Physics Stop

The importance of physics

Marcus Wilson Jan 06, 2010

It is sometimes hard as a scientist to maintain a broad focus. It is very easy to get obsessed with your pet project and forget the equally important stuff being done by scientists and others elsewhere. Just because you find your research extremely interesting and you can see lots of uses for it, it doesn't necessarily follow that others will … Read More

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Back to the long-neglected blog

Marcus Wilson Jan 05, 2010

Well, I'm back in at work now after three weeks and four and a half thousand kilometres.  Pleased to discover that in my absence the house hadn't burnt down, there had been no floods and Christmas presents hadn't been stolen.So it's now back to trawling through three weeks' worth of emails, catching up with how student projects have developed in … Read More

Simple Machines

Marcus Wilson Dec 26, 2009

There's a lot to do while driving.   Look at the road - watch the speedo (98 kmh - OK there), watch the road - look in mirrors - check fuel gauge (half - OK there) - watch road - watch that car at the intersection ahead - check temperature gauge (where it should be) - eyes on road - glance … Read More

The We(s)t Coast

Marcus Wilson Dec 23, 2009

Back online briefly - blogging is a bit tricky from campsites - not all of them have wireless broadband connections yet - particularly on the West Coast.For those non-New Zealanders, 'West Coast' refers to the west coast of the South Island, which I have now driven the length of. Or as much as is accessible by road, anyway. Having done … Read More

LHC happenings

Marcus Wilson Dec 15, 2009

A couple of weeks ago the Large Hadron Collider became the world's highest energy particle accelerator, reaching a beam energy of 1.18 TeV. It also breaks the 1 TeV barrier for the first time, taking the record of the Tevatron at Fermilab, near Chicago.The equipment is gradually being 'tuned up' and hopefully we will see some very interesting things … Read More

Summer holidays…

Marcus Wilson Dec 12, 2009

It's summer (well, on paper anyway) which means holiday, which means blogging will certainly ease off until the new year. I'll try to get the odd post up now and then so you don't feel neglected, but please don't expect three or four a week. Happy Christmas and New Year. Read More

Climate change

Marcus Wilson Dec 10, 2009

I feel that, as a physicist, I should be making some reasonable and informed comment on the Copenhagen summit. After all, climate is immensely physicsy. We have fluid flow, conduction, convection and radiation of heat, interaction of electromagnetic radiation with electrons in molecules, scattering of light by small particles, solar activity (on second thoughts, … Read More

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Small Transistors

Marcus Wilson Dec 09, 2009

How often do you get attracted to an article somewhere because of its outrageous headline, and then discover on reading the article that its headline, if not an outright lie, doesn't quite represent what the article is actually about?This is one that got my attention earlier this week on physorg.com.  The headline "Scientists build 'single-atom transistor' " certainly … Read More

A boost to my vocabulary

Marcus Wilson Dec 07, 2009

I learnt a new word recently, courtesy of PhysicsWorld. Yoctosecond. That's a period of time equal to ten to the power of minus twenty-four of a second. Or 0.000 000 000 000 000 000 000 001 seconds. As in "I'm just popping out - I'll only be a yoctosecond."Physicists (or anyone else for that matter) haven't needed to … Read More

Waves in a plasma

Marcus Wilson Dec 04, 2009

This post follows from a comment I had yesterday from Robert McCormick on the www.sciblogs.co.nz version of PhysicsStop. (Unfortunately the mapping of PhysicsStop onto the sciblogs website doesn't combine the comments - so if you read my blog through The University of Waikato website you won't have got his comment, so I attach the link below)https://sciblogs.co.nz/physics-stop/2009/12/03/rainbows/#comments Plasmas provide … Read More