My kind of blog

This is what I like to see – a fellow blogger (Brian Clegg) extolling the virtues of physics blogging and tweeting. What’s interesting about Brian’s entry is that he talks about how a blog can trigger a discussion that increases the quality of the original posting.  Like peer review for a scientific paper, but informal, […]

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The wrong kind of question

Following on from yesterday’s discussion of the paper by Gire et al. I’ll remark on one little aspect of this study that physics teachers and lecturers need to take note of. (Well, in my opinion they do, and I’ve got a steadily increasing pile of literature to back me up on this). One of the questions […]

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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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Does my teaching work?

This year, I’ve finally decided (more accurately, finally got around to doing it) to undertake a Postgraduate Certificate in Tertiary Teaching.  In plain English, that means do some training that actually prepares me to teach at university. "What?" I hear you say – "You mean you haven’t got any qualification to teach at university?".  Nope. […]

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The importance of physics

It is sometimes hard as a scientist to maintain a broad focus. It is very easy to get obsessed with your pet project and forget the equally important stuff being done by scientists and others elsewhere. Just because you find your research extremely interesting and you can see lots of uses for it, it doesn’t […]

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Waves in a plasma

This post follows from a comment I had yesterday from Robert McCormick on the www.sciblogs.co.nz version of PhysicsStop. (Unfortunately the mapping of PhysicsStop onto the sciblogs website doesn’t combine the comments – so if you read my blog through The University of Waikato website you won’t have got his comment, so I attach the link below) […]

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Group dynamics

Well, I went down to Wellington last Thursday and presented at the Science Express event at Te Papa. It was the third time I’ve done a talk in that manner on the Large Hadron Collider, and it was for me intriguing how the audiences have picked up on different things each time. The first time […]

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What’s the catch?

Last weekend Alison Campbell and I took a trip to New Plymouth to do a day session with final year school students to help them prepare for their physics and biology scholarship exams. (Alison did the Biology half, I did the physics). I do hope the students got something useful out of it. Doing this kind […]

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