has more to do with the aging process that any changes in physical … Read More

Clothes racks are not the reason for mouldy homes

Marcus Wilson Sep 21, 2015

I read the ‘Rental Nightmare‘ article on last night. Some of the stories are horrific indeed, and I’m reasonably confident that the writer has deliberately sought out the worst situations rather than the most common situations. But one cannot deny that a great deal of housing in New Zealand is sub-standard. In housing-deficient Auckland, in particular, families … Read More

Axis labels – accurate but not at all obvious

Marcus Wilson Sep 14, 2015

I had a conversation with a class this morning regarding the labelling of axes on graphs.In particular, how we should indicate the units. Most quantities we deal with in physics carry units. A speed might be 35 km/h, a distance might be 16.8 mm, a pressure could be 28 kPa. Saying that a speed is 35 is wrong and … Read More

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