Physics Stop

In praise of fixable appliances

Marcus Wilson Dec 17, 2018

Last week saw the first ‘fault’ on our washing machine. We’ve had this particular one for nine months, and with a baby and young boy in the house it is well used. When I went into the laundry to empty the machine I found the cycle had not finished as I had expected. Instead, the machine was flashing an error … Read More

1

Colour vision

Marcus Wilson Dec 10, 2018

We’ve known for a while that child number 1 (male) is red-green colour blind. This comes as no surprise – with his maternal grandfather being the same. The genes responsible lurk on the X-chromosome. That means his mother is a carrier of red-green colour blindness, and child number 1 had a 50:50 chance of picking up her faulty X-chromosome.  It … Read More

Hydrophobic cabbage

Marcus Wilson Nov 26, 2018

Saturday afternoon saw a break in the rain, and I was able to get out into the garden. The first thing I did was to harvest a red cabbage for dinner. The nice bit of the cabbage is the tightly rolled leaves in the middle, but surrounding that are a whole lot of larger leaves, which I removed and left … Read More

Biological variability and Pakistani batting collapses

Marcus Wilson Nov 21, 2018

So, yesterday we had our Science Communication students looking at social media and blogging in particular. Alison Campbell and I talked through what makes a good science blog, and the students got to explore sciblogs.co.nz and look for themselves*.  In the coming week, the students need to put up a blog entry themselves. (I’m afraid these will be private … Read More

Cell phones give you cancer. Yeah, right.

Marcus Wilson Nov 15, 2018

It’s been a couple of weeks since the NIH studies on mice, rats and cellphones hit the headlines.  The studies were released with perfect timing to be used in our Science Communication paper – a third-year level paper for science undergraduates on communicating science ideas well. In short, we had half the class look at what mainstream media said about … Read More

2

The difference between an engineer and a physicist

Marcus Wilson Oct 20, 2018

As a researcher who has recently published an article in the elegantly-named journal ‘Biomedical Physics and Engineering Express’ (in other words, biology, medicine, physics, engineering all in one) it’s clear to me that the boundaries that we often like to use to define ourselves are rather blurry. I am a physicist (yes!) but also, at times, I have to drift … Read More

Static hair

Marcus Wilson Oct 15, 2018

It’s one of those annoying laws of nature that the times you want to do a demonstration of static electricity with a Van der Graaf generator are the times when the atmosphere is least suited to it. Damp conditions equal a damp demonstration. But yesterday was really good. No Van der Graaf generator needed – just a ten-month-old on a … Read More