## Heat transfer within edible objects

The veggie-juicer in our kitchen will happily take fruit, such as apples and oranges. Apparently, in the case of the orange, it works best if the fruit is cold (but not frozen) throughout. So here’s the question my wife asked me last week: If I have an orange at room temperature, and want to cool it […]

## How does a physicist think?

As part of my reading for the Postgraduate Certificate in Tertiary Teaching (henceforth known as the PGCert(TT) )  I’ve come across this article by Gire et al. on how physics students think.   The study looked at how closely the physics-thought-processes of undergraduate and graduate students aligned with the physics-thought-processes of practising physicists.    In other words, do students […]

## I hate maths…

I’ve spent most of the morning grappling with a bit of troublesome mathematics.  I can tell that I’ve had enough, because I’m starting to see greek letters tango with roman ones across the computer screen before raising themselves to inappropriate powers and differentiate themselves into oblivion, and graphs of noisy data that are beginning to […]

## Two is a big number

In an earlier post I made the outrageous claim that three is a working approximation to infinity. If you thought that was ambitious, have a read of the following extract from an abstract that I discovered this morning while doing a bit of literature searching as part of my research. It’s a great insight into the mind […]

## Interesting but useless fact

According to the fount of all knowledge  –  Wikipedia 😉    – the only three countries not to have adopted the System Internationale units are Burma/Myanmar, Liberia and the United States of America.  I can’t help thinking that there is something deeply significant about those three countries falling into the same group, but I can’t quite […]

As any physics student knows (or should know), units are important things. By ‘unit’ I mean a measure of the kind of quantity you are dealing with. So if it’s mass, then a kilogram, a gram, an ounce, etc are all units;  if it’s distance, then kilometres, light-years, feet are all units.   Units are essential […]

## Dazed and confused

Physicists love units. The best way to wind up a physicist is to tell him you were driving at 100 down the road.  One hundred what?  Just hope you don’t get pulled over by a traffic cop with a physics degree or he’ll ticket you for leaving your unit off, even if you were within […]

## Prisoner’s Dilemma

Writing my last post on public transport etiquette prompted me to recall William Poundstone’s excellent book an game theory, ‘Prisoner’s Dilemma’.  Poundstone, in a very accessible manner, discusses the ideas behing game theory (a branch of mathematics developed by John Von Neuman), illustrating it terrifyingly with examples from the Cold War. Deciding whether to get […]