Scholarship physics questions

I’ve just been putting together a presentation for final year school children on the NZ scholarship physics exam.   NZ Scholarship is awarded to the top 3% or so of students in a particular subject in a particular year, and there is some big money up for grabs. But the exam questions for scholarship are hard.  Really.  […]

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Peer review

Recently I was asked by a scientific journal to review an article that had been sent to them. This is pretty standard procedure for journals, and every scientist will know what I am talking about. For those non-scientists, peer review is a way of ensuring (or rather, trying to ensure) quality in scientific publication. If […]

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The scientific method

This morning we had a school group visit us from Whakatane – about 30 year 10 students (14 and 15 year olds) – they carried out some activities in Chemistry, Earth Sciences and Physics. I led them (as two groups) in a physics activity involving catapults. After doing the boring bit (talking about how energy […]

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Science Fair

For those in easy reach of Hamilton Gardens, the NIWA Science Fair is well worth a visit. I spent a considerable portion of yesterday looking over the exhibits – which mostly consist of posters describing children’s science projects.  It is wonderful to see that, despite the perpetual moanings in the media, there are children out there who are interested […]

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Sophie’s law of gravitation

With reference to my entry last week, here is the bit in Jostein Gaarder’s Sophie’s World about gravity. Spot the misconception. Sophie is talking to Alberto: ‘Well, if the moon was drawn to the earth with the same foce that causes the apple to fall, one day the moon would come crashing to earth instead […]

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As if by magic…

This week I’ve been talking to my third year mechanical engineering class about the Lagrangian approach to solving dynamical problems. OK, please don’t close your browser now, rest assured that you don’t need to know what the Lagrangian approach is to follow this post. (if you do, then click here.) I reckon there are two ways […]

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