Every square millimetre counts

Seen on a notice at a Cambridge Cafe: Waipa District Council. Permit to occupy pavement space. This is to certify that **** has been approved to occupy 15.000000 metres squared of pavement space.  I might not have got the exact words right, but I certainly counted the number of zeros after the decimal point.  The […]

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Gravitational Waves

The big breaking physics news is the detection of gravitational waves. These waves are distortions in space-time, caused by a large mass doing something spectacular (two colliding black holes in this case)  that propagate across the universe and create tiny changes in space when they reach us. The commentary here describes what goes on. Essentially, […]

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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 […]

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Tip or slide?

We had our departmental Christmas lunch on Tuesday, outside in the campus grounds. We had some lovely sunshine, but the wind did rather spoil things. I've certainly got used now to living in a very wind-free place – a fresh breeze is something quite unsual here. We were hanging on to our paper plates, but […]

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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 […]

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