In this paper, we examine a first-year torque and angular acceleration problem to address a possible use of the forelimbs of Tyrannosaurus rex. A 1/40th-scale model is brought to the classroom to introduce the students to the quandary: given that the forelimbs of T. rex were too short to reach its mouth, what function did the forelimbs serve? This issue crosses several scientific disciplines including paleontology, ecology, and physics, making it a great starting point for thinking “outside the box..." Lipkin and Carpenter have suggested that the forelimbs were used to hold a struggling victim (which had not been dispatched with the first bite) while the final, lethal bite was applied. If that is the case, then the forelimbs must be capable of large angular accelerations α in order to grab the animal attempting to escape. The concepts of the typical first-year physics course are sufficient to test this hypothesis... Naturally, student love solving any problem related to Tyrannosaurus rex.
A video showing a chain of beads behaving in a very peculiar way appeared on Youtube some time ago. Many people attempted to provide explanations, but most of them weren't quite satisfactory. [more inside]
Why particle physics matters [no pun intended]. Physicists from around the world talk about why we study the nature of the universe. [via] [more inside]
Henry Reich of Minute Physics shares his favorite science blogs, video channels, and other resources on the web. (Minute Physics previously) [more inside]
Dear Mr. President: “You're the President of the United States: a country with 5000 nuclear weapons, birthplace of the world's computing and telecommunications industry, home of the first atomic clock and creator of the global positioning system. But chances are, if you just took regular American high school physics, you don't know one iota about the science behind these things (no offense). That's because high school physics students across most of America are not required to learn about pretty much any physical phenomena discovered or explained more recently than 1865.” From Henry Reich of Minute Physics. (Can't watch video? Click the "interactive transcript" button under the video to read it instead.) Minute Physics previously, previouslier. [more inside]
Minute Physics is a YouTube Channel full of short, simple explanations of physics. Learn why there are tides, what neutrinos are and how to find them, why there is no pink light, and why Galloping Gertie didn't collapse due to resonance. Minute Physics is also on New Scientist's website, but slightly re-titled and with links to related New Scientist articles. If you have another 41 minutes, you can learn more about Minute Physics from it's creator, Henry Reich.
Hi. Here's Stephen Colbert (out of character) and astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson having an 85 minute conversation about science, physics, and the universe.
Larry Gonick is a veteran American cartoonist best known for his delightful comic-book guides to science and history, many of which have previews online. Chief among them is his long-running Cartoon History of the Universe (later The Cartoon History of the Modern World), a sprawling multi-volume opus documenting everything from the Big Bang to the Bush administration. Published over the course of three decades, it takes a truly global view -- its time-traveling Professor thoroughly explores not only familiar topics like Rome and World War II but the oft-neglected stories of Asia and Africa, blending caricature and myth with careful scholarship (cited by fun illustrated bibliographies) and tackling even the most obscure events with intelligence and wit. This savvy satire carried over to Gonick's Zinn-by-way-of-Pogo chronicle The Cartoon History of the United States, along with a bevy of Cartoon Guides to other topics, including Genetics, Computer Science, Chemistry, Physics, Statistics, The Environment, and (yes!) Sex. Gonick has also maintained a few sideprojects, such as a webcomic look at Chinese invention, assorted math comics (previously), the Muse magazine mainstay Kokopelli & Co. (featuring the shenanigans of his "New Muses"), and more. See also these lengthy interview snippets, linked previously. Want more? Amazon links to the complete oeuvre inside! [more inside]
The science education video series Sixty Symbols (previously) explores the Cadbury Creme Egg. [more inside]
Horizon asks "What is reality?" -- youtube for links for those outside the UK: 1, 2, 3, 4. It's a hard question. To help you answer it, Stanford has a set of free courses available on line by Leonard Susskind: General Relativity, Cosmology, New Revolutions in Particle Physics, Quantum Entanglement, Special Relativity, Classical Mechanics, Statistical Mechanics, The Standard Model. (Each link is to lecture 1 of a full college course of a dozen or so lectures.) If you need help with the math, the Khan Academy should help get you up to speed.
The Perimeter Institute is a center for theoretical physics in Waterloo, Canada. Among other outreach activities, they host a series of public lectures on a variety of physics related topics. [more inside]
From 1980 - 1988, a science education series called 3-2-1 Contact ran on PBS. Produced by Children's Television Workshop, the series was geared toward an older audience than other popular CTW offerings Sesame Street and The Electric Company, and focused on teaching kids about science, math and the world around them. [more inside]
World of Science contains budding encyclopedias of astronomy, scientific biography, chemistry, and physics. This resource has been assembled over more than a decade by internet encyclopedist Eric Weisstein with assistance from the internet community. MeFi visited Weisstein's Mathworld a couple years ago.
On Truth and Reality. Despite several thousand years of failure to correctly understand physical reality (hence the current postmodern view that this is impossible) it is actually very simple to work out how matter exists and moves about in Space. The rules of Science (Occam's Razor / Simplicity) and Metaphysics (Dynamic Unity of Reality) require that reality be described from only one single source existing, as Leibniz wrote: "because of the interconnection of all things with one another." [more inside]
The ALICE Collaboration is building a dedicated heavy-ion detector to exploit the unique physics potential of nucleus-nucleus interactions at LHC energies. The aim is to study the physics of strongly interacting matter at extreme energy densities, where the formation of a new phase of matter, the quark-gluon plasma, is expected. This website aims both at introducing non-initiates to the field of physics covered by ALICE and at providing regular information on the evolution of the experiment, with detailed reports of its results and analysis.
Science Hack is a unique search engine for science videos focusing on Physics, Chemistry, and Space. For example, things to do with sulfur hexafluoride. Still growing, the editors are presently indexing other scientific fields of study including Geology, Psychology, Robotics and Computers. Ever wonder why things go bang?
The wave equation is v = ƒλ. How does that make you feel?
Belief and knowledge - a primer on science communication
Open Source Physics is a great resource for science eduactors and students alike. Here is a page of great examples that take advantage of OSP.
Motion Mountain - "The project aims to produce a simple, vivid and up-to-date introduction to modern physics, with emphasis on the fundamental ideas of motion. 'Simple' means that concepts are stressed more than formalism; 'vivid' means that the reader is continuously challenged; 'up-to-date' means that modern research and ideas about unification are included."
Science sites of all kinds for kids. Archeology. Entomology. Natural Symphony. Baseball in Space. Philosophy. Process or Content. Science songs. Physics songs, relativity. String theory. Science and Art.
Is this guy an awesome teacher or just crazy? Or maybe it goes hand in hand. Think back to the days of high school and college science classes. For most people, it probably wasn't chalkboards full of endless physics equations that got them interested in the sciences, but rather the crazy, cooky and awe-inspiring professors who do dramatic and unique demonstrations to get students interested. What makes a good teacher or professor? Is this teacher really reckless or is it a legit demonstration that benefits students?
Vlad gives his views on the Moscow Institute of Physics and Technology. As the anthem of Phystech promises, "we will disperse, when the time comes, in all the world, from Dolgoprudny"
Resonata - A Wave Machine [Java]
On the mission to understand and communicate miracles of Life on Earth and the mysteries reaching beyond the stars.
Great television science presenters and their shows: Tim Hunkin "the Secret Life of Machines", Jacob Bronowski "The Ascent of Man", James Burke "Connections", David Attenborough "Trials of Life" "Blue Planet" etc., Marlin Perkins "Wild Kingdom", Don Herbert "Watch Mr. Wizard", Adam Hart-Davis "Science Shack" "Rough Science", Jack Horkheimer "Star Gazer". Does anyone else have any favorites, past or present?