Physics Stop

Sucking up Spaghetti

Marcus Wilson Sep 26, 2018

No. I’m not talking about 6-year-old boys sticking one end in their mouth and sucking.  I’m talking about vacuuming-up old bits of uncooked spaghetti on the kitchen floor. So, on taking the vacuum cleaner over the kitchen floor at the weekend, I could see that there were a few broken strands of uncooked spaghetti to clean up, along with the … Read More

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More strange quantum stuff

Marcus Wilson Sep 21, 2018

I have talked about some of the strange quantum mechanics effects before. An example is the two-slit experiment. If we fire photons (particles of light) at a pair of slits, and then measure where they appear on the other side of the slits, we get a two-slit diffraction pattern – exactly what we’d get if the photon travelled … Read More

Relative Velocity

Marcus Wilson Sep 20, 2018

Those of us who fly out of New Zealand reasonably frequently will have noticed how flight times differ significantly depending on whether one is travelling west to east or east to west. Take my recent flight to and from Perth, in Western Australia.  The Auckland to Perth flight was timetabled to last 7 hours 25 minutes, while the return flight … Read More

The problem with undergraduate textbooks…

Marcus Wilson Aug 07, 2018

In the last few weeks I’ve been talking with a colleague about magnetizable materials – what they do and how they are categorized. I’m talking about things such as iron – which, when you put them in a magnetic field, will magnetize. That makes the field bigger than you started with. Some materials will stay magnetized when you take them … Read More

Expensoheat

Marcus Wilson Jul 16, 2018

We have now been in our ‘new’ house for four months. This one still does feel a little ‘new’, being only 5 years old. It even incorporates some radical features (for New Zealand): proper insulation, double glazing (though I note that the frames are still aluminium) and well-engineered drainage from what otherwise would be a swamp. The house came with … Read More

Back to the blog

Marcus Wilson Jul 02, 2018

Having had a rather extended half-time break from blogging I have some time to get it kicked-off again. And what better topic that the Football World Cup.  (Or, as it’s referred to everywhere except New Zealand, the World Cup.)   There are some great examples and analogies of physics that we can pull from this, but I thought I’d start with … Read More

Astigmatism and Amazing lenses

Marcus Wilson Jul 25, 2017

There is no denying it. I am middle-aged. The latest evidence is the progressive-lens glasses. I had tried to put off getting these for as long as possible (warning to you younger readers — they are not cheap!) but it was just getting too difficult without them. We pretty-well take for granted good vision, but most of us can only enjoy … Read More

Sycamore seeds and wind turbines

Marcus Wilson Jul 18, 2017

At the recent NZ Institute of Physics conference in Dunedin we heard about a wide range of different physics topics -measuring electrical forces; atomic frequency combs; why a highly gendered physics class is not a good thing and measuring forces with your phone. One very simple but thought-provoking presentation was by Tim Molteno — on sycamore seeds and their properties … Read More

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