The end of the week… - Physics Stop

Marcus Wilson Sep 18, 2009

Have you ever had one of those days when you have worked flat out all day and seem to have accomplished nothing?I think that's today.  My desk looks like a tornado has been through the office. Now, I wonder, statsitically speaking, how many tornados I'd need to come through before one picked up all the loose bits of paper and … Read More

Scholarship physics questions - Physics Stop

Marcus Wilson Sep 17, 2009

I've just been putting together a presentation for final year school children on the NZ scholarship physics exam.   NZ Scholarship is awarded to the top 3% or so of students in a particular subject in a particular year, and there is some big money up for grabs.But the exam questions for scholarship are hard.  Really.  I find them hard (remember I lecture … Read More

Pesky reptiles confuse palaeontologists - Chicken or Egg

Hilary Miller Sep 17, 2009

This from a letter to Nature, in the latest edition: Could Nature have been unknowingly publishing papers for the past 80 years about crocodilian gastroliths (stomach stones) instead of stones concluded to be 2.5-million-year-old hominid tools? This possibility could cast doubt, for example, on the nature of the Oldowan specimens described by Michael Haslam and colleagues in their [...] … Read More

Geometric algebra - Physics Stop

Marcus Wilson Sep 16, 2009

Here's a lovely quote that students will empathize with:"A recent study on the use of vectors by introductory physics students summarized the conclusions in two words: "vector avoidance". This state of mind tends to propagate through the physics curriculum. In some 25 years of graduate physics teaching, I have noted that perhaps a third of the students seem incapable of … Read More