Thermal expansion

Here’s a nice experiment to carry out on a freezing cold morning. Before driving to work / school / shopping centre / Auntie Betty’s, look under the bonnet of your car and make a note of the level of coolant in the expansion tank. Chances are its fairly low. After you get to work or wherever, […]

Continue reading

The unsolvable problem

In the last few days I’ve been wrestling with one of the unsolvable problems of physics, namely that it is impossible to measure something without changing it. Here’s an example. Suppose I want to measure the temperature of a pot of warm water. I can do it by putting a thermometer in it. Now, since […]

Continue reading

The end of summer

Methinks swimming in the outdoor pool is over for this summer. I emerged from the pool at lunchtime feeling that I’d just spent a day in Antarctica. I’m told that the peak daily temperature has now dropped to about 22 degrees. Twenty-two? It doesn’t sound that bad. If the air temperature were 22 it would […]

Continue reading

Kitchen Physics

The Baked Alaska is an experiment that is certainly worth doing at home. The idea is that you place a block of icecream on a sponge base, and then smother it in meringue (for those who have only ever bought a pavlova, that means well beaten (stiff) egg white, with sugar folded in, about 50 grammes […]

Continue reading