Small Transistors

How often do you get attracted to an article somewhere because of its outrageous headline, and then discover on reading the article that its headline, if not an outright lie, doesn’t quite represent what the article is actually about? This is one that got my attention earlier this week on physorg.com.  The headline "Scientists build […]

Continue reading

Waves in a plasma

This post follows from a comment I had yesterday from Robert McCormick on the www.sciblogs.co.nz version of PhysicsStop. (Unfortunately the mapping of PhysicsStop onto the sciblogs website doesn’t combine the comments – so if you read my blog through The University of Waikato website you won’t have got his comment, so I attach the link below) […]

Continue reading

Anti-gravity

There are some lovely physics demonstrations that get repeatedly wheeled-out for things like Open Day and visits from school groups. Things like holding a spinning bike wheel on a rotating chair (flip it over and you start rotating – conservation of angular momentum) and levitating a piece of superconductor above a magnet at liquid nitrogen […]

Continue reading

Approximately speaking

Physicists are notorious for making approximations.  This character trait is the subject of many jokes – for example, one rather rambling one involving a physicist advising a punter on which horse to put his money ends with the line "Oh, didn’t I tell you – my calculations assumed a spherical horse rolling through a vacuum." […]

Continue reading

Compton scattering

While we are talking about relativity, what about evidence for special relativity? That’s the area of physics which talks about the way things move at very high speeds (close to the speed of light).   For example, we talk about things contracting as they get faster (Lorentz contraction) and time slowing down (time dilation). Neither of […]

Continue reading

Beam me up…

Instead of enduring hours sitting at airports and in aeroplanes (complete with passengers in front of you who recline their seats forty-eight milliseconds after the fasten seatbelts sign goes out, grrrr), wouldn’t it be nice if Star Trek transporter technology actually existed. Just step onto the pad, select your destination (better check it carefully first), […]

Continue reading