Colour blindness and Bayes’ theorem

Following from my last post, there’s more to say about colour blindness in my family. This time we’ll look at my side of the family.  My maternal grandfather was red-green colour blind. That means my mother is a carrier of red-green colour blindness, with a “faulty” (well, “alternative” would be better) X-chromosome.  And as a […]

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Physics is a science. Or maybe not.

A couple of hours ago I gave a talk to the 'education group' in the Faculty of Engineering and Mathematical Sciences at the University of Western Australia. Broadly speaking, the audience was a group of physicists and engineers who are interested in education. I recycled a talk that I'd given a couple of years ago […]

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Probability madness

Probability crops up in many places in physics, not least quantum mechanics and statistical mechanics, where we are only sure of things in an average or 'statistical' sense. Dealing with probabilities can be a headache for many students. They are also a headache for many in everyday life. There are numerous occasions where we need […]

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The universal joint

…No, it isn’t something everyone smokes… But it is common in machine mechanisms. The universal joint is a neat way of turning rotation in one plane into rotation in another. A common use is on driveshafts where you want the direction of the shaft to bend. There’s a neat animation on Wikipedia of how the […]

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Calculating pi with darts

I love this one. Really, it's maths not physics, but there is a bit of experimental physics creeping in at the fringes when the experimenters realize that the first method is biased. The second method is much better designed.  Regrettably, pi-day (March 14th, 2015, or 3.14.15) only works if you use the US system of […]

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