A lot of huffing and puffing

While there is some great fiction out there, one really shouldn't try to learn much physics from it. One case in point, which I am forced to listen to over and over by the youngest member of our house, is the story of the Three Little Pigs.  I'm not talking here about the relative merits […]

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A load of rubbish

I've been reading through a student's report of his summer work placement. He  had a project on improving the performance of a heat exchanger used for getting rid of heat from a cryogenic cooler. The basic concept is that materials are being cooled to about 40 kelvin (that's 40 degrees above absolute zero, minus 233 […]

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Thermodynamics of learning

Last week I attended a conference on Emergent Learning and Threshold Concepts, here at the University of Waikato. It was a very interesting couple of days. As far as academic conferences go, it was unusual in that it was really cross-disciplinary. We had engineers mixing with physiotherapists, and management consultants with dancers. It certainly was […]

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My car is cold

The last couple of days have seen our Engineering Design Show. This is where our 2nd/3rd/4th year Engineering students get to talk about and show off the various projects they've been working on in the last year. It's very interesting to see the range of activities going on, and there are some 'competitive events' – […]

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Temperature is not Heat

First things first. PhysicsStop is back on-line after an enjoyable two-week break in warm and sunny southern England. Second things second. What advice can anyone give to the parents of a fourteen-month-old with jetlag who insists that 4 am is time to get up, have breakfast, and feed the chickens (or the "Choo Chuk" as […]

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Hotspot and Silicone Tape

Well, today’s big story is just perfect for PhysicsStop. Cricket meets physics. What more could I ask for. In case you’ve just arrived from Alpha Centauri,  there have been accusations flying that both English and Australian batsmen have been trying to defeat the ‘Hot Spot‘ detector by putting silicone tape on their bats. The allegations […]

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Don’t cook the baby

 Last week we had a new oven installed. Our old el-cheapo one that came with the house was never in Karen’s good books. Small, dirty, incapable of getting to a high temperature and generally giving the impression that it was about to die at any moment. Indeed, it did a couple of Christmases ago – […]

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