Making sense of those numbers

A couple of weeks ago I had a cholesterol test.  (That involves taking a blood sample, and I was relieved that this time I didn’t faint.)  I collected my results from the doctor’s surgery earlier this week. The nurse handed me a piece of paper, with lots of numbers on, and provided me the reassuring comment […]

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Can you believe this guy?

I stumbled upon this snippet on Yahoo this morning. "Professor proves Germany will win World Cup".  Of course the reference is to the only World Cup that matters, the one in South Africa later this year, not the pretend one happening here in NZ next year. I can only think that something has been lost […]

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Mind games for physicists

Here’s a gem of a paper from Jonathan Tuminaro and Edward Redish. The authors have carried out a detailed analysis of the discussions a group of physics students had when solving a particular problem. They’ve worked hard (the researchers, as well as the students) – the first case study they chose was a conversation 45 […]

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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 […]

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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 […]

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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 […]

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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 […]

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