Temperature is not Heat

First things first. PhysicsStop is back on-line after an enjoyable two-week break in warm and sunny southern England. Second things second. What advice can anyone give to the parents of a fourteen-month-old with jetlag who insists that 4 am is time to get up, have breakfast, and feed the chickens (or the "Choo Chuk" as […]

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The amazing vacuum microwave

 Happy Easter everyone. Sorry for lack of blog activity – lots of marking has been building up that I’ve needed to get through.  Yesterday we experienced the vacuum-packing ability of a clip-container in a microwave. In this case, it was being used to cook some vegetables for Benjamin’s dinner. The veges were placed in the […]

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Thermoeconomics

I’ve been following with a bit of interest the "slow-motion crisis" of the European debt.  One of its consequences is some unhealthy shifts in exchange rates – for example the soaring Swiss Franc. That hurts Swiss exporters.  In the last couple of days, Switzerland has decided that this isn’t acceptable and is taking drastic measures […]

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Hot air rises

Well, we have now moved into our new house. We moved last Friday, mostly dodging the heavy showers that have been marauding around the country for the last week. We are slowly unpacking – the place is looking a lot tidier now than it did at the weekend, but it will take a while to […]

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Chocolate problems

Thinking back to last week’s MasterChef (the chocolate tower of terror – re-live it here), there were a couple of nice examples of cooking being a branch of physics. I’ve heard it said that cookery is all about managing the flow of heat into (or, in this case, out of) an object, which, of course, […]

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Uses of Liquid Nitrogen

I went to the doctor yesterday and he attacked me with liquid nitrogen.  To be more specific, I had a wart ‘frozen’ off.  Now, I had some similar treatment years ago, in which the doctor used a container of the stuff surrounded by polystyrene foam, and open to the air. Rather like what we use […]

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Negative Resistance

I was having a conversation last week with a student about negative resistances (in an electronics context). These are just as they sound – to send a current from terminal A to terminal B you have to apply a higher potential to terminal B than terminal A.  Sounds backwards?  Yes – it is. That’s why […]

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