Scholarship Physics

It’s that time of year when school students become seriously focused on exams. This year has been messy for student learning, and has affected some students more than others, but the NCEA external assessments and the Scholarship exams are going ahead pretty-much as normal. I’ve taken some interest in the Scholarship Physics exams over the […]

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Bad light stopped play

One of the top challenges for physics in the modern era, along with Climate Change and explaining Dark Energy, has to be fixing the problem of bad light*. (I’m talking cricket – what else?) It’s a quintessentially English problem. It’s not raining, the pitch is perfectly playable, the spectators (COVID-19 notwithstanding) are enjoying themselves, but […]

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The Beirut explosion shockwave

That was clearly a huge explosion. https://www.nzherald.co.nz/world/news/article.cfm?c_id=2&objectid=12354134 Just after the explosion, we see a cloud of ‘fog’ moving outwards at high speed. This is a shockwave, rather similar to that which causes a sonic boom. The ‘fog’ is caused by water condensing from the atmosphere in areas of intense low pressure and temperature, and parallels […]

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