## Wallpaper lattice confusion

I got home from work last night to discover the decorator still hard at work, putting up the ‘feature’ wallpaper on one fairly small section of wall. He said he’d been struggling for the last hour trying to find the repeat in the pattern. It’s a dark paper, with detailed but low-contrast outlines of flowers in […]

## Symmetry, groups, and wallpaper

There is new wallpaper going up in our house.  Since my DIY skills are marginally better than my cat’s, we’ve employed a decorator to do it. (I fixed a dripping tap once – that was the high point of my DIY activity.)  Looking at the new wallpaper has reminded me that I studied it in my […]

## Pipes and water pressure

The warm sunny weather has led to a discovery under the front lawn. The clue was the fact that the ground was squelchy after three weeks with no rain.  Either a new hot spring was in the process of popping up out of the lawn, or our water pipe had sprung a leak. It’s not […]

## So you think you’re good at mechanics?

Calculate the stress in the pole that crosses the picture nearest to you in the upper right corner. And calculate the frequencies of the lowest twenty modes of vibration of the structure. (It’s the temporary stand at Lake Karapiro put up for the World Rowing Championships. Had a very enjoyable day there on Thursday.)

## Unconventional projectiles

I thought that sometimes I over-analyzed things for their physics content but obviously I have a long way to go… http://www.wired.com/wiredscience/2010/10/physics-of-angry-birds/ Rhett Alain, a fellow physics-blogger 🙂 discusses his favourite computer game… This reminds me that several years ago I looked at a PhD thesis about the mathematical modelling of deformation – i.e. describing how an object […]

## Maths and Physics

I had this lovely piece of written feedback in an email from a student yesterday. I … think your emphasis on the physics rather than the math that describes it … is really good, my problem solving approach has changed from wondering what equations I have at my disposal to what’s actually going on.     What […]

## Dealing with random things

In physics, just like elsewhere in life, there can be more than one way to tackle a problem. An example I’ve been thinking about recently is in the computer modelling of random processes (which is essentially what my research is about). Rather than talk about neurons and what causes them to fire or not-to-fire, I’ll draw […]

## 2.5 or 2.2 percent?

So, Goods and Services Tax has now jumped from 12.5% to 15%, and with it comes all sorts of confusion. If you ask the question ‘how much have things increased?’ you can get a variety of answers? So, an example.  Take an item that used to be priced at \$11.25.  OK, so we no longer […]