## Weighing magnetic properties

It's a New Year and there are lots of things to do at work before the students get back in any numbers. There are still summer students and research students here, and in the last couple of days I've been working with a summer student on getting a new piece of equipment running for our […]

## Feedback, feedback and more feedback

I've recently received the final report from the Conference Organizing company that looked after the New Zealand Institute of Physics (NZIP) conference, back in July. The report includes such things as the final accounts, the breakdown of who attended, and feedback from participants. It's the feedback that is particularly interesting.  When we attend an event, […]

## How do you measure the volume of beer in your bottle?

Someone has to do it. There are laws in NZ pertaining to how the stated  volume of bottled liquids corresponds to their actual volume.  If, for example, you are selling beer in 375 ml capacity bottles, you need to make sure that your bottling plant is working to the NZ definition of what 375 ml […]

## Plants in circular motion

In our first-year physics lab we have the following horticultural experiment.  Here we have some bulbs growing on a rotating turntable. The array of five pots is placed on the turntable so that the centre pot is at the centre of the turntable; the left- and right-hand pots are at the perimeter.The turntable is rotating […]

## Clothes racks are the cause of mouldy homes. I doubt it.

I read the 'Rental Nightmare' article on stuff.co.nz last night. Some of the stories are horrific indeed, and I'm reasonably confident that the writer has deliberately sought out the worst situations rather than the most common situations. But one cannot deny that a great deal of housing in New Zealand is sub-standard. In housing-deficient Auckland, […]

## Axis labels – accurate but not at all obvious

I had a conversation with a class this morning regarding the labelling of axes on graphs.In particular, how we should indicate the units. Most quantities we deal with in physics carry units. A speed might be 35 km/h, a distance might be 16.8 mm, a pressure could be 28 kPa. Saying that a speed is […]

## How to get entry into a physics degree (but not necessarily physics)

So, I'm now back from a lovely holiday in the UK, following a not-so-lovely period of being sick. Quite possibly I can also get back to blogging. Among the great many emails awaiting for me yesterday were a few about school physics and university physics. They were coming from different sources for different reasons, but […]

## A light puzzle

Here's a puzzling photograph that Hans Bachor showed me at the end of the NZ Institute of Physics conference last week. It comes from his public lecture on lasers a week ago. And we don't have the answer to it, so maybe you can enlighten us (pun intended).  The photo is of a demonstration of […]