The ticker-tape car

Somewhere in the Cambridge / Hamilton vicinity is a car with no oil in it. I know this because on the way in to work this morning there was a trail of oil on the road.  The damp road surface led to it being very prominent. A splash of oil, being less dense than water, […]

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A bigger splash

The crawling baby is now undertaking a series of physics experiments. His favourite is the investigation of vibrational modes on biscuit tins and their coupling to longitudinal waves in the atmosphere. But he’s also repeating Galileo’s (supposed) famous experiment in studying the free-fall acceleration of various objects. In this case the elevated position  is not […]

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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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Blackwater rafting

 I’ve had my brother visiting from the UK, which has been a good excuse for doing some of the touristy things in the area. I wasn’t taken by the prospect of zorbing, but we did give blackwater rafting a go in the Ruakuri cave at Waitomo. I’ve always wanted a go at that – and […]

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Dispersion in water waves

 I’ve been perusing YouTube looking for good videos illustrating wave packets – which are bunches of waves containing different wavelengths. I want to come up with a good illustration for a second year physics paper on introductory quantum theory. This contains a lot of ‘wave’ things. Here’s a nice one I’ve stumbled on. It shows […]

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The power of steam

Over Christmas, we were staying with my wife’s sister and her family in Dunedin. Early one morning (sometime before I got up, anyway – that is my definition of early) a loud ‘bang’ came from the direction of the kitchen, followed by the sound of eight paws beating a hasty retreat. There are two young […]

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Seeing circular polarization

Physicsworld magazine is doing a ‘special feature’ this month on animal superheroes – those with rather unusual physical abilities. The best of the lot (in my subjective opinion) is the featured-on-the-cover mantis shrimp. Not because of its ‘dactyl clubs’ that can produce a force of 700 N, but because of its eyesight. The mantis shrimp […]

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