Tagged: science

A cracked window - Physics Stop

Marcus Wilson Jan 08, 2021

On Christmas Eve, child number 1 spotted a crack in a window. It’s a double-glazed window, and inspection showed that the small, horizontal crack was in the outermost pane. It was perpendicular to the frame, about three-quarters of the way up one side. The origins are a mystery. It MIGHT have something to do with repeated encounters with footballs, tennis … Read More

The difference between science and engineering - Physics Stop

Marcus Wilson Dec 23, 2020

I’m often asked what the difference is between science and engineering. Or, put another way, why did I find working in a ‘School of Engineering’ when I’m a physicist (i.e. a scientist) so difficult sometimes? (I now work in  ‘Te Aka Matuatua – School of Science‘ at the University of Waikato.) The two disciplines blur a bit at the … Read More

Is science becoming artificially intelligent? - Ariadne

Robert Hickson Dec 09, 2020

Is science becoming “AI-led”, as some venture capitalists suggest? The short answer is no. A slightly longer response is that’s not the most important question to ask about the future of science.   A tool, not a solution DeepMind’s success in determining quite accurate 3D protein structures in a competition made headlines … Read More

When analogies are taken too far: Spacetime is bent, but it’s not quite a stretchy membrane - Physics Stop

Marcus Wilson Sep 30, 2020

Last week I was asked by some school students about the nature of gravity. What is it? Isaac Newton, and a whole pile of textbooks following him, treat gravity as an attractive force between two objects. It’s a force that is proportional to the product of the masses of the two objects, and is inversely proportional to the distance between … Read More

Experts are back in fashion – now more than ever we need to question them - COVID-19

Guest Author May 18, 2020

Richard Shaw, Massey University Once upon a very different time, British cabinet minister Michael Gove sneered that “people have had enough of experts from organisations with acronyms saying that they know what is best and getting it consistently wrong.” But that was then and this is now. One or two obvious exceptions aside, we are all in … Read More

Why do students need to learn about the nature of science? - BioBlog

Alison Campbell Feb 25, 2020

You’re probably aware that the Achievement Standards used to assess senior school students’ learning are being reviewed. Science is one of the ‘pilot’ subjects in this process, where a ‘Subject Expert Group’ has developed 4 draft Science standards¹ (a significant step away from the current 30+, and a response to advice from several high-level advisory groups). These drafts … Read More