Toddler does physics-art

As we all know, a scientifically-minded toddler plus a piece of technology can lead to unexpected results. This is the result of Benjamin playing with a retractable steel tape measure at the weekend. How we came to break the case apart I don't know, but the results are pretty (the cellphone shot in poor light […]

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Blackwater rafting

 I’ve had my brother visiting from the UK, which has been a good excuse for doing some of the touristy things in the area. I wasn’t taken by the prospect of zorbing, but we did give blackwater rafting a go in the Ruakuri cave at Waitomo. I’ve always wanted a go at that – and […]

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Considering a new car?

I was directed to this article by a blog on the BBC website. It considers a full analysis of the through-life environmental cost of electric vehicles, compared to petrol and diesel vehicles. By full, it includes things like greenhouse gas emissions from the manufacture process, depletion of the world’s mineral resources, and eco-toxicity, as well […]

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Dumping light into space

Actually, I’ve been thinking a bit more about the 200% efficient LED I described last time. Maybe it can be a  solution to global warming after all. The LED converts heat to light. Now, if one were to direct the light upwards, through the atmosphere and into space, it would escape the earth. Sure, it […]

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A Threshold Concept

In recent years, science education has been taking note of the idea of ‘threshold concepts’. The idea came out of studies in how students learn economics by Erik Meyer and Ray Land, but has much wider application. We’ve done a bit of study in this at Waikato, particularly for electronics – see for example Jonathan […]

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Quantum Chicken

Our neighbours have a dog – one of those small, yappy, pointless pooches with an excessive bark-to-weight ratio. It runs about their garden, keeping our cat out and gets very loud when I venture over to the compost bin. The neighbours’ garden is fortunately well-fenced, meaning the creature thankfully can’t invade our side. So, imagine […]

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Mossbauer Spectroscopy

While waiting for my aged computer to boot-up on my return to work this morning, I was skimming through November’s Physics World magazine, and noted an obituary to Rudolf Mossbauer. He is best known in the physics world for observing ‘resonance absorption’ of gamma rays, and then developing the technique of Mossbauer spectroscopy. When a […]

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