Tagged: experiment

Engineering, lego and line followers - Physics Stop

Marcus Wilson Aug 19, 2014

In the last few weeks I've been working with some second-year software engineering students on a design project. Their particular task is to build (with Lego - but the high-tech variety) a robot that can follow a white line on a bench. It's fun to watch them play with different ideas and concepts - there's the occasional … Read More

Going down the plughole - Physics Stop

Marcus Wilson Jul 04, 2014

Being a father of an active, outdoor-loving two-year-old, I am well acquainted with the bath. Almost every night: fill with suitable volume of warm water, check water temperature, place two-year-old in it, retreat to safe distance. He's not the only thing that ends up wet as he carries out various vigorous experiments with fluid flow.  One that he's … Read More

Dismantling the health and safety pyramid - Physics Stop

Marcus Wilson Jun 04, 2014

A few days ago I was updating one of the lectures I do for my Experimental Physics course. I was putting in a bit more about safety and managing hazards, which are things that are associated with doing experiments for real. When I was a student, we didn't learn anything about this - my first introduction to the ideas … Read More

The gearbox problem - Physics Stop

Marcus Wilson May 27, 2014

At afternoon tea yesterday we were discussing a problem regarding racing slot-cars (electric toy racing cars).  A very practical problem indeed! Basically, what we want to know is how do we optimize the size of the electric motor and gear-ratio (it only has one gear) in order to achieve the best time over a given distance from a stationary … Read More

Don’t trust the machine - Physics Stop

Marcus Wilson Apr 28, 2014

Back to blogging, after a nice holiday in Taranaki dodging the rain showers (and, as it turned out, the volcano, which we never even got a glimpse of) and a frantic week of lab work while the undergraduates were away.  Both were very interesting, but it's the lab work I'll talk about here.  Something that I've learned … Read More

A fun experiment to try at your desk - Physics Stop

Marcus Wilson Mar 13, 2014

I received the latest PhysicsWorld magazine from the Institute of Physics yesterday. A quick flick through it reveals a fantastic demonstration you can do with kids (or grown-up kids) to show how strong friction can be. Take two telephone directories, and interleave the pages (so every page of book A has a page from book B above and below … Read More

Dem Cables - Physics Stop

Marcus Wilson Feb 21, 2014

I've just been shifting around various bits of equipment and computers in our 2nd and 3rd year physics lab, to make way for an item that's shifting in there from a nearby lab. It's gone something like this...(rising in semitones, with apologies to the original performers)  Da power socket is connected to da extension cord; Da extension … Read More