Physics Stop

Weighing magnetic properties

Marcus Wilson Jan 12, 2016

It’s a New Year and there are lots of things to do at work before the students get back in any numbers. There are still summer students and research students here, and in the last couple of days I’ve been working with a summer student on getting a new piece of equipment running for our Experimental Physics paper – … Read More

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Tip or slide?

Marcus Wilson Dec 18, 2015

We had our departmental Christmas lunch on Tuesday, outside in the campus grounds. We had some lovely sunshine, but the wind did rather spoil things. I’ve certainly got used now to living in a very wind-free place – a fresh breeze is something quite unsual here. We were hanging on to our paper plates, but didn’t expect to have … Read More

On the track at the Avantidrome

Marcus Wilson Dec 14, 2015

Yesterday I finally managed to achieve one of the things on my ‘to do’ list that’s been sitting there for about a year – attend a ‘Have a Go’ session at the velodrome in Cambridge. For those that don’t know it, it’s New Zealand’s new (which means about two years old) world-class velodrome and now ‘home’ to New … Read More

And the Nobel Prize in physics goes to…

Marcus Wilson Nov 27, 2015

…the United States of America, of course. Hamish Johnston, editor of physicsworld.com, has put together a neat little piece looking at where Nobel physics laureates start and end their days. There’s no surprise on the net migration front – a huge flow from everywhere to the US. What Johnston’s graphic doesn’t indicate is when the award winner migrated … Read More

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