Beyond cornflakes

This is something that Aimee Whitcroft at the Science Media Centre in Wellington drew my attention to – thanks Aimee. Most of us who have ever eaten breakfast cereal will probably be familiar with the phenomenon whereby the larger flakes of whatever-your-favourite-breakfast-is tend to be at the top of the packet, whereas the smaller flakes […]

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The3is in three final

I attended the final of the The3is in Three competition on Wednesday night. It was a really entertaining evening; compere Te Radar was in great form, as were the eight finalists  (N.B. I know that those of you who are not from NZ won’t have the slightest idea who Te Radar is, but I’m sure […]

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Using words is OK

I’m in the thick of marking exam papers. In physics, a lot of what a student does is mathematically based, so a fair bit of any exam is going to contain calculations of things. But don’t think that it is compulsory to make your answer totally incomprehensible. Many of the exam answers I see from […]

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More chemistry-bashing

There is nothing a physicist likes better than to get one up on a chemist. In a friendly way of course. Rather like New Zealand beating Australia at some sporting event.   So it is with great delight that I hear that the 2009 Nobel Prize in Chemistry has been awarded to a physicist. (See commentary […]

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Everything’s relative

What does ‘big’ mean? How big does something have to be in order to reasonably carry that adjective? The answer, of course, is ‘it depends’. For example, I am pretty tall. But after standing next to someone much taller than me on a tram last week, I realise that maybe I am not so tall after all. I […]

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Teaching research

Over the last week or so I have, amongst other things, been doing some preparation for two summer scholarship students that will be working with me from December to February. The summer scholarships are a great opportunity for undergraduate students to experience what research is like. The University of Waikato, like several other universities, offers […]

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