Tagged: atoms

How big is an atom? - Physics Stop

Marcus Wilson Jan 08, 2014

I started back at work on Monday thinking that it would be a nice, peaceful day, with no-one else around on campus. Surely, on a beautiful, sunny, 6th January, the entire of Hamilton except for myself would be on the beach at Raglan. Wow, was I mistaken. The campus was buzzing with activity and there was a constant stream … Read More

Don’t underestimate the estimate - Physics Stop

Marcus Wilson Mar 15, 2013

 A few weeks ago we had a small, informal competition in the department - guess the maximum gradient on one of the roads on campus.  I think the motivation for this this small stretch of hill (or what passes for a hill here in Hamilton) was going to be used as part of a dynamics experiment, and so one of … Read More

The varied world of physics - Physics Stop

Marcus Wilson Oct 17, 2011

It was a very interesting day at the NZ Institute of Physics conference. I learned about some of the physics experiments done at the South Pole, how to trap, observe and count atoms (and that high school physics teachers who tell their students that you can't see atoms need to update their knowledge), some results from heavy ion collisions at … Read More

Piezoelectricity - Physics Stop

Marcus Wilson May 04, 2011

I went to a very informative seminar this morning by Peter Pott, of the Technical University, Darmstadt, Germany. He gave a very nice introduction to the world of piezoelectric devices.In short, a piezoelectric thing is something that acquires a voltage across it when it is squeezed, stretched, sheared, etc. They can be used as sensors, e.g. in microphones, … Read More

What’s CERN twittering about? - Physics Stop

Marcus Wilson Feb 14, 2011

A quick skim of CERN's Twitter site, www.twitter.com/cern tells me that the LHC is going to be pootling on for the next two years at 3.5 TeV per beam, before it is prepared for running at 7 TeV, starting hopefully in 2014"...[This] gives the LHC’s experiments a good chance of finding new physics in the next two years..."There … Read More

DNA sequencing in one easy step? - Physics Stop

Marcus Wilson Jan 12, 2011

DNA Sequencing has been around for a while now. It's success is down to a wonderfully unlikely collaboration between molecular biology and computer science. Basically, in simple terms (apologies to molecular biologists if I get this wrong - feel free to correct me) to sequence your genome, you take your DNA, chop it into bits, replicate those bits, attach … Read More

Wallpaper lattice confusion - Physics Stop

Marcus Wilson Nov 23, 2010

I got home from work last night to discover the decorator still hard at work, putting up the 'feature' wallpaper on one fairly small section of wall. He said he'd been struggling for the last hour trying to find the repeat in the pattern. It's a dark paper, with detailed but low-contrast outlines of flowers in it. Being an expert in this, … Read More

Symmetry, groups, and wallpaper - Physics Stop

Marcus Wilson Nov 20, 2010

There is new wallpaper going up in our house.  Since my DIY skills are marginally better than my cat's, we've employed a decorator to do it. (I fixed a dripping tap once - that was the high point of my DIY activity.) Looking at the new wallpaper has reminded me that I studied it in my first year at university, as part … Read More

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